From: Marilyn Burge
To: Lynda Bustilloz
Date: Jan 22 1996 7:55:06 am
Subject: census
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On (21 Jan 96) Lynda Bustilloz wrote to Michael Hardy...

LB> Dick and Michael were killing time yakking about census:

MH> In fact, the Romans *did* require people to travel to their
MH> birthplace in order to register for a census.  A census edict from
MH> Egypt, from 104 a.d., shows that they did just that. It begins: "Gaius
MH> Vibius Maximus, prefect of Egypt, says: The house-to-house census
MH> having started, it is essential that all persons who for any reason
MH> whatsoever are absent from their homes be summoned to return to their
MH> own hearths, in order that they perform the customary business of
MH> registration." ("A History of Rome Through the Fifth Century, ed.
MH> A.H.M. Jones, c. 1970, Harper and Row.)

LB> That doesn't sound like anything other than "Don't hang out in the
LB> market today, we don't want to knock on your door and have you not be
LB> there"  It doesn't indicate anything about travelling away from your
LB> current residence.

The legend is clear:  a man was to drag his family to his place of
birth for the census.  Given how disruptive this would be to the
ordinary flow of commerce, and given how enamoured the Romans were
with cash flow, it doesn't seem likely.  And, there is absolutely
no record of this being a Roman requirement, either for this census
or any other.

And, you're right.  The quote material above hardly confirms a
requirement to return to the master of the house's place of birth.

... Nothing is foolproof! Fools are too ingenious!

--- PPoint 1.98
* Origin: So What's Yer Point? (1:105/40.666)
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