IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

A.54. Boundary marker

Description: Rectangular stele of brown limestone, reconstructed from several pieces, chipped along all edges and broken below (w: 0.62 x h: 1.05 x d: 0.34).
Text: Inscribed on one face which was already pitted with holes when the mason worked on it (except in line 15, the vacant spaces marked in the text are due to the mason's avoidance of these holes).
Letters: First century CE 0.03-0.04; very irregular and roughly cut.

Date: 73-77 CE

Findspot: Apollonia: In the area known as Filtro, some 500 metres south of the modern town of Marsa Susa. Found in 1964.
Original location: Unknown.
Last recorded location: Apollonia Museum, 2008.


Ex̣ auctoritate
Imp(eratoris) Caesaris Vespasi-
ani Aug(usti) G(aius) Arinius Modes-
tus prọco(n)s(ul) II choria Apol-
5loniatarum quae respu-
blị ( vac. 1) ca cum soci<i>s emerat
( vac. 1) diuisa ( vac. 1) locauit
in perpetuu( vac. 1)m Apol-
ionio Paraebatae f̣(ilio)
10anṇụ ( vac. 1) is denari<i>s
CCCCVIII ( vac. 1) fide Theo-
dori Theodori f(ili) et
Anto( vac. 1) ni Bathylli iṇ
quibus ( vac. 1) sunt mediṃnia
15 ( vac. 1) XXIII ( vac. 1) hemi(su) I ( vac. 3)


15  XXIII  HEMII      

English translation

Translation by: Joyce M. Reynolds

On the authority of Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus, Gaius Arinius Modestus, proconsul for a second year, divided and leased in perpetuity the lands of the Apolloniates which the city had bought jointly with associates, to Apollonios (scil. son) of Paraibatas, for an annual rent of 408 denarii; on the good faith of Theodoros (scil. son) of Theodoros and Antonius Bathyllos; the extent is 23 and a half medimnia.


This resembles closely the boundary stones set up under Claudius, Nero and Vespasian to mark the limits of public land cf. A.25, A.50 and A.51, which may come from the same estate as this stone. For Vespasian's boundary commission see Oliverio, cited on A.50. So far no Flavian boundary stones have been found in the immediate neighborhood of Apollonia; A.51 suggests the introduction of a new system there and this stone seems to indicate that Vespasian was responsible for it. Presumably he sold the land to the city but authorized the proconsul to supervize the leases granted on it. For Flavian sales of public land cf. Hyginus p. 8 (Lachmann: available at Forum Romanum) and for Flavian interest in city-lands cf. McCrum and Woodhead, Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors 339, 444, 447, 448, 451. If, as seems possible, there were no public estates thereafter in the immediate neighborhood of the city the field boundaries visible a little west of Marsa Susa are unlikely to indicate allotments made to veterans by Hadrian after the Jewish Revolt as suggested by Applebaum, JJS 2 (1951) 181.

Lines 3-4: For the proconsul see W. Eck, Vestigia XIII (1970) 119ff, see PIR addenda, and Thomassen, Laterculi 38.030. He may have held office in any year of Vespasian's reign except CE 72/3 (Josephus, BJ VII. 439f.) or 77/8 (); but if his action is to be associated with Vespasian's work on public lands in Cyrenaica it should be after the first half of 74 when we know that an imperial legate was working in the coastal plain near Apollonia (see ). The prolongation of his proconsulate for more than one year may be associable with the prolonged proconsulates of the period of reorganization after the Civil War of CE 68/9 (cf. R. Knox McElderry, JRS 2 (1913) 116f.) or attributed to local conditions such as the Jewish movement suppressed in CE 74 (Josephus, supra).

Line 6: That the city needed associates for the purchase may suggest some previous financial weakness.

Line 8.: For a lease in perpetuum, well-attested for city-lands, see Gaius, Inst. III. 145; the rent suggests that land values in Cyrenaica conformed to the general Mediterranean pattern for the period, cf. the material collected by R.P. Duncan Jones ap. Reynolds and Goodchild.

Lines 8-9: Perhaps to be identified with the leaseholder of A.51.

Lines 14-15: The terminology shows Roman acceptance of local traditions of land measurements, cf. Hyginus p. 293 (Lachmann) but as Professor Keith Hopkins pointed out to me, the rent, 17.37 denarii for a medimnus, is an odd figure. From the calculations of C. Hultsch, Griechische und römische Metrologie 651, the area concerned would equate to c. 25 1/2 iugera and on this basis the rent would be the more rational figure of 16 denarii for a iugerum; Hopkins therefore made the interesting suggestion that the rent was worked out in Roman terms and then converted into Greek.

Bibliography: Goodchild-Reynolds, 1965, 1, with Plate xl. and a drawing, fig. 2, whence AE 1967.531, (whence EDH 015145), Reynolds, 1972, 46; Reynolds, 1976, 76; mentioned Kenrick, 2013, 285.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Face (Department of Antiquities, F.4348)

   Fig. 2. Lines 5-15

   Fig. 3. Face (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 4. Face (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 5. Lines 1-10 (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 6. Lines 4-13 (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 7. Lines 11-15 (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 8. Lines 13-15 (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 9. Left side (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 10. Face (2008, H.Walda)