Base for statue of Publicius Valerianus Inachius, former governor of Tripolitania, patron of Lepcis. Lepcis Magna (Tripolitania). Fourth century.

In twelve lines:

Inachii. / Omnium / virtutum / viro, Publicio /(5) Valeriano v(iro) p(erfectissimo), / ex praesidibus, / singularis inte/gritatis et mode/rationis, Lepci/magnenses pa/trono prae[stan]/tiss(imo) posuerunt.

'(Statue of) Inachius. To a man of all virtues, Publicius Valerianus, of perfectissimus rank, former governor (ex praesidibus), of singular integrity and moderation. The people of Lepcis Magna (Lepcimagnenses) set this up to their most outstanding patron.'

Letter height 6-7 cm.

Shaft of a rectangular base of poor quality brown limestone; H 102, W 49, D 50 cm. The upper and lower mouldings were worked separately and are today lost. There are chips along the margins.

The front face is decorated with a moulded frame; all other faces are smooth. Our inscription is carved over a summarily erased earlier one, traces of which are visible notably in lines 1, 2, and 4 (this was not rightly understood by Niquet 2000, 101). A terminus ante quem for this first use is Gallienic times, after which this type of base was not produced in Lepcis Magna. Without mouldings, a closer dating is impossible.

This is unquestionably one of the poorest examples of honorific epigraphy in Lepcis Magna.

The inscription was first recorded on the Severan forum, in the eastern colonnade, where it is still standing. Photos from the time of the excavation show that it was found with the inscription facing south; it is now standing with the inscription facing the square.

Publicius Valerianus signo Inachius, the honorand, is known only from this inscription (PLRE I, 940 Publicius Valerianus signo Inachius 16). The inscription explicitly records that he was out of office when the statue was set up ( ex praesidibus, line 6). This is unusual though not unparalleled in Lepcis (see the inscription to the former governor Flavius Petasius, LSA-2183). Statues to imperial office holders were regularly set up only after their office was terminated, but the praise of Inachius’ administrative virtues makes it certain that this was not just a honorary title. Inachius was a patron of Lepcis.

The inscription was set up by the people of Lepcis (Lepcimagnenses, lines 9-10).

Inachius' time in office was in the 4th century; but the monument does not offer any indicators to narrow this date. Like the vicar Nicomachus Flavianus (LSA-2173), Inachius is styled ‘most outstanding patron’ ( patrono praestantissimo, lines 10-12); however, this very common qualification does not allow us to date his base close to these two.

Ignazio Tantillo & Francesca Bigi

Main Reference

Tantillo, I. and F. Bigi (eds.), Leptis Magna. Una città e le sue iscrizioni in epoca tardoromana, Cassino 2010, 398-9, no. 43, fig. 10.50, pl. XV

Reynolds, J. M. & J. B. Ward-Perkins, The Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania. In collaboration with S. Aurigemma, R. Bartoccini, G. Caputo, R. Goodchild, P. Romanelli, Roma 1952, no. 576