The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews

Aurēlius Antonīnus, Marcus (188—217)

Cassius Dio (c. 164—229)

Galen (129—199) Greek physician



More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Classical studies


Show Summary Details


constitution, Antonine

Quick Reference

Is the name given to the edict of Caracalla (Aurelius Antoninus), probably of ad 212, which made all free men and women in the empire Roman citizens. Acc. to Cassius Dio, the emperor's motive was to increase the numbers liable to taxes imposed on citizens such as inheritance tax. A surviving papyrus points to religious motives. In any event the concept of universal citizenship fitted the egalitarian outlook which the Severan dynasty (193–235), rooted in Africa and Syria, shared with such contemporaries as Galen and Ulpian. The new citizens took Roman names and became subject to Roman law. In the long run the effect of the Antonine constitution was profound, since it promoted in both east and west a uniform legal system and a consciousness of being Roman that lasted until the fall of the empire, and sometimes beyond it.

Subjects: Classical studies

Reference entries