IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

C.455. Dedication to Ceres

Description: Marble base, inscribed at different periods on three different faces with IGCyr081800, C.455 and C.456. (w: 0.97 x h: 0.35 x d: 0.23). An area has been hollowed out on top for the insertion of a statue.
Text: Inscribed on one face, which measures w: 0.97 x h: 0.35 x diam.: 0.33 and is finely polished.
Letters: Lines 1, 3, 4, 0.05, line 2, 0.06; there are stops between the words in approximately the shape of a comma and acute accents above some vowels.

Date: Probably early first century CE.

Findspot: Cyrene: Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore: found in 1987 by Mr Ramadan Gwaider of the Department of Antiquities at Cyrene, exposed by the combined action of burrowing foxes and winter rain, low down on the site, near the lower wall.
Original location: Unknown.
Last recorded location: Cyrene Museum (Inv. no. 3480)


( vac. 3) Cereri Augustáe ( vac. 3)
( vac. 5) ex uoto ( vac. 5)
( vac. 1) M(arcus) Rómánius Ser(vi) f(ilius) Vol(tinia) (scil. tribu) Epulo ( vac. 1)
( vac. 3) pró mag(ister) publici Cyrenénsis ( vac. 3)



English translation

Translation source: Reynolds, 2012

To Ceres Augusta, in accordance with a vow, M(arcus) Romanius Epulo, son of Ser(vius), tribe Vol(tinia), acting head of the company (i.e. collecting) public revenue in Cyrene.


The goddess is here addressed in her Roman form associated with the Roman imperial house by her title. This is unique in the record from the site so far, and it might seem more rational to place such a record in the Temple of Demeter in the Agora rather than here in the Wadi Bel Gadir. On the other hand, the Wadi Bel Gadir had manifestly been the location of personal dedications to the goddesses for many years and this is a personal dedication, if by a Roman in an official position of a kind. In any case, the base was certainly in the Wadi Bel Gadir for its third use (see C.456) and it is hard to believe that this earlier dedication to the same deity was not set up in the same sanctuary. If that is accepted the text throws new light on the importance of the cult, which clearly had a public character beyond what any of the earlier texts might lead one to suppose. That helps to explain the appearance of civic dedications (C.445, C.446, C.447) on the site.

Romanius Epulo is otherwise unknown but may have been related to the Romanius Hispo (PIR2 R 0081) of Tacitus, Annales 1.74 (available at Perseus, see also R. Syme, 'Personal Names in Annals I-VI', JRS 39, 1949, 6-18, 14-15), a man described as of obscure origins who was among the first to make a career of charging public men with treason against the emperor. Epulo names himself as senior representative of the company of publicani collecting public revenue for Rome in Cyrenaica. A good harvest would of course increase the amount of tax collectable, which explains his dedication and points to the major function of the goddesses. See further the discussion by Fadel Ali Mohamed and J. M. Reynolds, cited above.

Bibliography: Mentioned Mohamed-Reynolds, 1992, 115-6; published Mohamed-Reynolds, 1994, 1, whence Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique, 1995.683, SEG 44.1538, AE 1994.1820b whence EDH 051935; Reynolds, 2012, A.28.2.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


None available (2020).