(0003) Text: [… συστρα]τηγούντων Ἀννίου Ῥο[ύφου καὶ Οὐαλερίου Γράτου …] | [… Ἡρ]ωδεί[α]ν τη κοι[…]
Translation: […] co-governing Annius Ru[fus and Valerius Gratus …] Herodian […] (trans. Christopher B. Zeichmann)
Commentary: Emendation of this inscription is controverted. Kokkinos and Vardaman conjecture that Valerius Gratus is also attested in the inscription, based on the pairing of the two under Herod while in Sebaste according to Josephus (J.W. 2.52; A.J. 17.266); Paltiel presents a more hesitant reconstruction. There is a nearly-complete absence of pre-War inscriptions in Judaea that refer specifically to the military, but this epigraph marks an important exception. Kokkinos (2012) also observes issues with dating: “But the problem is that the palaeography of the inscription itself would seem to point to the second century CE, and an argument has to be made for the original text to have been copied later when the ‘basilica’ was rebuilt.” That is to say, the inscription seems to be a second-century copy of a first-century inscription.
A minor emendation has been made to Kokkinos’ text to that of his earlier publication with Vardaman – he prefers the letter beta for the transliteration of Valerius, which was common practice in the city of Rome and Latin-fluent areas. In the Roman East, however, the Latin letter “v” at the beginning of a word or name is usually transliterated οὐ, as is offered here (cf. “Valerius” in §5, §167). Thanks to Nikos Kokkinos for aiding with additional bibliography and the reconstruction of the text.
Provenience: Sebaste, Judaea 27 BCE-6 CE (original) Sebaste, Judaea 100-199 CE (existing copy)
Bibliography: SEG 8.98; Eliezer Paltiel, Vassals and Rebels in the Roman Empire: Julio-Claudian Policies in Judaea and the Kingdoms of the East, Collection Latomus 212 (Bruzelles: Latomus, 1991), 57; E. Jerry Vardaman, “Were the Samaritan Military Leaders, Rufus and Gratus, at the Time of Herod’s Death, the Later Roman Judaean Governors Who Preceded Pontius Pilate?,” in Chronos, Kairos, Christos II: Chronological, Nativity, and Religious Studies in Memory of Ray Summers, ed. E. Jerry Vardaman (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), 191-202; Nikos Kokkinos, “The Prefects of Judaea 6-48 CE and the Coins from the Misty Period 6-36 CE”, in D. M. Jacobson & N. Kokkinos (eds), Judaea and Rome in Coins 65 BCE – 135 CE: Papers Presented at the International Conference Hosted by Spink, 13th-14th September 2010 (London: Spink, 2012), 107.