IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

C.239. Imperial building inscription for the Baths of Trajan

Description: Two limestone architrave blocks, the first broken (together w: 4.82 x h: 0.56 x d: 0.365).
Text: Inscribed on one face.
Letters: First-second century CE: line 1, 0.20; line 2, 0.10; stops for abbreviations, and between words; dot for stop.

Date: CE 98-99

Findspot: Cyrene: Baths of Trajan: The first nearby in 1928, the other two in a Byzantine lime kiln to the south in 1935; 'nel piazzale della Fontana di Apollo'.
Original location: Baths of Trajan: probably in the wall above the main (east) entrance to the baths.
Last recorded location: Valley Street: Assembled on a wall beside the street, near the baths.


Im[p(erator)] Caesar ((stop)) Nerva ((stop)) diui ((stop)) f(ilius) Traianus [Aug(ustus) Germ(anicus) pont(ifex) max(imus)]
tri[bu(nicia) p]otest(ate) p(ater) p(atriae) co(n)s(ul) II balineum ((stop)) et ((stop)) thermas ((stop)) fecit ((stop)) per ((stop)) C(aium) Memmium [c. 27]



English translation

Translation by: Editors

Emperor Caesar Nerva, son of the deified, Trajan [Augustus, victor in Germany, high priest (i.e. pontifex maximus)], with tribunician power, Father of the Country, consul for the second time, made the bath-building and hot baths through Caius Memmius [ . . .


Line 1: Between Trajan's accession on the 25th Jan. 98 and the opening of his third consulate on 1st Jan. 100; in the absence of a figure for his tribunician power and the slightly unusual layout of his name, the text recalls ILS 280 recording work on the Via Appia begun by an earlier emperor, Nerva, or even Domitian.

Line 2: A bath building and hot baths: The gift of so typically Roman an institution, and the Latin used in the inscription, seem to indicate that the imperial government at this time wished to give to Cyrene not simply material help but also a stimulus to Romanisation, cf. Inscr. Cret. II. vi.2 (PHI 199823) recording a similar gift in the same province at almost, perhaps exactly, the same date.

Line 3: G. Memmius . . . .: PIR2, M 454; probably the proconsul. He is not otherwise known, but possibly his name should be restored in Inscr. Cret., cited above, where Guarducci proposed L. Elufrius Severus. The only other senatorial Memmius known under Trajan is Senecio Memmius Afer cos. suff. 99, PIR2 M 457; this man may belong to the same family.

Bibliography: First block only, Oliverio, 1930, 4 p.164, fig. 26; complete: Reynolds, 1959, 1, 95f., Fig. 3, whence AE 1960.198 whence EDH 018877; SECir, 1961-1962, 54, fig. 50, whence listed Robert, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1964.562. Discussed by Oliverio, 1940, 401; Romanelli, 1943, 103; A. Garzetti, Nerva (Roma, 1950) 140f, 95; Goodchild, 1959 63f..
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Assembled blocks (1935 October 1; Department of Antiquities, E.2374.)

   Fig. 2. Third block, partly excavated (Department of Antiquities, E.1275)

   Fig. 3. Third block, excavated (Department of Antiquities, E.1276)