More Evidence of the Caracalla – Geta ‘Damnatio Memoriae’

Found this one lurking in the bottom of my mailbox because I had vain hopes it might get some coverage in the major English speaking press, what with it being about damnatio memoriae and all that … here’s the basic story from the Bucharest Herald:

An inscription carved in stone, proving the political conflict between Roman emperors Geta and Caracalla, and how the latter tried to erase the former’s name from history, was discovered in the town of Alba Iulia, Mediafax reports.

The stone was found by archeologists from the local museum, during digs in the ruins of the building that served as HQ to the officers of the 13th Legion Gemina, located in present-day park Custozza, the head of the National Unity Museum of Alba Iulia, Gabriel Rustoiu announced.

On the stone inscription, the name of co-emperor Geta, actually Publius Septimius Geta, was erased by Emperor Caracalla – “Marcus Aurelius Antoninus” – his brother.

The two sons of Emperor Septimius Severus jointly ruled the Roman Empire after their father’s death in 211 AD, but the same year Caracalla kills Geta and orders his name to be erased from all records.

“Political disputes in the Roman Empire often ended with the death of an opponent… An even tougher sentence, in Romans’ eyes, was the so-called «damnatio memoriae», erasing one’s name from history,” Gabriel Rustoiu explains.

The Alba Iulia fortress was built at the beginning of the 18th Century (between 1714 and 1738), on the ruins of a Roman fort and of a medieval citadel.

What was really difficult for this one was finding a photo of the stone … there seems to be plenty of coverage, but very little with the actual stone in the photo. comes through, however:

… here is the best one of the lot … there are three others at the original page … the line that has been erased can be clearly discerned:

… looking at the photos, just in case you’re wondering, the stone seems to be dated to March/April of 206 A.D. when Albinus and Aemilianus were consuls —  that’s the “PRILES ALBINO [E]T AEM” in the last capitalized line.

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