IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

M.198. Milestone of Elagabalus

Description: A limestone columnar milestone in three pieces, of which two join; the third piece belongs to the base of the column. w: 0.32-0.37 x h: 0.94 (column) 0.29 (base)
Text: Inscribed on one face with a carefully planned layout; names are a little higher than the other words, and the emperor's name is taller than the Caesar's.
Letters: Lunate and angular epsilon, lunate and square sigma, lunate omega; superscript bars on the abbreviated praenomina in lines 2 and 7; lines 1, 2: 0.045; lines 3, 6, 8, 9: 0.04; line 7, 0.042; line 10, 0.03.

Date: CE 221/222.

Findspot: Gebel Akhdar: West of Cyrene: Balagrae, area of Eshiem, found on the surface of an ancient rock-cut road.
Original location: Cyrene to Ptolemais Road.
Last recorded location: Balagrae Museum.


Αὐτοκράτορι Καίϲαρι
Μ(άρκῳ) Αὐρηλίῳ ⟦Ἀ[ντω]νεί[ν]⟧
Εὐϲεβεῖ Εὐτυχεῖ Ϲεβαϲτῷ,
Θεοῦ Ἀντω[νε]ίνο[υ] υἱῷ, Θεοῦ
5Ϲευήρου ἐγγ[ό]ν[ῳ], ἀρχιερεῖ [μεγίϲτῳ],
δημαρχικῆς ἐξ[ου]ϲίαϲ, ὑπάτῳ [τὸ δ´ ?]
καὶ Μ(άρκῳ) Αὐρηλίῳ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ [ἐπιφανεϲτάτῳ?]
[Κ]αίσαρι υἱῷ τοῦ κυρίου Ϲεβα[ϲτοῦ καὶ]
Ἰουλίᾳ Μαέσῃ Ϲεβ[α]ϲ̣τ̣ῇ μη̣[τρομήτορι?]
10 κ̣[αὶ Ἰουλίᾳ Ϲοαιμίδ]ι Ϲεβαϲ[τῇ μητρὶ]
[τοῦ κυρίου Ϲεβαϲτοῦ ] ------


10 .[...............]ΙϹΕΒΑϹ[.......]


10: Σοαίμιδ]ι: Σοαιμιάδ]ι, D.-L.

English translation

Translation source: Mohamed-Reynolds, 2004

For the Emperor Marcus Aurelius [Antoninus] Pious Felix Augustus, son of the deified Antoninus, grandson of the deified Severus, [high] priest, holder of tribunician power, consul [for the fourth time?]; and for Marcus Aurelius Alexander [most splendid?] Caesar, son of the Lord Augustus, and for Julia Maesa Augusta [grandmother? and for Julia Soemias] Augusta, [mother of the Lord Augustus . . .


The road from which this milestone comes runs east-westward, from Cyrene to Ptolemais at Barca.

Date: between June 221 CE, when Heliogabalus (lines 1-3) adopted his cousin as son and Caesar (lines 7/8), and March 222 CE, when he was murdered.

Lines 4-5: ἔγγονος = υἱωνός: grandson of Septimius Severus; ‘pourrait-on ajouter qu’ἔγγονος a été choisi parce qu’en absence de filiation paternelle, il n’y avait même pas eu d’adoption?’ (Dobias-Lalou, loc.cit.).

Line 6: Heliogabalus was consul for the fourth (and last) time in 221 CE.

Line 7: [ἐπιφανεστάτῳ]; in Latin milestones Alexander is regularly called nobilissimus Caesar.

Line 9: Iulia Maesa was the grandmother of Heliogabalus: in Latin texts she is called avia and in IGR III 1228 (Kanatha) this is translated as τήθη τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ, but τήθη is not consistent with the traces in line 9. μητρομήτορι is not common in inscriptions; but ‘la restitution . . . est tout à fait plausible’, (Dobias-Lalou, loc.cit.).

Lines 9-11: The mention of the two imperial ladies is not paralleled in Latin milestone-texts; this milestone was designed to honour the emperor and his family rather than to record his deeds.

Line 10: Σοαίμιδ]ι: Σοαιμιάδ]ι, D.-L.

Bibliography: Mohamed-Reynolds, 2004, 1, whence SEG 54.1777, AE 2004.1661, Dobias-Lalou, Bulletin Épigraphique 2005.625
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Face

   Fig. 2. Face

   Fig. 3. Face

   Fig. 4. Face, lower part

   Fig. 5. Face, right end

   Fig. 6. Face, close up

   Fig. 7. Face, close up