Base for statue of Mars and the Founders of the City, erected by the emperor Maxentius. Rome, Forum. 306-312.

In six lines.

Marti Invicto, patri, / et aeternae Urbis suae / conditoribus, / dominus noster / [[Imp(erator) Maxent[iu]s, p(ius), f(elix)]], / invictus Aug(ustus). // (on right side:) [[magistri quinq(uennales) co[l]l(egium) f[a]bru[m]]]. / Dedicata die(s) XI kal(endas) Maias / per Furium Octavianum v(irum) c(larissimum) / cur(atorem) aed(ium) sacr(arum).

'To unconquered Mars, [our] father, and the founders of his eternal City, our lord, the em[[peror Maxentius, pious, fortunate]], unconquered Augustus. (on right side:) [[The five-year magistrates of the college of the craftsmen (collegium fabrum).]] Dedicated on the eleventh day before the Kalends of May by Furius Octavianus, of clarissimus rank, the curator of the sacred temples.'

The name of Maxentius, on l. 5, was erased. On the right side, the first two lines correspond to an earlier use of this base, and they were erased.

Marble base, with mouldings on top and bottom. The epigraphic field is rough and deep, indicating re-use. On the right side, part of the earlier inscription was erased but it can still be read. The left side and the back still bear parts of the original dedication. The top is smooth and finished, with one small rectangular hole towards the front edge and two round holes at the back, each towards a different side of the base.

The inscription records a dedication to the god Mars and the founders of the city. The statue was awarded by the emperor Maxentius, whose name was erased after his damnatio memoriae in 312. The celebration of the founders of the city was part of this emperor's ideological programme (Cullhed 1994, 55), and the base was dedicated on the birthday of the City, the 21st of April.

The dedication was carried out by Furius Octavianus, curator aedium sacrarum (PLRE I, 638 Octavianus 4).

Carlos Machado

Main Reference

Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum; , VI, 33856a-b

Discussion References

Cullhed, M., Conservator Urbis Suae. Studies in the politics and propaganda of the emperor Maxentius, Stockholm 1994,

Jones, A. H. M. et al., The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. I 260-395, Cambridge et al. 1971 (1975), p. 638 (Octavianus 4)