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Roman Empire in which each city was administered in much the same fashion as the next, with little room for innovation or for the expression of local character. We already know that Hellenistic civic structures were kept in place in cities like Dura, but the extent to which they were actually effective during the Roman period is unclear. In our city, the presence of Roman judicial and police forces, as well as tax collectors, may signify that their Greek counterparts, already existing for over 500 years, had been superceded by an overarching official and military-based local administration, or possibly even replaced.34 That is to say, the Hellenistic components of the city's urban structure may have been relegated to dealing with only the most minute affairs of daily life as Roman forces asserted primary control. If so, this would have had a profound impact, not only on the daily functioning of the city, but also on the ability of citizens to become a part of and move ahead in the urban structure and the society which depended upon it. Though Greek continued as the common language of the city's residents (including the Roman soldiers, one should point out), Latin was the official language of the Roman military, and learning Latin was an absolute necessity for entrance into the imperial civic structure.35 As mentioned above, however, the standard Roman educational system was probably not established at Dura, where the civilian population was fluent in Greek, Aramaic, and Persian - not Latin.36 As a result, governmental and political participation must have been severely limited in the city, and the prospects of social mobility greatly curtailed, as were military/civilian relations.37

Indeed, despite the fact that the Roman forces utilized at Dura were mainly of Syrian background, the close cultural and political relationship of these soldiers to the empire's center at Rome kept them apart from the city's Syrian civilian populace.38 As members of an institution, soldiers thought of themselves in military terms, no matter their background, and fostered military-based relationships rather than connections with the indigenous population.39 Religious practices further exacerbated these differences. Though the god Mithras (the major object of Roman military worship) was a deity with established eastern origins, for example, there is no evidence that he was worshiped at Dura until the Romans


34. Pollard, 214-215.
35. Pollard, 217-218.
36. Gates, 167; Goranson, 24.
37. C. Bradford Welles goes even further when he states that during the period of Rome's occupation of Dura, "conditions were unfavorable to the maintenance of civic government" (260-261).
38. Pollard, 211.
39. Pollard, 216-217.

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