PRAETORIAN DIPLOMA

MS 1870
MS Short Title PRAETORIAN DIPLOMA
Text PRAETORIAN DIPLOMA GIVEN BY EMPEROR PHILIP THE ARAB AND HIS SON TO MARCUS AFRANIUS QUINTIANUS OF AELIA MURSA, AFTER 26 YEARS OF SERVICE WITH THE 1ST COHORT OF THE PRAETORIAN GUARD, UNDER THE CONSULS GAIUS BRUTTIUS PRAESENS AND GAIUS ALLIUS ALBINUS. COPIED AND CHECKED FROM THE BRONZE TABLET SET UP IN ROMA ON THE WALL BEHIND THE TEMPLE OF AUGUSTUS, NEAR THE STATUE OF MINERVA
Description

MS in Latin on bronze, Roma, 7 January 246, tabella I, 13,7x9,9 cm, single column, 23 lines in rustic Latin capitals, 2 holes through the tablet for a wire that originally bound the two tablets together, secured with the seals of the 7 witnesses.

There are 3 praetorian diplomas (MSS 1801, 1870, 2051/7) in The Schøyen Collection, further 11 auxiliary diplomas (MSS 1836, 1899, 2051/1-6, 2051/8, 2052, 2086), and 3 fleet diplomas (MSS 698, 1921, 2032). 27 other praetorian diplomas are known. One, British Museum, CIL XVI 151 was issued on the same day to another veteran from Aelia Mursa.

Binding
Context
Provenance 1. Marcus Afranius Quintianus, Aelia Mursa, N. Slovenia (246 until his death); 2. Found in South-East Hungary; 2. Charles Ede cat. Writing & lettering in antiquity, 16(1994):32.
Commentary

The present diploma gives Marcus Afranius Quintianus an honourable discharge from the praetorian guard of Emperor Philip the Arab, Roman citizenship for himself and his descendants, and the right of legal marriage. The present MS contains the unusual information, of both date, place and the exemplar copied.

The exemplar, the bronze tablet set in the wall on Forum Romanum, still survives in fragments.

The inner face of the tabella should have the same text as on the outer face to prevent fraud, but by the 3rd c. the inner faces of diplomas were increasingly carelessly engraved. Both this diploma and the British Museum one issued on the same day, have meaningless marks on the inner faces, as if the scribes knew that they were never to be opened.

Published Margaret M. Roxan: Roman Military Diplomas, 1985-1993, (III), no. 199.
Exhibited
Mentioned
Boxing
See also
Place of origin Roma
Dates 246 AD

Location