Election promises at Corinth

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Erastus inscription, Corinth © David Gill

The dedication of a square next to the theatre at Corinth by an official named Erastus was ‘in return for his aedileship’ (PRO AEDILIT[AT]E). Erastus would appear to be have made an election promise, and the square, edged with the dedicatory inscription, demonstrated that he had kept to his side of the agreement.

The Tomb of Classicianus

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Tomb of Classicianus, British Museum © David Gill

Two parts of the inscription from this funerary monument of Classicianus were found reused in the bastion of the Roman wall just to the north of the Tower of London in 1852 and 1935 (RIB 12). The bolster from the top of the tomb was found in the same location. This suggests that the monument was erected on the eastern side of the Roman settlement. The Roman wall dates to the 3rd century AD.

G. Iulius Alpinus Classicianus is described as the procurator of the Roman province of Britannia. He was appointed in AD 61, as a successor to Catus Decianus, in the wake of the revolt by Boudicca (Tacitus Annals xiv.38). Classicianus seems to have originated in Gaul. It appears that he died in office.

The monument was erected by Classicianus’ wife Iulia Pacata, daughter of Indus. Julius Indus is noted as a key person who countered the revolt of the Treveri in AD 21 (Tacitus Annals iii.42).

A revised reconstruction of the tomb and reconstruction is presented by Grasby and Tomlin.

Bibliography
Hawkes, C. F. C. “The Sepulchral Monument of Julius Classicianus.” The British Museum Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 2, 1935, pp. 53–56., www.jstor.org/stable/4421794.
Grasby, R. D., and R. S. O. Tomlin. “The Sepulchral Monument of the Procurator C. Julius Classicianus.” Britannia, vol. 33, 2002, pp. 43–75., www.jstor.org/stable/1558852.

London: monument to Claudia Martina

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Monument to Claudia Martina, Museum of London © David Gill

The hexagonal base of the funerary monument to Claudia Martina was found in 1806 on the site of the London Coffee House on Ludgate Hill (RIB 21). This implies that it came from the cemetery to the west of the Roman settlement of Londinium. There is a dowel hole on the top, perhaps for mounting a statue. The find included a lifesize female head, perhaps to be associated with this monument.

The inscription gives the age of Claudia Martina as 19. The monument was erected by her husband, Anencletus, ‘the slave of the province’.

The monument features in Anthony Birley, The People of Roman Britain (London, 1979), 145, and pl. Birley suggests that Anencletus was associated with the council , concilium provinciae, associated with imperial worship in the province. He reminds us that Claudia Martina was freeborn.

The inscription was published by Charles Roach Smith, Illustrations of Roman London (1859), 23 [online].

Londinium: tombstone of Vivius Marcianus

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Vivius Marcianus, London © David Gill

The tombstone of Vivius Marcianus was found during the rebuilding of St Martin’s Church on Ludgate Hill in 1669 (RIB 17). (The church itself had been destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.) The gravestone was then placed in the Ashmolean Museum (that opened in 1683); it is now displayed in the Museum of London (since 1974). It is likely that this came from the cemetery outside (and to the west) of Ludgate.

Vivius Marcianus is described as a centurion of the II Augustan Legion. He is shown in the relief holding the centurion’s stick, vitis, in his right hand. The legion was based at Caerleon in south Wales. There is a possibility that he was attached to the staff of the governor.

The monument was set up by Januaria Martina, his wife.

The hunters of Banna

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Inscription, Birdoswald © David Gill

An inscription found at Birdoswald in 1821 is now displayed in the small site museum (RIB 1905). It had previously been displayed in the undercroft at nearby Lanercost Priory (and where it features in Charles M. Daniels, Handbook to the Roman Wall 13th ed.).

The altar was dedicated to the ‘holy god’ Silvanus, and the dedicators were the venatores or hunters of Banna. Banna is almost certainly Birdoswald, and is a name also known from the Rudge cup found at Froxfield in Wiltshire (for the replica, now in the British Museum) that shows some of the forts along Hadrian’s Wall.

It has been suggested that the inscription should be dated to the 3rd century (supported by David Breeze in his Handbook to the Roman Wall).

Priene: The Temple of Athena Polias

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Temple of Athena Polias, Priene © David Gill

The temple of Athena Polias dominates the lower part of the city of Priene. The Ionic temple was reported to have been designed by the architect Pytheos who was associated with the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos. The naos itself measured 100 Attic feet.

The south anta of the temple carried an inscription recording the benefaction of the temple: King Alexander | dedicated the naos | to Athena Polias. The inscription was recovered by the members of the Society of the Dilettanti during their sponsored excavation of the city in 1869-70. This was then presented to the British Museum in 1870 (see online details). The adjacent blocks were used to record other benefactions from Alexander and other civic records.

The inscription suggests that the benefaction should date to c. 334 BC, following the campaigns of Alexander in western Anatolia.

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Dedication by Alexander the Great, Temple of Athena Polias, Priene © David Gill

High Rochester: Mars and Hercules

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Inscription from High Rochester, Great North Museum © David Gill

The fort at High Rochester (Bremenium) in Northumberland was one of the most northerly outposts of the Roman Empire. The inscription, now in the Great North Museum, was discovered near to the east gate of the fort c. 1776 (RIB 1284). It was then displayed in Alnwick Castle.

The Latin text records work by a unit, vexillatio, of the 20th Legion Valeria Victrix. The inscription is flanked by figures of Mars and Hercules. Below appears to be a boar, the emblem of the legion.

A building inscription for a vexillatio of the 6th Legion Pia Fidelis is also known from the site (RIB 1283).

These two units may have been posted here, not necessarily simultaneously, to reinforce the northern frontier.