IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

P.119. Imperial dedication

Description: Seven damaged limestone blocks from the attic of a monumental arch built of local sandstone; P.118 was inscribed on a marble panel on the façade. Upper course: a., b., and c. together (w: 2.13 x h: 0.385 x d: 0.59). Lower course: f. (w: 1.20 x h: 0.39 x d: 0.54); g. (w: 0.90 x h: 0.375 x d: 0.32).
Text: Inscribed on one face ; a-e are simply moulded above, f and g are plain and must have come from a lower course.
Letters: Perhaps fourth or fifth century: 0.20; D tapers at top; very poorly designed and cut; traces of rubrication.

Date: Perhaps fourth century CE

Findspot: Ptolemais: fallen from the Arch of Constantine; found in 1935.
Original location: Unknown
Last recorded location: Findspot.


1: Upper line
[---Gratia?]num uic[t]ores ac [t]riumfatores semper A[ugustos ---]
[---]ius u(ir) p(erfectissimus) pra( vac. 1)eses stat( vac. 1)uit e[t] ...
2: Lower line
[---numini maiestatique] eorum semper [dicatus ---]
[---max?]imum dedic[auit ---]


1: Upper line
2: Lower line


1,.a-c: : perhaps in aeter]num Goodchild, 1961
1,.d-e: The first vacat probably, and the second certainly mark points at which the cutter was forced to avoid damage to the surface of the stone.

English translation

Translation by: Charlotte Roueché

(Line 1): ?Emperors Valens, Valentinian and Grat]ian victor and trimuphators and always A[ugusti . . . -]ius , man of excellent status, governor, placed (scil. their statues?) and [ . . .

(Line 2): . . . being devoted] always to their [divinity and majesty . . . ] dedicated ?the greatest[ . . .


Kraeling, p. 78, n. 98, saw similarity with the cutting technique used in P.136 (Arcadius and Honorius) and it is also possible to find points of comparison with that of P.137 (perhaps under Valens, Valentinian and Gratian).

a.-c. line 2: There seems to be no attested formula in this position in an imperial title of which [...]num could be part; it should therefore be taken as the end of the name of the last pair or group of emperors and in fact can then only be Gratian in the group Valentinian, Valens and Gratian (367-375) or the younger Valentinian in the group Valens, Gratian and Valentinian (375-378). Gratian is to be preferred in view of the probable activity of the earlier group in the Street of the Monuments (see perhaps P.137, and cf P.122). That implies that the arch was embellished and rededicated during the late fourth century activity in the street to which it gave access; the use of the accusative case for the emperors' names strongly supports Kraeling's proposal that imperial statues were erected on top.

f: From the formula of the type numini maiestatique eorum deuotus, see P.118, 1, line 4.

g: No standard formula fits; the space available, if the inscription ran across the whole width of the attic, would enable the praeses to describe other work besides that on the arch - perhaps e.g. the complete operation in the Street of the Monuments; in that case there may have been a phrase on the lines of porticus opus maximum dedicauit.

Bibliography: Goodchild, 1961 whence AE 1963.141.3, whence EDH 017188; reprinted, Goodchild-Reynolds, 1976, 221-225; mentioned Kenrick, 2013, 71
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. All blocks in findspot (part 1)

   Fig. 2. All blocks in findspot (part 2)

   Fig. 3. Block a. (Joyce Reynolds, Tolmeita II.28)

   Fig. 4. View of block a and part of b in findspot (1961-5-26, Joyce Reynolds III.35.2)

   Fig. 5. Block b. (1961-5-26, Joyce Reynolds III.39.2)

   Fig. 6. Block d. (Joyce Reynolds V.2, Tolmeita II.29)

   Fig. 7. Block e. (1961-5-26, Joyce Reynolds III.39.3)

   Fig. 8. Block e. (Joyce Reynolds V.3, Tolmeita I.3)

   Fig. 9. Blocks f. and e.

   Fig. 10. Block f. (1961-5-26, Joyce Reynolds III.39.1)

   Fig. 11. Block f. (Joyce Reynolds V.1, Tolmeita I.1)

   Fig. 12. Block g. (Joyce Reynolds V.4, Tolmeita I.4)

   Fig. 13. Block g (Reynolds III.39.4)