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Roman Bronze Military Diploma - FF.750A
Origin: Europe
Circa: 178 AD
Dimensions: 5.7" (14.5cm) high
Collection: Classical Art
Style: Inscribed Document
Medium: Bronze
Condition: Very Fine

ROMAN BRONZE MILITARY DIPLOMA DATED 23 MARCH, 178 AD DURING THE JOINT REIGN OF MARCUS AURELIUS AND COMMODUS. Height 14.5 cm; width 11.5 cm; weight 174 gm. Intact first tablet with two binding holes sat the center and a hinge hole at the lower left corner. The lettering on the outer face is well engraved and is wholly legible. The date, names of consuls and details of the recipient and his unit and commander have been added in larger lettering. The interior side of the plaque partially repeats the exterior text, but with les well-rendered characters and with many abbreviations and omissions. An important diploma naming auxiliary units in Britain. Beautifully patinated. Published: Roxan and Holder, Roman Military Diplomas IV (BICS Supplement 82), no. 294. EXTERIOR TEXT TRANSCRIPTION IMP CAE DIVI ANTONI FIL DIVI VERI PARTHI MAX FRAT DIVI H DRIAN NE DIVI TRAIAN PATHICI PRONE DIVI NERVAE ABN M AVRELI ANTONIN AVG GERM SAR PONT MAXI TR POT XXXIII•IMP•VIIII COS• III• P•P• ET IMP CAE L AELI AVRELI•COMMODV AVG ANTONNI AVG FIL DIVI PI NEP DIV HADRIAN PRO DIVI TRAIAN PARTHI AD NE DIVI NERVE ADNE GER•SAR TRI•POT III IMP II COS P•P EQVITIB ET PEDITIB QVI MILITAVER IN AL V QVAE APEL LANTV GALO ET THRA CLASIAN ET AVG VOCONTIO ET PAN NOR• SABI ET SEBOSI GALOR ET VETTO ET ISH COHORT XVI•I AVG NERV ET I FRISIAV ET I AEL HISP ET I FIDA VARDVLO ET I CELTI ET II LINGO •ET II HISP E TH RAC ET I ATAVOR ET II GALLOR.ET ET II THR VET ET IIIACO ET IIII GALO ET VANGI ET VII.THRAC ET I SORINO ET SVNT IN BRITTANNIA VB VL PIO MARCELO LEG.VXX PLVRIBVE STIPEN EMERILI MISIS HONEST. MISSIONE QVORVM NOMIN SVBSCRIPT SVNT CIVITATEM ROMANA QVI EORV NON HABERE DE DERVNT ET CONVBIV CVM VXORIB QVAS TVC HABVIS SEN CVM EST CIVITA IIS DAT AVT CVM IS QVAS POSTE DV XISSEN DVMTAXAT SINGVLIS . A D . X K . APR SER . SCIPIONE . ORFITO D VELI O RVFO COS COHORT I AVG• NERV• CVI PRAEEST ANNIVS VICTOR EX EQVITE SISCEO•APTASAE FIL• DACO DESCRIPT ET RECOGNIT EX TABVL•AER QVE FIXA EST REM E IN MVR POS TEMPL DIVI AVG AD MINERVAM EXTERIOR TEXT TRANSLATION The emperor Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, vanquisher of the Germans and Sarmatians, son of the deified Antoninus, brother of the deified Verus great vanquisher of the Parthians, grandson of the deified Hadrian, great-grandson of the deified Trajan vanquisher of the Parthians, great-great grandson of the deified Nerva, chief priest, in the thirty-third year of this tribunician power, nine times imperator, three times consul, father of his country and his co-emperor Caesar L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus Augustus, vanquisher of the Germans and the Sarmatians, son of Antoninus Augustus, grandson of the deified [Antoninus] Pius, great-grandson of the deified Hadrian, great-great-grandson of the deified Trajan, vanquisher of the Parthians, great-great-great-grandson of the deified Nerva, in the third year of his tribunician power, two times imperator, consul, father of his country grant Roman citizenship to the cavalrymen and infantrymen, who do not already possess it, that served in the five alae which are called (1) Gallorum et Thracum Classiana and (2) Augusta Vocontiorum and (3) I Pannoniorum Sabiniana and (4) Sebosiana Gallorum and (5) Vettonum Hispanorum and the sixteen cohorts called (1) I Augusta Nerviana and (2) I Frisiavonum and (3) I Aelia Hispanorum and (4) I Fida Vardullorum and (5) I Celtiberorum and (6) III Lingonum and (7) II Hispanorum and (8) I Thracum and (9) I Batavorum and (10) II Gallorum Veterana and (11) II Thracum Veterana and (12) II Lingonum and (13) IIII Gallorum and (14) I Vangiorum and (15) VII Thracum and (16) I Morinorum and are in Britain under the governor Ulpius Marcellus; who have served twenty-five years and have been honorably discharged, whose names are written below; and conubium (legal Roman marriage) with the wives they had when citizenship was granted to them, or with the wives whom they later marry, but only one wife each. On the 23rd day of March when Ser. Scipio Orfitus and D. Velius Rufus were consuls. On behalf of cohort I Augustae Nervianae under the command of Annius Victor. To the ex-cavalryman Sisceius, son of Aptasa of Dacia. Copied and checked from the bronze tablet affixed in Rome upon the wall behind the temple of the deified Augustus near the shrine of Minerva. After serving twenty-five years in the Roman auxiliary units, a soldier was granted his Roman citizenship as well as the legalization of his existing or future marriage. Numerous cavalrymen and infantrymen were discharged simultaneously and, while a listing of those discharged was posted in Rome, each individual soldier was provided with a diploma which served as portable evidence of his citizenship rights and no doubt was preserved as an important legal document by its recipient and his descendants. A second plaque, completing the interior text and listing the names of witnesses, would have been bound to the first by wire brads through the central holes. - (FF.750A)

 

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