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Michael Flexsenhar

Abstract

Since 1883, the Roman emperor Commodus’ (180-192 CE) famed concubine Marcia has been identified as Marcia Aurelia Ceionia Demetrias, a woman honored on a statue base in ancient Anagnia, Italy (CIL X 5918). This article reexamines the inscription in light of other epigraphic evidence and corrects a longstanding mistake in historical reconstructions of the late-Antonine dynasty. It shows that the woman known as Marcia the powerful courtier and ostensible Christian-sympathizer was not the same as the woman honored on the inscription. They were two different women entirely, as the inscription’s nomenclature, status indication, and date indicate. The Marcia Aurelia Ceionia Demetrias honored on the inscription was a local elite likely married to the imperial freedman who was also honored with her as a civic benefactor in ancient Anagnia (CIL X 5917).

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