The "Feriale Duranum", Roman military religion, and Dura-Europos: A reassessment
Reeves, M Barbara
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Ever since its discovery in the 1930's, the Feriale Duranum has been pivotal to scholars' understanding of the religious practices of Roman soldiers. A feriale is a list of festivals to be observed throughout the course of the year. This Latin example was discovered at the site of Dura-Europos on the Euphrates River. Since the papyrus list was found with others belonging to a third century AD auxiliary unit, it has been interpreted as a military calendar. Moreover, it is generally accepted that it is a copy of a document which would have been in the possession of every military unit in the Empire, and that the impetus for such a standardized military calendar came from Augustus. This dissertation questions the traditional appraisal of the Feriale Duranum by reexamining the content of the document, the archaeological context of its discovery, and the research biases under which its early 20 th century editors were operating. This reexamination shows that the commonly accepted conclusion that this is a military document cannot be supported by the evidence. Rather, it is suggested that this was the blueprint for a civic feriale to be used by the town of Dura-Europos after it achieved colonia status under the Severans.