Honorific inscription, probably from base for statue of Lucius Aradius Valerius Proculus; set up by command of Constantine I, emperor. Rome, Forum of Trajan. 336-337.

In 19 surviving lines. Letter height 4.5-2 cm.

Imp(erator) Caes(ar) Fl(avius) Constantinus, / p(ius), f(elix), vict(or) ac triumfat(or), August(us), / pont(ifex) max(imus), Germ(anicus) max(imus) IIII, Ṣarm(aticus) max(imus) IIII, / Gothic(us) max(imus) II, Dac(icus) max(imus), trib(unicia) potest(ate) XXXIII, / (5) consuli (sic, for ‘consul’) VIII, imp(erator) XXXII, p(ater) p(atriae), p(roconsul) et / El(avius) (sic, for ‘Flavius’) Cl(audius) Constantinus Alaman(nicus) et / Fl(avius Iul(ius) Constantius et Fl(avius) Iul(ius) / Constans [[[et Fl(avius) Iul(ius) Delmatius,]]] / nobb. Caess. (i.e. nobilissimi Caesares quattuor) / (10) consulibus, praetoribus, tribunis plebis / senatui suo salutem dicunt. Si vos liberique / vestri valetis, bene est. Nos exercitusque / nostri valemus. / Repetentibus nobis insignem nobilitate / (15) prosapiam Proculi c(larissimi) v(iri) eiusdemq(ue) virtutes / privatim et publice decursis officiis cogni/tas intuentibus, p(atres) c(onscripti), facilis aestima[tio est] / [Pro]culum v(irum) c(larissimum) tantundem glori[am, quam ---?] / [---? a p]atribus acceperat e[---] / ------.

'Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantinus, pious, fortunate, victorious and triumphant, Augustus, highest priest (pontifex maximus), greatest victor over the Germanic peoples for the fourth time, Greatest victor over the Sarmatians for the fourth time, greatest victor over the Goths for the second time, greatest victor over the Dacians, holding the tribunician powers for the thirty-third time, consul for the eighth time, imperator for the thirty-second time, father of the fatherland, proconsul, and Flavius Claudius Constantinus, victor over the Alamanni, and Flavius Iulius Constantius and Flavius Iulius Constans and Flavius Iulius Delmatius, most noble Caesars, to the consuls, praetors, tribunes of the plebs and their senate, greetings. If you and your children are well, it is good. We and our armies are well. Recalling the distinguished nobility of the ancestry of Proculus, of clarissimus rank, and the virtues acknowledged in the private and public performance of his services, conscript fathers, it is easy to value just how much glory Proculus, of clarissimus rank, … received from his ancestors…'

The inscription reproduces an imperial letter addressed to the Senate, acknowledging the prestige and virtues of a Roman senator. The name of the Caesar Flavius Delmatius, in l. 8, was erased after his damnatio memoriae in 337. Although the inscription does not mention a statue, it was almost certainly part of a statue-monument (see below, 'Further Discussion')

Fragment marble block, 93 x 65 x 24 cm. Only the upper part of the piece survives. The piece was cut, and no mouldings survive. The epigraphic field is rough, possibly due to the erasure of an earlier inscription. There are three holes towards the right edge of the piece, all post-antique.the bottom of our block was broken, and it is lost. There is no record of holes for affixing a statue on the top.

Our monument was discovered in the Forum of Trajan. It is still there, in a deposit, inv. n. 3616 (3433).

Lucius Aradius Valerius Proculus was a member of a prestigious family. He had a very successful career during the reigns of Constantine and his sons, reaching the consulship in 340 (PLRE I, 747-749 Proculus 11). The titles of Constantine I listed in our inscription allow us to date it to 336-337 (Kienast 1990, 301-302). Between 333 and 337 Proculus served in the imperial palace in Constantinople, as count of the first order intra palatium, and the letter reproduced in the inscription must be from the end of 336 or the beginning of 337 (March at the latest), when he took the office of prefect of the City in Rome (Chastagnol 1962, 100).

Although neither the inscription nor the actual object offer a clear proof that this was part of a statue-monument, this seems the most likely possibility. The rectangular shape of the piece of marble strongly suggests such a monument. The content of the inscription, praising Proculus, also would fit well with a statue dedication. It should also be remembered that the Forum of Trajan was a traditional space for the setting up of statues, usually commanded by the emperors at the request of the Senate and people of Rome.

Carlos Machado

Main Reference

L'Année épigraphique, , 1934, 158

Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum; , VI, 40776

Discussion References

Chastagnol, A., Les fastes de la Préfecture de Rome au Bas-Empire, Paris 1962,

Jones, A. H. M. et al., The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. I 260-395, Cambridge et al. 1971 (1975), pp. 747-749 (Proculus 11)