Home > Auctions > 28th May 2019 > Roman Dedicatory Plaque from Rapada and Athenodoros for the Preservation of Emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla

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LOT 0067

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 6,920 - 9,230
USD ($) 7,830 - 10,430

Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £6,000
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Roman Dedicatory Plaque from Rapada and Athenodoros for the Preservation of Emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla

Dated to 17 June 204 AD

A substantial bronze plaque (tabula ansata), decorated with two human ears and carrying eight lines of engraved inscription with a dedication to Good Fortune (‘Agathe Tuche’) for the preservation of ‘the emperors Septimius Severus (193-211 AD) and his son Caracalla (198-217 AD)’: reading:


Translating to: ‘To Good Fortune. For the welfare of our lords the emperors: to Zeus who Listens to Prayer, Rapada (and) Athenodoros, son of Demetrios, having prayed and vowed, dedicated (this) in
the year 267, the 22nd of (the month) Panemos.’ (i.e. 22 Panemos (around 17 June), AD 204)' 1.29 kg, 28cm (11"). Very fine condition. An exceptionally rare survivor.

Property of a Richmond gentleman; part of his family collection formed before 1980; thence by descent; accompanied by metallurgic analytical report, written by Metallurgist Dr. Brian Gilmour of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, report number 134253; and a full scholarly report on the inscription by Dr Ittai Gradel.

Text underlined indicates letters written with a line above, signifying they should be read as numerals; the text is graphically divided by two engraved ivy leaves, here marked with *; […] marks text once present, but now lost or illegible; line 1: the final I is hidden under encrustation; line 4: the final I was either not written or is hidden under encrustation just before the raised frame of the tablet; line 6: the final two letters are hidden under encrustation; line 7: ΖΞϹ: 7-60-200, i. e. written in reverse: 267; Pompeian Era 1=63 BC, so PE 267=AD 204; line 8: Panemos 22.

Lines five and six names the two dedicators, it is worth of note that, contrary to local custom, the dedicator Rapada does not identify himself using a patronymic ('son of...').

In line seven, the year of the era is written in reverse (unlike the number of the day of the month in line eight).. The calendar employed would appear to be the Pompeian Era, beginning with the Roman annexation of Syria 63 BC, which was commonly used in Roman Palestine and Syria (parts of modern day Israel, Jordan, Libanon, and Syria), and here corresponding to AD 204, when there were indeed two Roman emperors ruling simultaneously: Septimius Severus (reg. 193-211 AD) and his son Caracalla (reg. 198-217 AD).

The occasion for setting up the dedication is unknown - neither Severus nor Caracalla had birthdays or accession anniversaries around 17 June, and although they had been in the area a few years before, fighting a war against Parthia in the later 190’s AD, they were no longer in the vicinity in 204 AD. The date 22 Pamenos may rather have had a purely local or personal relevance for the dedicators.

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Bid History: 1   |   Current bid: £6,000

Lot No. 0067

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
The May Fair Hotel London
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 27th May 2019
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 28th May 2019 (Day 1)
10am : Lots 1 - 660

Auction Venue:
The Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

10am GMT Start (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)
Wednesday 29th May 2019 (Day 2)
Lots 700 - 1400
Thursday 30th May 2019 (Day 3)
Lots 1401 - 2112
Friday 31st May 2019 (Day 4)
Lots 2113 - 2817
Saturday 1st June 2019 (Day 5)
Lots 2818 - 3306
Coins: 3401 - 3579
Sunday 2nd June 2019 (Day 6)
Coins, Notes & Medals
Lots 3600 - 4387

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