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This webpage reproduces an article in the
American Journal of Philology
Vol. 75, No. 2 (1954), pp206‑210.

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

p206 Arthur E. Gordon. Quintus Veranius consul A.D. 49. A study based upon his recently identified sepulchral inscription. Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press, 1952. Pp. viii + 231‑352; plates 7‑13. (University of California Publications in Classical Archaeology, II, No. 5.)

In 1948 Professor and Mrs. Arthur E. Gordon discovered an unpublished inscription in the Museo Nazionale at Rome. Though the name was missing, they successfully identified the document as the sepulchral inscription of Q. Veranius cos. A.D. 49, and now Professor Gordon himself has published a fascicle entitled "Quintus Veranius consul A.D. 49." The publication of the inscription occupies 44 pages, while appendices, indexes, and illustrations account for the rest.


[image ALT: The Greek name Ὀνάσανδρος superimposed on a fragment of a rectangular stone inscription. It serves on this website as the icon for my transcription of the Loeb edition and translation of Onasander.]
The funerary inscription of Quintus Veranius and a son or daughter of his.
Museo Nazionale Romano (Museo delle Terme), Rome
Photograph © Jona Lendering, by kind permission

p207 Gordon has collected a great amount of comparative material, has been very careful with measurements and spatial considerations, has published a photograph of the stone, a photograph of an excellent squeeze, and even a drawing, but all this valuable work for his reader's benefit cannot change the fact that the inscription is difficult and will necessarily be a source of disagreement. The reviewer for his part cannot pretend to agree with his esteemed colleague's conception of the document, which reads somewhat as follows:

[--------------------------------------]

[-------provinciae Lyciae et Pamphyliae] qụịnq[ue]nnio pr[a]ẹf̣ui[t],

[---------------in pot]esṭ[a]ṭem Ti. Claudii Caesaris Aug.

[Germanici redegit atque castellum Cilicum Tr]ạcheotarum expugnatum delevit;

[mandatu et litteris senatus populique Romani et Ti] C̣laudii Caesaris Augusti Germanici

5 [--- in civitate Cibyra restit]utionem moenium remissam et interceptam

[---complevit ----][-] pacavit vvvvvv Propter quae, auctore

[Ti. Claudio Caesare Augusto Germanico] consul designatus, in consulatu nominatione

[------ in locum -----]ni augur creatus, in numerum patriciorum adlectus est;

[iudicio Ti. Claudii Caesaris Aug. Germ]anici aedium sacrarum et operum locorumque

10 [publicorum curam ei dedit equester o]rdo et populus Romanus consentiente ṣenatu vv Ludis

[maximis praefectus est, ut ipse praemium p]etierit, ab Augusto principe, cuius liberalitatis erat minister;

[praepositus est primo cantu bell]ịci provinciae Britanniae vvvvvvv In qua decessit.

[ Verania filia Q. Ver]ani vixit annis VI et mensibus X.

The chief differences between this and Gordon's text on pp270‑1 are these: I have followed the stonecutter in dividing the father's inscription of lines 1‑12 into four paragraphs, perhaps changing thereby the interpretation of quae in line 6; I have selected from Gordon's bewildering harvest of alternate and "tentative" restorations the, in my opinion, less arbitrary items; I have decided in favor of restitut]ionem in line 5 because of IGR IV.902; I have in lines 9‑10 rehabilitated an attractive restoration which Gordon considered but rejected; and I have ventured to insert some restorations of my own in lines 8, 11, and 12.

In the part preserved one paragraph lists the achievements on which the glory of Veranius rested. A second paragraph lists the honors which gave him further prestige. Three words announcing his death in Britain stand alone in a last paragraph to make a rather effective conclusion. The cursus honorum of course provides the material for the memorial, but the composer has developed the material in such a way as to avoid the bareness of an enumeration of titles and to increase the honor of the deceased. Thus in paragraph 2 he does not say that Veranius became consul but that he was selected for the consulship by the emperor, and by so doing, the composer brings out the unusual and more honorable feature of it. Gordon's p208nine prefatory lines of total restoration which ignore the difference between this type of document and a straight cursus honorum, seem to start from a false concept. In line 12, moreover, Gordon restored [legatus Neronis Caesaris German]ici. This is surely mistaken because the title would be legatus Augusti pro praetore and because the composer is trying to avoid a bare statement of title. Since Eric Birley's paper, "Britain under Nero: the Significance of Q. Veranius," Durham University Journal, June, 1952, pp88‑92 (= Roman Britain and the Roman Army: Collected Papers [Kendal, 1953], pp1‑9), we know what was unusual in the appointment of Veranius to the governorship of Britain. It was not his title of legate or his selection by the emperor; every governor could claim these distinctions. It was the fact that when the government decided on large-scale military operations and needed a really able general, it then placed Veranius in command. This is what the restoration should suggest without betraying that the decision respectable for the war was a Roman decision.

Gordon, however, carries the beginning of the clause back to ludis in line 10, so that instead of two clauses for two honors, to wit (1) the substitution for Nero in the presidency of the Games so that the emperor entered a contest (petierit: a perfect subjunctive after a secondary tense suggests a result clause), and (2) the appointment to command the army of Britain as soon as Rome decided to fight a war there, Gordon (p265) interprets the passage as meaning, "While in charge of (or presiding at) the Great Games, he was appointed, though he did not request it (petierit), to the governorship of Britain." To render this interpretation Gordon restores and punctuates as follows: ludis [maximis praefectus (or praesidens) factus est, cum non petierit, ab Augusto principe, cuius liberalitatis erat minister, [legatus Neronis Caesaris German]ici provinciae Britanniae, in qua decessit. Even if the title were right, I could not accept the phrase factus est legatus. In Gordon's reconstruction, moreover, the position of the phrase cuius liberalitatis erat minister makes it a very ambiguous comment indeed.

It is, however, the treatment of lines 9‑10 that seems the most unsatisfactory, because after arriving, through "considerations of space and a study of the curatorship mentioned," at the restoration which I have rehabilitated and after citing the Lex de imperio Vespasiani, "utique quos magistratum potestatem imperium curationemve cuius rei petentes senatui populoque Romano commendaverit quibusque suffragationem suam dederit promiserit, eorum comiti(i)s quibusque (from quisque) extra ordinem ratio habeatur," and after citing references to joint action by senate, equites, and populus, he repudiates this restoration supported by parallels and by its own chiastic balance in order to restore a title that never did or could exist, "curator of the emperor," and a clause which fails to say what it is supposed to: [curatori Ti. Claudii Caesaris Aug. Germ]anici aedium sacrarum et operum locorumque [publicorum statuam posuit equester o]rdo et populus Romanus consentiente senatu, wherein the identity of the curator is not clear enough to permit omission of the pronoun (contra note 91). In the commentary and on p319 he talks about the statue he postulates as if it could be part of triumphal honors for the curator.

Gordon's coolness toward the right restoration when he came to p209it methodically arose from his interpretation of the above cited passage from the Lex de imperio Vespasiani. On p258 he says of the latter, "This gives us senatus, populus Romanus, and curatio, and leaves us only equester ordo to be justified." On p259 he says, "our inscription would apparently contain the first evidence . . . that this class (sc. the equites), in addition to the other activities performed by it as a group, might also join the 'people' and the senate in a matter concerning an important curatorship. And the reason in this particular instance might perhaps be found in the specially close relations between the equestrian class and Claudius." Gordon, accordingly, thinks that the equites have no place in the procedure to which the Lex refers. I believe that the equites are included under populus in the Lex de imperio Vespasiani, which mentions the comitia explicitly. Our inscription reports just such a case where the emperor recommended the election of a certain man, Q. Veranius, as curator. The name was presented to the comitia centuriata, and the man was elected. Also the name was submitted to the senate and formally accepted. In our inscription the equester ordo means the eighteen centuries of equites in the comitia centuriata, while the populus here means the five classes. Ever since the Gracchan Period the equestrian order tended to be distinguished politically from the rest of the populus, and separate mention of the equites contributed to an impression of universal support. But how could the comitia centuriata ever be held without the eighteen centuries?

Line 8, as Gordon notes, surely began with a name in the genitive dependent upon the noun nominatione at the end of line 7. But that the first extant letters of line 8, ]ni, are the end either of a name dependent upon nominatione or of the phrase die solemni I do not believe. There was only one nominator in this period, and thirty-four letters seem too much for one name. The words die solemni, moreover, seem quite superfluous. I believe that there is only one possibility for the letters ni: they belong to the name of the demortuus, and the formula in locum demortui augur creatus is surely imposed. Who was the demortuus? The elder Q. Veranius comes to mind, but the evidence is not strong enough to permit a restoration.

Appendix I is a good list of curatores aedium sacrarum et operum locorumque publicorum and their subordinates or substitutes. Gordon gives the title of M. Aquilius Felix, No. 75b, as merely procurator operum publicorum without mention of the cursus from Cannae (A. J. P., LXVII [1946], p312) where the post is described more completely as proc(urator) oper(um) publ(icorum) et fiscal(ium) urb(is) sacrae. The omission, though not serious, is a little regrettable because, so far, the office is attested merely in the case of Aquilius Felix.

Appendix II, a list of triumphal honors and statues in the city of Rome, grew out of the to me unacceptable restoration statuam in line 10, but is useful all the same, though No. 11, Juba II, and No. 42, Q. Veranius, should be eliminated. On pp312 f. Scipio's gifts to Masinissa and the gifts to Juba II seem to me, not triumphal honors for one occasion, but royal honors for permanent use (cf. Ugo Coli, "Regnum," Studia et Documenta Historiae et Iuris, XVII [1951], pp20‑1 and 57‑9).

To conclude, the fascicle contains a documented and valuable, though somewhat confused, study. The author has gone to great p210pains to give the reader everything he could. We owe to him the first publication, the correct identification, and much besides. I am not satisfied with the way he sets up the text, and there are fundamental differences of interpretation between us, to which I have had to devote most of my space, but the importance of the inscription and the usefulness of the careful publication are obvious.

James H. Oliver

The Johns Hopkins University


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