Lineage in Inscriptions

Lineage was also important in inscriptions, and this inscription from Britain helps us understand this aspect.  Unfortunately, an image of the text is not available, so we will have to rely on the typed text.  While other inscriptions begin with the name of the emperor in the nominative, this inscriptions uses another popular syntax by beginning with the dative.  The original source claims that “Caesari Augusto…Marci Aurelii filio” was legible, which strongly suggests an inscription to Commodus the “Caesar Augustus…son of Marcus Aurelius.”  Who an emperor descended from was just as important as what he called himself.  The text then describes who dedicated the statue.  The inscription combines a number of interesting elements already discussed.  Titles and lineage reiterate the importance of names in ancient inscriptions, and some sources claim it was located under a statue of Commodus dressed as Hercules.  While the connection between the text and its location is not known for certain, the debate reinforces the extent of Commodus’ public image campaign.  We can now also add the importance of dedication, as benefactors wanted clear physical evidence of their charity and works.
[Imp(eratori)] Caesari Augusto […]
Marci Aurelii filio […]
[… sub cura L(uci) Alfeni]
Sen[ec]ionis amplissimi [co(n)s(ularis) coh(ors) VI Nerviorum]
[fecit cui praeest L(ucius)] Vinic[ius] Pius [praef(ectus) coh(ortis) eiusd(em)]