Tombstone of Titus Calidius Severus

unknown0 AD - 100 AD

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

This tombstone comes from Carnuntum, the most important archaeological site in Austria and called the “Pompeii at the gates of Vienna” (today the communities of Petronell-Carnuntum and Bad Deutsch-Altenburg in Lower Austria). Surmounted by a triangular pediment with a rosette, the high rectangular stele bears an inscription, which in translation says: “Titus Calidius Severus, son of Publius, from the tribe of Camilia, horseman, then optio and finally decurio of the Cohors I Alpinorum, then centurio of the Legio XV Apollinaris, 58 years old, 34 years of service, lies buried here. Quintus Calidius erected this tombstone to his brother.” Titus Calidius came from Italy, as we know from his tribe (tribus), his district fortaxation and military service. According to the inscription, he began his military career in a unit of auxiliary troops, the Cohors I Alpinorum, where he was first a horseman (eques), serving later as a subaltern of the rank of an optio and a decurio. Finally he became a centurion of the 15th Legion, which with some interruptions was stationed in Carnuntum from 39/40 to 114 AD. The two panels of the lower half of the tombstone depict not the deceased but rather the equipment of a centurion, the commander of the 80 to 100 soldiers who made up a centuria. On the upper of the two panels is a shirt of scale armour (lorica squamata) on the left, in the middle a staff (vitis) as the insignia of the centurion’s rank, and at the right a helmet with earpieces and a transverse crest as well as greaves (ocreae). In the lower panel, a groom is holding the officer’s saddled horse by the reins. During the imperial period, a legion was supposed to have between 4800 and 6000 men. It was organised in 10 cohorts with six centuria in each cohort. The Roman legions were permanently stationed in certain provinces, but could be redeployed at any time to a crisis area. Normally the soldiers served for 20 years, but centurions often remained in the army until their death. © Kurt Gschwantler, Alfred Bernhard-Walcher, Manuela Laubenberger, Georg Plattner, Karoline Zhuber-Okrog, Masterpieces in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2011

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  • Title: Tombstone of Titus Calidius Severus
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 0 AD - 100 AD
  • Style: Roman
  • Provenance: bought 1880
  • Place Part Of: Austria
  • Physical Dimensions: h2040 cm (entire)
  • Inventory Number: ANSA III 365
  • Excavation: Carnuntum (Bad Deutsch-Altenburg), Austria
  • Type: epigraphy
  • External Link: http://www.khm.at/en/collections/collection-of-greek-and-roman-antiquities
  • Medium: Limestone