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Bill Thayer

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What Month Did You Say That Was?
CIL XI.5745


[image ALT: A small Roman inscription, the text of which is transcribed, translated, and commented on this webpage.]
Transcribed and expanded
(and notice the ligatures):
1



5




10
Caio AETRIO Caii Filio LEMuria tribu
NASONI
EQVO PVBLICO
exornato
IN QVINQVE DECVRIIS
PRAEF
ecto COHortis I GERMANOrum
TRIB
uno MILitum LEGionis I ITALICAE
TESTAMENTO PONI IVSSIT
IDEMQVE MVNICIPIB
us
SENTINATIB
us IN EPVLVM
QVOD XVII K
alendas GERMANICAS
DARETVR
HS CXX LEGAVIT
Translated:
1‑2



5




10
To Gaius Aetrius Naso, son of Gaius,
of the Lemuria tribe,
honored with a horse at the expense of the state
in five decuries,
prefect of the 1st Cohort of Germans,
military tribune of Legio I Italica.
He ordered in his will that [this stone] be set up;
also, to the citizens of the municipium
of Sentinum for a banquet
to be given on the 17th
of the Kalends of Germanicus,
he bequeathed 120,000 sestertii.

found at Sentinum in May 1762
currently (2000) in the Museo di Palazzo Trinci, Foligno

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I find this inscription sad.

The man is dead of course, but that's not it. This isn't his tombstone (none of the usual earmarks, such as Dis Manibus or the name of the person who had it carved, nor funerary formulas of any kind); it was probably the base for a statue.

What's sad, to me, is that such a successful man — the cohors Germanorum that he commanded was a unit of élite bodyguards, and the position of military tribune to a legion was something like that of political commissar to an army division in the old Soviet Union — should have had to toot his own horn, possibly after death. Often enough, it is the fellow citizens themselves who set up such a commemorative stone: they're glad to do it, and say so. Here, instead, Caius Naso pays for it himself, as he pays for his banquet.

(If you're wondering about Sentinum, it was a fairly important Italian town on the Via Flaminia, some authorities even considering that this road was built in part because of the town; its ruins can still be seen just outside Sassoferrato in the Marche. As for the month named Germanicus, a short-lived innovation which thus dates the inscription pretty well for us, see Smith's Dictionary in the navigation bar below.)


Do you sometimes wonder what might be on the back of these things? In this case, a later inscription, also worth reading. . .


[image ALT: A stone carving of a skull between two scythes, the one on the viewer's left over a papal tiara, the other over a crown; with the legend VIVA L' EGUALIANZA.]


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Page updated: 24 Aug 12