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l’africa romana 20
Il volume raccoglie gli Atti del XX Convegno internazionale L’Africa romana (Alghero,
26-29 settembre 2013) dedicato a Momenti di continuità e rottura: bilancio di trent’anni di
convegni «L’Africa romana». L’opera, che corona una lunga serie di incontri internazionali
L’AFRICA ROMANA
ai quali hanno partecipato centinaia di studiosi, è curata da Paola Ruggeri, professore associa-
to di Storia romana e direttrice del Centro di Studi Interdisciplinari sulle Province Romane Momenti di continuità e rottura:
dell’Università di Sassari. Hanno collaborato Maria Bastiana Cocco, Alberto Gavini, Edgar- bilancio di trent’anni di convegni L’Africa romana
do Badaracco, Pierpaolo Longu.
Nel suo intervento introduttivo Guido Clemente ha ricostruito la storia dei Convegni L’Africa
romana e sottolineato l’ampia collaborazione con i diversi Istituti di ricerca, con molte
Università, con numerose Società scientifiche internazionali, infine con i giovani dell’Asso- a cura di
ciazione Nazionale Archeologi. Paola Ruggeri
Nella Presentazione del volume, Claude Briand-Ponsart nota che «L’Africa romana est
devenue depuis longtemps une véritable institution scientifique d’envergure internationale
et ce vingtième congrès a respecté la tradition, il a rempli la mission qu’il s’était fixée. Grâce
au dynamisme et à la générosité des organisateurs qui ont accueilli aussi bien les chercheurs
confirmés que les nouveaux venus d’Italie, du Maghreb et de bien d’autres pays, ces ren-
contres ont accumulé un capital inégalé de savoirs, de connaissances dans tous les domaines
historiques et culturels de l’Afrique du Nord antique et de la Sardaigne. Lieux privilégiés
d’échanges et de discussion, elles ont contribué à nouer des relations fructueuses, à tisser des
liens d’amitié entre les participants dans une ambiance de chaleureuse convivialité».
Per Attilio Mastino «l’iniziativa dell’Università di Sassari si è sviluppata ben al di là di
quanto si potesse immaginare al suo esordio: anche questo convegno documenta la crescita
collettiva, il coinvolgimento sempre più ampio di specialisti, l’attenzione con la quale la
comunità scientifica internazionale ha seguito l’attività dell’Università di Sassari, che ha
finito per colmare uno spazio importante negli studi classici. Dai nostri convegni è derivata
così una rete di rapporti, di relazioni, di amicizie, di informazioni, che crediamo sia il risul-
tato più importante dell’esperienza che abbiamo vissuto in questi anni, con il sostegno e
l’incoraggiamento delle autorità e di tanti amici, i nostri amici del Maghreb, i nostri amici
europei, i nostri amici dei nuovi continenti, i nostri studenti, gli studenti impegnati nelle
imprese dell’Africa romana. Anche nelle condizioni difficili e terribili di questi trent’anni
e in particolare tra il 2001 e le primavere arabe, abbiamo proseguito il nostro impegno di
costruire ponti fra le due rive del Mediterraneo, con il senso di un’attenzione e di un rispetto
che vogliamo affermare, il desiderio di un incontro e di una speranza».
Nei 195 contributi di studiosi italiani e stranieri trovano il consueto ampio spazio anche le
novità epigrafiche e le testimonianze di numerose provinciae affacciate sul Mediterraneo
occidentale.
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con la solidarietà di tutti gli studiosi
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L’Africa romana
Momenti di continuità e rottura:
bilancio di trent’anni di convegni L’Africa romana

Atti del xx Convegno Internazionale di studi


Alghero - Porto Conte Ricerche, 26-29 settembre 2013

A cura di Paola Ruggeri


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Comitato scientifico
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Componenti: Aomar Akerraz, Angela Antona, Samir Aounallah, Piero Bartoloni,
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email: africaromana@uniss.it
dino demicheli
Epigraphic Evidence of Dalmatians
in the Roman Provinces of Africa

The paper discusses the epigraphic traces of Dalmatian population in the Ro-
man provinces of Africa. There are at least 15 inscriptions found in Egypt,
Numidia, Africa Proconsularis, Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania
Tingitana, but in Dalmatia as well, on which we can discern the presence
of 19 Dalmatians. Almost all of them were the members of the military tro-
ops, among which one can see that the Dalmatians mostly served in cohortes
Delmatarum located in Mauretania Caesariensis and in legio iii Augusta. It
is significant that several of them held very high military positions and were
distinguished people of their times.

Key words: Dalmatians, Africa, cohortes Delmatarum, legio iii Augusta, in-
scriptions.

Introduction
Connections between Dalmatia and Africa in Roman times have long been
identified and described in the literature1, also for trade relations, mainly
related to the goods coming from Africa2. For the great distance between
these two areas, there is a certain lack of evidence for civilians of Dalmatian
origin in Africa, and almost all the individuals we found were soldiers. Na-
mely, since the soldiers were generally not able to choose where they will
be sent, it is not surprising the presence of troopers from nearly all parts
of the Empire within a province. Legions and especially auxiliary troops
were sent anywhere they were needed at the particularly moment. On the
other hand, after the Great Uprising in Illyricum (6-9 CE) there was need

* Dino Demicheli, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Archaeo-


logy, University of Zagreb.
1. Patsch (1904), pp. 296-301; Samsaris (1988), pp. 406-30; Mayer (2006), pp.
1569-75.
2. Šimić-Kanaet (2010), passim.
1682 Dino Demicheli
to recruit many war-capable members of conquered peoples and peregri-
ne communities from Dalmatia in the auxiliary troops and displace them
to the provinces where their national consciousness won’t be awoken, and
thus won’t pose any threat to the Empire. So the Romans established the
cohortes Delmatarum which were sent to Germania Superior, Mauretania
Caesariensis, Britannia and later to Dacia. Epigraphic data witness to this,
particularly from the inscriptions found in Upper Germania and Maureta-
nia Caesariensis.

Epigraphic evidence
According to the epigraphic evidence, the traces of the presence of Dalma-
tians in the African provinces are attested in Egypt, Numidia, Africa Pro-
consularis, Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana.
Members of the auxiliary troops or soldiers of a peregrine origin are
the first group treated here as Dalmatians in the African provinces. At
least seven soldiers on five monuments belong to the vi and vii cohortes
Delmatarum. Although these soldiers belonged to the cohorts that carri-
ed the name of the most famous indigenous inhabitants of Dalmatia,
the Delmatae, the rows of these cohorts were filled also with the other
Dalmatian people. Namely, through the expressions of identity on these
monuments one can see that the cohortes Delmatarum were made up of
members of different nations and peregrine communities from Dalmatia.
Therefore the inscription of Balaterus, son of Melus, who was a Melcu-
manus, is important3. Pliny the Elder mentions the Melcumani as one of
the smaller peregrine communities in the conventus Naronitanus that was
divided into 24 decuriae4. Two inscriptions5 mention two members of
Maesaeii, a great people in the Dalmatian hinterland, and for the com-

3. Balaterus M(e)li(?) f(ilius) civilis(!) / Melqumenorum mil/es co(ho)rtis VI Delmatarum


/ a(nnorum) XXVIII aer(or)u(m) VIII h(ic) s(itus) e(st) t(ibi) / t(erra) l(evis) – Caesarea,
Mauretania Caesariensis: AE, 1921, 0031; Holder (1980), p. 306, n. 1401; Benseddik
(1982), p. 222, n. 114; Domić Kunić (1988), p. 92, n. 26.
4. Plin., nat., iii, 143.
5. Liccaius Carvi f(ilius) natione Maezeius eq(ues) coh(ortis) VII Delmatarum vixit
annis XXX – Caesarea, Mauretania Caesariensis: CIL viii, 9384; Holder (1980), p. 307,
n. 1412; Benseddik (1982), p. 223, n. 116; Zaninović (2007), p. 235, n. 1. Dazas Sce-
ni f(ilius) Ma[ese]ius eques coh(ortis) VI Delmatarum turma Licconis ann(orum) XXVIII
stip(endiorum) X / ------ – Caesarea, Mauretania Caesariensis: CIL viii, 9377; Holder
(1980), p. 306, n. 1402; Benseddik (1982), p. 222, n. 113; Zaninović (2007), p. 234.
Epigraphic Evidence of Dalmatians in the Roman Provinces of Africa 1683

parison, they were ten times more numerous than the Melcumani6. The
other two monuments are considered to belong to the peregrines from
Dalmatia on the basis of serving in the cohors Delmatarum7 and because
of the characteristic Dalmatian names8.
The records of the legionaries are found on the inscriptions in Numidia,
Egypt and Dalmatia. On the inscription from Lambaesis from the year 148 T.
Flavius ​​Firmus from Salona is mentioned, who was on a very respectable posi-
tion of the primus pilus of the legion iii Augusta9. In Egypt on the roster from
the year 157 we find L. Annius Lupus, beneficiarius praefecti, who was born
in Varvaria, a Liburnian city in Dalmatia10. From Lambaesis it is known the
epitaph that legionary speculator (probably in the legion iii Augusta) Valerius
Priscipinianus rose to his son Valerius Priscianus, who had an additional name
Dalmatius11. In Dalmatia T. Flavius ​​Pomponianus was commemorated, a man
of very rich military career, and whose inscription12, among other data, men-
tions that he was a centurion of the legion ii Traiana Fortis, which was located
in Egypt in the years 122-388 CE13.

6. Plin., nat., iii, 142.


7. Licaus Iauletis f(ilius) miles c(ohortis) VII / Delmatarum turma Anni / annorum XXVII
stipendior(um) / XI h(ic) s(itus) e(st) heres ex testamento fecit – Caesarea, Mauretania Cae-
sariensis: CIL viii, 21040; ILS 2577; Holder (1980), p. 307, 1411; Benseddik (1982), p. 223,
n. 115, fig. 15; Zaninović (2007), p. 235, n. 2.
8. Verzo Dasi f(ilius) mile[s] exs(!) c[oh(orte) ---- – Caesarea, Mauretania Caesariensis:
CIL viii, 21052. Cfr. Alföldy (1969), p. 230, s. v. Licco; p. 150, s. v. Annius.
9. [I]mp(eratori) Cae[sari] / T(ito) Aelio Hadriano / Antonino Aug(usto) Pio / pontifici
maximo / trib(unicia) pot(estate) X / imp(eratori) II co(n)s(uli) IIII p(atri) p(atriae) / dedi-
cante / L(ucio) Novio Crispino / leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore) / T(itus) Flavius T(iti)
f(ilius) Tromen(tina) / Firmus Salona / p(rimus) p(ilus) [[leg(ionis) III]] Aug(ustae) – Lam-
baesis, Numidia: CIL viii, 02542; Le Bohec (1989), pp. 151, 22.
10. [Imp(eratori) Caesari] / [T(ito) Aeli]o H[adriano] / [Ant]onino Aug(usto) Pio / [p]ontifici
maximo / tribun(icia) potest(ate) XX / co(n)s(uli) IIII p(atri) p(atriae) / veterani / leg(ionis) II
Traian(ae) fortis / qui militare coeperunt / Augurino et Sergiano co(n)s(ulibus) stip(endiis) XXVI
/ et Hibero et Sisenna co(n)s(ulibus) stip(endiis) XXV / missi honesta missione sub / M(arco) Sem-
pronio Liberale / praef(ecto) Aegypti et / L(ucio) Iulio Crescente praef(ecto) castror(um) // ----- /
(centuria) Aeli Sabini / L(ucius) Annius Lupus Varvar(ia) b(ene)f(iciarius) pr(aefecti) / coh(ors)
VIII / -------- – Nicopolis, Egypt: Gillam (1956), pp. 359-75; AE, 1955, 0238; AE, 1969-70, 0633.
11. Valerio Prisciano qui vixit ann(is) V mens(ibus) X diebus VI Valerius Priscipinianus spe-
culator pater dulcissimo filio fecit Dalmati(o) s(it) t(ibi) t(erra) l(evis) – Lambaesis, Numidia:
CIL viii, 2998.
12. D(is) M(anibus) / T(ito) Fl(avio) Pompo/niano 7(centurioni) / leg(ionis) II Tr(aianae)
fort(is) 7(centurioni) leg(ionis) I[III] / Fl(aviae) 7(centurioni) leg(ionis) XII fulmin[a]/tae
7(centurioni) leg(ionis) XVI Flaviae / 7(centurioni) leg(ionis) XIIII geminae M(artiae) / 7(cen-
turioni) leg(ionis) II Tr<a=O>(ianae) / fort(is) / heredes – Salona, Dalmatia: CIL iii, 2029.
13. Farnum (2005), p. 17.
1684 Dino Demicheli
In the late antique period we also find the Dalmatians in Africa, and
one of them was Valerius Dalmatius, a cavalry officer of a late Roman army
unit (exarchus equitum Stablesianorum)14. Even though his name was Dal-
matius, which in this period was a common name and does not necessarily
denote a man from Dalmatia15, but in the combination with the name of
his son Bato, a very well confirmed Dalmatian indigenous name16, we think
that both the son and the father originated from Dalmatia.
There are several people of Dalmatian origin confirmed in the African
provinces that belonged to the higher classes of the society. Among them it
should be primarily addressed C. Octavius Tidius Tossianus Iavolenus Pris-
​​
cus, who was a legionary commander, provincial governor, but also one of
the most famous jurists of his time17. He was a native of Nedinum, a town
in the Liburnian part of Dalmatia, and in Africa he was the commander of
the legio iii Augusta where he is attested on the inscription from year 82/83
CE18. After the year 100 he came back to Africa as a provincial governor. The
honorific inscription from Nedinum can be dated between 125 and 130 CE.
Next person of not less interesting career was Q. Marcius Turbo, who
was born in Epidaurum in Dalmatia19. In one of the steps in his extremely

14. D(is) M(anibus) s(acrum) / hic ego infelix receptus Tartara // Ditis / horrea dira mihi
viae vitamque remisi / non licuit fatoque meo filiosque vider[e] / cernerem infernas sedes
superosq(ue) remisi / Parcarum arbitrio genesis vel lege tributa / infestis querellis superis ac tri-
stibus aris / tura dedi manibus supplex crepitantia flammis / quod non exauditas pre<c=O>es
de(a)busque supernis / te precor his precibus Bato carissime frater / si qua mea commendata
tibi filiosque repertos / tradas vefes(?) dea pauperies obnoxia non sit / memoriam facitote mihi
ne derisus in imo / infernas intra sedes de crimine passus / nomine Dalmatio semper amatus
ad omnes / Val(erio) Dalmatio exarc(h)o equitum / Stablesianorum Bato suo parenti – Sitifis,
Mauretania Caesariensis: AE, 1916, 007, 008; Zaninović (2007), p. 235, n. 1.
15. E.g. AE, 1997, 1647: (Carthago), Dalmatia, virgo sacra; Prévot (1984), 10, 22: (Mactar),
Dalmatia fidelis.
16. Alföldy (1969), pp. 163-4, s. v. Bato.
17. C(aio) Octavio / Tidio Tossia/{a}no L(ucio) Ia(v)oleno / Prisco leg(ato) leg(ionis) IV
Flav(iae) / leg(ato) leg(ionis) III Aug(ustae) iuridic(o) pro/vinc(iae) Brittanniae leg(ato) con-
su/ari provinc(iae) Germ(aniae) superi/oris legato consulari pro/vinc(iae) Syriae proconsuli
/ provinc(iae) Africae pontifici / P(ublius) Mutilius P(ubli) f(ilius) Cla(udia) Crispin(u)s /
t(estamento) p(oni) i(ussit) / amico carissimo – Nedinum, Dalmatia: CIL iii, 2864; PIR2 i,
14; Alföldy (1968), p. 109; Thomasson (1996), p. 49, n. 57a; Birley (2005), pp. 270-2.
18. CIL viii, 23165.
19. [Q(uinto) Marcio] / C(ai) f(ilio) Tro(mentina) Fron/toni Turboni / Publicio Seve-
ro / domo Epidauro / p(rimo) p(ilo) bis praef(ecto) vehic(ulorum) trib(uno) / coh(ortis) VII
vigil(um) trib(uno) eq(uitum) sin[g(ularium)] / Aug(usti) trib(uno) pr[ae]t(orianorum)
proc(uratori) / ludi magni praef(ecto) / class[is] pr(aetoriae) Misenensis / P(ublius) Va[le]rius
Epigraphic Evidence of Dalmatians in the Roman Provinces of Africa 1685

prolific equestrian career, when he was a commander of the classis Minsena-


tium, he quelled the uprising of the Jews in Egypt from 115 and 117 CE and
the uprising in Mauretania Tingitana20.
An equestrian for whom it is assumed21 he was from Dalmatia is Q.
Claudius Ferox Q. fil. Aeronius Montanus. He was a procurator (equestrian
governor) of Mauretania Tingitana and he is attested on two inscriptions22
and two military diplomas between the years 157 and 16223.
Another senator who was a commander of the legion iii Augusta in
Lambaesis, was M. Lucceius Torquatus Bassianus; he is known from several
monuments in Numidia, but the most important one is the votive inscrip-
tion mentioning his hometown Risinium and a local Dalmatian deity Me-
daurus which the altar was erected to24. This man was of senatorial rank
and, according to the two-part inscription, from year 167 to 169 he was a
commander of the legion iii Augusta. The first part the inscription tells
that he is the next elected consul, while in the second part we are informed

P(ubli) f(ilius) / Qui[r(ina) Va]lens / o[b m]eritis(!) – Cyrrhus, Syria: Frézouls (1953), pp.
246-78; AE, 1955, 255; PIR2 M 249. On his career see Syme (1962), pp. 87-96; Id. (1980),
pp. 64-80; Alföldy (1979), pp. 233-53; Piso (2004), pp. 270-80.
20. SHA, Hadr., 5, 8: Lusium Quietum sublatis gentibus Mauris, quos regebat, quia suspec-
tus imperio fuerat, exarmavit Marcio Turbone Iudaeis conpressis ad deprimendum tumultum
Mauretaniae destinato.
21. Wilkes (1970), p. 542; Mayer (2006), p. 1573.
22. Imp(eratori) Caes(ari) T(ito) Ael(io) Hadriano / Antonino Aug(usto) Pio p(ontifici)
m(aximo) tr(ibunicia) pot(estate) XXI / imp(eratori) II co(n)s(uli) IIII p(atri) p(atriae) /
cultores domus Aug(ustae) / area pri/vata{m} empta{m} templum / cum porticibus a solo
sua / pecunia fecerunt et sta/tuam posuerunt / quorum nomina tabula[e] aereae incisa sunt
de[di(cante)] / Q(uinto) Aeronio Mon<t=I>ano pr[ocuratore)] – Volubilis, Mauretania Tin-
gitana: CIL viii, 21825. The other inscription is from Banasa where Aeronius Montanus is
recorded as a patron of the city (AE, 1948, 0015).
23. CIL xvi, 182 (Volubilis); RMD 02, 0107, (Baelo Claudia, Baetica). Cfr. Spaul (1994),
pp. 243 s.
24. Moenia qui Risinni Aeacia qui colis arcem / Delmatiae, nostri publice Lar populi,
/ sancte Medaure domi e[t] sancte hic nam templa quoq(ue) ista / vise, precor, parva
magnus in effigia, /succussus laeva sonipes cui surgit in auras, / altera dum letum librat ab
aure manus. / Talem te consul iam designatus in ista / sede locat venerans ille tuus [[[---]]]
/ notus Gradivo belli vetus ac tibi, Caesar / Marce, in primore [cl]arus ubique acie. //
Adepto consulatu [[[---]]] / tibi respirantem faciem patrii numinis, / hastam eminus quae
iaculat refreno ex equo, / tuus, Medaure, dedicat Medaurius – Lambaesis, Numidia: CIL
viii, 02581; ILS 4881; CLE 1527; Alföldy (1968), pp. 124-5; Marić (1969), pp. 75-7;
Rendić-Miočević (1989), pp. 523-4; Thomasson (1996), p. 158, n. 37; Várhely (2010),
pp. 33-6. These two inscriptions also have a different metric.
1686 Dino Demicheli
that he has already accepted this function. Regardless how much success-
ful was the career of this Dalmatian, it seems it have ended very abruptly
and this man along with many order notable persons and ex consuls was
murdered on the Commodus’ command, in year 191 or 19225. About his life
between the consulate in 169 and his death in 191 or 192 we know nothing
so far.
Last in this list of distinguished Dalmatians is Constantius, a proconsul
of Africa. He was buried in Salona in the sarcophagus along with his wife,
Honoria, and he is thought to have been from this town26. The inscription
is dated with the pair of consuls mentioned on the inscription who were on
their duty in year 375.
There are several doubtful inscriptions which might be the part of this
discussion, but we will single out only three of them that, in our opinion,
might belong to the people of Dalmatian origin27. Two of them commemo-
rate soldiers in auxiliary units, one was from cohortes Delmatarum28, and the
other was a horseman in ala Pannoniorum who had a Roman citizenship29.
The third inscription is an altar set by the person who, because of onomas-
tic reasons, may have been a sailor of Dalmatian origin30.
According to the expressions of identity and origin, it is clear that the
Dalmatian identity was more important to the soldiers than to the civilians
in the provinces of Africa (17 soldiers, 2 civilians). Among the auxiliaries we
find 5 ordinary soldiers and 2 decuriones, but if we turn to the legionaries
we find that all of the Dalmatians had some rank: three governors of the

25. SHA, Comm., 7, 5-6: His occisis interemit Servilium et Dulium Silanos cum suis......et
post eos sex simul ex consulibus, Allium Fuscum, Caelium Felicem, Lucceium Torquatum, Lar-
cium Eurupianum, Valerium Bassianum, Pactumeium Magnum cum suis.
26. Depositus Constant/ius v(ir) c/larissimus) ex proconsul/e Africae, die prid(ie) no/
n(as) iul(ias), post cons(ulatum) d(omini) n(ostri) Gra/tiani Aug(usti) III et E/quiti v(iri)
c(larissimi) – Salona, Dalmatia: CIL iii, 9506; Ejnar, Egger (1926), p. 110; ILC 78; ILJug
2388; Marin (coord.) (2010), p. 159.
27. Most of them are presumed to have the “Illyrian origin” for onomastic reasons, cfr.
Samsaris (1988).
28. ----] lib(?) ME / [---coh(ortis) [-- Delm]atarum / [----] et sibi pos(uit) – Caesarea,
Mauretania Caesariensis: CIL viii, 21058.
29. A[---]us / P(ubli) [ f(ilius)] Ru[ f ]us / pomo (!) Sen[i]a (?) / eq(ues) alae Pan(n)
u(niorum) (!) / stip(endiorum) X [-----] / quo praerat / C(aius) Vibius Metellianus – Hen-
chir Belab, Numidia: CIL viii, 27428. For some other suggestions of his origin cfr. Spaul
(1995), p. 69.
30. Q(uintus) Baebius Bato v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito) – Igilgilis, Mauretania Caesa-
riensis: CIL viii, 9376; Zaninović (2007), p. 235, n. 3.
Epigraphic Evidence of Dalmatians in the Roman Provinces of Africa 1687

African provinces (one of them was a legionary legate), two legates legio-
nis, one primus pilus, one centurio, one beneficiarius praefecti, one speculator.
In other military units we find one exarchus equitum (probably in some
numerus, cuneus or vexillatio), and one praefectus classis Misenatium who
spent some time in Egypt and Mauretania Tingitana. As it is confirmed in
some other Roman provinces, it seems that the 2nd century CE was the most
prosperous time for the development in the military hierarchy among the
population from Dalmatia31.

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