Latin Inscription from Jordan

Latin Inscription from Jordan

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Epigraphy greek and latin inscriptions Inscriptions in Jordan

This paper presents a selection of graffiti from ancient Stabiae, found after the excavations restarted there after 2007, with a variety of subjects, and some interesting novelties. In particular, a widestudy of the names, often of Greek origin, appearing in the graffiti is presented, some of them attested for the first time, like Phaederus or Caprylla, and also new words, like conrite. Some texts echo passages of Virgil or of Terence, others have close parallels in Pompeian inscriptions, like Sator or barbara barb[ari]b[us] b[- - -], like Felix | hic est. | Bene illi | qui hoc scripsit. Among the most interesting texts is the advice [te]s

eras cum emamus fructus nascatur bonus. A cubiculum with two alcoves, situated in the residential part of Villa Arianna, contains numerous inscriptions in which Greek alternates, or is even mixed in one word, with Latin, with continuous reference to isopsephia and, what is more important, naming two C. Poppaei, one with the cognomen Hymetus, that lived in the villa for eight years, making it probable that the villa could have been a propriety of the family of the second wife of Nero. Graffiti from Stabiae, closely parallel to those from Pompeii, reveal interesting and cultivated, even sophisticated milieu, with the presence of multiple persons coming from the Greek world and capable of writing in very fluent cursive.

""The author analyses the mythological subjects known from the funerary paintings of the Near East. He is interested principally in the meaning and the message which these representations conveyed. He studies the interpretative problems of funerary iconography in terms of the principles that we encounter in the iconography of roman art - principles which are confirmed by Artemidorus of Ephesus (or Artemidorus of Daldis), a Greek author of the Antonine period, in his manuel Key to Dreams (Onirocriticon). This approach has never previously been attempted. To support his argument, he refers to numerouse monuments of funerary art as well as to a series of inscriptions adorning the monuments in Roman necrpoleis.

Jordan Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

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Jordan River

Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This name derives from the Christian baptismal name Jordan, which in turn derives from the Jordan River that flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea in the biblical Holy Land and the modern day Middle East. In Hebrew, the river was called the Yarden in Hebrew, deriving from the word yarad, meaning “to go down” (to the Dead Sea in this case). It was considered the “river of judgment”. The word jardain is Gaelic, meaning western river (as the Euphrates was considered the eastern river?). The name was brought into Europe, Christendom, and the Holy Roman Empire by Crusaders and the Knights Templar, who gave the name to their children, who they often baptized (along with pilgrims) with water taken in flasks from the river itself (as Christ was baptized in the river by John the Baptist). It became a common personal name, and then a patronymic surname meaning “the son of Jordan” found through nearly all of Europe. In Britain, some claim the family descends from Jordan de Cantington, later known as Jordan of Exeter, a Knight who accompanied William the Conqueror during the Norman Invasion of England in 1066 AD. It’s also claimed the accompanied Strongbow (born around 1100 AD), Earl of Pembroke, who invaded Ireland in 1172 AD and received lands from King John of England. It’s claimed his descendants, the de Exeters, assumed the surname of MacJordan. Another author claims it was adopted by a Connacht family who came in 1172 AD and comes from the Gaelic MacSiurtain. The family became Lords of Athleathan in the Barony of Gallen in county Mayo. In France, it was first found in Bittany during medieval times.

In his book, Patronymica Britannica, Mark Antony Lower rejects the above theory and instead asserts the surname derives from the old Norman baptismal name Jourdain, a corruption of the Latin personal (first) name Hodiernus, occurring in Sackville. A third theory, contained in a Dutch source, is that the name is related to the first and last name Gregory.

An 1847 book by William Reeves, titled Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Down, Connor, and Dromore, states the following: “The Jordan surname in County Down dates from the time of John de Courcy, an Anglo-Norman knight who, after invading Ireland, marched northward to Ulster in 1177 to seize lands controlled by the Irish chieftains. One of twenty-two knights who accompanied de Courcy was Jordan de Saukville, an adventurer who later received land around Ardglass, Down, for his services to the expedition. Documents refer to his holdings as early as July 12, 1210, when King John was recorded as having stopped over at Jordan de Saukville’s castle and 1217, when King Henry III confirmed Jordan’s possessions in Ardglass“. The book A History of the County Down, from the Most Remote Period to the Present Day, authored by Alexander Knox in 1875, states the following: “This Jordan family was prominent among the nobility of Down at least through the Elizabethan period. By the early seventeenth century these Jordans were known to be “extensive proprieters” in Down but in succeeding years they, like many other leading Anglo-Norman families, were “for the most part extinguished by civil wars, rebellion and the course of nature.” In 1875, Alexander Knox reported that, “…there are still a number of residents in the county , but none in any prominent position although no doubt descendants of the same stock.” offers the following legend, regarding a one Sir William Dearborn who was part of the Third Crusade in the Holy Lands and “Sir William performed a number of heroic deeds during a battle at the River Jordan. These deeds were witnessed by King Richard the Lionhearted who promptly dubbed Sir William as “Sir Jordan” in honor of his heroic performance. Sir William asked the King for permission to change his Surname to “Jordan” and also to change the name of the Hamlet where he lived to Jordan. The King granted this request and according to the Dartmoor Historical Society the Surname of Jordan was born. The Hamlet of Jordan still exists in the Moors of Dartmoor in Devonshire, England”.

Spelling Variations
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Jordon, Jorden, Jordayne, Jordaan, Jodany, Jordaen, Jordans, Jordane, Jordaine, Jourdane, Jurden, Jordean, MacJordan, and McJordan. One author claims Judd was the nickname and Judkin the diminutive.

Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Jordan ranks 105 th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following nine states: Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio.

The surname Jordan frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (213 th ), Scotland (522 nd ), Wales (244 th ), Ireland (220 th ) and Northern Ireland (233 rd ). In England, it ranks highest in county Kent. In Scotland, it ranks highest in Shetland. In Wales, the surname Jordan ranks highest in Monmouthshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Mayo. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Down.

The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (560 th ), New Zealand (265 th ), Australia (295 th ), and South Africa (832 nd ).

The name is also popular in the non-English speaking world: Switzerland (288 th ), Denmark (2,286 th ), Spain (601 st ), Austria (503 rd ), Slovenia (372 nd ), Liechtenstein (537 th ), and France (1,968 th )

The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “Jordan is a name established in many other parts of England besides the North and East Ridings, for instance, in Bucks, Derbyshire, Devonshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, etc. In the 13th century it was common as Jordan and Jurdan in Oxfordshire, and was also represented in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, etc. The Jordans of Enstone, Oxfordshire, have been resident in that parish since the 14th century. This surname is a form of Jourdain, an early Norman baptismal name”.

Early Bearers of the Surname
As a personal name, it was first documented in the Registers of the Abbet of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, England in 1121 AD. The earliest known bearer of this surname was John Jorden who was documented in Cambridge in 1202. Walter Jurdan was recorded in Sussex in 1327 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists two bearers of this surname: Roger filius Jurdan (Cambridgeshire) and Robert filius Jordan (Oxfordshire). The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists one bearer of this last name: Matilda widow of Jordani.

George Fraser Black’s 1946 book, The Surnames of Scotland, states the following in regard to this surname: “Jordan the Fleming was chancellor to David I in 1142—43, in a charter of Adam son of Swain, c. 1136—53. Jordan de Wodford, charter witness in Angus, c. 1170. Jordanus Brae granted a piece of land to the church of S. Mary and S. Kentigern of Lanark, c. 1214. Magister William Jordanus witnessed confirmation charter by Gilbert, bishop of Aberdeen between 1228—39”.

History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The famous genealogist Bernard Burke’s book “The Landed Gentry” discusses one branch of this family: Jordan of Pigeonsford.

Jordan of Pigeonsford
George Bowen Jordan, Esquire of Pigeonsford in county Cardigan and Dumpledale, county Pembroke, Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant , as well as High Sheriff in 1836. He was born in 1836 and in 1831 he married Ellen, daughter of Sir John Owen, Bartonet of Orielton, and had five issue with her: George Price, Barrett Price, Ellen Evelyn Elizabeth (married Admiral Charles Hope), Elizabeth Maria (married Morgan Jones), and Angelina. His birth name was Price and he took the name Jordan under the will of Reverend John Jordan of Dumpledale. He later married Ellinor Laura, only daughter of Richard Owen Powell. The family has Anglo-Norman ancestry. The first settler in Wales was Jordan de Cantington, a companion of Marin de Tours, in his conquest of Kemmes during the reign of King William I (1066 AD). At the end of the 1300s and beginning of the 1400s, Leonard Jordan married the heiress of Dumpledale and acquired that estate, from which point they spread over the county of Pembroke. The Jordan Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Jordan Family Crest) of this branch of the family has the following blazon in heraldry: Gules, a lion rampant between eight crosses crosslet fitchee or, a chief of the second.

Jordan Family Tree
Joseph Thomas Jordan was born in Whixley, England in 1480 and he married Rachel Glitchens Crawford with whom he had a son named William. William was born in Dorset, England in 1499 and he married a woman named Edith with whom he had a son named John. This John Jordan was born in Ashchurch Parish, Gloucestershire in 1525 and he married Isabella Rambage with whom he had a son named Richard. This Richard was born in the same town in 1555. He married Jolien Flicow and had a son with her named John. John Jordan was born in the same town in 1590 and he married a woman named Dorcas with whom he had a daughter named Jane. He went to colonial America and died in Virginia. Jane Jordan was born in England in 1618 and went to Virginia. She married into the Spence family and had two issue: Patrick Spence and Mary (Spence) Peak.

Richard Jordan I was born around 1620 and had a wife named Alice, with whom he had two issue: Richard II and John I. His son John Jordan I was born in Virginia (county Isle of Wight) around 1650 and he married Jane Brown with who he had two sons: John II and Solomon. His son John Jordan II was born in the same county in around 1679. He married a woman named Jane and had a son named Charles. His son Charles was born in 1700 and married Abigail White and had the following children with her: Sarah (Smith), Charles, John, Leah (Smith), Rachel (White), Jacob, James, and Robert. His son Jacob Jordan was born in North Carolina in 1732 and he married Patience Small with whom he had the following issue: Joseph, Jonathan, Joshua, Leah (Bonner), Rachel (Elliott), Patience (Elliott) and Jacob Jr. His son Joseph was born in Chowan, NC in about 1752 and married a woman named Mourning. They had the following issue together: Fanny, Jacob, Pennice, Rachel, Joseph, Thomas, John, Mary, and William. His son William was born in 1795 and he married Letty Ludlow in Ohio in 1813.

Jordan de Courcy was born in around 1155 AD in Middleton Cheney, Northampton England. He died in battle in Ireland and left a son named Sir Jordan de Courcy, a Knight. Sir Jordan was born in Essex in 1195 AD and he had a son. This son was Baron Reginald Jourdaine, who was born in Forester Hill, Windsor, Berkshire in 1210 AD. He had a son named John Jourdaine who was born in Berkshire, England in 1231 AD. He in turn had a son also named John who was born in Wolverton, Milton Keyes, England in 1280. The lineage or Jordan family tree from him is as follows (please note this is estimated):
John Jourdaine (born in Wolverton in 1320 AD)
John Jourdaine (born in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire around 1350 AD)
John Jourdaine (born in Wolverton, 1390 AD)
Thomas Jordaine (born in France around 1418 AD)
Sir Robert Jordaine, I (Melcombe Regis, Doreset, 1455)
Robert Jordaine (Melcombe Regis, 1470)
Robert Jordaine III (Melcombe Regis, 1500)
Richard Jordaine (Lyme Regis, around 1529)
George Jordaine (around 1586)
John Jordaine (around 1618)

Early American and New World Settlers
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions several bearers of this last name
1) Francis Jordan, Ipswich in 1634, in 1635, married Jane Wilson and had issue: Sarah (1636), Hannah (1638), Mary (1639), Mary (1641), Lydia (1643), and Deborah (1645).
2) James Jordan, Dedham, died in 1655, had son Thomas and daughters Mary and Ann
3) John Jordan, Guilford, 1639, signed the convenant of that year by his name, Jurden, was there in 1668, perhaps died next year
4) John Jordan, Plymouth, 1643, who was the father of Jehosabeth that married, 1665.
5) Robert Jordan, Casco, came as a preacher before 1641, probably having deacon’s or priest’s order from Episc. author, married Sarah, only daughter of John Winter. In the Indian utilities, 1675, he withdrew to Portsmouth and there died, 1679, aged 68. His wife md children, John, Robert, Dominicus, Jedediah, Samuel and Jeremiah, are in will carefully provided for.
6) Stephen Jordan, Ipswich, 1634, came and had Mary and John, moved to Newburgh, had wife named Susanna, and had two daughters who married Robert Cross and John Andrews.
7) Thomas Jordan, Guilford, 1650, came from Kent, England, went back in 1651, daughter married Andrew Leete.
8) Thomas Jordan, Rehoboth married 1674, Esther Hall, daughter of Edward of the same.

Sisyle Jordan (came aboard the Swan in 1610 at the age of 24) was recorded as living in Virginia in 1623 (at Jordans Jorney), as were Mary and Margery Jordan. Thomas Jordan was also recorded in the same state in the same year.
Peeter Jorden was recorded as living in Virginia in 1623 “Att ye Colledg Land”, he came in the London Merchant in 1620 at the age of 22
Thomas Jorden came to Virginia at the age of 24 aboard the Diana in the 1620s.
James Jordan came to the Barbados in 1679 aboard the Mallego Merchant.
William Jordan came to the Boston in 1679 aboard the Prudence and Mary.
Joane Jorden, age 16, came to New England in 1635 aboard the Abbigall.

Early settlers in colonial America bearing this name Guillame Jordan (Louisiana around 1720), Eliza Jordan (Virginia 1719), Claude Jordan (Louisiana 1719), Antoine Jordan (Louisiana 1719), Michael Jordan and (Virginia 1723). In Canada, one of the first bearers of this surname was James Jordan who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749. In Australia, one of the first people with this last name was Robert Jordan who came in 1839 aboard the Alice Brooks to the city of Adelaide. Several other bearers came in the same year aboard the City of Adelaide: E., Mary, William, and S. Jordan. In New Zealand, Thomas Jordan, a miller aged 26, came to Nelson aboard the Phoebe in 1843.

Early Americans Bearing the Jordan Family Crest
I researched the following three resources and did not find any coats of arms for Jordan: Bolton’s American Armory, Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook, and Crozier’s General Armory.

We have identified four Jordan family mottoes:
1) Percussa resurgo (Being struck down I rise again)
2) Arte non vi (By skill not force)
3) Ne cede sed contra (Do not yield on the contrary (?) )
4) In veritate virtus (Courage is kindled in truth)

We have 52 coats of arms for the Jordan surname depicted here. These blazons 1-20 are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. Blazons 21-52 are from Armorial General published in 1861 by the famous genealogist/heraldist Johannes Baptisa Rietstap. The bottom of this page contains the blazons (in French and English), and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People in Britain with this last name that bore a Jordan Coat of Arms include:
1) Jordan, December 1604 by Camden, same coat as Sir William, with crescent sable
2) Edmond Jordan of Gatwick, Surrey, son of William, son of John, confirmed as used on seals around 184 AD) and grant of crest. Quarterly of 8: Jordan, Jordan, Coddington, Saltman, Barwick, Hussey,Hussey, and Nesseile. 18 February 1628
3) Edmond Jordan of Gatwick, Surrey, High Sheriff in 1628, son of William, alteration 2 June 1631 by R. St. George, Clar.
4) Sir William, of Wiltshire, Nov 1604, by Camden
5) Jorden, of Callyee, Sable an eagle displayed in bend between two cottises, argent on a chief or, three oak leaves vert.

There are hundreds of notable people with the Jordan surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Michael Jordan (1963) who was born in Brooklyn, New York and became the most well-known and considered by many to be the best professional basketball player of all time who played 15 seasons in the NBA, mainly on the Chicago Bulls, who won six championships and won two gold medals in the Olympics, 2) Benjamin Everett Jordan (1896-1974) who was a Democrat that served as the United States Senator from North Carolina from 1958-1973, 3) Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) who was a lawyer, educated, and politician involved in the Civil Rights Movement that was a Democrat who became a member of the US House of Representatives for Texas during the 1970s, 4) James Daniel Jordan (1964) who is a member of the US House of Representatives for Ohio, 5) Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Jordan (1819-1904) who was a German writer and politician born in Insterburg, East Prussia, 6) Marie Ennemond Camille Jordan (1838-1922) who was a French mathematician born in Lyon known for his contributions in group theory (algebraic structures), 7) David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) who was an educator, peace activist, eugenicist, and ichthyologist (study of fish), who was born in New York and became the president of Indiana University, as well as the founding president of Stanford University, 8) Ernst Pascual Jordan (1902-1980) who was a theoretical and mathematical physicist born in Hanover who made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and field theory, 9) Richard Lamont Jordan (1974) who was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma who became a professional football player in the NFL and played for the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs, 10) Stephen Robert Jordan (1982) who was an English football (soccer) player born in Warrington, England who has played for numerous teams (ex. Manchester City, Sheffield United), and 11) Robert W. Jordan (1945) who is an American lawyer and diplomat that was the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the early years of the George Bush Administration.

A New History of Arabia, Written in Stone

On a small rock found in Jordan, Ahmad Al-Jallad, a linguistics professor in the Netherlands, discovered text that he thought could be the oldest known record of literary expression in Arabic. Illustration by Olivier Kugler

A few years ago, Ahmad Al-Jallad, a professor of Arabic and Semitic linguistics at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, opened his e-mail and was excited to see that he had received several photographs of rocks. The images—sent by Al-Jallad’s mentor, Michael Macdonald, a scholar at Oxford who studies ancient inscriptions—were of artifacts from a recent archeological survey in Jordan. Macdonald pointed Al-Jallad’s attention to one in particular: a small rock covered with runelike marks in a style of writing called boustrophedon, named for lines that wrap back and forth, “like an ox turning in a field.” It was Safaitic, an alphabet that flourished in northern Arabia two millennia ago, and Al-Jallad and Macdonald are among a very small number of people who can read it. Al-Jallad began to transcribe the text, and, within a few minutes, he could see that the rock was an essential piece of a historical puzzle that he had been working on for years.

The history of Arabia just before the birth of Islam is a profound mystery, with few written sources describing the milieu in which Muhammad lived. Historians had long believed that the Bedouin nomads who lived in the area composed exquisite poetry to record the feats of their tribes but had no system for writing it down. In recent years, though, scholars have made profound advances in explaining how ancient speakers of early Arabic used the letters of other alphabets to transcribe their speech. These alphabets included Greek and Aramaic, and also Safaitic Macdonald’s rock was one of more than fifty thousand such texts found in the deserts of the southern Levant. Safaitic glyphs look nothing like the cursive, legato flow of Arabic script. But when read aloud they are recognizable as a form of Arabic—archaic but largely intelligible to the modern speaker.

The inscription on Macdonald’s rock included the name of a person (“Ghayyar’el son of Ghawth”), a narrative, and a prayer. It was the narrative that stood out to Al-Jallad. Reading it aloud, he noted a sequence of words repeated three times, which he suspected was a refrain in a poetic text. This would make it the oldest known record of literary expression in Arabic—evidence, however slim, of a written poetic tradition that had never been explored.

Al-Jallad, who is thirty-two, was born in Salt Lake City. His father came to the United States from Jordan to attend college, and met his mother, who is from Texas, at Weber State University, in Utah. The family moved to Kuwait in 1989 but returned a year later, at the outset of the first Gulf War, and settled near Tampa. “We didn’t speak Arabic at home, because my mother didn’t understand it,” Al-Jallad told me. “The only connection I had to the Middle East was through books about ancient civilizations.” When Al-Jallad was a teen-ager, one of his favorite books was “Noah’s Flood,” a study arguing that the flood narratives of the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and other ancient texts were inspired by the flooding of the Black Sea, around 5600 B.C. “The mix of archeology, geology, and ancient languages blew my mind,” Al-Jallad said. “I had no idea if it was right, but I was hooked.”

As an undergraduate, at the University of South Florida, Al-Jallad got a job at a library on campus and read whatever he could find on Near Eastern civilizations. “I tried to learn Akkadian, so I could read the original Epic of Gilgamesh, but didn’t get very far,” he said. He wrote to professors in Semitic studies around the country asking for guidance. They all replied, “Nobody starts with Akkadian—you need to learn Biblical Hebrew, classical Arabic, and Syriac first,” he said. For two years, he studied those languages on his own in the library. After graduating, he was accepted into Harvard’s doctoral program in Semitic philology.

Al-Jallad is now one of the world’s foremost authorities on early Arabic, leading excavations around the Middle East. The study of early Islam has traditionally depended not on rock inscriptions but on chronicles and literary sources composed a few centuries after Muhammad’s death—a method of research that Al-Jallad likens to reading the history of North America entirely from the perspective of the first European settlers. He is confident that scholars will soon be able to tell the earliest history of Islam using evidence from the time of Muhammad’s birth. “We will find texts from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad,” he said. “I am one-hundred-per-cent certain of that. It’s just a matter of time.”

The effort to decode the Safaitic texts began in the spring of 1857, when a young Scotsman named Cyril Graham set off from Jerusalem on a tour of Syria. Like many other European visitors to the Holy Land, Graham was interested in the sites of Biblical archeology, which, he wrote in 1858, would offer proof of “the invariable accuracy of the sacred Historian.” While travelling through the desert, he learned from Bedouin guides about a volcanic tableland called the Harrah, which was littered with strange rock inscriptions. The guides led him to the outskirts of Safa, a volcanic region southeast of Damascus. At night, while his guides were asleep, Graham left the camp and, in bright moonlight, discovered a plain covered with inscribed rocks:

I gazed on these marvelous stones, and tried to picture to myself what people they were who centuries ago had lived here and had employed themselves in carving these curious symbols. What did it all mean?

Graham announced his discovery at the Royal Geographical Society, and other expeditions followed. In 1877, an Orientalist from Ottoman Edirne deciphered most of the alphabet, bringing the language of the inscriptions into blurry focus. But, even as the script became legible, its references remained cryptic. “The first scholars who worked on the inscriptions did so in an impressionistic sort of way,” Al-Jallad said. “They’d rely almost exclusively on classical-Arabic dictionaries to decipher the texts, or, worse, they’d ask the local Bedouin what they meant.” Enno Littmann, an Orientalist who visited Syria in 1899, with a contingent from Princeton University, and completed the decipherment, labored over what he found on the rocks. Alongside scores of theophoric names (“God the King,” “God Rewards”) were more puzzling appellations, such as “Changer of Undergarments,” “Branded on the Testicle,” and “He Rose and Shook.” Could these be old tribal nicknames? Or had the words been deciphered incorrectly?

For a century, Safaitic remained an almost hidden corner of Arabian epigraphy, an already esoteric area. But, by 2007, when Al-Jallad arrived at Harvard, the field was undergoing a transformation. Digital photography was making a wealth of new inscriptional data available to scholars, and the number of Safaitic texts discovered in the Levant had swollen dramatically, vastly exceeding the number of Latin inscriptions recorded at Pompeii, the Roman Empire’s most famous source of graffiti. (A few Safaitic inscriptions were even found in Pompeii, on the walls outside a small theatre, probably scribbled by Arabian members of the Roman army.) Michael Macdonald amassed a vast collection of photographs of these texts and launched a digital Safaitic database, with the help of Laïla Nehmé, a French archeologist and one of the world’s leading experts on early Arabic inscriptions. “When we started working, Michael’s corpus was all on index cards,” Nehmé recalled. “With the database, you could search for sequences of words across the whole collection, and you could study them statistically. It worked beautifully.”

In 2013, Al-Jallad used the Safaitic database as he worked on an inscription containing several mysterious words: Maleh, Dhakar, and Amet. Earlier scholars had assumed that they were the names of unknown places. Al-Jallad, unconvinced, searched the database and discovered another inscription that contained all three. Both inscriptions discussed migrations in search of water, and a possibility occurred to him: if the words referred to seasons of migration, then they might be the names of constellations visible at those times.

Al-Jallad began pulling up every inscription that mentioned migrating in search of rain, and soon he had a long list of terms that had resisted translation. Comparing them with the Greek, Aramaic, and Babylonian zodiacs, he started making connections. Dhakar matched up nicely with dikra, the Aramaic word for Aries, and Amet was derived from an Arabic verb meaning “to measure or compute quantity”—a good bet for the scales of Libra. Hunting for Capricorn, the goat-fish constellation, Al-Jallad found the word ya’mur in Edward Lane’s “Arabic-English Lexicon,” whose translation read, “A certain beast of the sea, or . . . a kind of mountain-goat.” He stayed up all night, sifting the database and checking words against dictionaries of ancient Semitic languages. By morning, he had deciphered a complete, previously unknown Arabian zodiac. “We’d thought that they were place names, and, in a way, they were,” he told me. “They were places in the sky.”

The province of archeology, a fictional archeologist once said, is the search for facts, not truth. In recasting the history of Arabia, archeological research has challenged some canonical Muslim narratives about the emergence of Islam. The time before Muhammad’s revelation is known in Arabic as the Jahiliyya, usually translated as the Age of Ignorance. According to Fred Donner, a historian at the University of Chicago, “The Islamic account of the Jahiliyya is a saga of unrelieved paganism, which emphasizes the difference between the darkness of unbelief and the light that Islam brought to Arabia.” Scholars like Al-Jallad and Donner see this still prevalent view as a product of medieval Muslim thinkers, who wrote history through the prism of orthodox beliefs. The real Jahiliyya, the scholars argue, probably had much more in common with Islam than previously thought. “I have a suspicion that some of the early writings that we assume were Islamic—because they use language that seems to refer to the Quran—were actually pre-Islamic,” Donner told me. “Maybe this is how people talked about religion on the eve of Islam.” Other scholars stress the need for caution. Peter Webb, a scholar of classical Arabic literature at Leiden University, told me that “any information that these Safaitic inscriptions can give us about the centuries before Islam can only help, because we’re coming from a situation of almost no empirical evidence.” He added, “The linguists are going to be well excited about what they’re finding. But the historian is still, like, ‘Yeah, it’s good. You’ve got names. You’ve got lots and lots of names.’ ”

The idea that elements of Islam had antecedents in pre-Islamic cultures is not controversial the Quran suggests links to the Hanifiyya, a monotheistic faith descended from Abraham. But traditional Muslim theology, along with much Western scholarship, regards the birth of Islam as a radical break with Arabia’s past. To Al-Jallad, however, the inscriptional evidence, containing many references to peoples, events, and places that appear in the Quran and other early Islamic narratives, suggests the opposite: an evolution of Arabian ideas and practices. “This kind of society would have been very similar to the first audience of the Quran,” Al-Jallad said. “The inscriptions tell us what their world was like.”

Al-Jallad’s research coincides with a revival of regional interest in early history. Earlier this year, the French government signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia—rumored to be worth more than twenty billion dollars—to develop a tourist attraction centered on a settlement of the ancient Nabataean kingdom. This work would continue a surge of Saudi exploration that began in the eighties, sponsored by oil wealth and motivated by the desire to show that the country had a glorious pre-Islamic past. “The Saudis are building a national narrative,” Al-Jallad told me. “This research gives Arabia a different status in the ancient Near East, so that it’s not just Iran, Iraq, and the Levant that had great civilizations.” Several other Gulf Arab countries have hosted their own excavations in recent decades. Robert Hoyland, a professor of archeology at N.Y.U., described these efforts as a response to the frenetic construction in newly rich places like Dubai and Qatar. “All of those governments have money to spend, and they all want to prove that they’re older than each other,” he said.

Not all of them will be pleased by the way that new research rewrites old understandings. In traditional historiography and common lore, southern Arabia is believed to be the primeval homeland of the Arabs and the source of the purest Arabic. In this telling, Arabic was born deep in the peninsula and spread with the Islamic conquests as it made contact with other languages, it gradually devolved into the many Arabic dialects spoken today. Classical Arabic remains the preëminent symbol of a unified Arab culture, and the ultimate marker of eloquence and learning. To Al-Jallad, the Safaitic inscriptions indicate that various ancient forms of Arabic were present many centuries before the rise of classical Arabic, in places such as Syria and Jordan. He argues that the language may have originated there and then migrated south—suggesting that the “corrupt” forms of Arabic spoken around the region may, in fact, have lineages older than classical Arabic. Macdonald told me, “His theory will inevitably meet a lot of opposition, mainly for non-academic reasons. But it’s becoming more and more convincing.”

When Macdonald sent the image of the rock inscribed with the poem, he included its G.P.S. coördinates, and Al-Jallad decided that he would hunt it down. In April, 2017, I accompanied him to the deserts of eastern Jordan, and we were joined by Ali Al-Manaser, an archeologist at Oxford, and Ahmad, a young field hand from a neighboring town. After driving for hours along the two-lane road that runs from Amman to Baghdad, we pulled to the side and stopped our truck. There was nothing to see for miles but basalt boulders, ash-colored and pocked like pumice. Inscriptions, Al-Jallad explained, tend to cluster on higher ground, where nomadic herders could keep an easier watch for predators. In a landscape with no other traces of human civilization, the rocks preserved the nomads’ names and genealogies, along with descriptions of their animals, their wars, their journeys, and their rituals. There were prayers to deities, worries about the lack of rain, and complaints about the cruelty of Romans.

In a small valley, an ancient grave was surrounded by a toppled cairn, with a desert meadow of nettles and tiny blue wildflowers below. Al-Jallad walked to a basalt slab shaped like a giant arrowhead, covered in etchings. As the field hand stood nearby, he squatted and read aloud, “Li ‘Addan bin Aws bin Adam bin Sa‘d, wa-ra‘aya ha-d-da’na bi-qasf kabir ‘ala akhihi sabiy fa-hal-Lat fasiyyat.” The writing said that the grandson of a man named Adam had once sat in this spot and pastured his sheep he grieved for a brother who’d been captured by an enemy tribe, and prayed to the goddess Allat for his deliverance. As Al-Jallad read, the field hand stared, astonished that these markings encoded a language that he could, more or less, understand.

For three days, the members of Al-Jallad’s expedition walked across hilltops, logging a thousand new Safaitic inscriptions. Around the remains of cairns, there were texts carved everywhere, and rock art, too—drawings of lions leaping on horses, warriors with bows and spears, gazelles, ostriches, dancers with flutes. The inscriptions, Al-Jallad explained, were a form of monument-making. “The fact that they don’t appear monumental to our eyes is because our idea of monumentality comes from a Greco-Roman model, where things are neat and square,” he said.

Al-Manaser, a Jordanian who has made dozens of trips across the region, seemed to have a mental map of the hills surveyed by earlier researchers, going back to the nineteenth century. On a few occasions, when someone proposed a nearby hill, Al-Manaser squinted at it and shook his head. “Published,” he said. Still, the promise of discovery transformed Al-Jallad’s countenance. “In the desert, you feel like a complete human being,” he told me one afternoon. “Everything is working, your senses are heightened, you’re thinking, you’re moving.”

On the third day, not far from the hilltop grave, Al-Jallad found a text that concluded, “May this writing not be obscured.” This was a common invocation, but he immediately registered that it was missing a specific grammatical particle. “We haven’t seen that before,” he said, making a note. A few hours later, he found a word, intasa, that didn’t appear in the archive. “A new word!” he crowed. Abu Bashar, our Bedouin driver, proposed that it meant “to be forgotten after having once been famous.” Al-Jallad, though wary of repeating his forebears’ mistakes, asked him to use it in a sentence.

With the help of Macdonald’s G.P.S. coördinates, we found the poem at the top of a hill. It was on a stone the size of a shoebox, with one face densely covered in inscriptions. Al-Jallad picked it up and studied its features, tracing the letters with a finger and turning the rock around in his hands to follow the wandering script. It began with the genealogy of Ghayyar’el son of Ghawth, who “alighted in the meadow and kept watch for his maternal uncle.” In the middle of the text were three verses. Al-Jallad read the verses aloud, first in Arabic and then in translation:

May his halting be only for war

So let here this day be the final encampment

Foremost fame!

So let here this day be the final encampment

Those who return suffer

So let here this day be the final encampment

Al-Jallad stared silently at the rock and then looked up, triumphant. We walked down the hill, taking turns carrying the poem, and put it in the truck, to take to a museum in Jordan. “This is one of the only places in the world where you can make major archeological discoveries just by going for a walk,” Al-Jallad told me. “There are treasures everywhere. You don’t need to dig. They’re out in the open.”

Tuesday 3 June 2014 at 6:00pm Reception to Follow

About the Lecture

On 17 June 2013, the ‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project discovered a monumental imperial Latin inscription in the ruins of the Late Roman fort at ‘Ayn Gharandal in the Wadi Arabah. Given the potential historical significance of the find, the inscripted stone was removed from the site by special permission from the Department of Antiquities of Jordan directly to the conservation laboratory of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman (ACOR) where it currently remains for final study. The inscription dates to the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284 to 305 A.D.).

Having undergone treatment to stabilize and consolidate the stone and its painted remnants as well as examination using RTI (Reflectance Transference Imaging), a full analysis of the ‘Ayn Gharandal inscription and its historical implications can now be offered.
The ‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project in conjunction with the ACOR Conservation Co-operative (ACC) will present for the first time in Jordan a public lecture detailing the stone’s discovery, the analysis of its text, and the broader historical significance of ‘Ayn Gharandal during the 4th century C.E.

This lecture is offered to our esteemed friends and colleagues in Jordan, particularly those at the Department of Antiquities, as a special preview to the full publication of the ‘Ayn Gharandal inscription in the forthcoming Journal of Roman Archaeology in November 2014.
The stone with the Roman imperial inscription will be unveiled and displayed for special viewing by those in attendance.

A New Monumental Latin Inscription at ‘Ayn Gharandal (Ancient Arieldela), Jordan

The ASOR Blog is reporting the discovery, in clear stratigraphic context at the main gate of the Roman fort at ‘Ayn Gharandal in Jordan, of an intact monumental inscription of Tetrarchic date (titulature). Excavated by Dr. Carrie Duncan (University of Missouri-Columbia) and team under the auspices of the ‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project (directed by Drs. Erin Darby and Robert Darby, University of Tennessee), the discovery is described at length the following extended quotation is taken verbatim from: Darby, R. & Darby, E., 2013. Words in the Sand: Discovering A New Monumental Latin Inscription at ‘Ayn Gharandal (Ancient Arieldela), Jordan. The ASOR Blog. Available at: [Accessed August 13, 2013]. Links by TE for CurEp.

After a concerted effort by the workmen and several students, the stone was flipped, carefully placed on its back, and immediately covered in order to preserve its red paint. From there, the massive stone (0.90 m x 0.65 m x 0.25 m in size) was raised from the excavation square and transported directly to the conservation lab at the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, where it is currently being cleaned and treated by Dr. Fatma Marii, Conservator for the Jordan Museum, and Brittany Dolph, ‘Ayn Gharandal/ACOR Conservation Intern from the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation.

The text of the inscription, although still in the early stages of analysis, is well-preserved and complete, save for areas that were intentionally altered in antiquity. The inscription is set within a carved frame, or tabula ansata, also containing decorative reliefs of laurel branches and a garland. It lists the names of the two senior and junior emperors, or augusti and caesares, to whom the inscription is dedicated – Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius I. Thus the monumental inscription not only provides a date for the foundation of the fort at ‘Ayn Gharandal during the reign of the Tetrarchy (293-305 CE) but also provides a terminus post quem for all subsequent occupation at the site.

In addition, the inscription confirms the site’s name in antiquity. It has long been believed that the modern Arabic name “Gharandal” derives from Arieldela, listed in the Notitia Dignitatum (Or. 34.44) as the location of the Cohors II Galatarum, a Roman auxiliary infantry unit. A total lack of any archaeological evidence from ‘Ayn Gharandal confirming its identification left the ancient name of the place and the unit garrisoned there a matter of scholarly speculation – until now. The inscription unearthed during the 2013 season indicates that the site is the location of the Cohors II Galatarum, confirming the ancient name of ‘Ayn Gharandal as Arieldela.

Ultimately, part of the inscription’s significance relates to its archaeological context. Unlike comparable inscriptions at Yotvata and Udruh, which were not found during stratigraphic excavation, the ‘Ayn Gharandal inscription was preserved in situ above the gate collapse that occurred during an earthquake, either in 363 CE or later.

Additional information and contextual photographs (though none of the text) can be seen at the original blog post. TE has no personal knowledge of this discovery questions should be directed to those cited in the ASOR piece.


In antiquity, the cross, i.e. the instrument of Christ's crucifixion (crux, stauros), was taken to be T-shaped, while the X-shape ("chiasmus") had different connotations. There has been scholarly speculation on the development of the Christian cross, the letter Chi used to abbreviate the name of Christ, and the various pre-Christian symbolism associated with the chiasmus interpreted in terms of "the mystery of the pre-existent Christ". [3]

In Plato's Timaeus, it is explained that the two bands which form the "world soul" (anima mundi) cross each other like the letter chi, possibly referring to the ecliptic crossing the celestial equator.

And thus the whole mixture out of which he cut these portions was all exhausted by him. This entire compound divided lengthways into two parts, which he joined to one another at the centre like the letter X, and bent them into a circular form, connecting them with themselves and each other at the point opposite to their original meeting-point and, comprehending them in a uniform revolution upon the same axis, he made the one the outer and the other the inner circle.

The two great circles of the heavens, the equator and the ecliptic, which, by intersecting each other form a sort of recumbent chi and about which the whole dome of the starry heavens swings in a wondrous rhythm, became for the Christian eye a heavenly cross.

Justin Martyr in the 2nd century makes explicit reference to Plato's image in Timaeus in terms of a prefiguration of the Holy Cross. [4] An early statement may be the phrase in Didache, "sign of extension in heaven" (sēmeion epektaseōs en ouranōi). [3]

An alternative explanation of the intersecting celestial symbol has been advanced by George Latura, claiming that Plato's "visible god" in Timaeus is the intersection of the Milky Way and the Zodiacal Light, a rare apparition important to pagan beliefs. He said that Christian bishops reframed this as a Christian symbol. [5]

The most commonly encountered Christogram in English-speaking countries in modern times is the Χ (or more accurately, the Greek letter chi), representing the first letter of the word Christ, in such abbreviations as Xmas (for "Christmas") and Xian or Xtian (for "Christian").

The Alpha and Omega symbols may at times accompany the Chi-Rho monogram. [7] Chrismon (chrismum also chrismos, chrismus) since the 17th century has been used as a New Latin term for the Chi Rho monogram.

Because the chrismon was used as a kind of "invocation" at the beginning of documents of the Merovingian period, the term also came to be used of the "cross-signatures" in early medieval charters. [8] Chrismon in this context may refer to the Merovingian period abbreviation I. C. N. for in Christi nomine, later (in the Carolingian period) also I. C. for in Christo, and still later (in the high medieval period) just C. for Christus. [9]

St Cuthbert's coffin (late 7th century) has an exceptional realisation of the Christogram written in Anglo-Saxon runes, as ᛁᚻᛋ ᛉᛈᛋ, as it were "IHS XPS", with the chi rendered as the eolh rune (the old z or algiz rune) and the rho rendered as the p-rune.

In the Latin-speaking Christianity of medieval Western Europe (and so among Catholics and many Protestants today), the most common Christogram became "IHS" or "IHC", denoting the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, iota-eta-sigma, or ΙΗΣ . [10] [11] [12]

The Greek letter iota is represented by I, and the eta by H, while the Greek letter sigma is either in its lunate form, represented by C, or its final form, represented by S. Because the Latin-alphabet letters I and J were not systematically distinguished until the 17th century, "JHS" and "JHC" are equivalent to "IHS" and "IHC".

"IHS" is sometimes interpreted as meaning "ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΗΜΕΤΕΡΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡ" (Iēsous Hēmeteros Sōtēr, "Jesus our Saviour") or in Latin "Jesus Hominum (or Hierosolymae) Salvator", ("Jesus, Saviour of men [or: of Jerusalem]" in Latin) [13] or connected with In Hoc Signo. English-language interpretations of "IHS" have included "In His Service". [14] Such interpretations are known as backformed acronyms.

Used in Latin since the seventh century, the first use of IHS in an English document dates from the fourteenth century, in the vision of William concerning Piers Plowman. [15] In the 15th century, Saint Bernardino of Siena popularized the use of the three letters on the background of a blazing sun to displace both popular pagan symbols and seals of political factions like the Guelphs and Ghibellines in public spaces (see Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus).

The IHS monogram with the H surmounted by a cross above three nails and surrounded by a Sun is the emblem of the Jesuits, according to tradition introduced by Ignatius of Loyola in 1541. [13]

Considering Shanna Moakler has been in the spotlight since the early ’90s, it’s not too surprising that the former Playboy Playmate has an extensive dating history. In fact, Shanna’s ex-husband, Travis Barker, with whom she shares teenagers Alabama and Landon, is hardly the only A-lister she’s been with!

Prior to marrying the Blink-182 drummer in 2004, the Wedding Singer alum had a serious relationship with boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya. Shanna and Oscar started dating in 1997 and got engaged one year later. In March 1999, the couple welcomed the birth of their daughter, Atiana.

“It wasn’t a planned pregnancy, but it was understood if it happened it was beautiful and if it didn’t that was fine too,” Shanna revealed during an interview with Extra at the time. In 2000, the pair’s romance came to a sudden end after the Rhode Island native saw Oscar attend the Latin Grammy Awards with another woman. The California native is now married to wife Millie Corretjer and they share kids Nina and Oscar Jr.

Two years after Shanna and Oscar called it quits, she met Travis in the summer of 2002. The former flames, who were married from 2004 to 2008, welcomed son Landon in October 2003 and daughter Alabama in December 2005.

According to Shanna, the exes have never had a problem coparenting. “The one thing that we do agree on, even though we didn’t work out romantically, is putting our kids first — and that’s one thing that we’ve always agreed on,” the Dancing With the Stars personality said during a February 2021 interview on the “Let’s Get Raw with Rori” podcast.

“We do what’s best for our kids. You know, we have shared custody, but we don’t even really go by an agreement anymore,” Shanna added. “You know, we just kind of work together.”

As for her current love life, Shanna is dating off-again, on-again boyfriend Matthew Rondeau. “He makes me happy,” the 1995 Miss USA runner-up captioned an intimate photo of herself and the model in April 2021.

Scroll through the gallery below to see Shanna Moakler’s complete dating history.

Yarmouk University

ʿAjlun Governorate, the smallest in Jordan, is located in the north west of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It has already delivered some Greek inscriptions, but as in other parts of the country, new inscriptions appear from time to time. Some newly discovered inscriptions were separately reported in various articles. Due to their importance, an overview may be useful. Among them, an exceptional bilingual Neohellenic and Arabic inscription was found in the city of ʿAjlun. This text which commemorates the building of a church in the 19th cent. is here published for the first time.

Le gouvernorat de ʿAjlun, le plus petit de Jordanie, est situé au nord-ouest du Royaume Hachémite de Jordanie. Il a déjà livré quelques inscriptions grecques mais, comme dans d’autres parties du pays, de nouveaux documents apparaissent de temps en temps. Quelques inscriptions trouvées plus ou moins récemment ont été signalées ou ont été publiées séparément dans divers articles. En raison de leur importance, une présentation d’ensemble peut être utile. Parmi elles, une inscription bilingue exceptionnelle, néo-hellénique et arabe, a été trouvée dans la ville de ‘Ajlun. Ce texte qui commémore la construction d’une église au xixe s. est ici publié pour la première fois.

Latin Inscription from Jordan - History

In setting out to write this article, I have the modest goal of helping new collectors of Roman Imperial coins to interpret the inscriptions on their coins. I must state at the outset that there will be nothing new here, I travel the well marked path of the great numismatists who have gone before me. The two who have had the greatest influence on me have been David R. Sear and Zander H. Klawans. Reading and Dating Roman Imperial Coins by Zander Klawans has been the starting point for more Roman collectors than perhaps any other book of the last half century and the fact that it is still in print is a testament to it's value.

Many new collectors and even advanced students of Latin shy away from attempting to decipher the seemingly cryptic inscriptions found on most Roman coins. The reason for this initial apprehension is that the ancient Romans were excessive abbreviators and that the legends were run together without stops or breaks. However, by learning less than a dozen abbreviations and developing a familiarity with that names used on Imperial coins the collector can easily attribute most coins that he will encounter (provided the inscriptions are legible). First we will look at the meaning of the more common abbreviations and then examine the names of the emperors as they appear on the coins.


The ancient Romans were great lovers of titles. In order to fit the many titles of an emperor on a medium as small as a coin, it proved necessary to abbreviate those titles heavily. Often a title of several words will be trimmed to just a few letters. In the table below I have listed the most commonly encountered titles and briefly explained their meaning. While some of the following titles may sometimes appear on the reverse of coins, generally reverse inscriptions are beyond the scope of this article.

AVG AUGUSTUS - The name of the first emperor bestowed upon him by the Senate in 27 BC. It became a title for all successive emperors. During the later empire, senior emperors were called the "Augustus" while junior emperors were the "Caesar."
CAES CAESAR - The family name of the first imperial dynasty, it became a title used by later emperors. During the later empire, senior emperors were called the "Augustus" while junior emperors were the "Caesar."
PM PONTIFEX MAXIMUS - Highest priest of the Roman religion. This title once conferred was held for life.
TRP TRIBUNICIA POTESTATE - Tribune of the Roman people, literally the representative of the people in the government. This title was held for one year and is often followed by a numeral which indicates which term as Tribune the emperor was then serving. It is a useful tool in dating coins.
PP PATER PATRIAE - Father of his country.
COS CONSUL - The consuls was the chief magistrates of the Roman government. Two were appointed each year. This title is often followed by a numeral which indicates the number of times the emperor had held this position. It is another useful tool in dating coins.
CENS CENSOR - A title often held for life. The Censor determined the size of the Senate.
GERM, BRIT, et cetera GERMANICUS, BRITANNICUS et cetera - Conqueror of the Germans, Britons et cetera.
IVN JUNIOR - The younger.
PIVS, PF PIUS FELIX - Dutiful, patriotic.
FIL FILIUS - Son of.
OPT OPTIMO PRINCIPI - The greatest ruler.
VC VIR CLARISSIMUS - The most illustrious ruler.
SC SENATUS CONSULTUS - Usuailly appears on the reverse of bronze coins of the early empire. Bronze coins were issued under the authority of the Senate while gold and silver was issued under imperial authority.


The following examples will demonstrate how some of the above titles appear on actual Roman coins.

Vespasian AE As issued AD 74

The inscription IMP CAESAR VESP AVG COS V CENS could be loosely translated "The Emperor Caesar Vespasianus, Augustus, Consul for the fifth time, Censor of the Roman people."

Trajan Decius AR Antoninianus issued AD 249-251

The inscription IMP CMQ TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG could be translated "The Emperor Caius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius, Augustus."

Constantine II AE3 issued AD 320-324

The inscription CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C could be translated "Constantine the Younger, Noble Prince, Caesar." This coin was issued while Constantine was junior emperor (Caesar) under his father Constantine the Great, who was the senior emperor (Augustus).


The Following table presents, in chronological order, the common name of the emperors along with the manner in which they often appear on his coinage.


Many Roman coins will have incomplete or unreadable legends, however it is still possible to identify many of these coins. The Romans of the early imperial period were know for their veristic portraiture and until about AD 250 most coins can be identified by the style of the portrait alone. In fact many first century coins are so realistic that emperors are portrayed with wrinkles, warts and even double chins. By the later empire, artistic sensibilities had evolved to a more philosophical expression. It had become fashionable to depict a representation of the emperor rather than a true portrait and thus we rely more heavily on the inscriptions on the later imperial coinage. As an aid in doing this I recommend Reading and Dating Roman Imperial Coins by Zander H. Klawans.

Watch the video: How to read an inscription in Latin