Ancient States & Regions

Poetovio Before the Marcomannic Wars: from legionary camp to colonia Ulpia

Geographical OutlinePoetovio (Ptuj in Slovenia) was the only autonomous town in Pannonia founded by Trajan; it was the second largest city in Upper Pannonia (after Carnuntum) and certainly one of the most important in the province. Throughout its history it was the main provincial financial centre; in the first half of the 1st century AD, it was most probably the main administrative centre of the province and seat of the commander-in-chief of the Pannonian part of Illyricum.[1] The town had an important strategic position as it was situated along the ancient Amber Road at the crossing of the Drava River (the Dravus, fig. 1).

It first belonged to the Norican kingdom[2] , but after the presumably peaceful annexation of the kingdom around 15 BC and the conquest of Illyricum following the Pannonian War (12–8 BC) and the great Pannonian-Dalmatian Rebellion (AD 6–9) – both led by Tiberius (fig. 2) – Poetovio was administratively transferred to Lower Illyricum (fig. 3).

The measure was carried out for geo-political and strategic reasons, since the Romans regarded it necessary to exercise military control over the Amber Route. Three legions (VIII Augusta, XV Apollinaris, and IX Hispana) were stationed in the Pannonian part of Illyricum under Augustus, VIII Augusta at Poetovio, while Noricum, a Roman ally of a long standing, remained a province with almost no Roman troops (inermis).[3]A small vexillation of VIII Augusta was detached during the Augustan period to Virunum at Magdalensberg,[4] where a unit of the cohors Montanorum prima has also been attested. Lower Illyricum had officially been called Pannonia probably since Vespasian, under whom the municipalisation of Pannonia began.[5] However, Poetovio was again attached to Noricum in the late Roman period (to its southern part called Noricum Mediterraneum), as is made clear by the data in the Itinerarium Hierosolymitanum (561.4) and the Tabula Peutingeriana (4.20). This transfer most probably occurred after the changes in provincial administration introduced by Diocletian; the change of borders is also confirmed in later sources. In the Cosmography of the Anonymous Geographer from Ravenna (around 700 AD) the name of the town appears as Petaviona (216.6).

The late Iron Age settlement should be sought on the left bank of the Drava on Panorama and Castle Hill (Grajski grič), and also along the Amber Route in the area where it crossed the river;[6] due to its excellent position along the Amber Route it may be assumed that the first Italian and Roman merchants came to Poetovio at the latest during the early Augustan period.[7] Poetovio gradually developed into one of the most flourishing Pannonian cities.[8] The name Poetovio is pre-Roman and also pre-Celtic, although a Celtic etymology of the name has recently been proposed.[9] The modern names for the city, Slovenian Ptuj and German Pettau, are derived from the ancient name, the latter directly from the Romance period form of the name (ad Bettobiam, Conv. Bag. et Carant. 11, from the 9th century).[10]During the Late Iron Age, the settlement was most probably inhabited by the Taurisci, a league of small related Celtic peoples and tribes, among which the Serretes or Serapilli should be noted, mentioned by Pliny the Elder as being settled along the Drava (NH, 3.147).11 The indigenous names known from the inscriptions are mainly Celtic and relatively rare, since numerous colonists from abroad pushed the native inhabitants into the background. Names such as Deuso Agisi f(ilius) and his wife Adbugiouna Atnamati f(ilia) appear on an early tombstone from the cemetery at Zgornja Hajdina; their son was called Primio.12 One Calandina Calandini filia is attested on a second century tombstone of Ausca, the daughter of Adiutor; Ausca is a Celtic name, while Calandina is a typical eastern Norican name.13 Aisia, Atto,14 Cutio and Medullia,15 Maro, and Suadra are further attested,16 as well as Artebudz on a pot from Spodnja Hajdina.17

Poetovio as a legionary fortress

A legionary fortress for VIII Augusta was presumably erected in the mid-Augustan period on the right bank of the Drava; the camp has not been reliably located yet because the river subsequently changed its course and flooded a part of the town as early as in the Late Roman period.18 The legion, which probably came from Asia Minor,19 took an active part in conquering Illyricum, and its presence in Pannonia is attested by several inscrip- tions (fig. 4).20 It seems that during the Pannonian-Dalmatian Revolt the fortress was too distant from the rebellious regions to be directly affected by the war. Around AD 45, the legion was transferred to Moesia (Novae) and replaced by XIII Gemina from Vindonissa (Germania); the newly arrived legion built an aqueduct for the legionary camp at Poetovio, leaving some other traces in the town, notably inscribed monuments and brick stamps.21 The legion VIII Augusta opened the first marble quarry on Pohorje Mountain, while marble from Gummern was introduced to Poetovio around the mid-1st century AD and was mainly used for tombstones of legionaries of XIII Gemina (fig. 5).22 This legion probably also erected a more permanent fortress, replacing the earlier turf structures; canabae increasingly flourished near the legionary camp. Poetovio was also an important river port, where a detachment of the Pannonian navy was stationed (classis Flavia Pannonica), as is directly indicated by the presence of a trierarcha.23

In August AD 69, Poetovio, the fortress of XIII Gemina, was the scene of an important meetingoflegionaryandprovinciallegatessupportingthefutureemperorVespasian(Poetovionem in hiberna tertiae decimae legionis convenerant); this is the first mention of Poetovio in classical literature (Tac., Hist. 3.1). The legate of the legion was then Vedius Aquila,24 and a significant role was also played by the legate of XI Claudia from Burnum in Dalmatia, L. Annius Bassus, as well as by the governors of Dalmatia and Pannonia, ‘two rich old men’, M. Pompeius Silvanus and L.Tampius Flavianus (Tacitus, Hist. 2.86.3). The latter was present at Poetovio at the gathering, as was the procurator of Illyricum, the influential former senator Cornelius Fuscus (Hist. 2.86).25 However, the meeting was dominated by the legate of the legion VII Galbiana M. Antonius Primus, a young senator from Tolosa, who managed to persuade the staff of the headquarters of the army in Illyricum to depart for Italy before the arrival of Vespasian’s general, the governor of Syria C. Licinius Mucianus, with the army from the East. The units from Illyricum under the leadership of Antonius Primus defeated the legions of Vitellius in October at Bedriacum and Cremona and eventually conquered Rome.26

The XIII Gemina left Poetovio for Vindobona before the accession of Trajan, most likely towards the end of Domitian’s reign,27 when the Pannonian limes was again exposed to attacks from Germanic peoples. Domitian had notably made preparations for the war in Pannonia against the Marcomanni and Quadi in AD 96, which was ended under Nerva.28 Five legions were stationed in Pannonia at that time (XIII Gemina, XV Apollinaris, I and II Adiutrix, IV Flavia(?)), as well as ten alae and 23 cohorts, indicating that danger threatened most of all from the Germanic peoples and from Sarmatia, and less so from Dacia.29 The XIII Gemina fought in the war against the Suebi and Sarmatae (expeditio Suebica et Sarmatica), when the legate of the legion was L. Caesennius Sospes; he was awarded decorations for his achievements in the war.30 This war took place either under Domitian in AD 92/93,31 or under Nerva in AD 96–97 (bellum Suebicum),32 when in the years 97–98 Pannonia was governed by Cn. Pinarius Cicatricula Pompeius Longinus, the former governor of Upper Moesia (still in that province on 12 July 97), who is documented as being in Pannonia on 20 February AD 98.33 He was the victorious general in Nerva’s war and later one of the most trustworthy of Trajan’s associates.34 After this war, the legion XIII Gemina did not return to Poetovio. The suggestion that the legion XXI Rapax would have been stationed at Poetovio until AD 102, is not based on any firm evidence,35 and it left no traces in Pannonia either. The legion is generally believed to have been destroyed by the Sarmatians in AD 92, or else it was disbanded after having been defeated in the revolt of the governor of Upper Germania, L. Antonius Saturninus in AD 89.36 However, even after the departure of the XIII Gemina, the strategic position of Poetovio retained its significance and the town must have rarely been without any soldiers.37 A few beneficiarii consularis have been documented to date in the town.38

Many important buildings must have been erected in the town even before the departure of the legion XIII Gemina, most notably several sanctuaries. There must have been more than one sanctuary in which Jupiter was worshipped. One such early aedes at Zgornji Breg on the right side of the Drava, where the legionary camp was presumably also situated,39 is indirectly confirmed by the fact that a large altar to Jupiter the Best and Greatest was found there, probably erected around AD 95 by Hadrian as a tribune of II Adiutrix (fig. 6), on his way to Aquincum, where his legion was stationed.40 It should not be excluded that at that time his kinsman and guardian Trajan (Trajan’s father was Hadrian’s great-uncle) governed Pannonia,41 which means that shortly prior to the elevation of Poetovio to a colony, the future emperor may have personally known the town and the legionary camp and may have even spent some time in it. Trajan’s governorship could be placed between that of L. Neratius Priscus (cos. AD 87, in the province between 89/90 and 92) and that of the mentioned Pompeius Longinus (in AD 98).42

Domitian was assassinated on 18 September AD 96, and on 27 October 97 Nerva adopted Trajan, who, upon Nerva’s death on 28 January 98 became emperor.43 In the middle of the year Trajan left Germania for Pannonia, to supervise personally the victorious end of the war against the Quadi and Marcomanni and the restoration of the foedus relationship with both peoples, which obliged them to provide the Romans with auxiliary troops. This was most important for Trajan’s planned Dacian war in 101, and indeed, Suebian soldiers are represented as fighting in the front lines against the Dacians on Trajan’s column.44 These events represent the chronology and the historical context shedding light on the foundation of the colony in Poetovio.

colonIa ulpIa traIana

Under Trajan, Poetovio – no longer a legionary fortress after the departure of XIII Gemina – became colonia Ulpia.45 The new citizens were inscribed in the voting tribe of the emperor, Papiria, but occasionally a pseudo-tribus Ulpia appears in the inscriptions.46 An interesting case in this respect is a 2nd century tombstone, possibly Hadrianic, from Ancyra (Ankara) of one M. Aebutius Victorinus from Poetovio, who served as a centurion in several legions, among others also in the ex-Poetovian XIII Gemina; his home and tribus are noted as Ulp(ia) Papir(ia) Troiana (!) Poetovio(ne).47 His cognomen is common enough in Noricum and Pannonia, as well as elsewhere, but it is nonetheless an interesting coincidence that the first known bishop from Poetovio, also an esteemed ecclesiastical writer, was called Victorinus; he died as a martyr during the reign of Diocletian.48

As can be concluded on the basis of a fragmentary imperial building inscription found at Vičava on the left bank of the Drava, which can be supplemented with Trajan’s name and titles (fig. 7),49 the emperor gave the town an important public structure in the period between AD 102 in 106. As has convincingly been argued, this may well have been the forum, rather than some smaller public building such as the town baths.50 However, although plausible, the restoration of the fragmentary imperial building inscription ultimately remains hypothetical. Trajan’s inscribed monument from the ‘old forum’ (forum vetus) at Sarmizegetusa may be restored in a similar way, the new reading of which has been inspired by the proposed new supplement to the Poetovio inscription.51 The colony at Poetovio may have been founded when Trajan travelled from Dacia to Italy through Pannonia in AD 102,52 or even earlier, if the data in Hyginus mentioning estates in Pannonia, which were given by the emperor to veterans, refer to Poetovio.53 This is very likely and seems to be confirmed by the veteran settlement in the nearby countryside.54 The decision to found a colony at Poetovio may have been taken by Trajan in 98, during his stay in Pannonia.55 After the division of the province between 103 and 107 or in AD 106, Poetovio was a part of Upper Pannonia.56

As emphasized at the beginning, Poetovio had an excellent geo-strategic position at the crossing of the Drava and along the Amber Route, one of the two most significant Roman roads leading through Pannonia (the other was the main road across the Balkans, passing through Siscia and Sirmium and further to Thrace or Macedonia). Even prior to the departure of the legion, the civil settlement on both banks of the river, and the canabae, which had developed close to the legionary camp on the right bank, were flourishing. Indigenous inhabitants, foreign settlers, mainly merchants and artisans, and even some veterans made the settlement look like a small town, which had all prerequisites to attract new colonists and become an autonomous city. It was situated along one of the largest Pannonian rivers, which was most important in terms of river traffic, particularly also the marble trade.57 At the same time, the town was at a certain distance from the Danubian frontier and not immediately threatened by possible attacks from the Germanic peoples, and was therefore ideal to supply the army in the camps along the Danube. The decision to found a veteran colony at Poetovio was in accordance with all the requirements needed for the durability of an autonomous town, and it was advantageous alike to the state, the local residents, and new colonists, since the broader region was quite fertile.

As is clear from Pliny’s letters to Trajan, the emperor took care of the well-being of provincials and usually supported their aspirations, the more so when they could contribute to the economic growth of the province. It can be assumed that local elites, particularly the well-to-do Valerii,58 played some role in the negotiations that brought about the transfor- mation of Poetovio into a veteran colony. No less significant in taking this decision may have been the intervention of the governor of Pannonia; this could have been either Pompeius Longinus in AD 98, or L. Iulius Ursus Servianus, the husband of Hadrian’s sister Domitia Paulina, who governed the province after Pompeius Longinus between AD 99 and 101.59 It is well known that governors were often patrons of one or the other of the civitates in their province, and three are also attested in Pannonia: L. Funisulanus Vettonianus was a patron of Andautonia (AD 84–85),60 Q. Glitius Atilius Agricola of the Cornacates (AD 102),61 and an unknown governor of the Latobici (probably in the early 2nd century AD).62 In any case, governors played a most significant role in carrying out imperial decisions, particularly decisions as important as the foundation of a colony.63 The probable homonymous son of the abovementioned Neratius Priscus (cos. AD 87),64 L. Neratius Priscus (cos. suff. AD 97), a jurist and a close associate of Trajan, probably governed Pannonia during Trajan’s Dacian wars and may have been the last governor of the undivided Pannonia.65 His governorship witnessed increased building activity and swift urban development in Poetovio.

In terms of provincial administration, a large-scale financial centre was created at Poetovio, which had always been the seat of the provincial procurators;66 under Trajan, L. Vibius Lentulus is documented in this post, who at the same time was also the procu- rator of Dalmatia. He was an old acquaintance of Trajan, since in 88–89 he served in Hispania as a tribune in the legion VII Gemina, which was then commanded by Trajan.67 The tabularium of Upper Pannonia was installed at Poetovio, as well as the administration of XX hereditatum ultrarumque Pannoniarum.68 Many colonists, among them numerous veterans, came from northern Italy to settle in the town,69 but they also originated from various other parts of the empire, including the eastern provinces. Active soldiers are also documented in the town. The inscriptions mention both the missio nummaria (since not all retired legionaries wanted to farm), as well as the missio agraria.70 Veterans did not come to settle in a single colonizing wave, as is confirmed by the second missio agraria (fig. 8).71 Veterans may have come to live in Poetovio even before the colony was established in the town, as was perhaps the case for a veteran of the legion XI, which was not yet called Claudia pia fidelis, therefore the tombstone must be dated before the revolt of Scribonianus in Dalmatia in 42 AD.72 Many Ulpii must have lived in the town and its surroundings,73 and one M.Ulpius Saturnus, from Ulpia Poetovio, is also attested in near-by Noricum. He erected a tombstone for himself, his wife Pomponia Secundina and their deceased son Insequens in a flourishing Norican village at Kalsdorf near Graz.74

The main features of the town’s topography and its prosperity under Hadrian

The right bank of the Drava River

Although no traces of the military camp have been discovered to date, it is only logical that it was located on the right bank of the Drava, along the road leading from Celeia towards Savaria and further to Carnuntum, near the area of the bridge over the river. The bridge was constructed (or possibly renovated) in stone during the reign of Hadrian (AD 117–138), as is documented by a building inscription (fig. 9).75 Only a few remains, mainly some wooden osts that probably belonged to it, have been preserved from the bridge.76 Two altars were discovered in its vicinity, one of which was undoubtedly dedicated to the river god Dravus, as was very likely also the other badly damaged one.77 A shrine or a small sanctuary most probably stood on the right bank near the bridge, at Zgornji Breg. However, both areas, that of the camp and that of the remains of the bridge, were destroyed by the changing course of the Drava, and theoretically, remains of the bridge could have been located on the left bank of the ancient riverbed.78 The direction of the aqueduct built by the legion XIII Gemina also corrobo- rates the hypothetical location of the camp.79 First century tombstones of active soldiers came to light on the right bank, as well as several altars erected by soldiers. The Roman settlement on the right bank developed on two river terraces, the upper one at Spodnja Hajdina and the lower one at Zgornji Breg, including the eastern part of Spodnja Hajdina (fig. 10). Very little is known about the latter area from the 1st and the first half of the 2nd centuries AD.80 Spodnja Hajdina was inhabited from the Late Bronze Age onwards. Parts of the Roman settlement were excavated by W. Gurlitt and W. Schmid, while B. Saria topographically investigated the area.81 Remains of wooden buildings and a bronze production workshop were discovered, while some 1st century cremation graves mark the extent of the early settlement.

Under Hadrian,82 Poetovio became the seat of the central administration for Illyrian customs, publicum portorii Illyrici,83 with some fifty stations under its control, as well as the seat of the tabularium vectigalis Illyrici;84 the town continued to be an important financial centre of the province.85 The central office of the Illyrian customs at Poetovio supervised the commercial traffic from Raetia to Dacia, and from the Adriatic to the Black Sea (Appian, Illyr., 6.16). As has been mentioned, Hadrian may have visited Poetovio before he became emperor. The seat of the Illyrian customs is epigraphically attested at Spodnja Hajdina, where a quarter of the Roman town was known as Vicus Fortunae: storehouses and a sanctuary of Fortuna are mentioned in an inscription.86 An area of sanctuaries was identified in the nearby vicinity, among others the First Mithraeum from the mid-second century, with dedications from Illyrian customs officials, small sanctuaries of Volcanus and Venus and of two unidentifiable deities (fig. 11).

Dedications to Mar(i)mogius, the Holy Spring, and the Nymphs were discovered some 100 m north of the First Mithraeum.87 In the central area of Spodnja Hajdina a sanctuary to the Nutrices was unearthed; further temples are tentatively ascribed to Jupiter, Cybele, and Isis.88 The western cemetery began immediately beyond the buildings, spreading along the road to Celeia; some graves are from the 1st century AD; indeed, the largest early burial grounds in Poetovio were at Zgornja and Spodnja Hajdina on the right bank of the river.89

The left bank of the Drava

The town quarters on the left bank of the river are roughly divided into the area between the Drava and the stream of Grajena (which ran closer to Castle Hill in the Roman period), and the area east of the Grajena, called Rabelčja vas (fig. 10). The first area comprises the two elevations of Panorama and Castle Hill (Grad, Grajski grič), Vičava along the Drava below Panorama, as well as the centre of mediaeval Ptuj at the southern and eastern foot of Castle Hill. The main Roman state road crossed the Drava at Vičava, proceeding between Panorama and Castle Hill in the direction of Savaria and Carnuntum. An almost 200 m wide zone in the centre of the Roman town at Vičava may have been destroyed by the Drava.90 The town centre of Poetovio most probably developed near the river crossing of this road. The earliest Roman finds from this area come from the first half or the middle of the 1st century AD. Most of the tombstones and many altars dedicated to Jupiter, although found in secondary use, are from the left bank of the Drava.91 Remains of the Fourth Mithraeum (which was restored during the reign of Diocletian) were discovered at Muzejski trg (fig. 12), as well as Trajan’s building inscription, while only a few workshops were identified in this area.92

The settlement at Vičava continued on the Panorama height; an aqueduct coming from Panorama along its northeastern slopes supplied Panorama and Vičava with water. The oldest Roman buildings on Panorama, with corresponding small finds, are dated to the second half of the 1st century AD.93 M. Abramić excavated a large building along the Roman road, consisting of two rows of rectangular rooms, separated from the road by a passage. Four stone reliefs of the Cabiri came to light, as well as monuments of other divinities: Liber/ Bacchus, Silvanus, Venus, Aesculapius and Hygieia, and the Nutrices. Abramić interpreted the building as an area of worship that had been in use since the 2nd century AD.94 Nearby, a part of a large building with baths was discovered, along with another one with central heating, as well as pottery kilns and remains from metallurgical production. Dedications to the Nutrices, reused in a Late Roman inhumation grave, indicate the existence of a sanctuary of these goddesses on Panorama. The forum and administrative town districts were located in this area.

Castle Hill, from where the Drava crossing was controlled, was undoubtedly a most important site in times of danger; however, any possible remains from the first two centuries AD were damaged by later constructions.95 Early Roman cemeteries extended along side roads leading northwest and eastwards (the latter along present-day Prešernova St.); many Roman tombstones are immured in mediaeval houses in Ptuj, and the so-called ‘Orpheus monument’, the funerary stele of the Valerii family, probably belonged to the latter cemetery (fig. 13).96 Another large cemetery spread across the northern slope and partly on the top of Panorama.97 Below Castle Hill and the mediaeval city, close to the Drava, traces of an amphi- theatre have supposedly been identified, based on superficial topographical features, but so far there is no evidence that would confirm this hypothesis.98 The area was exposed to flooding.

At Rabelčja vas east of the Grajena Stream, the eastern quarter of Poetovio extended, comprising about one third of the Roman town, reserved for activities linked to industrial production and various crafts. Along the main road towards Savaria, the remains of a bridge across the Grajena were discovered, as well as the remains of two more bridges across brooks in the settlement. Beyond the last one, a cemetery was located in the modern area of Ljudski vrt, dating to the early and late Roman periods. The settlement at Rabelčja vas mainly consisted of a major manufacturing area of Poetovio, located outside the centre of the Roman city. The remains of many pottery kilns and drying houses belonging to the workshops for making pottery and bricks, smelting workshops where metallurgical activities took place, and remains of carving marble indicating stone-cutters’ workshops, were located in this large area. The Fifth Mithraeum was discovered along the northern edge of the settlement (fig. 12).99 In the mid-3rd century AD, the Drava flooded the town, which was thoroughly transformed in the late Roman period, becoming much smaller.

Many craftsmen and artisans were working in the town, where stonecutting and stonemasonry workshops, as well as trade in Pohorje marble, were particularly prosperous; one of the most important regional quarries was the marble quarry at Šmartno na Pohorju.100 All kinds of pottery, tile, and glass artefacts were produced in the city;101 local copies of terra sigillata were produced at Poetovio already in the first half of the 1st century AD.102 Merchants must have no doubt been of various ethnic origins, although this has not been directly attested.103 The nearby countryside was fertile and quite suitable for farming and cattle breeding.

The town administration and municipal aristocracy

Inhabitants from all social strata were well represented at Poetovio, from state officials, town magistrates, Augustales, and priests of various other cults, to freedmen and slaves.104 Several known members of the municipal elite originated from the most outstanding families of Poetovio, the Valerii and P. Aelii.105 Eight town councillors (decuriones) have been attested to date, whose other municipal functions – if any –are not known. These are C. Iulius Magnus, C. Clodius Avitus, the brothers P. Aelii Marinus and Marcianus, the brothers T. Aelii Patrinus and Celer, Aelius Secundinus, and Aurelius Ceionius.106 Little is known of their background. The wife of C. Iulius Magnus, whose family may have received citizenship under the Julio-Claudian dynasty, was Veponia Materna, a woman of native origin, since the names Vepo, Veponius, and their derivatives are mainly distributed in the southern Norican regions.107 The Clodii perhaps emigrated to the canabae of Poetovio from northern Italy, like the Clodii from Emona, who came from Aquileia.108 There must have been other early inhabitants from Aquileia in the canabae of Poetovio, such as Grania L. f. Procula; one L. Granius Apollonius was a sevir at Aquileia.109 The brothers P. Aelii Marinus and Marcianus were equestrian officers, each of them commanding a cohort, probably under Antoninus Pius.110 According to the presently available evidence, the only family that was more important in Poetovio during the Principate than the P. Aelii were the Valerii. The family of T. Aelii Patrinus and Celer111 received citizenship under Antoninus Pius. The decurio Aelius Secundinus is known from a dedication to the influential local goddesses Nutrices; he may have been of Celtic origin (fig. 14).112

Aurelius Ceionius was decurio Poetovionensis and also held the post of sacerdos of Upper Pannonia.113 He dedicated an altar to Jupiter Depulsor, a god with local associations, worshipped mainly in Noricum and southwestern Pannonia.114 The prestigious highest priestly function in the province was only performed by the most outstanding members of the municipal elite, usually ex-duumviri. It was also carried out by two other members of the Poetovian aristocracy, M. Valerius Maximianus the Elder and Aurelius Maximinus. Four of the six known duumviri of Poetovio115 were members of the family of the Valerii, into which the first Pannonian senator, M. Valerius Maximianus the Younger, was born.116 M. Valerius Verus (?) may have been one of the first decuriones and duumviri in Poetovio; his other possible functions are not preserved in the fragmentary inscription.117 His tombstone, the above mentioned ‘Orpheus monument’, which was almost 5 m high, represents the largest preserved funerary monument not only in Poetovio,
but in the entire provinces of Pannonia and Noricum, and has probably remained in situ (fig. 13). In previous centuries, it was used as a ‘stone of humiliation’, the so-called ‘pranger’: old drawings of the town show that it has stood at this site at least from the 16th century onwards. It was decorated with once fine reliefs, which can now barely be identified. The central scene represented Orpheus, playing the lyre and surrounded by animals; in the gable, Luna and Endymion were probably represented, rather than Venus, mourning Adonis.118 On the base, Orpheus is depicted in front of Persephone and Pluto, asking them for the return of Eurydice from the underworld.

Valerius’ tombstone was certainly regarded as a remarkable piece of local stone-masonry and was no doubt admired by the inhabitants of Poetovio; it may have been an object of desire of other well-to-do residents even generations later, as seems confirmed by a much smaller tombstone from Šmartno na Pohorju, erected to Aurelius Calandinus, a veteran of the cohors I Asturum, by his freedman (fig.15).119 Aurelius Calandinus name indicates that he was a native, who had probably been recruited towards the end of the 2nd century; his cohort was at that time and also in the 3rd century, stationed at Astura (present-day Zeiselmauer).120 Even at a later date the local Pohorje-Poetovio workshops produced funerary stelae with motifs from the same repertoire.121

C. Valerius Scribonianus was awarded equestrian rank under Hadrian and his career is particularly interesting, since in addition to having been praefectus fabrum and duumvir i(ure) d(icundo) quinquennalis, he was also quattuorvir aediliciae potestatis, which is not frequently mentioned in inscriptions from Roman colonies.122 Possibly he was the brother of L. Valerius Verus,123 known from an altar to Liber and Libera, who had a similar municipal career.124 M. Valerius Maximianus the Elder, who was in one way or another related to Verus or Scribonianus and may have been the son of one of them,125 was duumvir quinquennalis in Poetovio and sacerdos of Upper Pannonia.126

An enigmatic case is that of C. Valerius Tettius Fuscus (fig. 16).127 The tribunate, which is mentioned in the second part of his career, is not clearly defined and might possibly be explained as the chairmanship of the collegium magnum Larum et imaginum domini nostri Caesaris, as has been suggested by J. Šašel and G. Alföldy.128 However, it could perhaps be assumed that Fuscus, after his successful municipal career, held a legionary tribunate, as a kind of confirmation of his membership in the ordo equester. This has been suggested by H. Devijver on the basis of a sella curulis relief on a marble block immured close to the funerary monument of Fuscus (fig. 17). Military decorations are depicted on it: a corona of laurel, usually reserved for eques- trian officers, a cuirass (lorica), a round shield with an umbo (parma equestris) over an obliquely placed lance (hasta), two oval shields diagonally over each other, and a helmet with cheek guards and plumes.129 If the relief with the sella curulis is not a part of Fuscus’ grave monument, which seems more likely, it must have belonged to a tombstone of an unknown equestrian officer. When Fuscus attained the tribunate, he resolved to arrange at his expense for (burial?) plots for members of his collegium. The collegia of the worshippers of the Lares and imperial images are also known from Rome and Tipasa,130 and similar collegia are attested in neighbouring towns, for example, the collegium of the worshippers of the Genius of the province of Upper Pannonia in Savaria,131 the worshippers of the Genius Anigemius and Mercurius in Celeia,132 and the collegium of the worshippers of the Lares in Virunum.133

In four inscriptions of town magistrates, an interesting municipal office of praefectus pro Ilviris or prefectus i(ure) d(icundo) is mentioned, which is variously explained by modern inter- preters. Since the office is attested relatively often at Poetovio, it cannot be taken to signify a prefect, who was appointed to perform the function of a duumvir in place of the emperor, and so far, this has not been mentioned in the inscriptions.134 Most probably the prefecture should also not be interpreted as a substitution for the absence of both of the duumviri, praefectus a Ilviro relictus.135 The praefecti pro II viris included one of the Valerii, who was a decurio, aedilis, quaestor, and then praefectus pro II viris i(ure) d(icundo),136 T. Cassius Verinus, known from a dedication to the Nutrices, who was decurio, praefectus fabrum, and praefectus pro IIviris,137 C. Tiberinius Faventinus, known from an altar to Jupiter Depulsor, who was decurio, praefectus fabrum, questor, and praefectus pro IIviris,138 as well as one Octavius Ingenuus, who erected an altar to Jupiter Dolichenus ob honorem praefecturae.139

As has been seen, the prefecture pro IIviris is attested at different places in a municipal career. This last mentioned altar may serve as a confirmation that the prefect was not a deputy, rather he held a municipal office, which had its place in a municipal career before the duumvirate.140 It is unlikely that some other kind of prefecture would have been meant, such as fabrum, since this would most probably be specified.141 The epigraphic evidence at Poetovio would indicate that the prefecture i(ure) d(icundo), or pro Ilviris, was an independent office, similar in function to that of the duumviri. Possibly the duumviri and the prefect divided among themselves the duties of jurisdiction, either in terms of the prefect functioning as an assistant to the duumviri, or else the division was determined geographically, which would mean that the prefect performed his office outside the city of Poetovio.142 Poetovio was one of the largest towns in Noricum and Pannonia, divided into many town districts and possessing a large territory, which included such distant settlements as Aquae Iasae.143

relIgIon and cults

The introduction of various cults usually cannot be defined chronologically, but it can be assumed with great probability that epichoric deities were in one way or another worshipped at Poetovio even before Roman rule. In addition to the gods of the Roman Pantheon, the inhabitants of Poetovio worshipped the locally important Iuppiter Culminalis and Iuppiter Depulsor. Among the indigenous Celtic gods, Mar(i)mogius should be mentioned; he was sometimes equated with Mars but not at Poetovio. Three altars were erected to him, one was found at Spodnja Hajdina on the right bank of the Drava,144 and two on the left bank. Of the latter, one was discovered at Vičava, where the forum and administrative town quarter were.

In four inscriptions of town magistrates, an interesting municipal office of praefectus pro Ilviris or prefectus i(ure) d(icundo) is mentioned, which is variously explained by modern inter- preters. Since the office is attested relatively often at Poetovio, it cannot be taken to signify a prefect, who was appointed to perform the function of a duumvir in place of the emperor, and so far, this has not been mentioned in the inscriptions.134 Most probably the prefecture should also not be interpreted as a substitution for the absence of both of the duumviri, praefectus a Ilviro relictus.135 The praefecti pro II viris included one of the Valerii, who was a decurio, aedilis, quaestor, and then praefectus pro II viris i(ure) d(icundo),136 T. Cassius Verinus, known from a dedication to the Nutrices, who was decurio, praefectus fabrum, and praefectus pro IIviris,137 C. Tiberinius Faventinus, known from an altar to Jupiter Depulsor, who was decurio, praefectus fabrum, questor, and praefectus pro IIviris,138 as well as one Octavius Ingenuus, who erected an altar to Jupiter Dolichenus ob honorem praefecturae.139

As has been seen, the prefecture pro IIviris is attested at different places in a municipal career. This last mentioned altar may serve as a confirmation that the prefect was not a deputy, rather he held a municipal office, which had its place in a municipal career before the duumvirate.140 It is unlikely that some other kind of prefecture would have been meant, such as fabrum, since this would most probably be specified.141 The epigraphic evidence at Poetovio would indicate that the prefecture i(ure) d(icundo), or pro Ilviris, was an independent office, similar in function to that of the duumviri. Possibly the duumviri and the prefect divided among themselves the duties of jurisdiction, either in terms of the prefect functioning as an assistant to the duumviri, or else the division was determined geographically, which would mean that the prefect performed his office outside the city of Poetovio.142 Poetovio was one of the largest towns in Noricum and Pannonia, divided into many town districts and possessing a large territory, which included such distant settlements as Aquae Iasae.143

relIgIon and cults

The introduction of various cults usually cannot be defined chronologically, but it can be assumed with great probability that epichoric deities were in one way or another worshipped at Poetovio even before Roman rule. In addition to the gods of the Roman Pantheon, the inhabitants of Poetovio worshipped the locally important Iuppiter Culminalis and Iuppiter Depulsor. Among the indigenous Celtic gods, Mar(i)mogius should be mentioned; he was sometimes equated with Mars but not at Poetovio. Three altars were erected to him, one was found at Spodnja Hajdina on the right bank of the Drava,144 and two on the left bank. Of the latter, one was discovered at Vičava, where the forum and administrative town quarter were located,145 while the other was immured in the city tower.146 The god hence was worshipped in at least two important areas of the town.The most influential cult practised by the local community was that of the Nutrices;147 these goddesses of undoubtedly Celtic origin were documented exclusively at Poetovio and its ager. Over forty preserved monuments were dedicatedto them, hence their cult seems to have been the most prominent indigenous cult in the town, overshadowing even the worship of Jupiter and Mithras. Several small sanctuaries or shrines of the goddesses presumably existed at Poetovio: one was located beyond doubt at Spodnja Hajdina, while two others were hypothetically assumed to exist on the basis of finds at Zgornji Breg and Panorama (fig. 12). Reliefs depicting three women, one of whom is Nutrix, are the most numerous (fig. 18). The votive monuments were erected by families belonging to all social classes, from slaves to members of the municipal aristocracy, a father being the most usual dedicator, in several cases together with his wife. The Nutrices should be interpreted as some kind of goddesses of birth and the guardians of children.148

Dravus should be mentioned among the important gods at Poetovio, since the Drava River was not only the most important fluvial traffic route, particularly in terms of the marble and pottery trade,149 but occasionally it also represented a great threat to the town because of floods. The Drava no doubt destroyed the legionary camp on the right bank of the river. Volcanus protected the inhabitants from fires, which were a real danger in Roman cities, since many houses were wooden. An altar was erected to him by the town quarter Vicus Fortunae; in the dedication a sanctuary of Fortuna is also mentioned .150 Sanctuaries of Volcanus were built outside the centres of cities; a festival dedicated to the god, Volcanalia, was celebrated on 23 August. From the 2nd century onwards, the cult of Mithras played an important role at Poetovio, with five sanctuaries so far discovered in the city.151

An interesting picture is offered by the gods that were honoured by the magistrates of Poetovio. Only two of them erected an altar to Jupiter,152 while an altar was dedicated to Jupiter Culminalis, whose cult is attested a few times in Poetovio and its ager.153 Further divinities worshipped by the municipal aristocracy were Dolichenus,154 Liber and Libera,155 as well as the most popular goddesses at Poetovio, the Nutrices.156 Two or three altars erected by the town magistrates are dedicated to Jupiter Depulsor.157 The god was particularly worshipped in the southwest of the province of Upper Pannonia and his increased popularity may have been linked to the outbreak of the Marcomannic Wars, when the interior regions of the province were seriously threatened for the first time. Several dedications to Depulsor were found in Poetovio and its vicinity, and Poetovio may even be regarded as a centre of his worship.158

Acknowledgement

My thanks are due to Dr. Jana Horvat for her valuable comments on my paper, Mateja Belak for her help with the illustrations, and Barbara Smith Demo for having edited the English text.

[1] Saria 1951, 1171; Vittinghoff 1953, 364.

[2] Saria 1951, 1170.

[3]Only some auxiliary troops were stationed in the province, see Ubl 2005.

[4] CIL III 4858 = ILS  2466 =HD056850.

[5] Šašel Kos 2010.

[6] Božič 1993; cf. also Šašel 1980; Horvat et al. 2003, 153–154: settlement in the area of Ptuj (Castle Hilland Rabelčja vas) is attested since the late Neolithic or early Eneolithic periods, Dular 2013, 73–75.

[7] Saria 1951, 1170.

[8] Slapšak 2001; Horvat et al. 2003; cf. Vomer Gojkovič 2009.

[9] Anreiter 2001, 112–114 and passim; according to Delamarre 2009, 95–96, the name should be relatedto a Celtic god of vengeance, which is not plausible.

[10] Snoj 2009, 336–337.

[11] Kovács 2013, 135, ascribed Poetovio to thecivitas Serretum, but there is no proof of this.

[12]CIL III 10883 =RISt  405 =CLIC  p. 229 no. PAN 036 =HD067000. Adbugiunus, Adnamatus, Agisus,and Deuso are names typical of the Noricans, Kakoschke 2012, 232; 236; 242; 383–384.

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