Septimius Severus, Iulia Domna ve Perinthos

Mustafa H. SAYAR   754–760


Abstract: Prof. Dr. Sencer Şahin, for whom this memoire is prepared, personally joined and sup­port­ed my doctoral studies on Marmara Ereğlisi in the province of Tekirdağ. Sencer Şahin has con­tributed greatly to my studies both on Marmara Ereğlisi and later, not only scholarly but also as a mentor and friend; I hereby commemorate him graciously and would like to dedicate this ar­tic­le to his dear memory as a souvenir of our visits to Marmara Ereğlisi and many historic-geo­graphic trips to various regions of Anatolia together through the years.

Albert Dumont visited Perinthos-Herakleia on the north coast of the Pro­pon­tis in 1868 and noted a marble statue base embedded in the wall of the so-called cathedral at the western end of the acro­po­lis; he published the inscription on it in 1876. The same inscription was formerly noted by Philipp Le Bas and W. H. Waddington about the middle of the nineteenth cen­tury. After Du­mont, Austrian ancient historian Ernst Kalinka studied the same inscription in situ in 1895 and pub­lished it in 1896. The cathedral was destroyed in 1913 and the statue base buri­ed in the debris has never been seen again. The abovementioned inscription states that the city and public assemb­lies of Perinthos honoured the Roman Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus bet­ween 198-211: “To good fortune! City and public assemblies of Perinthians, who have the neokoros title, (honour) Imperator Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus Arabicus, Adiabenicus, Part­hicus Maximus.” Septimius Severus, the governor of Pannonia Superior, was proclaimed the emperor at the pro­vin­cial capital Carnuntum on the Danube on the 9th of April 193 AD. After the civil war that lasted to the end of spring 194 AD and triumphs won Septimius Severus received the titles of Arabicus and Adiabenicus in 195 AD and the title of Parthicus maximus in 198 AD. Perinthos received the tit­le of neokoros mentioned in the ninth line of the inscription for the first time in 196 when Sep­ti­mius Severus visited Perinthos for the second time after his victory over Pescennius Niger at Issos. The abovementioned inscription was engraved, taking into account the evidence at hand, after 198, per­­haps on his way from Syria to Rome in 202. Septimius Severus, originally from Leptis Magna in north Africa, had to set off on military cam­paigns quite frequently due to problems along the northern and eastern borders of the empire and he was accompanied by his wife Julia Domna of Syrian origin. An inscription fragment honouring Julia Domna was seen on a marble piece embedded in the wall of a house in the city centre of Mar­­mara Ereğlisi. This fragment records an honouring some time between 193 and 217 when she came to Perinthos, perhaps accompanying her husband. A newly founded four-line honorary inscription on a block in Marmara Ereğlisi records once again that Julia Domna was honoured at Perinthos: “City and public assemblies of the Perinthians (honour) Julia Domna Augusta.” Absence of any other detail in the inscription paves the way for a dating sometime between June 193 and April 217 AD just like the previous inscription. Julia Domna received the title of Augusta in June 193, which is mentioned in the second line; however, she received the title mater cast­ro­rum on April 14, 195 and the absence of this title at first sight suggests that it was damaged during the re­­using of the block in the wall. This hypothesis, however, has to remain a mystery as the presence of no other lines is attested in the chiselled surface. All these inscriptions reveal the fact that Perinthians did reciprocate the special interest and privileges bestowed by Septimius Severus on Perinthos

Keywords: Perinthos-Herakleia; Septimius Severus; Julia Domna; privileges; honorary decrees.



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