three pairs of lovers with space

HERODIAN’S HISTORY OF THE EMPIRE AD. 180-238

 

Herodianos introduced the eight books of his History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus thus: “I have written a history of the events following the death of Marcus which I saw and heard in my lifetime. I had a personal share in some of these events during my imperial and public service” (I 3). The period covered thus begins with the death of the emperor Marcus Aurelius in 180. It ends with the succession of Gordian III in 238. Presented here are all the passages touching on Greek love.

The translation is by C.R. Whittaker in the Loeb Classical Library volumes CCCCLIV-CCCCLV (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1969-70) except for a few minor amendments with explanatory footnotes.  His Romanisation of Greek and Syrian names have also been amended to transliterated Greek.

 

I 11 ii

A digression to explain the etymology of Pessinous, a city in Phrygia, based on pesein being the aorist infinitive of the Greek “to fall”:

Other accounts have a story about a battle that took place there between Ilos the Phrygian, and Tantalos the Lydian, though some sources say it was over rights of passage, others that it was over the rape of Ganymede.[1] A long battle was fought in which both sides were evenly matched, and, since quite a number of men fell on either side, the name of the place was taken from the disaster. The tale is that, after he had been seized, Ganymede disappeared at this spot, torn to pieces between his brother and his lover.[2] After the disappearance of his mortal remains the sufferings of the boy[3] were venerated in a legend which said he had been snatched away by Zeus. ὡς δὲ παρ᾿ ἑτέροις εὕρομεν, Ἴλῳ τῷ Φρυγὶ καὶ Ταντάλῳ τῷ Λυδῷ πόλεμον ἐκεῖ γενέσθαι λέγουσιν, οἱ μὲν περὶ ὅδων, οἱ δὲ περὶ τῆς Γανυμήδους ἁρπαγῆς· ἰσορρόπου δὲ ἐπὶ πολὺ τῆς μάχης γενομένης ἑκατέρωθεν πεσεῖν ἱκανούς, καὶ τὴν συμφορὰν ὄνομα δοῦναι τῷ χωρίῳ. ἔνθα καὶ τὸν Γανυμήδην ἁρπασθέντα ἀφανῆ γενέσθαι λόγος, ἀνθελκόντων αὐτὸν τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἐραστοῦ, ἀφανοῦς δὲ γενομένου τοῦ σώματος ἐκθειασθῆναι τὸ πάθος τοῦ μειρακίου ἐς μῦθον καὶ τὴν Διὸς ἁρπαγήν.  

 

Ganymede by Henry Oliver Walker, ca. 1899

I 16 iv – 17 viii

On 31st December 192, the emperor Commodus, grown increasingly mad, told his favourite mistress Marcia of his plan to appear as an ordinary gladiator before the populace assembled in the arena for the festival of the Saturnalia.

When she was told of Commodus’ extraordinary plan which was so undignified for him, she fell on her knees earnestly begging him with tears in her eyes not to bring disgrace on the Roman empire and not to take the risk of entrusting himself to gladiators and desperadoes. But she achieved nothing by her many entreaties and left in tears.

Commodus then summoned Laetus, the praetorian prefect, and Eclectus, the chamberlain, and gave them instructions to make arrangements for him to spend the night in the gladiators’ barracks, from where he would start the procession to the festival sacrifices, dressed in armour for all Rome to see. They made every effort to try and dissuade him from any action unworthy of an emperor.

Commodus in a fury dismissed the two men and retired to his room as though he were going to take his usual mid-day siesta. But instead he took up a writing tablet (one of the kind made out of lime wood cut into thin sheets with two hinged pieces that close together) and wrote down the names of those who would be executed that night.

Heading the list was Marcia; then Laetus and Eclectus, followed by a great many leading senators. Commodus’ intention was to be rid of all the remaining, senior advisers of his father, since he felt embarrassed at having respectable witnesses to his degenerate behaviour. He was going to share out the property of the rich by distributing it to the soldiers and the gladiators, so that the soldiers would protect him and the gladiators amuse him.

After writing on the tablet he left it on the couch, thinking no one would come into his room. But he forgot about the little boy, who was one of those that fashionable Roman voluptuaries delight in keeping[4] in their households running around without any clothes on, decked out in gold and fine jewels. Commodus had such a favourite, whom he often used to sleep with. He used to call him Philocommodus, a name to show his fondness for the boy.

This young lad was playing about aimlessly when Commodus left the room for his regular bath and drinking session. He ran into the bed-chamber as he normally did, picked up the tablet, which was lying on the couch—only to play with, of course—and then ran out again. By some extraordinary chance he happened to meet Marcia, who was also very fond of him. She hugged and kissed him and then took away the tablet from him, because she was afraid that he would destroy something vital without realizing it while innocently playing with it. But as she recognized Commodus’ writing she became much more curious to have a look at the contents.

An aureus of Commodus

Finding it was a death warrant, and that she was going to be the first victim followed by Laetus and Eclectus and the others in the same way, she let out a cry. “Ah, Commodus,” she said to herself, “so this is all the thanks I get for my loyal affection and putting up with all your vicious, drunken behaviour for so many years. A fuddled drunkard is not going to get the better of a sober woman.”

Then she sent for Eclectus, who normally visited her in his capacity as the official chamberlain, quite apart from the gossip which said he was having an affair with her. She handed him the tablet and said, “There you are; that’s the festival we are going to celebrate tonight!” Eclectus grew pale when he saw what was written. As an Egyptian he was characteristically given to act upon his impulses and be controlled by his emotions. Sealing up the tablet he sent it by one of his trusted messengers to Laetus to read.

He too came to see Marcia in a panic on the pretext of consulting her and Eclectus about Commodus’ orders to move to the gladiators’ barracks. While they gave the impression they were working in the emperor’s interests, they agreed that they must strike first or be struck down, and that there was no time for delay or procrastination. The plan was to give Commodus a lethal dose of poison, which Marcia assured them she could easily administer; …

[16 iv] ἣ μαθοῦσα τὴν παράλογον οὕτω καὶ ἀπρεπῆ βούλησιν αὐτοῦ τὰ πρῶτα ἐλιπάρει καὶ προσπίπτουσα μετὰ δακρύων ἐδεῖτο μήτε τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἀρχὴν καθυβρίσαι μηθ᾿ ἑαυτὸν ἐπιδόντα μονομάχοις καὶ ἀπεγνωσμένοις ἀνθρώποις κινδυνεῦσαι. [v] ἐπεὶ δὲ πολλὰ ἱκετεύουσα οὐκ ἐτύγχανεν αὐτοῦ, ἡ μὲν δακρύουσα ἀπέστη,

ὁ δὲ Κόμοδος μεταπεμψάμενος Λαῖτόν τε τὸν ἔπαρχον τῶν στρατοπέδων Ἔκλεκτόν τε τὸν τοῦ θαλάμου προσεστῶτα ἐκέλευεν αὑτῷ παρασκευασθῆναι ὡς διανυκτερεύσων ἐν τῷ τῶν μονομάχων καταγωγίῳ κἀκεῖθεν προελευσόμενος ἐπὶ τὰς θυσίας τῆς ἱερομηνίας, ὡς Ῥωμαίοις ἔνοπλος ὀφθείη. οἱ δὲ ἱκέτευον καὶ πείθειν ἐπειρῶντο μηδὲν ἀνάξιον τῆς βασιλείας ποιεῖν.

Commodus (J. Paul Getty Museum)

[17 i] ὁ δὲ Κόμοδος ἀσχάλλων τοὺς μὲν ἀπεπέμψατο, αὐτὸς δὲ ἐπανελθὼν ἐς τὸ δωμάτιον ὡς δὴ καθευδήσων (καὶ γὰρ μεσημβρίας εἰώθει τοῦτο ποιεῖν), λαβὼν γραμματεῖον τούτων δὴ τῶν ἐκ φιλύρας ἐς λεπτότητα ἠσκημένων ἐπαλλήλῳ τε ἀνακλάσει ἀμφοτέρωθεν ἐπτυγμένων γράφει, ὅσους χρὴ τῆς νυκτὸς φονευθῆναι.

[ii] ὧν πρώτη μὲν ἦν Μαρκία, εἵποντο δὲ Λαῖτός τε καὶ Ἔκλεκτος, ἐπὶ δὲ τούτοις πολὺ πλῆθος τῶν τῆς συγκλήτου πρωτευόντων. τοὺς μὲν γὰρ πρεσβυτέρους καὶ λοιποὺς πατρῴους φίλους ἀποσκευάσασθαι πάντας ἤθελεν, αἰδούμενος ἔχειν αἰσχρῶν ἔργων σεμνοὺς ἐπόπτας· τῶν δὲ πολουσίων τὰς οὐσίας χαρίσασθαι ἐβούλετο μερίσαι τε ἐς τοὺς στρατιώτας καὶ τοὺς μονομαχοῦντας, τοὺς μὲν ἵνα φυλάττοιεν αὐτόν, τοὺς δὲ ἵνα τέρποιεν.

[iii] γράψας δὴ <τὸ> γραμματεῖον τίθησιν ἐπὶ τοῦ σκίμποδος, οἰηθεὶς μηδένα ἐκεῖσε εἰσελεύσεσθαι. ἦν δέ τι παιδίον πάνυ νήπιον, τούτων δὴ τῶν γυμνῶν μὲν ἐσθῆτος χρυσῷ δὲ καὶ λίθοις πολυτίμοις κεκοσμημένων, οἷς ἀεὶ χαίρουσι Ῥωμαίων οἱ τρυφῶντες. ὑπερηγάπα δὲ ὁ Κόμοδος αὐτὸ ὡς συγκαθεύδειν πολλάκις. Φιλοκόμοδός τε ἐκαλεῖτο, δεικνυούσης τῆς προσηγορίας τὴν στοργὴν τὴν ἐς τὸν παῖδα τοῦ βασιλέως.

[iv] τὸ δὴ παιδίον τοῦτο ἄλλως ἀθῦρον, προελθόντος τοῦ Κομόδου ἐπὶ τὰ συνήθη λουτρά τε καὶ κραιπάλας, εἰσδραμὸν ἐς τὸν θάλαμον ὥσπερ εἰώθει, τὸ γραμματεῖον ἐπὶ τοῦ σκίμποδος κείμενον ἀνελόμενον, ἵνα δὴ παίζειν ἔχοι, πρόεισι τοῦ οἴκου. κατὰ δέ τινα δαίμονα συνήντα τῇ Μαρκίᾳ. ἡ δὲ (καὶ αὐτὴ γὰρ ἔστεργε τὸ παιδίον) περιπτύξασα καὶ φιλοῦσα <αὐτὸ> τὸ γραμματεῖον ἀφαιρεῖται, δεδοκυῖα δὴ μή τι τῶν ἀναγκαίων ὑπὸ νηπιότητος ἀγνοοῦν παῖζον διαφθείρῃ. γνωρίσασα δὲ τὴν τοῦ Κομόδου χεῖρα, ταύτῃ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐσπούδαζε διεξελθεῖν τὴν γραφήν.

[v] ἐπεὶ δὲ εὗρεν αὐτὸ θανατηφόρον καὶ πρὸ ἁπάντων αὑτήν τε μέλλουσαν τεθνήξεσθαι, Λαῖτόν τε καὶ Ἔκλεκτον ἐπακολουθήσοντας, τῶν τε λοιπῶν τοιοῦτον φόνον, ἀνοιμώξασα καθ᾿ ἑαυτήν τε εἰποῦσα “εὖγε, ὦ Κόμοδε. ταῦτ᾿ ἄρα χαριστήρια εὐνοίας τε καὶ στοργῆς <τῆς ἐμῆς> ὕβρεώς τε καὶ παροινίας τῆς σῆς, ἧς ἐτῶν τοσούτων ἠνεσχόμην. ἀλλ᾿ οὐ καταπροΐξῃ αὐτὸς μεθύων νηφούσης γυναικός.”

[vi] ταῦτα εἰποῦσα τὸν Ἔκλεκτον μεταπέμπεται. ἔθος δ᾿ εἶχεν αὐτῇ προσιέναι ἅτε τοῦ θαλάμου φύλαξ, ἔτι τε καὶ ἐπὶ συνουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ διεβάλλετο. δοῦσα δὲ τὸ γραμματεῖον “ὅρα” ἔφη “ποίαν μέλλομεν παννυχίζειν ἑορτήν”. ὁ δ᾿ Ἔκλεκτος ἀναγνούς τε καὶ ἐκπλαγείς (ἦν δὲ τὸ γένος Αἰγύπτιος, τολμῆσαί τε ἅμα καὶ δρᾶσαι θυμῷ τε δουλεῦσαι πεφυκώς) κατασημηνάμενος οὖν τὸ γραμματεῖον διά τινος τῶν ἑαυτῷ πιστῶν ἀναγνωσθησόμενον πέμπει τῷ Λαίτῳ.

[vii] ὁ δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ταραχθεὶς ἀφικνεῖται πρὸς Μαρκίαν ὡς δὴ συσκεψόμενος αὐτοῖς περὶ ὧν ἐκέλευσεν ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ τοῦ τῶν μονομάχων καταγωγίου· προσποιησάμενοι δὲ περὶ τῶν ἐκείνῳ διαφερόντων σκέπτεσθαι συντίθενται φθάσαι τι δράσαντες ἢ παθεῖν, οὐδὲ καιρὸν εἶναι μελλήσεως ἢ ἀναβολῆς. [viii] ἀρέσκει δὴ δοῦναι φάρμακον δηλητήριον τῷ Κομόδῳ, ὑπέσχετο δ᾿ αὐτὸ ῥᾷστα δώσειν ἡ Μαρκία.

 

The Emperor Commodus Leaving the Arena at the Head of the Gladiators by Edwin Howland Blashfield

III 10 vi

Introducing the girl to whom the emperor Septimius Severus married his elder son in 202:

The girl was the daughter of the prefect of the praetorian guard, a man called Plautianus, who had spent his youth in humble circumstances (some people say he had been in exile after being charged with sedition and many other crimes). He was also a fellow-countrynan of Severus, being a Libyan like the emperor and, as some sources say, related to him. But other informants are less complimentary; they say that in the prime of his youth Plautianus was the boy-lover of Severus, who, when he rose from poor, humble circumstances to his position of great power, showered vast wealth upon Plautianus by granting him the property of the condemned and virtually giving him a share in the empire.[5]
Septimius Severus
ἦν δὲ ἐκείνη θυγάτηρ 6τοῦ ἐπάρχοντος τῶν στρατοπέδων· Πλαυτιανὸς δὲ ἦν ὄνομα αὐτῷ· τοῦτον τὰ μὲν πρῶτα τῆς ἡλικίας εὐτελῆ (τινὲς αὐτὸν καὶ πεφυγαδεῦσθαι ἔλεγον ἁλόντα ἐπὶ στάσεσι καὶ πολλοῖς ἁμαρτήμασιν), ὄντα δὲ πολίτην ἑαυτοῦ (Λίβυς γὰρ κἀκεῖνος ἦν), ὡς μέν τινες ἔλεγον, πρὸς γένους αὐτῷ ὑπάρχοντα, ὡς δ᾿ ἕτεροι μᾶλλον διέβαλλον, ἀκμαζούσῃ τῇ ἡλικίᾳ γενόμενον παιδικά, πλὴν ἀλλ᾿ ὁ Σεβῆρος ἐκ μικρᾶς καὶ εὐτελοῦς τύχης ἐς μεγάλην προήγαγεν ἐξουσίαν, πλούτῳ τε ὑπερβάλλοντι ἐκόσμησε, τῶν ἀναιρουμένων χαριζόμενος τὰς οὐσίας, οὐδὲν ἕτερον ἀλλ᾿ ἢ μερισάμενος πρὸς αὐτὸν τὴν ἀρχήν.
Septimius Severus with his wife & their son whom he married to Plautianus's daughter, ca. 199 (Tonda in the Antikensammlung, Berlin)

 V 3 iii-x

The following excerpt concerning the Syrian boy Bassianus, about to become emperor as Antoninus “Heliogabalos”, does not touch directly on Greek love.  It is included nevertheless for its colourful account of how a pubescent boy’s physical charm influenced a legion to mutiny in favour of making him emperor. It may also be important for the possible influence of these happenings on Bassianos’s sexual imagination, for the boy soon began to cause outrage through his open sexual antics with men.  These were described in some detail by Cassius Dio and Aelius Lampridius.  Herodianos himself did not go into these, though he decried his effeminacy.

In the spring of 218, Maisa, the elderly Syrian aunt of the murdered Emperor Caracalla, was living in her home city of Emesa, after being expelled from Rome.

 

But she had two daughters, Soaimis (the elder) and Mamaia (the younger), both of whom had sons, called Bassianus and Alexianus respectively. The two boys, Bassianus, aged about fourteen[6], and Alexianus, just turned nine, were being raised by their mothers and grandmother. Both boys were dedicated to the service of the sun god whom the local inhabitants worship under its Phoenician name of Elaiagabalos. There was a huge temple built there, richly ornamented with gold and silver and valuable stones. The cult extended not just to the local inhabitants either. Satraps of all the adjacent territories and barbarian princes tried to outdo each other in sending costly dedications to the god every year.

… Bassianus, the elder of the two boys, was a priest of this god (as the elder of the two he had been put in charge of the cult). He used to appear in public in barbarian clothes, wearing a long-sleeved “chiton” that hung to his feet and was gold and purple. His legs from the waist down to the tips of his toes were completely covered similarly with garments ornamented with gold and purple. On his head he wore a crown of precious stones glowing with different colours. Bassianus was in the prime of his youth and the most handsome of all the boys[7] of his time. With this combination of good looks, youth and splendid dress there was a possible resemblance between the boy[8] and the magnificent statues of Dionysos.

As Bassianus performed his priestly duties, dancing at the altars to the music of flutes and pipes and all kinds of instruments in the barbarian fashion, everyone, especially the soldiers, viewed him with fairly close interest because they knew he was a member of the imperial family (apart from the fact that his beautiful appearance attracted everyone’s attention). At the time there was a large military garrison near the city of Emesa acting as a defence for Phoenicia, though later it was transferred, as we shall see. The soldiers used to go regularly to the city and to the temple, supposedly to worship, but they enjoyed watching the lad. Some of them were clients of Maesa and people who had fled to her for protection. Because they admired the boy, she told them (what may or may not have been true) that he was actually the natural son of Antoninus,[9] although it was assumed he had a different father.

Aureus of the triumphant boy formerly called Bassianus
 

[3] ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῇ θυγατέρες δύο· Σοαιμὶς μὲν ἡ πρεσβυτέρα ἐκαλεῖτο, ἡ δὲ ἑτέρα Μαμαία. παῖδες δὲ ἦσαν τῇ μὲν πρεσβυτέρᾳ Βασιανὸς ὄνομα, τῇ δὲ νεωτέρᾳ Ἀλεξιανός. ὑπὸ δὲ ταῖς μητράσι καὶ τῇ μάμμῃ ἀνετρέφοντο, ὁ μὲν Βασιανὸς περὶ ἔτη γεγονὼς τεσσαρεσκαίδεκα, ὁ δὲ Ἀλεξιανὸς δεκάτου ἔτους ἐπιβεβηκώς. [4] ἱέρωντο δὲ αὐτοὶ θεῷ ἡλίῳ· τοῦτον γὰρ οἱ ἐπιχώριοι σέβουσι, τῇ Φοινίκων φωνῇ Ἐλαιαγάβαλον καλοῦντες. νεὼς δὲ αὐτῷ μέγιστος κατεσκεύαστο, χρυσῷ πολλῷ καὶ ἀργύρῳ κεκοσμημένος λίθων τε πολυτελείᾳ. θρησκεύεται δὲ οὐ μόνον πρὸς τῶν ἐπιχωρίων, ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ γειτνιῶντες σατράπαι τε καὶ βασιλεῖς βάρβαροι φιλοτίμως πέμπουσι τῷ θεῷ ἑκάστου τοῦ ἔτους πολυτελῆ ἀναθήματα.

Bassianus rallies the opposing legions to his side, as depicted on the cover of Alfred Duggan's novel about him

... [6] τούτῳ δὴ τῷ θεῷ ὁ Βασιανὸς ἱερώμενος (ἅτε γὰρ πρεσβυτέρῳ ἐκείνῳ ἐγκεχείριστο ἡ θρησκεία) προῄει τε σχήματι βαρβάρῳ, χιτῶνας χρυσοϋφεῖς καὶ ἁλουργεῖς χειριδωτοὺς καὶ ποδήρεις ἀνεζωσμένος, τά τε σκέλη πάντα σκέπων ἀπ᾿ ὀνύχων ἐς μηροὺς ἐσθῆσιν ὁμοῖως χρυσῷ καὶ πορφύρᾳ πεποικιλμέναις. τήν τε κεφαλὴν ἐκόσμει στέφανος λίθων πολυτελῶν χροιᾷ διηνθισμένος. [7] ἦν δὲ τὴν ἡλικίαν ἀκμαῖος καὶ τὴν ὄψιν τῶν κατ᾿ αὐτὸν ὡραιότατος μειρακίων πάντων. ἐς τὸ αὐτὸ δὴ συνιόντων κάλλους σώματος, ἡλικίας ἀκμῆς, ἁβροῦ σχήματος, ἀπείκασεν ἄν τις τὸ μειράκιον Διονύσου καλαῖς εἰκόσιν.

[8]ἱερουργοῦντα δὴ τοῦτον, περί τε τοῖς βωμοῖς χορεύοντα νόμῳ βαρβάρων ὑπό τε αὐλοῖς καὶ σύριγξι παντοδαπῶν τε ὀργάνων ἤχῳ, περιεργότερον ἐπέβλεπον οἵ τε ἄλλοι ἄνθρωποι καὶ μάλιστα οἱ στρατιῶται, εἰδότες γένους ὄντα βασιλικοῦ, καὶ τῆς ὥρας αὐτοῦ πάντων τὰς ὄψεις ἐς ἑαυτὴν ἐπιστρεφούσης. [9] ἐγειτνίαζε δὲ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ τότε μέγιστον στρατόπεδον, ὃ τῆς Φοινίκης προήσπιζειν· ὕστερον δὲ μετηνέχθη, ὡς ἐν τοῖς ἑξῆς ἐροῦμεν. φοιτῶντες οὖν οἱ στρατιῶται ἑκάστοτε ἐς τὴν πόλιν, ἔς τε τὸν νεὼν ἰόντες θρησκείας δὴ χάριν, τὸ μειράκιον ἡδέως ἔβλεπον. [10] ἦσαν δέ τινες ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ πρόσφυγες οἰκεῖοί τε τῆς Μαίσης, πρὸς οὓς ἐκείνη θαυμάζοντας τὸν παῖδα, εἴτε πλασαμένη εἴτε καὶ ἀληθεύουσα, ἐξεῖπεν ὅτι ἄρα Ἀντωνίνου υἱός ἐστι φύσει, τῇ δὲ ὑπολήψει ἄλλου δοκοίῃ·

 

[1] There were many variants of the legend current in H.’s day; e.g. Strabo 13.1.11 (587), Paus. 2.22.3, Diod. Sic. 4.74, Apollod. Bibl.  3.12.2, Ovid, Met. 10.155, Lucian, Dial. Deor.  4, etc., making nonsense of the idea of a single source for H. The special interest here is the attempts by H. to rationalize the legend, but he appears to conflate the legend of the Magna Mater at Pessinus with stories of Ilus, Ganymede and the finding of the Palladium near Troy. The rape of Ganymede by an eagle was the subject of a bronze by Leochares, copies of which were well known in Rome. The twelfth-century Byzantine writer John Tzetzes seems to have used H. for his commentary on Lycophron, 355 (ed. Potter). [Translator’s note up to this point]  This last point refers to Tzetses also mentions this legend about Ganymede and Tantalos.

[2] Ganymede, a boy better known as the beloved of Zeus king of the gods, was a brother of Ilos, they being sons of King Tros, after whom Troy in Phrygia was supposedly named.

[3] The translation of “μειρακίου”, meaning “of the (adolescent) boy” has here been amended to “of the boy”from Whittaker’s “of the young man”.

[4] Whittaker translated “χαίρουσι Ῥωμαίων οἱ τρυφῶντες” as “Roman fops are pleased” which has been amended to “Roman voluptuaries delight in” for accuracy and to avoid an 18th century tone. His following words“to keep” have thus had to be adapted to “in keeping.”

[5] All sources note P.’s enormous power; greater than that of Sejanus (Dio 58.14.1); addressed as the fourth Caesar (Dio (Petr. Patr.) 75.15.2a); soccer et consocer Aug(ustorum) (CIL XIV.4392); omnium praecedentium praef(ectorum) excellentissimus (CIL XI. 8050); included in the domus divina (AE  (1944) 74). Dio (Xiph.) 76.4.5 seems to suggest that P. had been encouraged to hope for the succession; he was comes of S. on all his expeditions (ILS 456). His extensive property warranted a special official to administer it after his death, ad bona Plautiani;  Pflaum, Procurateurs équest. 90n. He even had his own comites, according to an Ephesian inscription recording a comes Plautiani, ibid. 189n; cf. 3.11.3. [Translator’s note]

[6] Confirmed by Cassius Dio (Roman History LXXX 20 ii), who says he was eighteen at death in March 222.

[7] The translation of “μειρακίων”, meaning “adolescent boys” has here been amended to “boys”from Whittaker’s “young men”. Herodian has only just said Bassianus was about fourteen.

[8] Again, the translation of “μειράκιον”, meaning “adolescent boy” has here been amended to “boy” from Whittaker’s “young man”. Herodian has only just said Bassianus was about fourteen.

[9] The recently murdered emperor Antoninus, better known as Caracalla.