Diomedes son of Chares
(0030) Text: Ἐπὶ βασιλέω[ς μεγάλου Μ(άρκου) Ιὀυ-] | λίου Ἀγρίππα [ἔτους … Διομήδης] | Χάρητος, ἔπα[ρχος …] | σπείρης Αὐ[γούστης καὶ στρατηγ-] | ὸς νομάδων […] | […]ης καὶ Χαλ[κίδος …]
Translation: Under the great king Marcus Julius Agrippa, in the year […] Diomedes, son of Chares, prefect […] of cohors Augusta and strategos of the nomads, […] and of Chalcis […] (Trans. Christopher B. Zeichmann)
Commentary: Cf. Josephus Life 35; 37 on his father Chares. We can ascertain from his other inscriptions that Diomedes served in both one of the Augustan cohorts (likely cohors I Canathanorum Augusta) and the army of the Batanaean king Agrippa II. I have written an article that deals with the first two Diomedes inscriptions extensively. On the title “strategos of the nomads” in the Hauran Desert, see Michael C. A. Macdonald, “Nomads and the Ḥawrān in the Late Hellenistic and Roman Periods: A Reassessment of the Epigraphic Evidence,” Syria 70 (1993): 368-377. Agrippa’s army aided Rome – and thus its soldiers may have served as part of cohors Augusta – during Nero’s aborted Parthian campaign (55 CE) and the Jewish War (66-73 CE). Two other inscriptions erected by Diomedes have been found §31 and §32. Though most commentators suppose that Diomedes served in “Chalcidice” in the province of Macedonia (Χαλ[κιδηνῆς …]), I prefer Waddinton’s (IGLS 2112) reconstruction of “Chalcis.” This would mean that Diomedes followed Agrippa II from his initial principality of Chalcis to his eventual kingdom of Batanaea; it is utterly unclear why scholars prefer the reading of Chalcidice.
Provenience: Batanaea (Deir e-Scheir, Syria) 55-97 CE
Bibliography: OGIS 421; IGR 3.1136; IGLS 2112; IGLS 16.615; M. H. Gracey, “The Armies of Judean Client Kings,” in Defence of the Roman and Byzantine East, ed. David L. Kennedy and Philip Freeman, BARIS 297 (Oxford: BAR, 1986), 1:320; Shimon Applebaum, Judaea in Hellenistic and Roman Times: Historical and Archaeological Essays, SJLA 40 (Leuven: Brill Academic, 1989), 55-57; Christopher B. Zeichmann, “Herodian Kings and Their Soldiers in the Acts of the Apostles: A Response to Craig Keener,” JGRChJ 11 (2015): 178-190.