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Document Details :
Title: La praefectura fabrum, i collegia fabrum ed un prefetto tergestino
Author(s): CAFARO, Alberto
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 47 Date: 2017
Since the book that H. Maué devoted to the praefectura fabrum in 1887, the relationship between the post of ‘prefect of the engineers’ and the collegia fabrum has been a matter of scholarly discussion. The debate hinges on two inscriptions concerning L. Papirianus, praefectus fabrum Romae et Tergeste, and on the widely held belief that there were (at least) two different kinds of praefectura fabrum: a military post awarded by imperium-holding magistrates to individuals with a military background, and a command over the collegia fabrum, assigned by the emperor to the members of the civic elites recruited across the Empire. The scholarly view that juxtaposed the praefectura fabrum with the collegial magistracies was intended to solve the puzzle of the role of the praefectura under the Principate, when it was often associated with prominent municipal careers. This interpretation, however, is untenable for a number of reasons: notably the different institutional nature of the praefectura fabrum and the praefectura collegii fabrum, and the picture conveyed by the epigraphic evidence for both posts. This paper offers a re-examination of the available documentation, and proposes a new interpretation of the Papirianus inscriptions.