Search in Feature Auction


CNG Bidding Platform

Information

Products and Services


Use Old Home Page

Feature Auction
CNG Feature Auction 117

Lot nuber 508

Vespasian. AD 69-79. Æ Military Diploma (single tablet 193 x 153mm). Dated 9 April AD 79.


CNG Feature Auction 117
Lot: 508.

Closing Date: May 20 2021 11:00 ET

Roman Imperial, Bronze

Estimate: $ 3 000

BID NOW

Vespasian. AD 69-79. Æ Military Diploma (single tablet 193 x 153mm). Dated 9 April AD 79. Complete (with some repair) and engraved Tabula II of a single diploma containing name of recipient and signatories.

INTERIOR OF THE TABLET:

| • | NOMINA SVBSCRIPT A SVNT IPSIS LIBERIS | • |/ POSTERIS QVE EORVM | • | CIVITATEM DEDIT ET CO / NVBIVM CVM VXORIBVS QVAS (NV)NC HABVIS/ SENT CVM EST CIVITAS IL(li)S DATA AVT SIQVI CAELI / BES ESSENT QVAS POSTEA DUXISSENT / DVMTAXAT SIGVLISINGVLAS (sic) A D V ID APR / P CALVISIO RVSONE L IVNIO CAESENNIO PAETO COS / ALAE GALIORVM ET THRACVM CONSTANTIN[V]M (sic) / CVI PRAEST / M VERCELLIVS M F VOL(tina tribu) FLAVVS / GREGALI / BARHAHADO BACCHI F GERMANI / DESCRIPTVM ET RECOGNITVM EX TABVLA AENEA / QVAE FIXA EST ROMAE | • | IN CAPITOLIO

TRANSLATION OF THE INTERIOR OF THE TABLET:

The names are inscribed below for themselves, their future children, citizenship has been granted, and the rights of conubium with the wives they now possess when citizenshp was granted to them, or those (now) single when they do marry – naturally one man to one wife. (Dated) the fifth day before the Ides of April while P. Calvisius Ruso and L. Iunius Caesennius Paetus were consuls (9 April AD 79). Ala Galiorum et Th [...] Constantinum (sic) – under the command of M. Vercellius M. F. Flavus of the Voltinian tribe. For the regular soldier Barhadadus, the son of Bacchus [Germanis]. A transcribed copy from the bronze tablet which has been affixed at Rome on the Capitol.

EXTERIOR OF THE TABLET:

C IVLI SAMPSI |•| SAMPSI GERAM[I] REGIS F/SAMP[S]I GERAMI
C NYMPHIDI | | LVPI I[…]P
L PVLLI | | IANVARI AER
T FLAVI | | MACRINI
D FABRICI| | PLACIDI ·7· (centurion) LEG III/GAL
C · DISI| | SALVIANI
D ATINI |•| RVFI AE R

TRANSLATION OF THE EXTERIOR OF THE TABLET:

(Seal of) C. Iulius Sampsi |•| Geramus, son of Sampsi Geramus Rex (sic)
(Seal of) C. Nymphidius | | Lupus I[…]P
(Seal of) L. Pullius | | Ianuarius AE R
(Seal of) T. Flavius | | Macrinus
(Seal of) D. Fabricius| | Placidus (centurion) Legio III Gallica
(Seal of) C. Disius | | Salvianus
(Seal of) D. Atinius |•| Rufus AE R

. To be published in a future academic journal. Green and red-brown patina, lower right sections reattached, exterior showing where seal cover (now lost) was attached. As made. A fine example from the reign of Vespasian and especially rare, as it cites individuals known from other documents, including one who later became an associate of Pliny the Younger.

Although the emperor is not named, the consuls listed dates this diploma to the final months of reign of Vespasian († 23 June AD 79). The consuls listed, P. Calvisius Ruso and L. Iunius Caesennius Paetus, were suffecti (substitutes) who served from March-June AD 79. Caesennius Paetus and his career is well-known – he was the grandson of Vespasian’s older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, and was legatus Syriae in AD 70-72 and legatus Augusti pro praetore Asiae in AD 93-94. Not much is known about Calvisius Ruso; his career has been the subject of debate among some of the greatest Roman historians (see P. Gallivan, “The Fasti for A.D. 70-96,” in Classical Quarterly 31 [1981])

The recipient of this diploma, Barhadadus Germanus, the son of Bacchus, was a soldier serving in the Ala Gallorum et Thracum Constantinum?, an auxiliary cavalry unit serving with the Legio III Gallica, which was stationed in Syria at the time. His name suggests an Aramaic origin. The commander of this unit was M. Vercellius M. F. Flavus tribu Voltinia. This assignment to a specific tribe, going back to the time of the Kings of Rome, divided Roman citizens into voting units for the comitia tributa. The tribus Voltina was one of the sixteen rural tribes. The rare cognomen Vercellius suggests a Samnite origin: Livy (XXIII.37) notes that at the time of Hannibal’s invasion of Italy, a Vircellius was involved in instigating a revolt of three towns in that area.

Founded by Julius Caesar, the Legio III Gallica had a long and storied service when, in the early 4th century AD, it was stationed in Egypt. Following the Battle of Actium, Octavian returned the legion to Syria, where it had served under Mark Antony in his war against the Parthian Empire. Under Nero, the legion was under the command of Cn. Domitius Corbulo to Armenia to settle the conflict there. During this time, a unit of the Legio III Gallica assisted the attempt of the legatus Syriae, C. Cestius Gallus, to restore order in Judaea at the outset of the First Jewish War (AD 65-73). At that time, the remainder of the legion was stationed in Moesia. In the Year of Four Emperors, the Legio III Gallica sided with Vespasian. After fighting in the civil war on the emperor’s side, it was restationed in Syria, since the legions there were occupied with the war in Judaea.

The witnesses, whose names appear on the tablet’s exterior, offers a rare opportunity, since some of them are known from other sources, including Latin literature and include their then-current ranks. C. Iulius Sampsiceramus, listed here as the son of King Sampsiceramus, was most certainly related to the Sampsigerid dynasty of priest-kings of Emesa and was the builder of a now-destroyed mausoleum in the ancient necropolis there. Subsequent to witnessing this document, C. Nymphidius Lupus became acquainted with the young C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus (Pliny the Younger) when the latter joined the Legio III Gallica as a tribunus militum. When he was later appointed by the emperor Trajan as legatus Augusti Bithyniae et Ponti, Pliny summoned Nymphidius to serve on his staff. Pliny also requested from the emperor that the son of Nymphidius be appointed tribunus militum (Ep. 10.87). L. Pullius Ianuarius is attested elsewhere (CIL XVI 36 [dated AD 90]). As for the others, little is known, other than their nomina can be found in other documents of the Republican and early Imperial periods.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 117 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 19-20 May 2021. This lot is in Session 2, which begins 19 May 2021 at 2 PM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

We recognize that our users may have various Internet Browsers and Operating Systems. We like our visitors to have the best possible experience when using our bidding platform. However, we do recognize that it is impossible to develop applications that work identically, efficiently and effectively on all web browsers The CNG bidding platform supports Mozilla Firefox (version 86+) and Chrome (version 88+).