Iasos: base iscritta per l’Imperatore Valeriano


  • Gianfranco Maddoli


Iasos. An inscribed statue base in honour of the Emperor Valerianus.
A statue base coming from Iasos (Caria) and exhibited in the courtyardof the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul has two honorary inscriptions.The one on the front lists the merits of the citharist Phanias; onthe left side is a second text, inscribed when the base was reused infavour of another personality. The identity of this figure has remainedin shadow so far, because of an erroneous reading, which has becomecurrent, despite the original and corrected one suggested by Th. Reinach(1893). The original name had been in fact subsequently deleted becauseof a ‘damnatio memoriae’; yet there are enough traces to supportReinach’s reading and restore it as ‘Valerianus’. The epithets, partly butnot entirely damaged, allow to retrieve with certainty a new dedicationto the great emperor, which adds to a second one, recently found in Iasos.The dedication must be framed within the political background ofthe years 254 – 259 AD, when Valerianus was, more than once, leadingmilitary expeditions into the province of Asia, in order to fight back theattack moved from Sapor I, King of Persia, to the Eastern provinces ofthe Empire. In this period, and in particular since 257, Valerianus intensifiedhis persecution against Christians, which could have been thereason of the ‘damnatio memoriae’.