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Lepcis Magna: Theater (2) Inscriptions


Porticus in front of the theater. Photo Marco Prins. Lepcis Magna: Phoenician colony, later part of the Carthaginian empire, the kingdom of Massinissa, and the Roman empire. Its most famous son was the emperor Septimius Severus (193-211).
 
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Theater Inscriptions

 Behind the stage of the theater of Lepcis Magna (first page) was a trapezoidal construction that was called Porticus post scaenam by ancient architects. It is a square garden, surrounded by colonnades; in the center was a temple. (Comparable portici are known from Rome: e.g. the Theater of Balbus and the Theater of Pompey.) In Lepcis, the temple was built for the Dei Augusti, "the august gods", by Iddibal, another member of the Tapapius family that had built the theater. It was dedicated by governor Quintus Marcius Barea.

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One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. The theater was adorned by many inscriptions, like this modest one, known as IRT 376:
IMPeratori  ANTONINO
AVGvsto  PIO
Qvintvs  POMPEIVS  Qvirinia
SATVRNINVS
STATVAM  QVAM
PRO  HONORE  AEDILITATIS  PRO-
MISIT  POSVIT
To the emperor Antoninus
Pius Augustus
has Quintus Pompeius Saturninus,
of the Quirinian district,
erected this statue
to the honor of the aediles,
as he had promised. (more...)
Another inscription, known as IRT 534, graced the stage. The names of the governor and his deputy help us to date the construction to the last years of Antoninus Pius (138-161).

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins.
One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins.
One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins.
One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins.

PROSCAENIVM  COLVMNIS ET  MARMORIBVS  EX  HS  CC milibvsA  MARCIO  VITALE  ITEMQVE  EX  CCC milibvsA  IVNIO  GALBA  IN  EAM  REM  DATIS  ITEM  TETRASTYLIS  LACVNARVM  PECvniaPVBLica  EXORNATVM  DEDICATVM  EST  Lvcio  HEDIO  RVFO LOLLIANO  AVITO  PROCOnSvle Caio VIBIO  GALLIONE  CLAVDIO  SEVERO  LEGato
The proscaenium, adorned with columns and marble statues financed from 200,000 sesterces given by Marcius Vitalis and 300,000 sesterces given by Junius Galba for the same object, and a tetrastylis with a coffered ceiling from public money, was dedicated when Lucius Hedius Rufus Lollianus Avitus was governor and Gaius Vibius Gallio Claudius Severus was his deputy.

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. IRT 391 is a dedication to Septimius Severus, the Lepcitanian emperor. The inscription was erected in 201 by an organization known as the Curia Germanica, which had a counterpart that erected a similar inscription to Severus' wife Julia Domna (next photo).The date suggests that the two Curias wanted to welcome the imperial couple when they visited Lepcis Magna in 202/203.
IMPeratori CAESari  Lvcio  SEPTIMIO
SEVERO  PIO  PERTINACi
AVGvsto ARABico  ADIABENico
PARTHICO  MAXimo PONTifici
MAXimo TRIBvnicia POTEStateVIIII
IMPeratori  XI  COnSvli  II  Patri  Patriae PRO-
COnSvli  CVRIA
GERMANICA
EX  VOTO  STATVIT
To emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus, pontifex maximus, vested with the tribunician power for the ninth time, eleven times proclaimed imperator, twice consul, father of the fatherland, proconsul, the Curia Germanica erected this, as promised.

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. IRT 405 is the counterpart of the inscription above.
IVLIAE  AVGVSTAE
MATRI  CASTRORVM
MATRI  AVGvstorvm
CONIVGI  INVICTI
IMPeratoris CAESaris Lvcii  SEPTIMIi
SEVERI  PII
PERTINACIS  AVGVSTI
ARABICI  ADIABENICI
PARTHICI  MAXIMI
CVRIA  AVGVSTA
NVMINI  EIVS  DEVOTISSIMA  POSVIT
To Julia Augusta, mother of the camps, mother of the emperors, wife of the unconquerable emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severius Pius Pertinax Augustus Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus, the Curia Augusta -most loyal to her majesty- dedicated this.

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. The following set of four inscriptions was also erected in 200, and was probably also meant to welcome the imperial family when it visited Lepcis Magna. It is obvious that the official who erected these stelae (a man who had been in charge with the taxes of Thrace and the granaries in the Mercurius quarter of Alexandria) was trying to impress the royals and wanted a better procuratorship. IRT 392:
IMPeratori CAESariLvcio  SEPTIMIO  SEVERO
PIO  PERTINACi
AVGvsto ARABico  ADIABENico
PARTHICO  MAXimo
PONTifici MAXimoTRIBvniciaPOTEState
VIII  IMPeratori  XI
COnSvli  II  Patri  Patriae PROCOnSvli
Marcvs  IVNIVS  PVNICVS  PROCvrator  SEXAGENA-
RIVS  PROVINCIAE  THRACIAE  CENTE-
NARIVS  ALEXANDRIAE  AD  MERCVRI-
VM
To emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus, pontifex maximus, vested with the tribunician power for the eighth time, eleven times proclaimed imperator, twice consul, father of the fatherland, proconsul, Marcus Junius Punicus, procurator sexagenarius of the province Thrace and procurator centenarius of Alexandria ad Mercurium.

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. Junius Punicus' second inscription, IRT 403, is dedicated to Julia Domna:
IVLIAE  AVGVSTAE
MATRI  CASTRORVM
MATRI  AVGvstorvm CONIVGI
INVICTI
IMPeratoris CAESaris  Lvcii  SEPTIMIi
SEVERI  PII  PERTINACIS
AVGvsti ARABici  ADIABENICI
PARTHICI  MAXIMI
Marcvs  IVNIVS  PVNICVS
PROCvrator  SEXAGENARIVS
PROVINCIAE  THRACIAE
CENTENARIVS  ALEXAN-
DRIAE  AD  MERCVRIVM
To Julia Augusta, mother of the camps, mother of the emperors, wife of the unconquerable emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severius Pius Pertinax Augustus Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus, Marcus Junius Punicus, procurator sexagenarius of the province Thrace and procurator centenarius of Alexandria ad Mercurium.

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. The third monument, IRT 422, was dedicated to the eldest son of Severus and Julia Domna, who was officially called Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, but is better known as Caracalla.
IMPeratori CAESari  Marco  AVRELIO  ANTONINO
AVGVSTO PIO  TRIBVNICAE
POTESTATIS  IIII  PROCOnSvli
IMPeratoris CAESaris Lvcii  SEPTIMIi
PII PERTINACIS  AVGVSTI
ARABICI  ADIABENICI  PAR-
THICI  MAXIMI  FELICISSIMI
Patri  Patriae  FILIO
Marcvs  IVNIVS  PVNICVS  PROCvrator  SEXAGENA-
RIVS  PROVINCIAE  THRACIAE
CENTENARIVS  ALEXANDRIAE  AD
MERCVRIVM
To emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus Pius, vested with the tribunician power for the fourth time, proconsul, son of emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus, most lucky, father of the fatherland, Marcus Junius Punicus, procurator sexagenarius of the province Thrace and procurator centenarius of Alexandria ad Mercurium.

One of the theater inscriptions. Photo Marco Prins. The final inscription, IRT 434, was a dedication to the youngest son of the emperor and his wife, Geta. After he had been assassinated in 211 by his brother Caracalla, Geta's name was erased (damnatio memoriae).
Pvblio  SEPTIMIO  GETAE  CAESari
IMPeratoris CAESaris  Lvcii  SEPTIMIi
PII PERTINA-
CIS  ARABICI  ADIABE-
NICI  PARTHICI  MAXIMI 
FELICISSIMI  Patri  Patriae  FILIO
Marcvs  IVNIVS  PVNICVS  PROCvrator
SEXAGENARIVS  PROVINCI-
AE  THRACIAE  CENTENA-
RIVS  ALEXANDRIAE  AD
MERCVRIVM
To Publius Septimius Geta Caesar, son of emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Arabicus Adiabenicus Parthicus Maximus, most lucky, father of the fatherland, Marcus Junius Punicus, procurator sexagenarius of the province Thrace and procurator centenarius of Alexandria ad Mercurium.


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Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2007
Revision: 12 June 2007
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