The Roman Empire

Calling to mind the extent of the Roman Empire in Caracalla’s day helps us better understand the significance of the Constitutio Antoniniana.

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanun) existed from the eighth century BC to the seventh century AD. Over the course of time, it changed from a monarchy to a republic and finally to an empire (Wikipedia: Ancient Roman).

During the imperial reign of Caracalla (211–217 AD), the Roman Empire encompassed all the territories around the Mediterranean Sea on three continents:

Römisches Reich um 215
The Roman Empire in 215 AD. Map by Harald Schätzlein (ultraVIOLETT Mediendesign) for the University Library of Giessen.
Today we do not know exactly how many people lived in the Roman Empire at that time, how many of them were already Roman citizens, and how many actually benefited from the Constitutio Antoniniana. That many became citizens as a result of the edict can be deduced from the spread of the family name Aurelius, Caracalla’s nomen gentilicium, which was usually adopted by these recipients of citizenship rights

To learn more, >>click here<< for information on social stratification in the Roman Empire and the rights of citizens and foreigners.