Statue base for the military commander Aurelius Marcianus

Monument V.5409
Editor
Georgi Mihailov
Type of monument
statue base
Material
marble
Find place
Plovdiv, re-used in a Late Antique bridge construction
Observed in
exhibited in front of the northern fortification wall near the Ancient Stadium in Plovdiv
Origin
Philippopolis
Dimensions
height 150 cm, width 67 cm, depth 40 - 50 cm
Institution and inventory
Letter size
height 5 cm
Layout description
Rectangular statue base, moulded above and below; the mouldings have been cut off during the re-use. On the bottom - two holes for metal clamps, also connected with the secondary use of the stone. Inscription on the front, in the upper part of the stone. Line 1 is on the upper moulding. In the middle, at lines 7-8, a hole of unknown purpose, which existed before the engraving. It is unclear whether there was an earlier inscription on the statue base.
Decoration description
Text
Category of inscription
honorary inscription for Roman military commander - prose
Date
AD 267 - 268
Dating criteria
prosopography, historical-context
Text

Ἀγαθῆ((·))ι((·)) τύχη((·))ι((·)).
Τὸν διασημότατον
Μαρκιανόν, προτήκτο-
ρα τοῦ ἀνεικήτου δεσπό-
5του ἡμῶν Γαλλιηνοῦ Σεβ((·))(αστοῦ),
τριβοῦνον πραιτωριανῶν
καὶ δοῦκα καὶ στρατηλάτην
ἡ λαμπροτάτη Θρᾳκῶν
μητρόπολις Φιλιππόπο-
10λις τὸν ἑαυτῆς εὐεργέτην
καὶ σωτῆρα ἀνέστησεν. (vac.)
(vac.) Εὐτυχῶς. (vac.) (vac.1)
Πρωταρχοῦντος Πύρρου ἀπὸ
[ἀ]ρχιερωσύνης καὶ λογιστοῦ.

AΓΑΘH · Ι · ΤYΧΗ · Ι ·
ΤONΔΙΑΣΗMOΤΑΤΟN
MΑΡΚΙΑNONΠΡΟΤHΚΤΟ
ΡΑΤΟYANΕΙΚHΤΟΥΔΕΣΠO
5ΤΟΥHMΩNΓΑΛΛΙΗNΟYΣΕΒ ·
ΤΡΙΒΟYNΟNΠΡΑΙΤΩΡΙΑNΩN
ΚΑIΔΟYΚΑΚΑIΣΤΡΑΤΗΛAΤΗN
HΛΑMΠΡΟΤAΤΗΘΡAΚΩN
MΗΤΡOΠΟΛΙΣΦΙΛΙΠΠOΠΟ
10ΛΙΣΤONEΑΥΤHΣΕYΕΡΓEΤΗN
ΚΑIΣΩΤHΡΑANEΣΤΗΣΕN vacat
vacat ΕYΤΥΧΩΣ vacat vacat
ΠΡΩΤΑΡΧΟYNΤΟΣΠYΡΡΟΥAΠO
[.]ΡΧΙΕΡΩΣYNΗΣΚΑIΛΟΓΙΣΤΟY
Text
To Good Fortune! To the most perfect Marcianus, protector of our invincible Lord Gallienus Augustus, tribune of the praetorians, commander and military leader. The most splendid metropolis of the province of Thrace, Philippopolis erected this statue for its benefactor and saviour. May it be fortunate! During the first-archonship of Pyrrhus, former archpriest and financial curator.
⤦ n: 1

tag: lb
Ἀγαθῆι

lemma: ἀγαθός
tag: w
Ἀγαθῆ

tag: #text

type: dot
tag: g
ι

tag: #text

type: dot
tag: g
τύχηι

lemma: τύχη
tag: w
τύχη

tag: #text

type: dot
tag: g
ι

tag: #text

type: dot
tag: g
.

tag: #text
⤦ n: 2

tag: lb
Τὸν

tag: w
διασημότατον

lemma: διάσημος
tag: w
⤦ n: 3

tag: lb
Μαρκιανόν

ref: Marcianus
type: official
nymRef: Μαρκιανός
tag: persName
Μαρκιανόν

nymRef: Μαρκιανός
ref: Marcianus
tag: name
,

tag: #text
προτήκτο ρα

lemma: προτήκτωρ
tag: w
προτήκτο

tag: #text
⤦ n: 4

break: no
tag: lb
ρα

tag: #text
τοῦ

tag: w
ἀνεικήτου

lemma: ἀνίκητος
tag: w
δεσπό του

lemma: δεσπότης
tag: w
δεσπό

tag: #text
⤦ n: 5

break: no
tag: lb
του

tag: #text
ἡμῶν

lemma: ἡμεῖς
tag: w
Γαλλιηνοῦ

ref: Gallienus
type: emperor
tag: persName
Γαλλιηνοῦ

tag: name
Σεβαστοῦ

lemma: σεβαστός
tag: w
,

tag: #text
⤦ n: 6

tag: lb
τριβοῦνον

lemma: τριβοῦνος
tag: w
πραιτωριανῶν

lemma: πραιτωριανός
tag: w
⤦ n: 7

tag: lb
καὶ

tag: w
δοῦκα

lemma: δούξ
tag: w
καὶ

tag: w
στρατηλάτην

lemma: στρατηλάτης
tag: w
⤦ n: 8

tag: lb

tag: w
λαμπροτάτη

lemma: λαμπρός
tag: w
Θρᾳκῶν

type: ethnic
ref: Thrace
tag: placeName
⤦ n: 9

tag: lb
μητρόπολις

lemma: μητρόπολις
tag: w
Φιλιππόπο λις

ref: Phil
nymRef: Φιλιππόπολις
tag: placeName
Φιλιππόπο

tag: #text
⤦ n: 10

break: no
tag: lb
λις

tag: #text
τὸν

tag: w
ἑαυτῆς

lemma: ἑαυτοῦ
tag: w
εὐεργέτην

lemma: εὐεργέτης
tag: w
⤦ n: 11

tag: lb
καὶ

tag: w
σωτῆρα

lemma: σωτήρ
tag: w
ἀνέστησεν

lemma: ἀνίστημι
tag: w
.

tag: #text

extent: unknown
unit: character
tag: space
⤦ n: 12

tag: lb

extent: unknown
unit: character
tag: space
Εὐτυχῶς

lemma: εὐτυχῶς
tag: w
.

tag: #text

extent: unknown
unit: character
tag: space

quantity: 1
unit: line
tag: space
⤦ n: 13

tag: lb
Πρωταρχοῦντος

lemma: πρωταρχέω
tag: w
Πύρρου

ref: AT320
type: official
nymRef: Πύρρος
tag: persName
Πύρρου

nymRef: Πύρρος
ref: Pyrrhus
tag: name
ἀπὸ

lemma: ἀπό
tag: w
⤦ n: 14

tag: lb
ἀρχιερωσύνης

lemma: ἀρχιερωσύνη
tag: w

tag: supplied
ρχιερωσύνης

tag: #text
καὶ

tag: w
λογιστοῦ

lemma: λογιστής
tag: w
.

tag: #text
Apparatus
Letters in ligature:
6 νων;
7 την;
8 τη;
10 την;
14 νης.
Apparatus:
1 The letters in the formula Ἀγαθῆι τύχηι are larger and with different shape from the other letters in the text. Broken-bar alpha; theta and eta with waved middle line not connected with the vertical strokes.
12 Εὐτυχῶς is written with slightly inclined letters.
Commentary

The military commander Marcianus (full name Aurelius Marcianus - the praenomen Lucius ascribed to him results from an error) is attested in various epigraphic and literary sources. The present inscription provides the fullest account of his career up to AD 267-268. Marcianus probably originates from Thrace, possibly from Augusta Traiana, where another honorary inscription (AE 2016, 1388) emphasizes the long friendship of Marcianus with a local magistrate. His most important merit as a military commander was the repulsion of the Goths and the Heruli who invaded the Balkans in AD 267-268. During this period, Emperor Gallienus was initially also on the Balkans, but the news about a plot against him in Rome forced him to leave for Italy, handing over command of the war to Marcianus (Zosim. 1.40). Since the plot against Gallienus included the future emperor Claudius II Gothicus, later proclaimed an ancestor of Emperor Constantine the Great, some fourth-century historians falsely accused Marcianus for organising the plot in order to clear the name of Claudius (SHA, Gall., 14-15). This claim is further refuted by the inscription from Augusta Traiana which praises Marcianus as "most faithful to the emperor" (πιστότατον βασιλῆ[ϊ]). During the 270s AD, Marcianus was honoured as a military commander and "vir perfectissimus" in an inscription on statue base from Termessos in Pisidia (TAM III.1 88): τὸν διασημότατον δοῦκα Αὐρ. Μαρκιανόν, incorrectly read by the editors as δουκ(ηνάριον) Λ. Αὐρ. Μαρκιανόν with a non-existing praenomen Lucius.

Διασημότατος is the translation of "vir perfectissimus", a Latin title given to high-ranking equestrian officials. The reforms of Gallienus transferred many high offices, previously held by senators, to the equestrians. The office "protector of the emperor" came into existence in the second half of III c. AD and here we see one of its earliest attestations. The exact meaning of the two similar titles δούξ and στρατηλάτης is disputed.

The use of inclined letters in Εὐτυχῶς on l. 12 reflects the practice of approving official documents with hand-written resolution by a higher official below the text (cf. IGBulg 1515).

Aurelius Pyrrhus was a Roman citizen, probably from a family which was granted Roman citizenship with the Antonine Constitution. The inscription is dated in the period, when he was first archon of Philippopolis. The text mentions his former offices as well: archpriest (ἀρχιερεύς) and auditor (λογιστής). The latter corresponds to the Latin "curator civitatis", an official appointed by the Roman authorities for auditing the city finances, when mistreatment was suspected; in the end of III and during IV c. AD this office entirely replaced the elective position of the first archon.

This is the latest inscription erected by the city authorities of Philippopolis as well as the latest dated inscription from the city before the Tetrarchic period.

Bibliography
Mihailov, Georgius. Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria repertae. Vol. V, 1997.

Sharankov, Nicolay. Надписи от Августа Траяна. In: Археологически открития и разкопки през 2015 Vol. LV, 2016, p. 791-793.

Геров, Борис. Един нов документ за готските нашествия при Галиен и за историята на Пловдив. In: Годишник на музеите в Пловдив Vol. 4, 1965, p. 23-39.

Gerov, Boris. La carriera militare di Marciano, generale di Gallieno. In: Athenaeum Vol. 43/3-4, 1965, p. 333-354.