Epigraphic Flickr: Cippus of Probus from Tunisia

For some time I’ve been trying to follow the posting of photographs of epigraphic interest to Flickr, the photo-sharing website. Of particular interest (as previously discussed) are the groups Visibile Parlare – Visible Words (Latin) and Visibile Parlare – Visible Words (Greek). A search for the tag “inscription” is also interesting.

From time to time I think I shall highlight here items that catch my interest in these venues.

Consider a photograph posted by Sally Wilson (sallycat101) on 26 October 2008, labeled “inscribed stone, carthage.” The high resolution image of this cylindrical cippus shows only part of the text campus, for external circumstances explained by the photographer.

A little transcription and then searching in the epigraphic databases and we can find that this is a published text:

  • CIL 8.22084 = ILTun 1732; registered in EDCS (photo), where we get a digital text as follows (I copy it here because there is no mechanism that I can find for direct linkage to individual records in EDCS); evidently not in EDH:

Imp(eratori) Caes(ari)
M(arco) Aurelio
Probo Pi-
o Felici Aug(usto)
ae potesta-
[tis —

Which I’d translate as: “The Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Probus Pius Felix Augustus, pontifex maximus, (holding the) tribunician power …” (the cippus is broken away from its base, destroying one or more additional lines of text).

It’s apparently a milestone (or boundary marker) of the Roman Emperor Probus (AD 276-282). There are a few other inscriptions of Probus cataloged in CIL and other corpora. Without the tribunician year or other indication of date (e.g., consular year), it may be impossible to date this particular inscription more closely.

I’m sure readers without present access to CIL or ILTun (like me) would be grateful for comments (posted here) about the context of this find (EDCS lists “Ain Ghar Salah” as the findspot), the road it may have been associated with, or other relevant matters.

About Tom Elliott

Tom is Associate Director for Digital Programs and Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. Tom holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Ancient History from UNC. His master's thesis treated a class of late Roman census documents from the Aegean islands and Asia Minor. His dissertation assembled and analyzed the epigraphic evidence for boundary disputes in the early Roman empire.
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2 Responses to Epigraphic Flickr: Cippus of Probus from Tunisia

  1. Pics like these make me wonder about the possibility of combining lots of similar photos to create a single, hopefully easy to read digital image of objects. Not quite MicroSoft’s PhotoSynth, but more like this.

  2. Pierre says:

    About this milestone, via books.google where apart of the CIL VIII is, you have this extract and the comment : “in via Romana ante fontem Ain Ghar Salah”.

    The CIL give as reference, Eph VII n° 591 and a part of J. Poinsot (“Voyage archéologique en Tunisie”, in “Bulletin trimestriel des antiquités africaines”, 1885, p. 103, n° 814). The last one is in gallica.

    So in 1885, Poinsot describe : “Aïn Ghar Salah est une fontaine qui s’échappe de rochers formant une sorte de grotte creusée dans un mamelon qui domine la route à droite. Ce mamelon est couvert et entouré de ruines.” [mamelon = hill]

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