IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

P.1. Ephebic? date

Description: Sandstone blocks, too high to measure, in the North Tower of the West Gate, inscribed, while in their present positions, on the North wall: P.1, P.2, P.3, P.4, P.5, P.6, P.7.
Text: Graffito on the raised central area of a block near the East corner, to the left of P.2.
Letters: L for ἔτους; ligature in ii; two hands.

Date: First century BCE to first century CE

Findspot: Ptolemais: West Gate, North Tower, in situ in the north wall.
Original location: Findspot.
Last recorded location: Findspot.


(ἔτους) ιβ´




i: Oliverio does not distinguish the hands, reads Π- after the date and below it -ΑΝΙ- which we do not see.

Italian translation

Translation source: Oliverio, DAI, 1933-1936

Anno 12. P-

English translation

Translation by: Editors

i: Year 12. ii: Pr- ?


This group of informal texts were found in situ in the walls of the towers of the West gate. North tower, North wall: P.1, P.2, P.3, P.4, P.5, P.6, P.7, P.8, P.9; West wall: P.10, P.11, P.12, P.13, P.14, P.15, P.16; South wall: P.17, P.18, P.19, P.20, P.21, P.22, P.23, P.24; South tower: P.24, P.24, P.24

They have sometimes been regarded as the work of soldiers on garrison duty, but they are indistinguishable from those of ephebes (e.g. P.35 etc.). Since they contain no specific military title but do employ certain formulae which seem to be ephebic, e.g. φίλος and σύγκοιτος, linking pairs of names (see on P.3, P.9) it seems likely that they are in fact ephebic. For other groups of such texts see discussion at P.35 and at T.27. One challenge with all these groups of ephebic names is to determine when one name in the nominative and one in the genitive represent name and patronymic (as in the formal ephebic lists) and when they indicate the names of a pair of friends.

Since the gymnasium was probably close to the Gate (see P.29) the cutters may have been ephebes at leisure, but it is also possible that they were on duty, cf. the function of ephebes to garrison the walls at Athens (PW V, s.v. Ἐφηβία, col. 2738). Their date is uncertain, since there is normally no means of deciding whether the year named in some is a regnal or an Actian year, and if regnal to what reign each refers, though one obscure text, P.7, appears to mention year 100, CE 69/70. The letter-forms of such texts are peculiarly insecure evidence, but it should be noted that among the more carefully cut, the graffito of the Rhodian Hippomachus P.20.ii) suggests 1st - 2nd century BCE, but could be later, while several recall the forms of Augustan and early Julio-Claudian lettering. The only unequivocal evidence is the number of Latin names P.2, P.4, P.5, P.9, P.10, P.12) which is unlikely before the Augustan period. See also ον P.35. In addition to the informal inscriptions presented here there are a number of isolated letters, some monograms which might be mason's marks, or the marks of ephebic groupings, some Arabic and some Italian graffiti, all of which we have ignored.

Bibliography: Oliverio, DAI, 1933-1936, 507 (31), p. 249; SEG 9.390, PHI 324239.
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. P.1, P.2 above, P.6 two courses lower (Reynolds NS.XII.4)