IRCyr   Inscriptions of Roman Cyrenaica

P.220. Military funerary inscription

Description: Limestone stele (w: 0.61 x h: 1.35 x d: 0.27).
Text: Inscribed on one face which is very worn on the left-hand side where it has been exposed; there is an outline of a gable in relief above the text.
Letters: Augustan - Julio-Claudian: line 1, 0.07; lines 2, 3, 0.05; line 4, 0.075.

Date: Augustan - Julio-Claudian

Findspot: Ptolemais: Wadi Khambish necropolis, lying on the East bank, beside the road running from the West Gate.
Original location: Unknown
Last recorded location: Findspot.


C(aio) Sempronio C(aii) f(ilio)
Ḷongo duplicar(io)
c(o)ḥortis Hispanor(um)
( vac. 1 line)
5 ( vac. 3) Veṇusta lib(erta) ( vac. 3)


5      VE.USTALIB      

English translation

Translation by: Editors

For Caius Sempronius Longus, son of Caius, duplicarius of the cohort of Spaniards. Venusta (scil. his) freedwoman (scil. set this up).


Lines 1-2: a likely name for an enfranchised Spaniard, in view of the Gracchan connection with Spain.

Lines 2, 3: certainly used in the sense of a grade within the mounted section of his unit. The grade is uncommon but not unknown on early inscriptions, and here probably indicates the privilege of a cavalryman in an infantry regiment with a cavalry section.

Line 3: For a , with a mounted section, stationed in Cyrenaica see C.726 and C.552 at Cyrene, where lettering and formulae again suggest the Augustan or Julio-Claudian period. No cohort number is given in C.552; in C.726, as here, it would be possible to read I, as suggested by Le Glay (art. cit.) but the stones are both too worn at this point for certainty. The unit is usually identified with the Cohors II Hispanorum scutata Cyrenaica equitata, attested in Dacia Porolissensis in 159 (CIL XVI.110, available at EDH 005845); see further the discussion on C.552.

This is the first clear indication of a garrison of Ptolemais in the first century.

Bibliography: Bazama-Reynolds, 1978-1979, 257, and pl. LXXXV,c; also Reynolds, 1980-81, 1, whence AE 1983.940, EDH HD000835; discussed Leglay, 1985
Text constituted from: Transcription (Reynolds).


   Fig. 1. Monument in findspot (Joyce Reynolds, 70.12)