Base for statue of Maxentius, emperor. Rome, Forum. 310.

In nine lines. Letter height 6-7 cm.

[Do]mino nostro / [Impe]ratori Caesari / [Marc]o Aurelio Valerio / [Maxe]ntio, pio, felici, /(5) [in]victo, Augusto, / [consuli] saepius, p(atri) p(atriae), proconsuli. / [Manili]us Rusticianus, v(ir) em(inentissimus), / [praef(ectus) prae]t(orio), n(umini) m(aiestati)q(ue) eius semper / [d]icatissimus.

'To our lord, the Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, pious, fortunate, unconquered, Augustus, often consul, father of the fatherland, proconsul. Manilius Rusticianus, of eminentissimus rank, praetorian prefect, most devoted to his divine spirit and majesty.'

DESCRIPTION (personal inspection)
Marble base, 89 x 87 x 76 cm. Large square block with four lives. In the first phase it was used as a statue-base. In the second phase, the original inscription was erased for re-use as a base for Maxentius: the front is very rough, indicating erasure. It was later adapted for re-use as a column pedestal with inscribed face at the bottom. All three visible sides have roughly carved pedestal profile. The original bottom, now at the top, has one well preserved square dowel hole and pur channel. In its fourth phase the base was turned around, with the inscribed face at the top. A circular column was placed on top of it, affixed with mortar. The top has clean deep round hole, depth 30 and diameter 10 cm.

Found during works in the Curia, during dismantling of church of S. Adriano. It is now next to the Curia, on the Argiletum (12555).

The inscription records a dedication to the emperor Maxentius by the praetorian prefect Manilius Rusticianus (PLRE I, 787 Rusticianus 2 and Rusticianus 3). The crucial element for dating this monument is the reference, in the text, to Maxentius as consul saepius. As Panciera (1992, 254-256) showed, this expression is used in honorific inscriptions to refer to important positions occupied three or more times. Maxentius was consul on four occasions, the last one being in 312 when we know that the praetorian prefect was Ruricius Pompeianus. Rusticianus must have occupied the praetorian prefecture between the final months of 310 and 311.

Carlos Machado

Main Reference

Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum; , VI, 40726

Discussion References

Jones, A. H. M. et al., The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. I 260-395, Cambridge et al. 1971 (1975), p. 787 (Rusticianus 2 and Rusticianus 3)

Panciera, S., "Un prefetto del pretorio di Massenzio Manilius Rusticianus", in M. Christol (ed), Institutions, société et vie politique dans l'empire Romain au IVe siècle ap. J.-C., Rome 1992, pp. 249-263