Base for statue of Constantine I, emperor. Cirta (Numidia). 313-315

In seven lines

Restitutori lib[ertatis] / et conservatori t[otius orbis], / d(omino) n(ostro) Flavio Val(erio) Cons[tantino], / victoriosissimo et m[aximo] / (5) Aug(usto), Iulius Iuvenal[is, v(ir) p(erfectissimus], / rat(ionalis) Numidiae et Mau[reta]/niarum, d(evotus) n(umini) m(aiestati)q(ue) ei[us].

'To the restorer of freedom and preserver of the whole world, our lord Flavius Valerius Constantinus, most victorious and greatest Augustus. Iulius Iuvenalis, of perfectissimus rank, rationalis of Numidia and the Mauretanias, devoted to his divine spirit and majesty, [set this up], .'

DESCRIPTION (from Cherbonneau, 1868)
The stone is broken and lost on the right, the inscription framed within a moulding. H 58, W 50 cm, depth unrecorded,

Our inscription was found by Cordonnier in 1868, during the building works for a street then named 'rue impériale'. It was last recorded 'au Square' in 1869.

The honorand, Constantine I, was Augustus from 307 to 337.

The awarder, Iulius Iuvenalis, was a rationalis, an imperial financial official, in this context operating at diocesan level. Other rationales of Numidia and the Mauretanias also set up statues to Constantine in Cirta (LSA-2230, LSA-2232, LSA-2233). Iulius Iuvenalis also set up imperial statues in Cuicul, one again to Constantine I (LSA-2246), and one to either Constantine or Licinius (LSA-2244).

The formula 'restitutori libertatis et conservatori totius orbis' certainly refers to Constantine's victory over Maxentius in 312. H.-G. Pflaum dates our inscription precisely to 313, partly on the basis of a very similar dedication in Rome of that year. However the authors of PLRE suggest that Iulius Iuvenalis (PLRE I, 491, Iuvenalis) was 'rationalis Numidiae et Mauretaniarum' rather later, perhaps in 315, because 'Numidiae, of Numidia', must postdate the re-uniting of the Numidias, which happened in 314. Previous to this, he should have been titled 'rationalis Numidiarum, of the Numidias'.

Many statues were dedicated to Constantine in Cirta, which had been renamed 'Constantina' (LSA-2229, LSA-2230, LSA-2231, LSA-2232, LSA-2233). The city had been sacked by the troops of Maxentius in 310, and was rebuilt through the generosity of Constantine.

Gabriel de Bruyn

Main Reference

Pflaum H.-G., Inscriptions latines de l'Algérie. 2, Inscriptions de la confédération cirtéenne, de Cuicul et de la tribu des Suburbures. [1, Rusicade et région de Rusicade, Cirta, Castellum celtianum, Caldis, Castellum tidditanorum], Paris, 1957, no. 581

Lepelley, C., Les cités de l'Afrique romaine au Bas-Empire, t. 2, Notices d'histoire municipale, Paris 1981, p. 389, no. 3

Discussion References

Revue africaine. Journal des travaux de la société historique algérienne, Alger, 1868, p. 217