Reduced-size inscription as on the famous Roman epitaph of the Coliseum
19th century, Grand Tour
Stone; modern metal pedestal
68 x 40 x 10,5 cm (with the pedestal)
DECIUS MARIUS VENANTIUS BASILIUS[,] V[IR] C[LARISSIMUS] ET INL[USTRIS][,] PRAEF[ECTUS] URB[IS][,] PATRICIUS[,] CONSUL ORDINARIUS[,] ARENAM ET PODIUM QU[AE] ABOMINANDI TERRAEMO/TUS RUINA PROS/TRAVIT[,] SUM[P]TU PRO/PRIO RESTITUIT[.]
Decius Marius Venantius Basilius, a famous and high-born man, Prefect of the City Rome], a Patrician and Consul Ordinary, has restored at his own expense (sumptu proprio) the arena and podium [of the Colosseum] which the disaster of a deplorable earthquake had laid low.
The inscription itself commemorates the reconstruction of key parts of the Colosseum, destroyed in an earthquake ca. A.D. 443: namely, the Podium, which comprised the front-row seats reserved for distinguished guests; and the Arena, which denotes in Latin the sand on which the spectacles would be performed.
The Latin also contains a few examples of official Roman titles: as a Vir Clarissimus, Venantius is of senatorial rank (or in the family of someone of such rank); he has been made Prefect of Rome (Praefectus Urbi), an appointment akin to mayor of the city, which would have been granted to him by the Roman emperor; the status of Patrician (Patricius) originally identified a descendant of the early Senators of Rome; finally, as a Consul Ordinarius, Venantius was one of the two highest magistrates in Rome.
5 800 €