Base for statue of Constantine I, emperor. Cirta (Numidia). 314

In six lines:

[Triumphatori omnium gentium ac] domitor[i un]ive[rsarum] / [factionum, qui libertatem tenebris] servitut[is op]pre[ssam sua] / [felici victoria nova luce inluminavit et re]vocavit, [d(omino) n(ostro) Flavio Valerio] / [Constantino, maximo, pio, felici ac semper invict[o Aug(usto)]. / (5) [--- rationa]lis Numidiae et Maur[etaniarum], / [numini maiestatique eius dev]ota mente semper dicatissi[mus].

'To the triumphant victor over all tribes and tamer of all factions, who, by his happy victory, illumined with new light the freedom obscured by the darkness of servitude, our lord, Flavius Valerius Constantinus, the greatest, pious, fortunate, unconquered Augustus. ... rationalis of Numidia and the Mauretanias, dedicated, with a devoted mind, to his divine spirit and majesty, [set this up].'

Apart from the name of the awarder, the inscription can be completed with confidence because of its identical formula to LSA-2229, and, for our official's title, to LSA-2228.

DESCRIPTION (from Pflaum)
Of this base, Pflaum gives no description, other than to say that it is broken and lost to left and right ('brisée à gauche et à droite'), as is also clear from the way he set out the inscription. H 50 cm ; width and depth unrecorded.

Our base was found reused in the ancient gate of the Kasbah. There is no record of its present location. It may still be where it was found.

The honorand, Constantine I, was Augustus from 306 to 337.

The office of the awarder, ' ...lis Numidiae et Maur...' can be completed with confidence to 'rationalis Numidiae et Mauretaniarum', because a rationalis, termed in exactlly this same way (indeed perhaps the same man) dedicated another statue to Constantine in Cirta in approximately this same period (LSA-2228). A further rationalis also dedicated statues to Constantine in Cirta (LSA-2232, LSA-2233).

The formula 'triumphant over all tribes, triumphatori omnium gentium' certainly refers to his victory over the Germanic tribes and Franks in 313. While 'tamer of all factions, domitori universarum factionum' must refer to his victories over Maxentius in 312 and Licinius in 314. Constantine and Licinius were reconciled at the end of 314. Pflaum dates our inscription to before this reconciliation, since thereafter it would have been inappropriate to draw attention to the recent strife between the two emperors.

Our base, and another dedicated to Constantine with the same formula, but by a governor of Numidia (LSA-2229), must have been set up as a pair.

Many statues were dedicated to Constantine in Cirta, which had been renamed 'Constantina' (LSA-2228, LSA-2229, 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. 583