IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

C.251. Building inscriptions from the Temple of Apollo

Description: Broken limestone architravefragments, some with mouldings surviving above (each originally w: 3.50 x h: 0.84 x d: 0.43). Some pieces in a very bad condition.
Text: Inscribed on the face. b. is made of four legible pieces.
Letters: Second-third century; a. 0.29; b. 0.24. in b.i there is a large ivy leaf after the first M.

Date: Second century CE

Findspot: Cyrene: Temple of Apollo: a. Found between 1925 and 1934. b.i, ii, iv, were found between 1925 and 1934, b.iii in 1957. Blocks have been found in front of the east and west faces, b.i found at the south-west angle. b.iii was found when the Temple was damaged by an earthquake.
Original location: Temple of Apollo: from the architrave - a.from the east end, b. from the west end.
Last recorded location: a. in front of the Temple of Hekate. Ob.i just west of the Peristyle at the West end: only ΔΟΜΙΤ survives, the remainder is read from the photograph. b.ii. on the steps of the peristyle, b.iii. among Byzantine houses to the west of the Temple, b.iv. on the terrace in front of the cave of the priests.


[ὑπὲρ νείκης Αὐτοκράτ] | ορος Κα[ίσαρος Μ(άρκου)] | [Αὐρη]λ̣[(ίου)] | [Ἀν]τ[ωνεί] | νο[υ Σεβ(αστοῦ) Γερμα | ?]νικ[οῦ] | [Σ?]αρμ | [ατικοῦ] | [με?]γ(ίστου)((stop))
| [Μ(ᾶρκος)] ((leaf)) Δομίτ[ι]ο[ς?] |
[---]ων ((stop)) μ[---]
[---]Α | [---]
[---]ων πι[---]


[..................] | ΟΡΟΣΚΑ[........] | [....].[] | [..]Τ[....] | ΝΟ[.........]ΝΙΚ[..] | [.]ΑΡΜ | [......] | [..]Γ
| [..] ΔΟΜΙΤ[.]Ο[.] |
[---]ΩΝ Μ[---]
[---]Α | [---]


a.ii: Λ could also be Δ

English translation

Translation by: Charlotte Roueché

(a). [?On behalf of the victory] of Emperor Caesar [Marcus Aure]l[ius Antoni]nus [Augustus], victor in [Germany], ?greatest victor in ?Sarmatia

(b). M(arcus) Domitius [ . . .]


The work is clearly connected with the restoration of the temple after its destruction in the Jewish Revolt of 115; see also C.651, C.250. Pernier, loc.cit. suggested that the inscription was cut on at least three sides of the new peristyle "a giudicare da luogo del ritrovamento". but Reynolds and Goodchild examined some of the blocks on the south side which still lie as fallen, without finding any trace of a text cut there, nor could they see any indication of a text on the blocks collected by the excavators on the north side. Provisionally, therefore, it appears that only the East and West faces were inscribed, although it must be admitted that this gives uncomfortably little space for the full titles of the Emperor.

a, the inscription from the east side, is made of a number of pieces, of which five surviving bear legible text; a. iv and vii are known only from photographs (F 476, 467) and probably belong to this group.

a.iv. is probably to be identified with one read by Oliverio as OM.

a.vii. probably to be identified wth one read by Oliverio (notes) as Γ and taken by him to be the inital of Γερμανικός; a stop after the letter seems to be clear. It is presumably either the last letter of an abbreviated word, or a figure or an abbreviated praenomen.

b.i: Pernier, believing the text to be Severan, suggested that this was M. Domitius Aristaeus Arabianus (PIR2 D 0134), acting as proconsul.

b.iii belongs to the right end of b.ii

b.iv was wrongly taken by Oliverio to belong to the portico on the terrace in front of the cave of the priests.

Since there were five architrave blocks on the East front it is possible to calculate the approximate length of the text and to propose, very provisionally, the restoration of a. An alternative explanation of fragment vii would be that the text began (ἔτους) γ' (ιγ'), cf. the related C.250, line 1 or, if the inscription did in fact continue onto the north face giving space for the full imperial title, that it was part of the figure of the tribunician power, consulates or imperial salutations. It is relevant to note that it does not seem to have been usual in this inscription to use stops between words - the only other that occurs is after the abbreviated praenomen in b.i. Major defects in the proposal are the κοινή forms imposed by this interpretation of the fragment vi and the heavy abbreviation of the names and titles of the emperor which are rare in Cyrene.

For the text on the West front even the most provisional restoration is impossible, but it is likely that the dedication of the building by the proconsul was recorded there.

a.v: ΝΙΚ is from a victory title: either [Γερμα]νικ[οῦ, Βρεταν]νικ[ου or Ἀδιαβη]νικ[οῦ

a:vi: The letters ΑΡΜ are from either [Σ]αρμ[ατικοῦ] or Ἀρμ[ενιακοῦ. The title Sarmaticus could refer to M. Aurelius or Commodus, Armeniacus only to M. Aurelius; but the emperor concerned is more likely to be Commodus in view of his appearence in the related C.250, line 1. Oliverio (notes) interpreted b.ii as [Αὐτοκρατόρ]ων Μ[...] which would seem to indicate the joint reign of Aurelius and Commodus. This is presumably why Pernier, loc.cit. 140f., speaks of blocks containing the names of two emperors although he took them to be Severus and Caracalla (arguing that C.250 records the completion of the cella under Commodus while the peristyle remained unfinished until the next reign); but the presence of the title Sarmaticus or Armeniacus in a.iii rules out the Severan dynasty and since the cella was only completed in the sole reign of Commodus the peristyle could have been dedicated at an earlier date as would be implied by the presence of a pair of emperors with the title Sarmaticus.

Bibliography: a.i, b.i, io: Pernier, 1935, 113,140f., Fig. 106
Text constituted from: Transcription from surviving stones, from photographs and from notes by Oliverio (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Text fragment a,i, view (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 2. Text fragment a.i (Department of Antiquities, )

   Fig. 3. Text fragment a.i (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 4. Text fragment a.i left end (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 5. Text fragment a.i right end (2008, H.Walda)

   Fig. 6. Text fragment a. vi and v in the order (Department of Antiquities, F. 412)

   Fig. 7. Text fragment a.iv (Department of Antiquities, F.476)

   Fig. 8. C.251 a.vii above; C.261 below (Department of Antiquities, F. 411)

   Fig. 9. Text fragment b.i

   Fig. 10. Text fragment b.i (C. Dobias-Lalou, 1983: MFA)

   Fig. 11. Text fragment b.i and a.iii (Department of Antiquities, F. 410)

   Fig. 12. Text fragment b.ii (Department of Antiquities, F. 466)

   Fig. 13. Text fragment b.iii (C. Dobias-Lalou, 1983: MFA diapo C000008)

   Fig. 14. Text fragment b.iv (Department of Antiquities, E. 2056)