IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

C.453. Honours for Octavia

Description: Base of medium-grained white marble (w: 0.645 x h: 0.415 x d: 0.875). Stained brown, moulded above and below. The lower front moulding is badly damaged and there are chips along the upper one. There are two holes in the top for the feet of the statue and a third smaller one.
Text: Ιnscribed on the face which is cracked and encrusted with lime.
Letters: First century BCE - first century CE: line 1, 0.04; lines 2-3, 0.035; dots on either side of iota in the name, in Καίσαρος and in Κυραναῖοι.

Date: 27 BCE to CE 4

Findspot: Cyrene: Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, excavated in 1971 during excavations: area D12/D13,A,2. .
Original location: Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore.
Last recorded location: Cyrene Museum, Storeroom of the American excavations (Inv. no. 71.800)


Ὀκταΐαν τὰν Καίσαρος
τῶ Σεβάστω ἀδελφὰν
( vac. 3) [Κ]υραναῖοι



English translation

Translation source: Reynolds, 2012

Octavia the sister of Caesar Augustus (scil. set up by) the Cyrenaeans


This is the full sister of Augustus (PIR2 O, 0066), mother of Marcellus who was his natural heir in the twenties BCE, sometime wife of M. Antonius. She was highly honoured in Rome (cf Dio Cassius XLIX.38.1, available at Perseus) but comparatively few memorials to her have come to light in the provinces, although the mention of her at Mytilene (IG XII.2.58.b, line 25, available at PHI 74715) suggests that she would figure in any representation of the imperial family.

This monument cannot be earlier than 27 BCE when the title of Augustus was conferred and perhaps not later than 4 BCE when she died (although that is an insecure proposal). There is no obvious clue to the reason for it and no certain evidence for other imperial monuments in this sanctuary unless C.499 (for Livia in or after CE 14) belongs there, which is not certain.

The spelling of Octavia’s nomen in Greek at Cyrene is variable.

Bibliography: White, 1972, 185, whence SEG 26.1824, PHI 324719, Reynolds, 2012, A.26.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Face

   Fig. 2. Face

   Fig. 3. Face (Donald White)

   Fig. 4. Right side (Donald White)