Associations in the Greco-Roman World (AGRW)

An expanding collection of inscriptions, papyri, and other sources in translation

Honors by the Brotherhood of Artemisians for Hilarianus with a Copy of His Letter (194 CE) Neapolis - Campania


Neapolis (Campania, Asia Minor — Pleiades map)
INeapolis 44 = A. Bresson, "The chōrai of Munatius Hilarianus or Neapolitan Phratries as Collegia," Mediterraneo Antico 16 (2013) 203–222 = A. Maiuri, "La nuova iscrizione della fratria Napoletana degli Artemisi," Studi Romani 1 (1913) 21-36 (with photos in tav. IV-V) = D. Fishwick, "L. Munatius Hilarianus and the Inscription of the Artemisii," ZPE 76 (1989) 175–183 = SEG 39 (1989), no. 1055 = PHI 177656  = ID# 11853

 194 CE

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Plaque of marble with an inscription in three columns: two in Greek and one in Latin (75 x 22 x 3 cm). Found in 1912 near an ancient necropolis at Carbonella (a suburb of Naples = Neapolis), two kilometres from Casoria. Now in the Museo Archeologico Nationale, Naples (no inv. number). Building on the suggestions of previous investigators, Alain Bresson (2013) argues "that in order to make sense of this document and to solve the difficulties that still have resisted investigation, one must fully admit that at least in the second century CE the Neapolitan phratries were managed like the contemporary collegia. Ever since (Maiuri's publication of 1913), most commentators have made the same observation. But the full consequences of this parallel have yet to be drawn." More importantly, Bresson shows that the offer of fifty chôrai most likely refers to "spaces" for funerary urns, namely columbaria niches, in a funerary structure owned by the brotherhood (as clarified in the translation below).

(Decree in Greek)

(column 1) When Emperor Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax Augustus was consul for the second time, Decimus Clodius Septimius Albinus Caesar was consul, and Marcus Aurelius Apolaustos the younger was tribune of the plebeians, on the seventh day before the kalends of January, Caelius Asiatikos, Julius Aurelianus, and Julius Caelianus, who were present, proposed the motion and all the members of the brotherhood (phrētores = phratores) resolved the following concerning this matter:  Whereas Munatius Hilarianus, having the inclinations and disposition of a just citizen and friend of the homeland and observing that our brotherhood (phratria) was undecorated and old, (10) furnished the building (oikos) in a magnificent and generous manner using the best and most rare multi-colored stones at great cost and decorated the ceiling with gold, sparing no expense or funds for this.  He also had a banqueting-hall (hestiatērion) built for the members of the brotherhood of the Artemisians which was more majestic than other such halls, and he constructed a temple for Artemis, after whom the brotherhood is named, a temple worthy of the goddess and their shared piety.

It was resolved by the members of the brotherhood of Artemisians: to repay his goodwill and love of honor with, first of all, the honor of our being well-disposed and affectionate towards him, considering him a close relative, patron, and father and praying that he has a long, prosperous life.  Then we will also give to him honors, (20) as much as we are able: the erection of four statues in the building of the brotherhood, two of Munatius Hilarianus himself, the friend of the homeland, and two of his son Marius Verus, deceased.   Furthermore, we will set up images in the building of the brotherhood with gold shields for both of them and offer to him as a free gift fifty (column 2) spaces (chorai; likely niches = columbaria for funerary urns) in their entirety from those of the former bronze-collectors in the brotherhood.  Thus, not only has our brotherhood been furnished at great expense with beautiful construction and in a manner appropriate to a holy place, but the brotherhood has also been made better by the multitude of contributions by Munatius Hilarianus, the friend of the homeland who has been honored.  The decree was ratified by Caneinius Herakleides, the manager (phrontistēs) of the brotherhood.

(Letter from Hilarianus in Greek)

(30) Munatius Hilarianus to the members of the brotherhood of Artemisians, greetings.  I gladly accepted the honors which you decreed for me and the gifts which you offered in exchange for my goodwill and kindness, not only because of the greatness of these honors as you demonstrated your love of honor for me and for my deceased son, but also because of the affection of those who offered them, recognizing you as good and just men in the exchanges.  Therefore, I request that, of the forty spaces (chorai; i.e. niches; fifty chorai in the decree and in the Latin version of the letter) which you offered to me, fifteen of these spaces will be enough and, of the four images and the four statues for me, one painting and one bronze statue will be sufficient along with equivalent honors for my son (the Latin version clarifies that the son is the intended recipient of the equivalent honors).  For, in another way, we have many images (40) and many statues dedicated within your hearts (psychai).   It is necessary for you, my good men and members of the brotherhood, not only to have before your eyes the building of the brotherhood, the decoration in it, and the great expense involved, but also for you to expect further contributions from me.  For my goodwill is eternal and my willingness to show honor and favor towards you increases.

(Letter from Hilarianus in Latin)

The Latin version of Hilarianus’ letter follows and is largely identical with the Greek letter with the exception of correctly stating that the original number of spaces or niches (chorai) offered was fifty (not forty as in the Greek letter).  The Latin also clarifies the ambiguity regarding the “equivalent honors” (one image and one statue) requested for Hilarianus’ son.

Written/translated by: Harland



{column 1}

ἐπὶ̣ [ὑ]π̣ά̣τ̣ω̣ν̣ Αὐτοκράτορος Καίσ(αρος) Λ(ουκίου) Σεπτιμίου | Σεουήρου Π[ερ]τένακος Σεβ(αστοῦ) τὸ β 〚[καὶ Δ(εκίμου) Κλωδίου Σεπτιμίου]〛|〚[Ἀλβίνου Καίσ(αρος)]〛, δημαρχοῦντος Μ(άρκου) Αὐρηλίου Ἀπολαύστου ν(εωτέρου) | πρ(ὸ) ζʹ καλ(ανδῶν) Ἰανου[α]ρίων γραφομένων παρῆσαν Καίλ(ιος) Ἀσιατικός, || Ἰούλ(ιος) Αὐρηλιανός Ἰούλ(ιος) Καιλιανός, εἰσηγουμένων <τ>ὴν γνώμην | ἁπάντων φρητόρων περὶ τούτου τοῦ πράγματος οὕτως ἔδοξεν· | ἐπειδὴ {ι} Μουνάτι[ο]ς Ἱλαριανὸς πολείτου δικαίου καὶ φιλοπάτριδος | γνώμηι καὶ διαθέσει χρώμενος τὴν φρατρίαν ὁρῶν τὴν ἡμετέραν | ἀκόσμητον οὖσαν καὶ παλαιάν φρονήματι λαμπρῶι καὶ μεγαλοψύχωι χρη||σάμενος λίθοις ποικίλοις τοῖς ἀρίστοις καὶ σπανιωτάτοις πολυτελείᾳ | κατασκευῆς ἐκόσμησεν τὸν οἶκον καὶ τὴν ὀροφὴν ἐποίησε χρυσοῦ μη|δέν τι δαπάνης χρημάτων φεισάμενος, μηδὲ τῶν εἰς τοῦτο ἀναλωμά|των, καὶ τοῖς μὲν Ἀρτεμεισίων φράτορσιν ἑστιατήριον ἐποίησε τῶν ἄλ|λων σεμνότερον, τῇ δὲ Ἀρτέμιδι, ἧς ἐστιν ἐπώνυμος ἡ φρατρία, νεὼν || κατεσκεύασεν ἄξιον καὶ τῆς θεοῦ καὶ τῆς κοινῆς εὐσεβείας, δεδόχθαι | τοῖς Ἀρτεμεισίων φράτορσιν· ἀμείβεσθαι τὴν εὔνοιαν αὐτοῦ τὴν τοσαύτην | καὶ τὴν φιλοτειμίαν, πρῶτον μὲν τῇ τῆς διαθέσεως καὶ προαιρέ<σε>ως τειμῆι | πάντων οἰκειότατον καὶ προστάτην καὶ πα<τέ>ρα νομίζοντας καὶ βίον εὐ|χομένους αὐτῷ μακρὸν ἐν εὐδαιμονίᾳ, ἔπειτα δὲ καὶ τειμὰς αὐτῶι νέμειν, κατὰ || δύναμιν τὴν ἡμετέραν, τὰς προσηκούσας ἀνδριάντων ἀναστάσεις τεσ|σάρων ἐν τῆι φρατρίᾳ, δύο μὲν αὐτοῦ Μουνατίου Ἱλ̣αριανοῦ τοῦ φιλοπάτριδος, δύο | δὲ τοῦ ὑοῦ αὐτοῦ Μαρίου Οὐήρου τοῦ ἥρωος· ἀναθεῖναι δὲ καὶ εἰκόνας ἐν τῆι φρα|τρίᾳ μετὰ ἀσπιδείων χρυσῶν ἀνφοτέρων, προσφέρειν δὲ αὐτῶι καὶ πεντήκοντα

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χώρας ὁλοκλήρους καὶ κεχαλκολογηκότων ἐν τῇ φρατρίᾳ προῖκα, | ὡς μὴ μόνον κεκοσμῆσθαι τὴν φρατρίαν ἡμεῖν πολυτελείᾳ καὶ | {καὶ} κάλλει τῆς κατασκευῆς καὶ σεμνότητι ἱροπρεπεῖ, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ πλή|θει τῶν νεμόντων εὐξῆσθαι τὴν φρατρίαν Μουνατίου Ἱλαριανοῦ τοῦ || φιλοπάτριδος τετε<ι>μημένου· ἐπικυροῦντος τὸ ψήφισμα Κανεινίου | Ἡρακλείδου τοῦ φροντιστοῦ τῆς φρατρίας. | Μουνάτιος Ἱλαριανὸς Ἀρτεμεισίων φρήτορσι vac. χαίρειν. | τὰς τειμὰς ἃς ἐψηφίσασθέ μοι καὶ τὰς δωρεὰς εἰς ἀμοιβὴν τῆς εὐνοίας | καὶ τῆς προθυμίας τῆς ἐμῆς ἡδέως ἔλαβον, οὐ διὰ τὸ μέγεθος ὧν ἐπεδεί||ξασθε φιλοτειμούμενοι πρὸς ἐμὲ καὶ τὸν υἱὸν τὸν ἐμὸν ἥρωα τὸν | ὑμέτερον, ἀλλὰ καὶ δι’ αὐτὴν τὴν προαίρεσιν τῶν διδόντων ὅτι χρησ|τοὺς ὑμᾶς καὶ δικαίους ἐπέγνων ἐκ τῶν ἀμοιβῶν. τὰς μὲν οὖν | τεσσεράκοντα χώρας ἃς προετείνατέ μοι παραιτοῦμαι, πεντεκαί|δεκα χώραις ἐκ τούτων ἀρκούμενος καὶ τῶν εἰκόνων τῶν τεσσάρων καὶ || τῶν ἀνδριάντων τῶν τεσσάρων ἐμοὶ μὲν ἱκανὴ{ι} μία γραφὴ{ι} καὶ χαλ|κοῦς ἀνδριὰς εἷς, ἴσαι δὲ τειμαὶ καὶ τῶι μεθεστηκότι τὰς γὰρ πολλὰς εἰκό|νας καὶ τοὺς πολλοὺς ἀνδριάντας ἐν ταῖς ὑμετέραις ψυχαῖς ἔχομεν κα|θιδρυμένους· χρὴ δὲ ὑμᾶς ἄνδρες ἀγαθοὶ καὶ φράτορες ἐμοί, μὴ ταῦτα | μόνον ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἔχειν τὴν φρατρίαν καὶ τὸν εἰς ταύτην κόσ||μον καὶ τὴν πολυτέλειαν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἕτερα ὑμᾶς ἐλπίζειν παρ’ ἐμοῦ· | τὸ γὰρ τῆς εὐνοίας τῆς ἐμῆς ἀεὶ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐγείρει τὴν προθυμίαν | τὴν ἐμὴν εἰς τὴν πρὸς ὑμᾶς τειμὴν καὶ χάριν.

{column 3}

L(ucius) Munatius Hilarianus phretoribus Artemisis salutem. | honores quos decrevistis mihi, item dona at re|munerandum animum meum et pronam volun||tatem grate accepi, non pro magnitudine eorum | quae ostendistis tribuentes mihi et filio meo | heroi vestro, set maxime propositi vestri gratia | qui decrevistis quod vos et bonos et iustos intel|lexi ex his quae remuneratis. et quidem quinqua||ginta choras quas mihi obtulistis excuso, quinde|cim contentus, item de imaginibus quattuor et de | statuis quattuor; mihi enim sufficit statua una | et una imago, set et in honorem fili mei sufficiet | statua una; plures enim imagines et statuas in || vestris animis habemus constitutas. oportet | autem vos, optimi viri et conphretores, non | solum haec ante oculos habere, phretriam et | cultum eius et lautitiam, sperare de me; disposi|tio enim animi mei magis hortatur volunta||tem meam in vestrum honorem et gratiam. | valete.

Item added: March 16, 2013
Item modified: January 31, 2016
ID number: 11853
Short link address:
http://www.philipharland.com/greco-roman-associations/?p=11853

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