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"Bellum Varianum" Author(s): Herbert W. Benario Source: Historia: Zeitschrift fr Alte Geschichte, Vol. 35, No. 1 (1st Qtr.

, 1986), pp. 114-115 Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4435953 Accessed: 13/08/2009 13:47
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The famous tombstone of M. Caelius, a centurion who died in the Roman disaster at the hands of Arminius, reads as follows: M. Caelio T. f. Lem. Bon. I [I] 9 leg. XIIX ann. LIII s. I [ce]cidit bello Variano. ossa I [lib. i]nferre licebit. P. Caelius T.f. I Lem. frater fecit. What gives this otherwise ordinary military monument its extraordinary importance and interest are the mention of legio XIIX, one of the three, along with XVII and XIX, extirpated in the saltus Teutoburgiensis, and the bellum Varianum, referring to Varus' campaign against the Cherusci. At first glance, no other interpretation of this expression would seem possible, i.e., the war that Varus undertook against the enemy, which culminated in the disastrous clades Variana. This view, which may be called the communis opinio, was recently challenged by U. SchillingerHafele, "Varus und Arminius in der Uberlieferung", Historia 32 (1983) 123-28. Her argument against the usual interpretation, "Krieg des Varus", rests upon a careful examination of a wide range of evidence: "Inschriftliche wie literarische Quellen zeigen, dafg im romischen Sprachgebrauch Kriege nicht nach den eigenen Feldherren oder mit den Namen des eigenen Volkes, sondern nach dem jeweiligen Gegner benannt wurden, gleich, ob es sich dabei um eine Volkerschaft oder um eine einzelne Personlichkeit handelte." (126) "Zu ubersetzen ist jedes Mal 'Krieg gegen . . ."' (127) "[cejcidit bello Variano mug ubersetzt werden 'Er fiel im Krieg gegen Varus"', which must be understood in the following sense: "'Im Krieg der Germanen gegen Varus' besagten seine Worte fur die Leser." (128) In spite of her seemingly impregnable marshalling of documentation, one may wonder whether her argument is not overly subtle, defying the expectation of the viewer who gazed upon the monument in Germania Inferior, along the Rhine. The sophistication of literature and general practice elsewhere need not be imposed upon a particular instance. Schillinger-Hafele's translation of the two words bello Variano as "the war of the Germans against Varus" seems to me to impose a most unlikely extension of basic understanding. What could P. Caelius, the brother, have chosen in place of these words - or the stonecutter, if the choice were left to him? Bellum Arminianum or bellum Cheruscinum would have been much longer and, in the bargain, inaccurate, since war had not been declared against the Cherusci. Bellum Germanicum would have been imprecise, since many engagements could have been so styled, i.e. earlier under Drusus or Tiberius, later under Germanicus. The loss of three legions, which affected the aged emperor Augustus so greatly,2 and which was mentioned by Tacitus in his consideration of that emperor's life and career,3 was inevitably and This is the text, without the expansions, presented in G. Bauchhenss, Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani. Deutschland Band III, 1, Germania Inferior, Bonn und Umgebung, Militairische Grabdenkmaler (Bonn 1978) 18-22, with enormous bibliography. The tombstone was found in Furstenberg, between Xanten and Birten, on the site of Castra Vetera. The inscription is CIL XIII 8648 = ILS 2244 = EJ 45. Among the most illuminating discussions of the monument and the inscription are M. Siebourg, "Das Denkmal der Varusschlacht im Bonner Provinzialmuseum," BJ 135 (1930) 84-104, H. v. Petrikovits, "Zu CIL. XIII 8648 aus Vetera (Caelius-Stein), BJ 151 (1951) 116-18, E. Bickel, "Das Denkmal der Varusschlacht in Bonn," RhM 95 (1952) 97-135 and "Nachtrag zum Denkmal der Varusschlacht," RhM 95 (1952) 283-86, and H. Kahler, Rom und seine Welt (Munich 1958-60) Tafel 120 and Erlauterungen 189-90. 2 Suetonius, Aug. 23.1-2: adeo denique consternatum ferunt, ut per continuos menses barba capilloque summisso caput interdum foribus illideret, vociferans: 'Quintili Vare, legiones redde'.' diemque cladis quotannis maestum habuerit ac lugubrem. 3 Tacitus, Ann. 1.10.4: pacem sine dubio post haec, verum cruentam: Lollianas Varianasque clades, . . .
Historia, Band XXXV/1 (1986) ? Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GmbH, Sitz Stuttgart



inextricably linkedwith the unfortunate Varus.It strikesme as idle to expectthat an inscription which refersto the disaster,particularly when the numberof one of the legions is given, would have any other name than his. The responsibilitywas his own, for carelessnessand overconfidence.4 He was condemnedto everlasting obloquy. Bellum Varianum is the equivalent of bellum Vari.The genitivecould be construedas either or objective;5 the formersensewill then be, "thewarwhich he waged,"the latter,"the subjective war which was waged againsthim." This interpretation restoresthe translation "Varus'war," Von Petrikovits hadtranslated, thoughit neednot havebeen thatCaeliusfell in the greatdisaster. "Erfiel im Kriegdes Varus,"6 and laterrepeated . . .Es ist abernur it, "Er fiel im Varus-Feldzug vom varianischen allgemein Feldzugdie Rede, Caeliuskannauchin einem Kampfvor oder nach sein Leben gelassen haben."7Bauchhenssfollows him, "Die der beruhmten'Varus-Schlacht' Inschrifterwahntnur einen Kriegdes Varus,nicht die Schlachtim Teutoburger Wald."8 Yet any reader, seeing Varus' name and the number of the unfortunatelegion, must have thought of the Teutoburg immediately Forest. EmoryUniversity(Atlanta, Georgia,USA) HerbertW. Benario

4 Velleius, Hist. 2.117: mediam ingressus Germaniam velut inter viros pacis gaudentes dulcedine. 5 M. Leumann, J. B. Hofmann, A. Szantyr, Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik, Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft II 2.2. (Munich 1965) 66. 6op. cit (n. 1)118. 7"Ausgewahlte romische Steindenkmaler im Rheinischen Landesmuseum Bonn," Germania Romana (Gymnasium Beiheft 5, 1965) 65. 8 op cit (n. 1) 20.

SUETONIUS CLAUDIUS 24,1 AND THE SONS OF FREEDMEN:While both libertus and libertinus designate a freedman in the surviving texts libertus signifies a freedman in relation to his ex-master orpatronus; libertinus is used of a freedman with reference to his social and legislative status.' An aside in Suetonius, Life of Claudius, states, however, that in the middle Roman Republic the sons of freedman, and not their manumitted fathers, were designated libertini.2 Because of doubts expressed concerning Suetonius' statement,3 this paper will re-examine the designation of freedmen and their sons in the early and middle Republic and discuss 1) the context and possible origin of Suetonius' statement and 2) the evidence validating Suetonius' assertion. The assertion comes as a comment by Suetonius, following his report that Claudius conferred the broad stripe on the son of a freedman. The passage reads: 'Latum clavum, quamvis initio affirmasset non lecturum se senatorem nisi civis R. abnepotem, etiam libertini filio tribuit, sed sub condicione si prius ab equite R. adoptatus I would like to thank Roger S. Bagnall, Alan Cameron, William V. Harris, Morton Smith, and Klaas Worp for their helpful criticism throughout the preparation of this paper. Any remaining errors are the fault of the author. l S. Treggiari, Roman Freedmen During the Late Republic (Oxford, 1969), 52-53. See also A. M. Duff, Freedmen in the Early Roman Empire (Oxford, 1928), 50-51. 2 Claud. 24, 1. 3 Treggiari, o.c., 53.
Historia, Band XXXV/1 (1986)

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