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Lot 0024
Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A lower half-section of a diploma, with a Latin inscription on a bronze plaque. When people from the Roman provinces had served in the Roman army for twenty-five years, they were rewarded for their service with a discharge granting them Roman citizenship and the right to marry. These were recorded on two bronze tablets that were fastened together with wire ("diploma" is Greek for a two-page folded document). Comes with custom stand. Size: 4.3" W x 2.1" H (10.9 cm x 5.3 cm); height on stand: 3.5" (8.9 cm)

Most of these tablets that we know of record the names of veterans of foreign birth who were discharged together; a copy was issued to each one. The missing top half would have recorded the date of the discharge and the Emperor giving it. This document would have been treasured by its owner, who had survived over two decades of war and disease, perhaps in a far outpost like Hadrian's Wall, in order to gain these rights. See similar examples at the British Museum (1813,1211.2) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (23.160.32a, b).

Provenance: Ex-Private New Jersey collection

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Piece is a fragment, with top lost, as shown. Surface encrustation makes the inscription difficult to read.

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Rare Section of Roman Bronze Military Diploma

Estimate $4,000 - $6,000Mar 15, 2017