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4543. **SOLD** Roman military diploma fragment

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A fragment from a  Roman military diploma with incised Latin script on both  intus and extrisecus which has been read; and this is, I think, a marvellous example of how much information can be contained in a mere fragment.

40 mm x 33 mm.

It is part part of a diploma issued under Antoninus Pius (138-61) to auxiliaries stationed in Moesia Superior, AD 158-59.


Most of the text can be restored from CIL XVI, 111 (copied below) from AD 159-60; the units mentioned in this text would have been the same in the fragment's text which likewise mentions 2 alae (the number is not preserved, but the name of one ala is (I Claudia Miscellanea), and there is room for the name of only one more ala in the fragment) and 10 cohortes (here the number is preserved).

The reverse is badly written; however, the important reading VRTI in line 1 seems certain. This appears to be part of the governor's name at the time. C. Curtius Iustus is indeed recorded as governor of Moesia Superior in 158-9, and  the text has been "restored" with his name and the date of 158-9 (hence the emperor's trib. pot. xxii).

See Miroslava Mirkovic, 'New Fragments of Military Diplomas from Viminacium', Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 126 (1999), 251f (on the web: for a similar fragment and commentary


The text has been restored  to the point of textual overlap between obverse and reverse.

Tabella I extrinsecus (obverse):

[imp(erator) caes(ar) divi hadriani f(ilius) divi traiani]

[part(hici) nepos divi ne]RVAE [pron(epos) t(itus) aelius]

[hadrianus anto]NINVS AVG(ustus) PIVS

[pont(ifex) max(imus) trib(unicia) pot(estate) xxii] IMP(erator) II CO(n)S(ul) IIII P(ater)            P(atriae)

[equitibus et peditibus qu]I MILIT(averunt) IN ALIS

[ii quae appell(antur) i claudia] NOVA MISCELL(anea)

[et gallorum flaviana et c]OHORT(ibus) X

[v gallor(um) et v hispanor(um) et i mont]ANOR(um)

[et i antioc(hensium) et i cretum et iii campest]R(is)

[et ii gallor(um) et iii britton(um) et i lusitano]R(um)

[et i pann(oniorum) et sunt in moesia sup(eriore)] etc.


Tabella I intus (reverse):

[... et sunt in moesia superiore]

[sub c]VRTI[o iusto leg(ato) xxv stip(endiis) emer(itis)]

[dimis(sis) h]ON[est(a) mission(e) quor(um) nom(ina)]

[subscr(ipta) s]VNT [civit(atem) Roman(am) qui eor(um) non]

[hab(erent) d]EDIT ET [conub(ium) cum uxorib(us)]

[qu]AS TVN[c habuis(sent) cum est civit(as) iis dat(a) aut cum iis]

[q]VAC(sic!) POST(ea) [duxiss(ent)].


Cf : CIL XVI, 111:

Imp(erator)   Caes(ar)   divi   [Hadriani   f(ilius)   divi   Traiani] / Parth(ici) n(epos) divi Nervae [pronep(os) T(itus) Aelius  Ha]/drianus Antoni[nus Aug(ustus) Pius pont(ifex) max(imus)] / tr(ibunicia)  pot(estate) XXIII im[p(erator) II co(n)s(ul) IV p(ater) p(atriae)] /  equit(ibus) et ped(itibus) qui mil(itaverunt) in [alis II quae appel(lantur) I  Claud(ia)] / nov(a) miscel(lanea) et I Gall(orum) Fla[vian(a) et coh(ortibus) X  V Gallor(um)   et   V]   /   Hisp(anorum)   et   I   Mont(anorum)   et   I   Antioc(hensium)   [et   I  Cretum et III campestr(is)] / et II Gall(orum) et III Britton(um) et [I  Lusit(anorum) et I Pann(oniorum)] / et sunt in Moesia   sup(eriore)   [sub   Pontio    Sabi]/no   leg(ato)   XXV   stip(endiis)   emer(itis)  di[missis honest(a) mission(e) quor(um)] / nom(ina) subscr(ipta) sunt ci[vit(atem) Roman(am) qui eor(um)  non] / hab(erent) ded(it) et conub(ium) [cum uxorib(us) quas tunc] /  habuis(sent)  cum est [civit(as) iis dat(a) aut cum iis] / quas post(ea) duxi[ss(ent) //  Imp(erator) Caes(ar) divi Hadriani f(ilius) divi Tra/iani Parth(ici) nep(os)  divi Nervae   pronep(os)   /   T(itus)   Aelius   Hadrianus   Antoninus   Aug(ustus)   Pius   /  pont(ifex) max(imus) tr(ibunicia) pot(estate) XXIII imp(erator) II co(n)s(ul)  IV p(ater) p(atriae) / equitib(us) et pedit(ibus) qui milit(averunt) in alis II  quae / appel(lantur) I Claud(ia) nova miscel(lanea) et I Gallor(um) Fla/vian(a)  et coh(ortibus) X V Gallor(um) et V Hispan(orum) et I / Montan(orum) et I  Antioc(hensium) et I Cretum et III / campestr(is) et II Gallor(um) et III  Britton(um) et / [I] Lusitan(orum) et I Pann(oniorum) et sunt in Moesia   / [s]uper(iore)   sub   Pontio   Sabino   leg(ato)   quin[q(ue)]  / [et] vigint(i)  stipend(iis) emerit(is) dim[is(sis) honest(a)] / [miss]ion(e) quor(um) nomin(a)  sub[scr(ipta)] / [sunt c]ivitat(em) Roman(am) qui [eor(um) non] / [haber(ent)  ded]it et conub(ium)


Non Roman soldiers had to serve for minimum 25 years (army) or 26 years (fleet) or longer in the auxiliary military forces to be given Roman  citizenship. In contrast "legionaries" had to be Roman citizens at entry into the service. This distinction lost its importance when Caracalla granted Roman citizenship in the early 3rd century to all living in the Roman Empire except to the slaves of course.

Such diploma (only some 700 are published to date) are found all over the Roman Empire, but clustered in the Balkans for unkown reasons. One usually finds only small fragments like this, rarely both tabulae complete.

Most frontier provinces are named on diploma, most common being Moesia Inferior, also Pannonia Inferior. The earliest known diploma are from the reign of Claudius, the latest of Diocletian. Most common are those of Antoninus Pius, also Traianus, and Hadrianus.

A complete diploma consists of 2 bronze plates of rectangular shape, with text on both sides, bound together by bronze wire and sealed with witnesses seals. The outer side of the so called tabula I holds a copy of the complete text. The outer side of tabula II lists seven witnesses.** The two inner sides of the two tabulae together reflect the outer text of tabula I, sometimes abbreviated and often the text is written less carefully than on the outer sides.

The sodier to whom this diploma was awarded would then have, on completion of his military service, been granted Roman citizenship.

Price: sold GBP

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