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Roman citizenship for all free residents and exemption from taxes, to some cities in Syria.25 It is doubtful, however, that Dura was one of these cities since its Roman forces did act as an imperial tax collection force.26 Romanization, including the development of a Latin-based educational system and the construction of civic institutions, was not a factor in cities such as Dura since Greek urban structures which had already been established during the Hellenistic period were traditionally kept in place by Roman officials.27

It is essential that we understand Durene society during the Roman occupation since it was during these years that the city's Jewish community blossomed. Based on the names which have survived in extant local administrative records from this period, we see that a social change followed the installation of imperial forces. The wealthy Greek land-owning class of citizens, which had lived and prospered at Dura since its Hellenistic founding in the 4th century B.C.E., virtually disappeared.28 Indigenous Semitic peoples continued to form the majority of the city's population, but they had names based on roots which differed from earlier ones, implying a more general shift in the city's society toward new elements, peoples of Mesopotamian and Persian origins, for example.29 In other words, it seems that the Roman presence drove whole groups from Dura, while at the same time attracting new ones from different social backgrounds, as determined by the relative popularity or rarity of certain styles of names. Consequently, under the Romans, Dura consisted of two distinct groups: Roman legions (made up of local Syrian units as well as a few forces from other parts of the empire), and a large Mesopotamian/Persian/Semitic citizenry.30 But, as Nigel Pollard has suggested, these two groups for the most part moved in distinct spheres which only occasionally overlapped.31

Dura's military forces were physically separated from the rest of the population in the newly walled-off northwest quarter of the city, although some individual soldiers were also billeted in private homes.32 Interaction with the civilian populace was limited to maintaining external security, civic policing, collecting taxes, and overseeing judicial procedures - all activities which may have increased internal tension within the city because they displaced former local practices and civic traditions.33 Dura had been incorporated into a monolithic


25. Garnsey and Saller, 27-28.
26. Pollard, 214,215, 223-224.
27. Garnsey and Saller, 27, 32, 189; Kilpatrick, 215; Moon, 587.
28. Welles, 262, 267-268.
29. Welles, 267-268.
30. Matheson, 24; Pollard, 216-217. According to Pollard (212), the total population of Dura was between 10,000 and 20,000, with the military forces numbering about 1000.
31. Pollard, 212.
32. Perkins, 29-30; Pollard, 212-215, 258-259. According to him the wall was not a real barrier to interaction between the groups that made up Dura's populace, but it did act as "a physical reminder of the institutional separateness of the army."
33.Pollard, 214-215, 226, 259; Welles, 259.

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