§147 Proculus and Apuleius the Sons of Rabilius

Proculus and Apuleius the Sons of Rabilius

(0147) Text: Proculus | Rabili f(ilius) Col(lina) | Philadel(phia) mil(itavit) | optio coh(ortis) II | Italic(ae) c(ivium) R(omanorum) Ɔ Fa[us-] | tini, ex vexil(atione) sa- | git(tariorum) exer(citus) Syriaci | stip(endiorum) VII, vixit an(nos) | XXVI, | Apuleius frate(r) | f(aciendum) c(uravit).

Translation: Proculus the son of Rabilius, of the tribe Collina, from Philadelphia saw military service as an optio of cohors II Italica c.R. in the century of Faustinius, being part of a detachment of archers forming part of the army of Syria, served 7 years and lived 26 years. His brother Apuleius saw to the making of this monument. (Trans. Fred Baxter)

Commentary: Proculus and Apuleius seem to have been recruited from the Philadelphia of the Decapolis. This inscription is often used to identify the “Italian cohort” of Cornelius in Acts 10:1 (σπείρης τῆς καλουμένης Ἰταλικῆς). Despite persistent efforts to demonstrate the plausibility of Acts’ scenario, there is no evidence of any Italian auxiliary unit in pre-War Judaea – or post-War Judaea for that matter. Rather, this particular unit is consistently attested in the province of Syria (not Judaea!) in military diplomas (e.g., §225, §229). See the extensive discussion in biblical commentaries on Acts 10:1.

Provenience: Carnuntum, Noricum (Carnuntum, Austria) 69-70 CE

Bibliography: AE 1896.27; CIL 3.13483a; ILS 3.9168; Eugen Bormann, “Funde von Carnuntum III: Die älteste Gräberstrasse von Carnuntum,” Archaeologisch-epigraphische Mitthelungen aus Oesterreich-Ungarn 18 (1895): 208-224; Benjamin Isaac, “The Decapolis in Syria: A Neglected Inscription,” ZPE 44 (1981): 72; Michael P. Speidel, “The Roman Army in Judaea under the Procurators: The Italian and the Augustan Cohort in the Acts of the Apostles,” Ancient Society 13-14 (1982-83): 233-237; Jonathan P. Roth, “Jews and the Roman Army: Perceptions and Realities,” in The Impact of the Roman Army (200 BC–AD 476): Economic, Social, Political, Religious, and Cultural Aspects, ed. Lukas de Blois and Elio Lo Cascio, Impact of Empire 6 (Leuven: Brill, 2006), 412; Ovidiu Țentea, Ex Oriente ad Danubium: The Syrian Units on the Danube Frontier of the Roman Empire, National History Museum of Romania: Centre for Roman Military Studies 6, 2nd ed. (Bucharest: Mega, 2012), A.Varia.1; cf. commentaries on Acts 10:1.