§23 Herod son of Aumos

Herod son of Aumos

(0023) Text: Ἡρώδῃ Αὔμου, στρατοπεδαρχήσαντι ἱππέων | κολωνειτῶν καὶ στρατιωτῶν καὶ στρατηγήσας | βα(σι)λεῖ μεγάλῳ Ἀγρίππᾳ κυρίῳ. Ἀγρίππας υἱὸς ἐποίησεν, ˪ κ’.

Translation: Herod son of Aumos, stratopedarch of the cavalry of the colonials and infantry, also strategos to the great king, lord Agrippa. His son Agrippas made this in the 20th year. (Trans. Christopher B. Zeichmann)

Commentary: The name Aumos is only known in Trachonitis and the name Herod has obvious associations with Batanaea as well, indicating his probable origin in the region (see Gracey). IGR’s and Spaul’s identification of the Colonite cavalry with ala I Augusta Gemina Colonorum is doubtful, given the clearly local name of the soldier, the otherwise unknown presence of the regiment in Palestine, unique position (στρατοπεδάρχης) among auxiliary cavalry, and the peculiar spelling of the unit name here (cf. ειλης Κολονων in AE 1907.57 and AE 1930.108). Sartre instead links the term with a series of ethnic military colonies (Greek, Arabian, Babylonian Jewish, Idumaean, etc.) founded by the Herodians in Batanaea, though his reasoning strikes me as speculative. There is also debate as to what rank στρατοπεδάρχης may refer: its only other use in military epigraphy implies equivalence to praefectus castrorum (IGR 3.1432), but first-century Greek literature treats it as chief centurion (BGU 1822.13, Dionysius of Halicarnassus Ant. rom. 10.36.6).

Provenience: Saura, Batanaea (Sūr al-Leja, Syria) 73 CE

Bibliography: AE 1895.78; OGIS 425; IGR 3.1144; Princeton Exp.Inscr.IIIA 797.1; AE 1966.493; IGLS 15.103; Walter Otto, “Herodes,” in Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft: Supplementband II, ed. Georg Wissowa and Wilhelm Kroll (Stuttgart: Druckenmüller, 1913), 166-167; Arnaldo Momigliano, Ricerche sull’organizzazione della Giudea sotto il dominio Romano, 63 a.C.–70 d.C. (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1967), 71-72; M. H. Gracey, “The Roman Army in Syria, Judaea and Arabia” (D.Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1981), 242; Shimon Applebaum, Judaea in Hellenistic and Roman Times: Historical and Archaeological Essays, SJLA 40 (Leuven: Brill Academic, 1989), 61; Seth Schwartz, Josephus and Judaean Politics, Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 18 (Leiden: Brill, 1990), 117 n. 35; John Spaul, Ala2: The Auxiliary Cavalry Units of the Pre-Diocletianic Imperial Roman Army (Andover: Nectoreca, 1994), 92-93; Maurice Sartre, “Brigands, colons et pouvoirs en Syrie du Sud au Ier siècle de notre ère,” Anabases 13 (2011): 207-245.