Document

CIL 10. 3903 =EJ 329, inscription, Capua, early 1st cent. CE.

[The Members of the Board of Two] said [ _ ] that it was appropriate to [dignify with every kind of private] and public [honours] an excellent [man, and asked] what they desired to be done about this matter, [and about this matter] the following decision was taken: since Lucius Antistius [Campanus has completed all his] military service, and during very tough and perilous campaigns [won] the good opinion of [Caesar] the god [and the divine Augustus], and was settled by [the latter in] our [colony _ ]; and since he exhibited private and public generosity to such an extent that he [virtually shared] even his own property with the community [by taking upon himself] a large number of different expenses, and indeed always [seemed] happier [to pay out money] which was to be spent for the benefit of everyone, rather than [for the advantage of] his own interests and those of his family, and to grow old [in accumulating] the public offices [offered by the community], so that even now he was [involved in our] most important [affairs], and since he has passed away [in his efforts, which, while beneficial to the community], were nevertheless arduous for a man of his years, the councillors have decided that [the memory of a most distinguished] and helpful citizen [ _ ] should be glorified by these honours. namely that he be borne from the forum [to his funeral pyre in a funeral arranged] and approved by the :Members of the Board of Two, one or both of them, and that legal proceedings on that day should be postponed [so that the people] may not be prevented by such matters from attending in as great numbers as possible the funeral of an excellent and most generous leading citizen, and that a gilt [ _ ] statue should be erected to him at public expense with this [ _ ] decree of the town councillors inscribed on it, at the place where Lucius Antistius Campanus, his excellent son and successor to his service and generosity, [should choose _ ] and for the other statues, shields, and gifts which he received [ _ ] up to the time of his death and those which were bestowed [on him after his death], a site should be granted at public expense which Lucius [Antistius Campanus should choose _ ] beside the Via Appia [ __ _
Trans:
Campbell, Brian. The Roman Army: A Sourcebook (Routledge 1994).

Questions

What was Lucius Antistius's job in the community?
How did Antistius accumulate so much wealth to share?
What was his status in the military?
In what ways was he honored throughout his lifetime?
What kind of social background and personal history led him to pursue achievements in public service?

All good questions - you might research the town in question, and you can also examine his funerary relief (in the British Museum).

Document Analysis

Important context for the document

The document can be found in Capua, the chief city of the Campania region of Italy in ancient times. After Rome’s victory in the war, Capua passed under Roman control as a municipium (self-governing community), and its people were granted limited Roman citizenship (without the vote). The city kept its own magistrates and language. In 312 bc Capua was connected with Rome by the Appian Way(Via Appia). Therefore, the inscription is located at a central location, on the first and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, running from Rome to Campania and southern Italy. Such public display was a privilege granted only to the upper class, but it stimulated pride in all Roman citizens and to inspire them to noble deeds. At the same time, the roads around Rome and other cities in the empire were lined with monuments from which similar reliefs of freedmen and their families looked out, proudly proclaiming their full membership of Roman society.

Role of Antistius in the society

According to the document, Anstistius had served under both Caesar and Augustus and was settled at Capua probably in 41 or 36 BCE (Campbell 1994). His financial generosity to the community was exceptional. However, no office is specifically mentioned, and the text suggests that he may have held them all. His son was clearly destined for an important role in Capua and seems to have been the Member of the Board of Two in 13 BCE (Campbell 1994). The perception of Antistius as an excellent man and most generous leading citizen may reflect the ideals of Augustus. Augustus reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, and created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome. The prestigious funerary reliefs and inscriptions on monuments along with the honorary awards given to Antistius mirrors his dedication to public service, a value that is highly upheld by Augustus. Moreover, it must be noted that Antistius achieved much fame and glory as both a statesman and military leader; therefore, his funeral was extremely elaborate because Romans expressed great reverence toward their ancestors.

Antistius and his wife

A Roman funerary relief depicting Lucius Antistius Sarculo and his wife Antistia Plutia from Rome now in the British Museum suggests that L. Antistius was an important public figure. The couple's hairstyles indicates a date towards the end of the first century BCE. Lucius Antistius Sarculo was a member of the Salian order of priests who opened and closed the military campaign season. His wife Antistia Plutia was a freedwoman and her rise from humble slave to wife of a Salian, underlines the extent of Augustus' social revolution. Augustus gave freedmen and women many rights and privileges, including (happily for Antistius) the right to marry Roman citizens. It must be noted that Antistia's hair in the funerary relief follows exactly the hairstyle of Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus. The roads around Rome and other cities in the empire were lined with monuments from which similar reliefs of freedmen and their families looked out, proudly proclaiming their full membership of Roman society.

Lingering Questions

Who are the Members of the Board of Two?
What was his military ranking?
What role did Antistius's wife play in the community?

Work cited

Campbell, Brian. The Roman Army: A Sourcebook (Routledge 1994).

"Capua." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 18 May. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/94379/Capua>.

"Appian Way." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 18 May. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/30587/Appian-Way>.

"municipium." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 18 May. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/397582/municipium>.

Connections and Interrelations


Veterans' Rights - This document discusses how military service can be used as a platform of social mobility for veterans. It would be interesting to find out how the title of Antistius as a veteran may have played a role in his privilege to marry a freedwoman in accordance with the revolutionary rights that Augustus had just created. Would there be a difference in his reputation and how he was remembered if he were not a veteran, but still committed to all the public service deeds?

Public Works- This document is extremely helpful because it explains in details of the specific type of public service in which Roman citizens and leaders would engage. Additionally, it provides information on the purposes and importance of these public projects as they serve the growth of the Roman Empire politically, economically, and in military. This is especially important during the era of Augustus because of the social reforms and revolutions that Augustus accomplished through various public service projects. All this information may be of great used in perusing the life of Antistius and may further answer the importance of his role and specific ways in which he contributed to the community. As a result, one can fully appreciate the honorary status that Antistius has achieved during a particular revolutionary era of the Roman history.

Soldiers' Families - The life of Antistius cannot be fully understood without knowing the background of his wife and her role in Capua. This document includes information on the woman's status in the society and much of the legal aspects of offspring and marriage. Antistius lived during a revolutionary era when Augustus had just granted Roman citizens to marry freedwoman. By reading this document, one can fully appreciate and understand how much of an impact the wife of Antistius and his family had on his life and the remembrance of his excellence.

Comments

I thought your analysis did an excellent job of concisely explaining the document and answering your questions. One thing that you might be able to get from this document is a partial definition for romanitas. The document is centered around finding the right way to dignifiy an "excellent man". What does it mean to be an excellent man and how does that embody what it means to be a Roman?
-Henock Dory

I agree with Henock on your document analysis. I might also add that adding more images to your document would perhaps add to the aesthetic appeal. Also another thing you might consider is the fact that your document refers to the Board of Two and a document I just read "Aristocratic Self-Praise" talked about the Board of Seven. I don't know if there is a connection here, but it might be something worth considering when you are linking your pages. - Brian Guymons

I thought it was really cool that it says in your document that court proceedings were cancelled so that more people could attend
Lucius Antistius's funeral. I feel that in your analysis you give a lot of great info on Capua but maybe talking about the importance of funerals and the way they were organized might add more info concerned with topics mentioned in the document. I read some really great sources on funerals in Shelton, pg 94. Hope this helps out in some way. Gaby Quintana

The regional context and social analysis are excellent! Given that you've highlighted some major trends that transcend this particular document, I imagine there could be more links to some of these monuments and other evidence of the move toward social mobility. It's always interesting to examine also if women had the same (or any) opportunities for upward movement. A link to the British Museum also seems relevant. --Albert Tomasso

Great analysis and supporting pages! You might want to add a few more references that aren't to the online Encyclopedia Britannica, but on the whole this was very informative. -James Kierstead