Abstract This paper isolates movement as a topic for analysis in Roman imperial history. Movement is regarded under three aspects: translation (of texts, practices, ideas), migration (of officials, merchants, students, etc.), and communication (i.e. the movement of written documents). Interrelationships among the three aspects of movement are identified and discussed, as are the shared impact of translation, migration, and communication on issues of cultural and social identity and political negotiation and control. The article argues that movement changes the role of the state as well as relations between individual and states, augments the use of writing in society, transforms identities, and gives impulse to internal and external regulations. The implications of movement are understood as both pragmatic and formal, altering relations to space and time and influencing ways of organizing and thinking. The author surveys current work in the field and identifies potential areas for future research. The paper draws heavily on both literary and documentary sources and discusses material from the late republic through late antiquity, paying particular attention to continuities and discontinuities between early and later periods of the Roman empire.
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