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The Reputed Influence of the Dies Natalis in determin

ing the Inscription of Restored Temples.




In an article which appears in the American Journal of Archaeology, vol. IX (1905), pp. 427-449, I have endeavored to reconstruct the policies adopted by Augustus and Hadrian in inscribing the public buildings which were restored under their auspices. Reference is there made to Marquardt's assertion 1 that in the restoration of a temple the emperors sought to avoid the necessity of adding to the traditional dies natalis a second anniversary of dedication, by preserving the inscription of the founder and passing over in silence their own repairs.

I took exception in my previous paper to the statement of Marquardt, on the ground that he failed to recognize the possibility of variation in policy, and hence based a sweeping inferenceon the practice of Augustus. He writes" die Kaiser," but quotes only the three stock passages that treat of the method of the Princeps. One point, nevertheless, I left unchallenged; namely, the supposition that the dies natalis wielded a preservative power in favor of the original dedicatory inscription, and thus became a factor in moulding imperial policy. This question I purpose to discuss in this paper. The matter at issue has to do with motives rather than with methods, although it is necessary to fix the ultimate causes lying back of imperial procedure by a study of the facts. Let me confess at the outset that my attitude toward Marquardt's hypothesis is polemical.

In one respect the views which Marquardt held concerning the dies natalis, when he made his suggestion, have been superseded. As examination of the context in Römische Staatsverwaltung will show, the author accepted the rule first laid

1 Römische Staatsverwaltung, vol. III, p. 274.


down by Jordan, to the effect that the anniversary of the foundation as originally fixed survived all vicissitudes of restoration and rededication. At the most a subordinate festival commemorating the new dedication might be inserted in the Fasti. This doctrine is no longer orthodox. Several years after the publication of Jordan's article Emil Aust? attacked his thesis and pointed out various instances in which, as a consequence of restoration, the day of dedication was changed. This apparently was always the case when a temple was rebuilt a solo. Wissowa, whose opinion at the present time carries greatest weight in questions of this sort, adopts the view of Aust.

Nevertheless this amendment in fact does not materially affect the spirit of Marquardt's contention according to which the sanctity attached to the annual cult celebration actually dictated imperial procedure in rejecting the right of inscription on a restored temple. Indeed, if the regard in which the dies natalis was held can be supposed to have exerted any force as a controlling motive, even greater influence may be logically imputed to it. Marquardt inferred that the emperors felt bound to avoid the necessity of depriving the original anniversary of an undivided observance. If the Caesars paid such homage to the traditional festival, they would have been even more careful to refrain from


mode of inscription which might have consigned the old dies to oblivion and brought to pass the substitution of a new date of celebration in the Fasti. Therefore the possibility that desire to perpetuate the original anniversary of foundation may have modified the policy of the imperial restorer, retains all the right to consideration that it may ever have possessed.

In practice there were three methods of inscription to which any restorer, emperor or subject, might resort : (1) The inscription of the original builder was kept intact and alone. (2) The restorer kept the inscription of the founder,

Ephemeris Epigraphica, vol. I, p. 235. 2 De aedibus sacris populi Romani inde a primis liberae reipublicae temporibus usque ad Augusti imperatoris aetatem Romae conditis, Marburg, 1889, p. 42 ff.

Religion und Kultus der Römer, p. 406; Gesamme'te Abhandlungen, Munich, 1904, p. 146.



but added to it mention of his restoration. A variation of this method is presented by inscriptions of the form of C.I.L. III 709, VI 1718, XIII 1642, XIV 2216, where the restorer has inserted a reference to the work of the founder in his own inscription. (3) A restorer omitted all allusion to the building of a predecessor and wrote his own name alone in one of the typical formulae. Examples are to be found passim in the Corpus.

Now the second method, which provided for the retention of the name of the founder but did not deny to the restorer the right to commemorate his repairs, must have been considered a justifiable proceeding. The original builder was robbed of none of the prestige which the dedication had brought. On the other hand, it was only fair that the man who had saved the structure from total collapse should be granted whatever compensation a record of his services would offer. Reasons founded on a priori considerations, however, need not constitute the only data. Inscriptions of the type in question are numerous, as even a cursory search will show. We find them referring to the restoration of altars, temples, secular buildings, and statues.1 Original dedicators and restorers from all ranks in life recorded their names and their operations. It is not uncommon to read that a restorer has reclaimed the monument of a kinsman and has duly set down the facts on the stone. It would be absurd to entertain any suspicion of trespass in these cases. Evidently custom sanctioned the act of the ordinary restorer who subjoined his inscription in the fashion described.

There are also instances in plenty where an imperial restorer has not hesitated to commemorate a restoration on the work of a predecessor below the founder's inscription. Thus on the bridge over the Marrechia, near Rimini, Tiberius added his own inscription to that of Augustus. It is instructive to recall the fact that Tiberius was one of the emperors

1 A few examples are : III 1803, 2809, 2907; VI 103, 619, 940; VIII 15562; IX 3146.

2 XI 3572.

& XI 367. Tiberius completed the work begun by Augustus.

who took pains to show great deference to the original builder; cf. Dio Cassius, 57, 10, 1-2: Tòv Aűyovotov ňyallev

ότι τα τε οικοδομήματα και προκατεβάλετο μεν ουκ εξετέλεσε δε, εκποιών το όνομα αυτού επέγραψε σφισι. .. τούτο δε το κατά τας επιγραφάς ουκ επ' εκείνους μόνους τους του Αύγουστου έργοις άλλ' επί πάσιν ομοίως. . . . έποιησε κ.τ.λ. Bridges partook, even though somewhat remotely, of the character of a personal memorial, as is well attested by the fact that Alexander Severus, according to his biographer (26, 11), kept the name of Trajan upon the bridges which that emperor had built, even when a thorough reconstruction was necessary. The inscriptions furnish no example of this type ; but in restoring the aqueduct at Dyrrachium, Alexander perpetuated the fame of Hadrian, the builder -- a fact which may serve as a partial indication of his attitude. One is led to consider whether the biographer may not have bounded the loyalty of Alexander to his predecessors within too narrow confines, although understatement is, to be sure, a temptation to which the Scriptores succumb but seldom in treating topics of this nature.2 In a similar fashion the emperors 3 who restored the aqueducts of the City often appended their names to the builder's inscription. Sometimes with a gratuitous conscientiousness the restorer inserted in his new titulus reference to the predecessor whose work was amply commemorated by the retention of the first inscription.

This form of inscription is typical of the restorations carried out in Rome by Septimius Severus and the members of his house. Compare C.I.L. VI 883, 896, 935, 938, 997. To illustrate still further the currency of the method it will be sufficient to add in outline the following examples : VI 1275, M. CALPURNIUS FACIUNDUM CURAVIT .. TRAIANUS RESTITUIT; XI 2999, CLAUDIUS FECIT VESPASIANUS RESTITUIT; X 3832, COLONIA . FECIT. .. HADRIANUS RESTITUIT ET COLUMNAS ADIECIT .. ANTONINUS DEDICAVIT.



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1 III 709.

2 Cf. Imperial Methods of Inscription, etc., AJA, vol. IX (1905), p. 445.

3 VI 1244-1246, Augustus, Caracalla, Titus; VI 1256-1258, Claudius, Vespasian, Titus.

Thus, by establishing the prevalence of this mode of procedure, the inscriptions themselves go far to justify its propriety. Corroborative testimony is afforded by the literature. According to Dio Cassius, 60, 6, 8-9, Claudius placed on the new scene of the Stone Theatre an inscription which, mutatis mutandis, is reproduced in the last example quoted above. First came the name of the builder – απέδωκε δε και το Πομπηίω την του θεάτρου μνήμην; there followed the name of Tiberius, who had undertaken to restore the stage after its destruction in his reign. Lastly, Claudius, the dedicator, added an inscription of his own. In so doing Claudius disregarded a precedent which had been set by the Princeps and duly followed by Tiberius. Augustus himself tells us that he restored the building sine ulla inscriptione nominis mei. (Mon. Anc. 4, 10.) To this significant phrase I shall presently revert. Tiberius gave public notice of his purpose to preserve the name of the founder of the theatre. Tac. Ann. 3, 72, at Pompei theatrum igne fortuito haustum Caesar exstructurum pollicitus est ... manente tamen nomine Pompei. There is no doubt that the emperor had in view the retention of Pompey's name alone. We know that the words manentibus titulis used by Suetonius, Aug. 31, imply sine inscriptione nominis restitutoris. According to Dio Cassius, 57, 10, 2, the predominant 1 policy of Tiberius was modelled on that of Augustus. In a passage in Velleius, 2, 130, Tiberius is said to have restored the theatre magnifico animi temperamento. These words of the eulogist refer, I believe, directly to the contemplated procedure of Tiberius, and point also to the conclusion that he acted with the most generous restraint.

Yet, in spite of the fact that Claudius departed from the policy of the first two emperors, we have no reason to suppose that his act betrayed the slightest eccentricity or that he was in any way poaching on Pompey's preserves. Indeed, the tone of Dio's narrative is distinctly laudatory. Claudius

1 I use the word “ predominant” advisedly. One must always reckon with the possibility that such references to the policy of the emperors as I have collected in this paper are based upon conspicuous instances only and are not as universally applicable as the words of the historian indicate. Cf. my examination of Vit. Haar. chap. 19 in Imperial Methods of Inscription, p. 441 ff.

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