Dedication asking for the safety of Nero and Poppaea (CIL XI, 1331)

Typology (Honorific / Funerary / etc.): 
Original Location/Place: 
Unknown. Found in the countryside near modern Luni in 1740, then transported to Florence.
Actual Location (Collection/Museum): 
Palazzo Nuovo, Musei Capitolini, Rome. Inventory no.: NCE 2515
65 CE
Physical Characteristics: 
Marble plaque. The inscriptions are placed within a moulded frame, in two columns, separated by a blank space. The plaque has been broken into four pieces and restored, with some damage remaining to the lower right hand corner and the upper moulded frame.
Height: 24.3 cm
Width: 88.5 cm 
Depth: 1.1 cm  
Letter height: 0.50-3.50 cm

CIL XI, 1331

The above inscription records a dedication by a member of the local elite of northern Italy, Lucius Titinius Glaucus Lucretius, in fulfilment of a vow taken to preserve the safety of the emperor Nero; it appears to have been dedicated during the turmoil of the Pisonian conspiracy in 65 CE, by an individual who was particularly close to the Julio-Claudian household. The inscription reveals important information concerning the personal patronage extended by certain of the Julio-Claudian emperors and the elevated position that their clients might reach, and it also demonstrates the way in which the emperor Nero consolidated his hold on power through deliberate allusions to his predecessors. The inscription also connects the position of the emperor with the imperial ideal of felicitas (happiness), which is manifested both in the actions of men as well as in the general prosperity of the age.
The text of the inscription is divided into two columns that contain almost identical texts, but which differ slightly in the dedication. The left hand column is dedicated to Poppaea Augusta (Poppaea the Younger), Nero’s second wife; she is described as diva (deified), which along with the consuls named in lines 7-8 allows for a secure dating of 65 CE (Spadoni, I Prefetti nell’amministrazione municipale dell’Italia Romana, p. 103). Exactly the same text is repeated in the right hand column of the inscription, but dedicated to the Emperor Nero. Duncan Fishwick has stated that although Poppaea Augusta is clearly defined as a deity in the left hand text of the inscription, the original purpose of the inscription is the celebration of the fulfilment of a vow paid specifically to Nero, meaning that the dedications are honorific in nature, rather than religious (Fishwick, Votive offerings to the emperor, p. 125-6). That Nero is the primary focus of the inscription can also be seen in the ductus of the right hand column, which is better cut and spatially aligned than the lettering of the left hand column dedicated to Poppaea, suggesting greater care in the process of inscribing (Angeli Bertinelli, Lunensia Antiqua, p. 88).
The dedicator of the inscription is named as Lucius Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus, whose career is also known from a number of other inscriptions also discovered in the frontier town of Luna, which was situated on the boundary between ancient Etruria and Liguria (e.g. CIL XI, 1322; 1349a; 6955). He was an important equestrian and member of the local elite of the colonia of Luna, which is indicated by his statement of membership in the Galerian tribe, which was predominant among the Roman citizens of the town (Angeli Bertinelli, Lunensia Antiqua, p. 88). The inscription reveals that L. Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus had an enormously successful career; he was duumvir (leader) of the colony four times, named ‘patron of the colony’ (patronus coloniae), the ‘sevir’ (one of a municipal board made up of six men) in charge of a squadron of Roman knights (equitum Romanorum), a curial priest, the prefect of the ‘fabri’ of the consul, which literally translated as prefect of the consul’s ‘engineers,’ but which at this period had come to be understood as simply ‘aide’ with high authority (Sherk, Roman Empire, p. 110and n. 21). A further inscription from Luna (CIL XI, 6955) has revealed that following the personal intercession of the emperor Claudius, on one of the occasions that L. Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus was duumvir of Luna, he was also named as quinquennalis, the highest municipal magistracy, demonstrating the close relationship that he enjoyed with the imperial household. Federico Frasson has also suggested that he continued to enjoy similar patronage under Nero, including his investiture as praefectus fabrum consulis directly in his service (Le epigrafi di Luni Romana, p. 45).
As well as these important local political magistracies, L. Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus also enjoyed a very prestigious military career, leading the Twenty Second Legion Primigenia as their tribune (tribunus militum legionis XXII Primigeniae) and acting as ‘prefect with the power of a legate’ (praefectus pro legato) for the governor of the Balearic Islands, where he also commanded the Legion Sixth Victrix. This was an important regional position as the island district was, in the first century CE, the destination for many condemned to exile from Rome, which made a strong military presence an essential requirement for the maintenance of control and order (Frasson, Le epigrafi di Luni Romana, p. 45). This becomes ever more important in the context of the inscription; L. Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus made the vow for the safety of Nero at a time when the administration was still dealing with the crisis of the Pisonian conspiracy in 65 CE, which sought to assassinate Nero for his despotic behaviour and elevate the statesman Caius Calpurnius Piso to the emperorship. The vow recorded in the inscription is a public statement of loyalty to the imperial household and support of the emperor, in gratitude for the prestigious military and political positions that L. Titinius had been awarded under successive Julio-Claudian leaders (Angeli Bertinelli, Lunensia Antiqua, p. 88). It is perhaps worth noting here the titulature that the inscription bestows upon Nero; in lines 2-3 of column 2 he is described as ‘son of the deified Claudius, grandson of Germanicus Caesar, great-grandson of Tiberius Claudius Augustus, great-great-grandson of the deified Augustus’ (divi Claudi filio Germanici / Caesaris nepoti Tiberi Caesaris Augusti pronepoti divi Augusti abnepoti), with obvious emphasis given to his relationship with the emperors that came before him. This was especially significant as unlike Tiberius, Caligula (Caius) and Claudius before him, Nero was not directly linked to the founder of the household, Augustus, but rather claimed his lineage through his mother Octavia’s family line and following his adoption by Claudius in 50 CE. The emphasis on his connection to the Julio-Claudian gens in this inscription was a further demonstration of support to the imperial household by L. Titinius, who used the dedication to publically declare his allegiance. L. Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus’ loyalty also extended to the religious sphere; in the inscription he is named as a ‘priest of Rome and Augustus’ (flamen Romae et Augusti), indicating the establishment of the imperial cult in Luna. Indeed, M. Gabriella Angeli Bertinelli has taken this reference to the flaminate as an indication that there was an altar or perhaps even a whole building dedicated to the celebration of Rome and the emperor (Lunensia Antiqua, p. 9). As a member of the local aristocracy it is not surprising that this too formed part of his cultural and public identity, but his placement of the role of flamen before any other political or military magistracy in the inscription again underlines his strong connection with the imperial authorities in Rome and his fidelity to the emperor.  
The final lines of the inscription describe the vow performed by L. Titinius and the gods to whom it was made: ‘voto… pos(u)it Iovi Iunoni / Minervae Felicitati Romae divo Augusto’ (having been granted his prayer, he erected it to Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Happiness of Rome, the deified Augustus). It has been suggested that this choice of deities was not a casual one; the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva had their cult on the Capitoline hill of Rome, along with that of Felicitas, which is also where offerings were made in thanks to the gods for the danger to the person of the emperor that had been avoided in the discovery of the Pisonian conspiracy (Frasson, Le epigrapfi di Luni Romana, p. 48). Perhaps most interesting, however, is the consideration of “Felicitati Romae”. The cult of Felicitas was well established at Rome, with a temple dedicated somewhere along the line of the triumphal procession by L. Licinius Lucullus after 46 BCE, using the booty won during his campaigns in Spain in 151-150 BCE (Strabo, Geography, VIII.6.23). Julius Caesar had planned a second temple in 44 BCE, shortly before his assassination, which was eventually fulfilled by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus following his death (Cassius Dio, Roman History, XLIV.5.2). Both instances of the cult therefore appeal to the earliest conception of felicitas as the product of good fortune, particularly in the military sphere. As Carlos Noreña has rightly noted, both Cicero and Livy frequently use felicitas in their descriptions of military achievements as the natural “counterpart of martial virtus in Roman conceptions of victory” (Imperial ideals, p. 166; see ibid, n. 205 for references to Cicero and Livy’s usages). In this sense, L. Titinius’s dedication to felicitas would seem logical; although perhaps not tied to a specific set of victories, his leadership of several legions in areas that were historically problematic (Hispania Citerior and the Balearic islands) would support cult devotion to a concept that emphasised victory. However, under Augustus this concept of felicitas evolved to encompass the general happiness and prosperity of the age, as well as good fortune in battle (Noreña, Imperial ideals, p. 167). Although by the reign of Nero this felicitas was a broadly construed term, it had not lost its connection to the role of the emperor, whose own felicitas – originally conceived as a military ideal – remained “vital” to its success. This connection remained prevalent in literature, with Seneca even describing Nero’s accession in the Apocolocyntosis  as “the beginning of the most blessed age” (I.1: initio saeculi felicissimi). Felicitas was therefore, a state of being that could only be secured by the person of the emperor himself (Noreña, Imperial Ideals, p. 167). By associating felicitas with the city of Rome, L. Titinius Glaucus Lucretianus was making a defiant statement of support for the emperor Nero at a time of political crisis, and one that had originated within the capital city itself. The implication of his vow was clear; the felicitas Romae depended on the safety and security of the emperor, to whom L. Titinius remained loyal in gratitude for the years of patronage that the imperial household had awarded him. By making this statement in the publically accessible form of an inscription, he committed the loyalty of the entire community of Luna in a visible and permanent way. 
Bibliographical references: 

Lunensia Erratica

Angeli Bertinelli, Maria GabriellabookLunensia ErraticaRomaGiorgio Bretschneider Editore2011

Votive Offerings to the Emperor

Fishwick, Duncanarticle-in-a-journal121-13080Votive Offerings to the EmperorZeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 1990
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