The Roman Navy at Bosporus: a New Latin Inscription from Panticapaeum

Ermolin S. A., Saprykin Sergey Yu.

The authors publish a fragment of a Latin inscription found on the acropolis of ancient Panticapaeum, the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom. This is just the third Latin inscription from the ancient Bosporus. It is dated to the late 2nd and the early 3rd centuries AD and mentions (for the first time in the North Pontic epigraphy) the frumentarius of the Roman Navy named Aurelius. The inscription contains a fragment of the name of a Roman emperor with the gentilicium Aurelius. The authors suppose that this could be a part of Caracalla’s full name, under whom strong connections between the Bosporan state and the Roman province of Bithynia and Pontus were developed. The inscription could have to do with the stay of a Roman naval unit at Panticapaeum connected with the successful policy conducted by Sauromates II, who defeated the Siraces, cleared pirates out of the eastern sector of Pontus and, according to a treaty with Rome, had to protect Central and Southern Crimea and the Bosporan area from barbarian invasions. This secured a long-lasting defence of Rome’s interests in the Pontic area.

Keywords: Bosporan Kingdom, Roman Empire, Roman Navy, frumentarii, Aurelius, Sauromates, Panticapaeum, Bithynia and Pontus, Chersonesos Taurica