Provincial assemblies were a widespread phenomenon in both the eastern and western provinces of the Roman Empire. Their official function was tending to the provincial imperial cult. Research on the western assemblies is very limited, and so far has focused on institutional or political aspects. Their spread, elaborate organisation and splendour of their meetings indicate that their importance reached much further.
This project aims to study the regional impact of these highly visible and prestigious assemblies using social network analysis, and thus contributes to the study of networks in pre-industrial societies. I focus on a region comprising England, Wales, France, Belgium, and parts of the Netherlands, from the reign of Augustus to that of Diocletian (14 B.C. – A.D. 284). Three elements will be studied. First, did the provincial assembly influence cooperation between the represented cities? Second, how often do we encounter individuals who can be linked to more than one membercity and did the assembly play a role in stimulating such connections? Third, what was the profile of the members of the assembly?
I hypothesize that assemblies were powerful platforms for the development of provincial networks of cities and individuals, expressed in stronger contacts between member cities of the assembly and by individuals belonging to these cities. My analysis is innovative since I focus on socio-economic rather than institutional or political aspects of assemblies.