New and Unpublished Inscriptions from the Tiber Island

William N. Bruce

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Like many sites in Rome, the Tiber Island is home to a wealth of archeological material buried beneath modern superstructures. Most of it cannot be excavated because it is privately owned. We have testaments of the religeous structures and healing sanctuary on the island in Livy and Ovid but very little archeological evidence, since the island is covered on one side by the church and square of St. Bartholomew, and the other by the huge Fatabenefratelli hospital.

A recent expansion of the Fatabenefratelli's radiology department revealed an early temple to Jupiter and a fifth-century church of St. John the Baptist. The exterior wall of the Christian church preserves a portion of the ancient temple's pavement and an inscription in black and white tesserae. The inscription of the mosaic records a dedication by the sons of C. Servilius Geminus (60), the duumvir who, according to Livy (34.53.7), dedicated the temple in 196 BC. A lacuna in the inscription led G. Alföldy (who viewed the inscription only in photographs) to interpret the first word of the inscription, Serveili, as an archaic nominative. After reexamining the lacuna in situ, we will argue that the form should be interpretted more traditionally as a genitive, as is common in monument dedications.

In addition to this recently published inscription, I will present three new fragmentary inscriptions which I found during my two-year survey of the site as a part of the Tiber Island Project at the University of Florida.

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