IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

B.41. Fragments from a building inscription

Description: Blocks and fragments of architrave blocks, with guttae surviving above: i. Found near the north-east corner of the building; left edge, top and bottom, w: 0.51 x h: 0.32 x d: 0.35. ii. Found towards the south-east corner; complete block, w: 1.45 x h: 0.32 x d: 0.35. iii. Found a little to the east of ii; complete block, w: 1.45 x h: 0.32 x d: 0.35. iv. Found in the east portico, a little south of the doorway; right edge, top and bottom w: 0.79 x h: 0.32 x d: 0.35.
Text: Inscribed in one line on one face.
Letters: Monumental capitals, deeply cut between guide-lines. i. 0.19; ii. 0.185; iii. 0.18; iv. 0.175

Date: Early second century CE

Findspot: Berenike: Sidi Khrebish, Building L.1, in the extreme south-western corner of the cemetery, on the east side of the peristyle; found in 1972, apparently as fallen.
Original location: Findspot.
Last recorded location: Benghazi Museum.


[---] U [---]
[---] OSTE [---]
[--- a]diecti[s ---]
[---] PER [---]



English translation

Translation by: Editors

(Not usefully translatable.)


On the building see Tatton-Brown, loc. cit., who reports elements of a bath building to the north and west and suggests that the inscription may refer to the addition of a palaestra to this.

The size and cutting of the letters indicate a building inscription of importance, and the findspots suggest that it ran around at least two sides of the peristyle; since there were 11 architrave blocks on each side and a complete block might carry 5 or 6 letters, it was of considerable length. The letter-forms used cannot be dated with any precision, since there is so little other material from the site to provide comparison; some features might, indeed, be as early as Augustan, and it must be noted that the R is markedly different from that of . No features, however, seem impossible in the second century CE, and it is a reasonable guess that local cutters, unaccustomed to working in Latin, might produce an unusual result.

The use of Latin strongly suggests work sponsored by the Roman government, so that the text is likely to have begun with an emperor's name and title, followed by a description of the building, and ended with a reference to his agent, no doubt the proconsul. No. ii. might have come from the imperial title - . . . c]os te[r . . . - but its interpretation depends on that of no. iii, for if the the blocks lay as they originally fell it is improbable that more than one block stood between them.

No. iii in the context of an imperial undertaking should refer to features added to the main building, in which case the description of the main building should precede it and no. ii should be part of that description - possibly from the word osteum (as in CIL VIII.1.14810, whence EDCS 17701182, templum cum arcu et porticibus et osteis etc.). The language may also suggest that the main building to which additions were made was a restoration (cf. ILS 5585 macellum . . . dilapsum adiectis basilicis . . . restituit) and this raises the possibility that the inscription recorded imperial assistance given after the destruction which occurred during the Jewish Revolt of CE 115 either by Hadrian or conceivably Antoninus Pius.

No. iv . . .]per[ . . . could have introduced the agent responsible; if the emperor concerned were Domitian, it could be part of this title, censor] per[petuus.

Bibliography: Tatton-Brown, 1972, 10, without text; Reynolds, 1978, 5 and plate XXIV. For the building see Lloyd, 1978 107-111.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Fragment iii (Reynolds, SB.IV.239)

   Fig. 2. Fragment iv (Reynolds, SB.IV.237)