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Figures d’empire, fragments de mémoire

 | 
Stéphane Benoist
, 
Anne Daguet-Gagey
, 
Christine Hoët-van Cauwenberghe

B. Discours et idéologie, le prince et ses figures

3. Princeps iuuentutis: Concept, Realisation, Representation

Marietta Horster

Résumé

Depuis les premiers principes iuuentutis, Gaius et Lucius César, les successeurs potentiels des empereurs sont le plus souvent désignés par des titres et des charges. Le titre de princeps iuuentutis est utilisé pour désigner le premier des chevaliers romains, tandis que son supérieur, l’empereur, qui est supposé être le premier des sénateurs romains est nommé princeps senatus. Dans la première partie de cet article, la plupart des contextes et concepts reliés à ce titre de princeps iuuentutis sont présentés tandis que la représentation visuelle et verbale du princeps iuuentutis est discutée dans la seconde partie. Le titre de princeps se retrouve en concurrence avec d’autres honneurs distinguant les jeunes hommes, membres de la famille impériale, et finit par perdre son attractivité et ses caractéristiques.

Texte intégral

  • 1 S. Weinstock, s. v. «Transvectio Equitum», RE, II, 6.1, 1937, col. 2178-2187, esp. 2184f. (= Transv (...)

1Augustus invented the honour and title of princeps iuuentutis for the leaders of the newly reorganised Roman knights1.

  • 2 A. Stein, Der römische Ritterstand. Ein Beitrag zur Sozial- und Personengeschichte des römischen Re (...)

2This invention was designed to distinguish and single out his adopted sons, but it was moreover part of an overall reform and strengthening of the standing of the Roman knights as an order. This specific context has been long established and especially underlined by Arthur Stein in 1927, Stephan Weinstock in 1937, and Ségolène Demougin in 19882. This reform of the Roman knights in general as well as the specific re-institution of the parade of the knights was based on the propagated restitution of the Roman Republic; it was verbally and visually connected to presumed but also to really existing but vanished Republican traditions.

3The yearly parade was a spectacular visual performance of the young Roman knights with olive branches round their forehead, with bright garments and weapons, and with their horses. In the city of Rome, the actual strength and promising future of the Roman Empire was demonstrated to all bystanders, to the participants and their families. The parade was part of the self-presentation of the Roman elite and its military strength. Augustus and few later emperors were connected to this visual performance of the knights not only because of their censorial power but especially in those years in which the parade was led by one or two members of the imperial family. The title of the princeps for the chosen young man was of course also connected to the notion of the princeps of the senate and thus, a kind of junior version of the emperor. However, it will be questioned in how far the princeps iuuentutis title was meant to stand on its own to nominate and designate a successor to the ruling emperor.

4The paper addresses firstly the «concept» of the princeps iuuentutis honour and title by giving an insight into the just mentioned concepts as well as the occasion and probable motives and contexts for the invention of the princeps iuuentutis. The second part deals with the representation-aspect. The term points to the specific representations of the few known principes iuuentutis of the first and second centuries. It will thus contain an analysis of the more or less anecdotal tradition in historiography which refers to the individual princes: Gaius and Lucius, Nero, Titus and Domitian, Commodus, Caracalla and Geta. The aspect of «image» and «representation» will be integrated by references to coins, reliefs, and statues of the princes of the youth and other young male members of the imperial family. The paper concludes with some final remarks on the conception of title and honour as well as its obvious shifts and changes over the centuries.

Augustan Concepts, Augustan Princes

Roman knights and the invention of the honour and title of «Prince of the Youth»

5Augustus refers to this new concept of honour in his Res Gestae, 14:

  • 3 RGDA, 14: Filios meos, quos iuuenes mihi eripuit fortuna, Gaium et Lucium Caesares honoris mei caus (...)

«When my sons Gaius and Lucius Caesar, whom fortune stole from me as youths, were fourteen, the senate and Roman people made them designated consuls on behalf of my honour, so that they would enter the magistracy after five years. And the senate decreed that on that day when they were led into the forum they would become part of public councils. Moreover, the Roman knights together named each of them first of the youth and gave them silver shields and spears»3.

6The context in Augustus’ Res Gestae is obvious: Augustus talks about himself, the awards his adopted sons had received, and their outstanding and promising role. The Roman people, the Senators as well as the Roman knights honoured them accordingly, but as Augustus himself has put it: honoris mei causa, to honour the emperor Augustus. The people and the senate were the institutional backbone of the Roman Republic. They made the most important and – in this case – a non-constitutionally-based decision to honour the two young boys with the extraordinary allowance to become consuls irrespective all leges annales: they were expected to take the consulate irrespective all preconditions and age regulations for magistracies.

  • 4 W. Eck, «La riforma dei gruppi dirigenti. L’ordine senatorio e l’ordine equestre», dans G. Clemente (...)
  • 5 Lugdunum, on the reverses of Aurei and Denarii: 9/8 BC: RIC, I2, 198-199; 7/6 BC: RIC, I2, 205-212. (...)

7The Roman knights were of course part of the Roman people. However, in the context of Augustus’ reforms this order was strengthened, and thus characterised as a distinguished and important part of the ruling power by narrowly linking the knights to him, the emperor, with the creation of new duties and offices4. Augustus probably did not only encourage but also invite the Roman knights as an organised order to take the opportunity and to reciprocate these favours. Their service in return was easy to fulfil: the knights voted the young Gaius and then later Lucius as their princeps and each of them received a silver round shield, the parma, and a spear, the hasta. Shield and spear became the most important visual symbols of the princeps iuuentutis at least for Gaius and for Lucius Caesar. Imperial coins issued in Lyon / Lugdunum visually allude to the two boys and their outstanding honour by presenting these two objects5.

Fig. 1: reverse of RIC, I2, 205-212 Lugdunum, G. and L. Caesar as principes iuuentutis

Fig. 1: reverse of RIC, I2, 205-212 Lugdunum, G. and L. Caesar as principes iuuentutis

Münzkabinett der Staatl. Museen zu Berlin, no. 18202575

  • 6 Liv., 2, 12, 15 (Mucius Scaevola’s speech to Porsenna); 9, 15, 4 (600 equites as hostages); cf. wit (...)
  • 7 On the duties of the organized body of knights at few occasions see: S. Demougin, L’Ordre équestre,(...)

8This distinction and decoration of leaders of the organized knights was rather innovative as such an honorific leadership did not exist before. But it could vaguely back on Republican traditions as the term principes iuuentutis (in the plural) was well established at least in late Republican writings to describe the noble youth, of the time of the Kings and the early Republic, the young noble warriors who were fighting for their country6. And of course, noble soldiers were always horsemen, they were knights – equites. Although the term principes or princeps iuuentutis existed in pre-Augustan-times, it had a somewhat different meaning. However, this established meaning did perfectly match and was easily transformed into the new meaning, the title for the leaders of the organised knights. Furthermore, the title was not an empty honour but it was connected to the duties of the organized knights: the yearly parade of the transuectio equitum in the city of Rome, the state funerals, and the few other occasions at which the knights acted together and presented themselves as an organized body7.

  • 8 Equitum turmas frequenter recognouit, post longam intercapedinem reducto more trauectionis. Sed neq (...)
  • 9 P. Veyne, «Iconographie de la transvectio equitum et des Lupercales», REA, 62, 1960, p. 100-112. F. (...)
  • 10 F. Rebecchi, Iconografia, p. 197-198 divides the general features of the funerary reliefs into two (...)
  • 11 On Roman child-knights see also, M. Kleijwegt, Ancient Youth. The Ambiguity of Youth and the Absenc (...)

9The importance of the organized knights, the new prominence of the yearly parade and its political context are accentuated in Suetonius’ Life of Augustus (38.3): «He reviewed the turmae of knights at frequent intervals, reviving the custom of the procession after long disuse (post longam intercapedinem reducto more trauectionis). […] Later he excused those who were over thirty-five years of age and did not wish to retain their horses from formally surrendering them»8. The parade was the presentation and symbolic visualising of the moral strength of the knights and their fighting capabilities. The iconography of the parade and its variants had been subject of investigations of Paul Veyne in 1960 and Fernando Rebecchi in 1974 and 19999. Reliefs of the first and second century AD present such parades10. Most of these reliefs are part of funerary monuments. The funerary reliefs depict the defunct at his first important public appearance in his life. As most of such presentations refer to young men who have died prematurely, the parade of the knights had thus become the highlight of their career and a symbol of their promising but unrealised future. In some of the inscribed reliefs of the second century AD, it becomes even clear that the reliefs had a rather symbolic meaning: the boys were much too young to have already taken part in the transuectio11. In these cases their respective equestrian parents ordered the reliefs to refer to the potential of such a boy, to his missed career and prospects, to this adolescent member of the social, economic, and political elite.

  • 12 F. Rebecchi, Iconografia, p. 198-199 and fig. 1.
  • 13 For the role of hunting and horse-riding in private contexts as part of «aristocratic» behavior of (...)

10An exceptional relief is that of the Museo Civico Archeologico of Como12. It might have been part of a public monument (and thus no funerary relief), at least this was Veyne’s idea accepted by Rebecchi. The Como relief presents the knights in a rather exceptional manner. The two horsemen are young and obviously idealised hence they cannot be identified as individuals by the viewer. The horsemen are surrounded by their grooms. Below the knights/horsemen-illustration is a hunting scene. Both subjects illustrate the first steps of a young man’s life: the public one – the parade of the knights, and the private one – the hunting scene13. Both images characterise the initiation of wealthy, noble young men into the life of the adult citizens. Rebecchi assumes that the Como-relief was commissioned to visualise a moral exemplum and to appeal to the municipal aristocratic youth of the city to devote their lives to the Res publica. However, no context for the relief is known, neither the architectural context nor the overall iconographic ensemble into which the transuectio-relief was embedded. Whereas many of the individual funerary reliefs are by their diversity and individuality obviously not always intended as an illustration of the city-of-Rome transuectio of the 15th of July, the Como relief with its idealized features seems to be such an illustration – at least this is an acceptable interpretation. Notwithstanding the differences with the Como-relief, the individual choices of selected visual elements on most of the funerary reliefs serve a similar goal: to enhance the semantic capacity of the picture, to make it a strong symbolic representation of the (real or more often) potential but, by early death, missed achievements of an individual young noble Roman, a knight.

  • 14 See the list of statuary groups and dedications (incl. all potential successors in Augustus’ and Ti (...)
  • 15 CIL, XI, 1421 (ILS, 140), cf. W. D. Lebek, «Ehrenbogen und Prinzentod: 9 v. Chr. 23 n. Chr.», ZPE, (...)

11This seems to be the overall iconographic context and symbolic meaning of the imagery of the transuectio equitum reliefs, be it the main parade in Rome, or be it presentations of the municipal youth in their own hometowns. Nothing of such an iconography can be connected to Gaius and/or Lucius Caesar. In addition, it seems that for both princes and leaders of the knights the honour of an equestrian statue during their lifetime was rather uncommon14, and that there are no reliefs of the two princes which connect them by iconography with the knights and their parade. The inscription of the late Augustan honorific arch of Pisa provides the inscription of a decree, published after Gaius’ death in AD 415. It declares that two equestrian statues should be placed on the arch as posthumous honours – the equestrian statues were at least perceived an adequate posthumous honour for the young Caesares, Lucius and Gaius.

  • 16 Even more problematic as concerns the «understanding» of a complicated iconography for soldiers wou (...)
  • 17 The discussion, if the princeps iuuentutis had become the princeps of all organized knights or if h (...)

12However, there exist iconographic aspects that associate the two young Caesars to the knights. These are the already mentioned hasta and parma, which were prominent on the coin-issue in Lugdunum, coins that were mainly used to pay the army. At least the Roman soldiers might have understood the symbolic meaning of the military objects shield and spear as ornaments of the Roman knights. But one may doubt, if the members of the auxiliary troops might had problems to identify the coins’ imagery: not only as concerns lituus and simpulum as Roman cult objects and their connection to Gaius and Lucius’ membership in priestly colleges, Gaius pontifex and Lucius augur, but also as concerns the interpretation of the other symbols spear and shield and the specific meaning of the title princeps iuuentutis16. However, the iuuentus-notion in itself is likely to have been a universally understandable signal and indication. Youth was not only a signifier for future, health and hope, but it also stood for strength and military potential. The age-limit of thirty-five for the obligation to participate in the parade (Suet., Aug., 38, 3) is only one of many emblematic signals combining youth, cavalry, and military strength17.

  • 18 RIC, I2, 198-199 rev.: Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus on horseback with weapons and shield. In 9/8 B (...)

13Before Gaius was singled out as leader of the knights, on one of the issues minted in Lugdunum in 9/8 BC, the coins commemorate Gaius Caesar as a young promising rider, a knight and thus future senator18. At that time, he had not yet been entitled princeps iuuentutis; he was then 11 years old, made his apprenticeship so-to-say as a noble soldier, that is a knight, his tirocinium militiae, and he was part of the entourage of Augustus, comes Augusti, his father by adoption.

Fig. 2: reverse of RIC, I2, 198, C. Caesar riding, Lugdunum

Fig. 2: reverse of RIC, I2, 198, C. Caesar riding, Lugdunum

Münzkabinett der Staatl. Museen zu Berlin, no. 18202573

14The iconography is thus far from unambiguous, at least to our modern eyes. One would like to connect rider and knight, princeps iuuentutis and young man on a horse as the most obvious and simple icons, but this iconographic and ideological connection does not exist. Nevertheless, the young man on the horse is easily identified as the young, dynamic, energetic son of Augustus. Riding on a horse with weapons and legionary standards in the background, Gaius is characterised as the already existing promising future of the army.

  • 19 RIC, I2, 205-212 rev.: Gaius and Lucius Caesar as togati, standing front, shield and spear, simpulu (...)

15Only three years later, in 5 BC, the already insinuated meaning and association of army, aristocratic rider, and youthful energetic prince, was strengthened and reinforced by the princeps iuuentutis title and iconography. Admittedly, the princeps iuuentutis coin-iconography is much more serene and reduced to few icons as symbols of magistrates, priests, offices and duties. The young wild rider is replaced by a serene standing figure, able and ready to take over responsibilities19. More iconographic and literary allusions exist that connect Augustus, the princeps, to his sons, the principes iuuentutis. The golden shield given to Augustus by the senate is paralleled in gesture and iconography with the silver shield for the princeps iuuentutis. Augustus, the princeps of all Romans and thereby as well the princeps senatus, had now – at least verbatim – a junior partner, the princeps iuuentutis. He is not necessarily but likely to be the young Augustus, that is firstly a family member and secondly the heir in private and the successor in politics.

Ovid, ars am., 1, 194: nunc iuuenum princeps, deinde future senum20

  • 20 For a discussion of the literary discourse of the above cited verses and its literary implications, (...)

16Ovid wrote this text in 3 or 2 BC, at that time Gaius was princeps iuuentutis. It is unknown if this part of the text was finished before Lucius became the second princeps iuuentutis, that is before the summer of 2 BC.

17The general idea of Ovid’s iuuentus and his leader is that of the young and promising offspring of the Roman nobilitas. And in this social bond, the boys and young men of the imperial family stand out, and their outstanding virtues and abilities are honoured and acclaimed by their peer-group. Augustus, the leader, the princeps of all Romans was and had to be a senator and by that was naturally the princeps senatus. In the Roman ideological hierarchy of age-stages and of social orders, his offspring Gaius was still no member of the senate, but with the age of fourteen, he was already a man and a potential warrior, a soldier-knight fighting for Rome.

18Ovid’s words are lucid and in their simplicity convincing – but the message of the text seems now-a-days less convincing. Was the young man Gaius distinguished and set out as princeps iuuentutis really destined to be the next princeps of the Roman people? Even if Ovid did not know that in the same or next year a second boy would become thus distinguished, the net of Augustan family connections, of Tiberius’ role and of perhaps other male members of the family were at that time, 3/2 BC, far from certain. And, in addition, the following months (if the text was written in late 3/early 2 BC) showed that there were two boys singled out, Gaius and Lucius Caesar who both had the title of princeps iuuentutis at least from 2 BC when the younger Lucius was thus honoured at the age of fourteen. As soon as Augustus had two sons at the appropriate age, he had them both honoured as principes of the knights. Ovid’s honorific verses for Gaius, the designated successor to the emperor Augustus were no longer adequate.

  • 21 Examples of the «childish» and sweet young boys depictions are e.g. the Gaius-portrait of Béziers o (...)
  • 22 For the princes assimilated to Augustus portraits, see D. Boschung, Gens, p. 185-187. Later iconogr (...)

19The iconography on coins and other monuments as well as the verbal appellation of the young and little boys21, the Augusti filii, the boys of noble descent who seemed so far away from becoming potential heirs of the powerful princeps shifted articulately and quite explicitly to young men, principes iuuentutis and designated consuls with assimilated iconographic features to the ruling emperor22.

Two Augustan Princes, the new Dioscuri?

  • 23 B. Poulsen, «The Dioscuri and Ruler Ideology», Symbolae Osloenses, 66, 1991, p. 119-146 (= Dioscuri(...)

20Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri, were perhaps a strong symbol connected to the invention of the princeps iuuentutis title by Augustus23.

  • 24 One invincible on his horse, the other one with his fists: Hor., carm., 1, 12, 25-28 (hunc equis, i (...)
  • 25 For the Italian origin of the cult and its Greek roots, see M. Bertinetti, «Testimonianze del culto (...)
  • 26 Dion. Hal., 6, 3ff.; Liv., 2, 20; 2, 42, 5. Later, the epiphany-scene was replicated after Aemilius (...)
  • 27 Liv., 8, 11, 16, cf. B. Poulsen, «Cult, Myth, and Politics», dans I. Nielsen et B. Poulsen (éd.), T (...)

21The two deities incarnate fraternal love. They embody as well youthful and enthusiastic fighting on horseback as well as other fighting skills used to protect the Romans, to turn away misfortune and repel external threats24. The Dioscuri, the two young Roman riding warrior heroes, the patrons of the Roman knights, were an established part of Roman cult and of Roman collective memory25. Well-known was the 5th-century BC story in which the Dioscuri had come on their white horses to save the Roman army, to bring victory to the Roman people at Lake Regillus, and to inform the Roman people soon after the battle by an epiphany at the Lacus Iuturnae26. Connected to this battle-story is the tradition, that the dictator Aulus Postumius thankfully promised a temple of the Dioscuri. This temple was built near the forum, and became later part of the enlarged forum area. Cult and temple became important to the Roman knights, at least since the 4th century BC, when a bronze plaque was set up on the temple wall commemorating the Roman citizenship of the Campanian knights in 340 BC27.

  • 28 The Augustan (or pre-Augustan) date of the temple-inauguration is the 27th January: Inscr. Ital., X (...)

22Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus present two different accounts of how and when the transuectio equitum was installed and connected to temple and cult of the Dioscuri. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus the parade of the knights was installed in memory of the battle. He argues for this connection because at that very date of the parade, the 15th of July, the battle at Lake Regillus had taken place (Dion. Hal., 6, 13). According to the Livian tradition (Liv., 2, 42, 5; 9, 46, 15) the 15th of July is the date the temple was inaugurated and dedicated by Postumius’ son in 484 BC (cf. Liv., 2, 20, 12)28.

  • 29 P. Zanker, Das Forum Romanum. Die Neugestaltung durch Augustus, Tübingen, 1972; M. Spannagel, Exemp (...)
  • 30 S. Sande et J. Zahle (éd.), The Temple of Castor and Pollux II. The Augustan Temple, Rome, 2009. K. (...)
  • 31 Gaius and Lucius had played an eminent role in the festivities connected to the dedication of the F (...)

23The forum area with the temple was completely refurbished by Augustus, and all buildings and iconographic elements were more or less directly connected to the imperial glory (to himself, his friends, partisans and his family)29. In this new context the Augustan-time Dioscuri temple30 might have received an additional aspect and meaning as well: by a vague assimilation and association of Jupiter’s sons, Castor and Pollux, and Augustus’ adopted sons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar31.

  • 32 The triumuir monetalis Aulus Postumius Albinus of 96 BC, RRC, no 335/10a-b. However, the Dioscuri-m (...)
  • 33 RRC, no 267/1: Obv.: helmeted head of Roma, rev.: Dioscuri galloping, below, Macedonian shield.
  • 34 The temple was inter alia renovated in 117 BC by L. Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus, financed by spoi (...)

24The propagation of close connections between the Dioscuri and few senatorial families, victorious and successful magistrates and pro-magistrates, had started long before Augustan times. Usually this connection was not focused on the twin aspect, from e. g. senatorial brothers to the brotherly young heroes, but on the aspect of protectors of battles in which the Roman cavalry played a major part. The victorious general and after him his family-member magistrates could refer again and again to these tutelary aspects of the two Gods, to the Dioscuri as protectors of the Roman people, the Roman knights, and few distinguished families. The family of the Postumii (battle at the Lake Regillus in one of the presumed dates 499/496 or 493 BC) remembered their connection with the Dioscuri in denarii issued in 96 BC32: T. Quinctius Flamininus dedicated a silver shield with a metrical inscription to the Dioscuri in Delphi (and probably as well one in Rome) after his victory over Philip V at Cynoscephalae in 197 BC (Plut., Flam., 12), and one of his descendants, T. Quinctius triumuir monetalis of 126 BC, chose the iconography of galloping Dioscuri on the coins33. However, the Dioscuri were far from being exclusive: they were neither the main iconographic image to highlight a specific aristocratic family’s outstanding role for the political achievements of the Roman people, nor were the engagement for their temple on the forum or the allusions to Dioscuri on coins or in mythography restricted to a couple of families34.

  • 35 In the 10th BC, Horace praises Augustus and his merits several times and compares him with various (...)
  • 36 E.g. J. A. Mellado Rivera, Princeps, p. 98-100 and B. Poulsen, Dioscuri, p. 123-126 with the few ex (...)
  • 37 Iconography as well as explicit references usually relate to both deities. For the Roman templum Ca (...)
  • 38 With Marcus Aurelius Caesar, the combination of Dioscuri and leader of the knights came back once m (...)

25The situation under Augustus is quite similar: the gods, deities and heroes that were connected to the Augustan family or one individual member depended on circumstances, including e. g. in poetry the assimilation of Augustus and his virtues with the Dioscuri35. However, the situation for the Dioscuri-connection obviously differs from earlier times: whereas in Republican times, the allusions to the Dioscuri were mainly based on their protective warrior qualities and could thus refer to any successful (single) general, the Dioscuri of Augustan times that alluded to the young princes Gaius and Lucius, connected Jupiter’s two sons to Augustus’ (adopted) two sons, connected two young men to another couple of young men. But in difference to modern wide-spread belief, the evidence is small and scattered36. The Dioscuri-assimilation of Gaius and Lucius Caesar was not made quite explicit, and did obviously not play an important part in public representation. But – these vague assimilations (if there are any) cannot be retraced as necessary consequence of the princeps iuuentutis-concept. The young, heroic Dioscuri’s main impact and spheres are eternal youth, the cavalry’s military success, danger defence and rescue measures in cases of external danger, and the announcement of military success. Such a field does not bear the concept of succession or of political leadership. In consequence, this association with two such heroes would and could not designate the future emperor, in difference to other real and symbolic measures of political relevance for succession. In addition, on coins and reliefs usually both Jupiter-sons were depicted, thus the assimilations to the Dioscuri at least in the Augustan times and the 1st century AD seem to make reference to always two persons, two individual young men37. Only in cases with two young members of the ruling elite, it makes sense to combine the concept of the Dioscuri as tutelary gods and eternal patrons of the Roman knights with the two living patrons of the knights, the principes iuuentutis. After Lucius and Gaius, whom modern writers connect to the Dioscuri mainly because of the notion and supposed vicinity of the two couples of brotherly knights, the aspects of fraternal love and of leaders of the knights obviously back off in the visual and verbal presentation of the designated successors38, and only a vague allusion to young promising riders was left.

  • 39 Ovid., fast., 1, 707-708; Suet., Tib., 20; Dio Cass., 55, 27, 4. The reconstruction of the Castor a (...)

26In the city of Rome, in AD 6 the building inscription of the temple of the Dioscuri, and in AD 10, of the Concordia Augusta-temple, presented Tiberius and his brother Drusus (the Elder), who had died already in 9 BC, as builders and financiers of the building-operations39. Brotherly love and thus the Dioscuri would have been an attractive theme in the contexts of these two temples, however, in these two cases, although the builders’ bonds of brotherly love are valid beyond death, this Dioscuri-aspect does not match with the idea of two successors, two leaders, and in the cases of (dead) Drusus and Tiberius had nothing to do with the equestrian traditions and the leadership of the knights.

  • 40 E. Meise, «Der Sesterz des Drusus mit den Zwillingen und die Nachfolgepläne des Tiberius», JNG, 16, (...)
  • 41 Suet., Cal., 15, 2; Dio Cass., 59, 8, 1.
  • 42 In AD 25, Drusus (III) became praefectus of the Feriae Latinae-festival and was co-opted into pries (...)

27Born in December AD 19, the twins Germanicus Gemellus (minor) and Tiberius Gemellus, grandsons of Tiberius, sons of Drusus (minor) and Livilla, were soon paralleled to the Dioscuri40. But because their father was murdered in AD 23, and Germanicus Gemellus died in the same year, the twins were no longer promoted by the emperor Tiberius. In AD 37, after Tiberius’ death and Caligula/Gaius’ accession, Caligula’s cousin Tib. Gemellus was adopted by Caligula the day Gemellus assumed the toga uirilis and received the honour of princeps iuuentutis. But as Gemellus died soon after, there might have been no time to present this promotion on coins or inscriptions41. Instead, Caligula honoured and rehabilitated his already deceased elder brothers in coins minted in Rome42: these coins presented two riders and the legend NERO ET DRVSVS CAESARES on the reverses as posthumous. The coin-issues alluded to the Dioscuri-theme but again were not matched to the princeps iuuentutis title and notion.

  • 43 Book IV was published in AD 95, cf. K. Coleman, Statius Silvae Book IV, Oxford, 1988, p. XIX-XX. In (...)

28The next allusion to Dioscuri was not in «official» iconography, coinage or the like, but was made by the poet Statius in AD 95 with reference to Domitian, at that time the Roman emperor43. Statius’ choice makes obvious that, like already in Republican and Augustan times, the imperial-time Dioscuri’s multifaceted virtues and areas of concern could match with young nobles but also with reigning emperors.

  • 44 F. Gnecchi, I Medaglioni Romani. Volume Secondo: Bronzo. Parte prima: Gran modulo, Rome 1912 (= Med (...)
  • 45 On Marcus and Lucius, see below p. 97-98.
  • 46 F. Gnecchi, Medaglioni, p. 43 no 5, plate 71.5 (AD 161-165), W. Szaivert, Die Münzprägung der Kaise (...)
  • 47 See above note 35.
  • 48 See above note 43.
  • 49 Medaillon with Marcus Aurelius Caesar’s bust and legend on the obverse, nude Castor with horse on t (...)
  • 50 Bust and legend of Marcus Aurelius in AD 177 and 178 on obverse and Castor with horse on reverse, W (...)
  • 51 However, this is W. Szaivert’s, Münzprägung, p. 66 explanation for this iconographic «innovation», (...)

29After Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus were adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius, the two potential successors were perhaps vaguely alluded to as Dioscuri on a medaillon issued in AD 14044. However, it seems more likely that the Dioscuri-medaillon was just one of the many Antonine medaillons with Greek and Roman heroes (like Heracles, Aeneas and Ascanius). Indeed, both young boys had received the title of Caesar and other honours, thus making them heir and successor apparent, but they were not nominated principes iuuentutis45. Even if the Dioscuri-theme and iconography of the medaillon was meant to refer quite vaguely to both successors of the throne, it did not create a direct connection to the equestrian order. Later, in AD 161-165, when Lucius Verus and Marcus were no longer Caesares but already Augusti, they chose to associate themselves on medaillons to the Dioscuri46. As in the case of Augustus47 and Domitian48, the emperors Antoninus Pius, Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius were assimilated to the divine twins – for Augustus and Domitian poets had made this choice, whereas the Antonines had made their choices themselves. Already in the AD 150s, Antoninus Pius honoured his Caesar Marcus Aurelius with medaillons, one of which had one of the Dioscuri with his horse on the reverse49. This bronze medaillon for a Caesar (not a princeps iuuentutis) was obviously the model for the later coin-issues of Marcus Aurelius Augustus and Commodus Augustus. In AD 177, Commodus was no longer Caesar and princeps iuuentutis, but one of two Augusti. The coin-issues of various denominations showed either Marcus’ or Commodus’ portrait on the reverse with their respective name and title, and on the reverse was presented the naked young Castor with his horse and his weapons50. As Commodus was Augustus at that time, it obviously had nothing to do with the princeps iuuentutis concept51.

  • 52 Castor-issue: of the years AD 200/202, RIC, IV (Geta), no 6, 111, 116: on the rev. CASTOR, Castor s (...)

30P. Septimius Geta Caesar received several imperial coin issues with his portrait and name on the obverse and allusions to various deities and notions on the reverse. The reverse variations comprised inter alia Aeternitas, Concordia, Dis Pater, Felicitas, Liberalitas, Minerva, Pietas, Roma Aeterna, Spes, and Victoria. Only one such series had the legend and iconography of Castor, and separated on another series was presented the princeps iuuentutis legend52. In both the cases of Commodus and Geta, concepts, images, verbal expressions of Castor/Dioscuri and princeps iuuentutis are not (!) connected to and linked with each other. In addition, the princeps iuuentutis iconography does no longer allude to the Augustan Roman equites, and the famous silver hasta and parma, Gaius and Lucius had received together with the title by the knights.

Post-Augustan Princes: Singling out potential heirs to the throne

  • 53 Suet., Nero, 6, 4; Tac., ann., 11, 11-12, for such occasions and the populace’s reactions see M. T. (...)
  • 54 The exceptional honours were expressed in inscriptions as in one for several members of the family, (...)

31Apart from titles, offices, statuary and other monumental honours, the boy-members of the imperial family could be presented in public in an eye-catching, intoxicating manner. Especially in the contexts of ceremonies like the reception of the toga uirilis, processions and games like the Game of Troy at the Great Secular games in AD 47, the audience could be impressed by the physical beauty and promising moral strength of the imperial offspring53. Some years later, in 51 when Nero prematurely received the toga uirilis and could thus be made princeps iuuentutis, member of the priestly collegia and consul designate54, a donation was made in Nero’s name to the people of Rome and the soldiers.

  • 55 Tac., hist. 3, 64-69; Suet., Dom., 1; Dio Cass., 64, 17, 4. See P. Southern, Domitian. Tragic Tyran (...)

32The first reception of the new emperor in Rome and the propagation of this unusual event and ritual might be used as another occasion to propagate a specific boy’s standing: it is probably Domitian, who is portrayed on the Cancelleria-reliefs, on which the new emperor Vespasian on his return to Rome greets a boy or younger man with a friendly gesture. He is easily and likely identified as Domitian his son, who had been in Rome during the civil war of AD 69 and who had, together with his uncle Sabinus, vainly fought against Vitellius’ supporters on the Capitol Hill55.

33Apart from specific occasions to single out young male members of the imperial family by parades, processions and games, most often, the princeps iuuentutis title was combined with other distinctive titles and honours of which it is difficult to establish a hierarchy of importance.

Distinctions, titles and honours

34Apart from the prerequisite that the political heir was a born or adopted member of the imperial family, there existed few honours, offices and powers with which a potential successor could be singled out:

  • the title Princeps iuuentutis

  • the title/name Caesar

  • the title/office consul before the usual age-qualification for a consul, which could be combined with the award to be listed as consul designatus before the age of fourteen, before receiving the toga uirilis

  • the cooptation to one or more of the major Roman priestly collegia

  • Other offices, magistracies, priesthoods

  • Imperial power for domestic policy: tribunicia potestas

  • Imperial power for foreign affairs and policy: imperium proconsulare.

  • 56 D. Kienast, Kaisertabelle: Grundzüge einer römischen Kaiserchronologie, Darmstadt, 19962 (= Kaisert (...)

35The list is not exhaustive and based mainly on titles and offices named in inscriptions and on imperial coins56. Literary texts with encomiastic context and specific literary pre-settings do not allow to accept far-reaching conclusions for the official titles and status of the presumed heirs, if not attested by other «hard», trustworthy evidence.

  • 57 The genitive case of «iuuenum» princeps (see the text in the note below) cannot be taken and transl (...)
  • 58 Tac., ann., 2, 83: Honores ut quis amore in Germanicum aut ingenio ualidus reperti decretique: ut n (...)
  • 59 CIL, VI, 31200: Equestris quoq(ue) o[rdinis studium probare senatum - - - quod morte Drusi Caesaris (...)
  • 60 The fact that the title is even not mentioned in privately set up honorific inscription and in civi (...)

36The modern discussion on the status of Germanicus and Drusus are presented as examples of the problematic use of literary evidence. Germanicus is never entitled as princeps iuuentutis in inscriptions or imperial coins. However, Ovid alludes to Germanicus as a princeps of the youth in one of his letters from Pontus57. This is the only reference to such an «honour» and «title» for Germanicus in his lifetime – and it may be doubted if Ovid ever meant it to be a «technical» term. In AD 13, the year of Ovid’s text, Germanicus had already been consul and was heading to Germany as supreme commander of the legions. But he was quite a young, showcased member of the imperial family – at least compared to Tiberius, the adopted son of Augustus and presumed heir to the throne. After Germanicus’ death, the equites integrated Germanicus into the institutional form and collective memory of their organisation: in the context of all the overwhelming honours the deceased Germanicus received in Rome and all over the Empire, Tacitus mentions that the knights called the seats in the theatre known as «the juniors», Germanicus’ benches, and arranged that their turmae were to ride in procession behind his portrait at the parade on the fifteenth of July58. Later in AD 23, when Drusus had died, the knights decreed that a silver shield should be carried each year at the transuectio equitum with the inscription the equites have honoured Drusus with59. The many inscribed statue bases and other publicly exposed texts that were set up during Germanicus’ and Drusus’ lifetime make no allusion to the title of princeps iuuentutis for either of these promising young men of the imperial family. Apart from Ovid’s small verse and Germanicus’ and Drusus’ posthumous honours, there is no direct and conclusive evidence that either Germanicus or Drusus had ever been elected and officially entitled as principes iuuentutis60.

37The consequence of the non-being principes iuuentutis of such military and politically established and experienced young men like Germanicus and Drusus might be that only young men, who until a certain point in their life had no chance to single out themselves by other distinctions, were officially elected as principes iuuentutis and that this election was only worthy to be publicly promoted in coins and inscriptions if there were no other such honours of more importance and standing. However, it will be reviewed if these assumptions are supported by the evidence of post-Augustan principes iuuentutis. Therefore, the following part of investigation of the post-Augustan time of the Empire is based mainly on epigraphical and numismatic evidence to get a more or less solid basis of chronology and officially propagated titles and honours of potential successors of the emperor.

Julio-Claudian princes: infelicitous Drusus and Britannicus, lucky Nero

  • 61 Suet., Tib., 76; Dio Cass., 59, 1, cf. Tac., ann., 6, 46. See A. Mlasowsky, Nomini, p. 360-369 for (...)

38Tiberius had not introduced his grandson Tiberius Gemellus into one of the above named pre-elections, offices or priesthoods, although he was already 17 years old when Tiberius died. However, according to literary traditions, Tiberius Gemellus was named in Tiberius’ testament together with Germanicus’ son Gaius/Caligula as main heirs61. But Gaius was already singled out by Tiberius when he allowed the boy to speak the laudatio funebris of Livia on the rostra (Suet., Cal., 10). No extraordinary titles are attested and Gaius assumed the toga uirilis only at the age of 18 (ibid.). However, the 19 or 20 years old received the privilege of becoming quaestor before the legal age qualification. At twenty-four, Caligula himself was a young man when made emperor in AD 37. Although he adopted Gemellus the same year and entitled him princeps iuuentutis, after Gemellus’ death in the same year, young Gaius probably never thought of a potential successor again in his short-dated reign.

  • 62 Tac., ann., 12, 41 toga uirilis, consul designatus, imperium proconsulare, princeps iuuentutis; Sue (...)

39His successor Claudius was already 50 years old when he became Roman emperor in AD 41. His wives and some counsellors seem to have been most influential for shifts in decisions concerning the pros and cons for the potential successors – at least this is what historiography makes us believe. It seems that in the first years of his reign, Claudius had left things open, however in the end, Britannicus, Claudius’ own son, was by-passed. Domitius/Nero, son of Agrippina, now Claudius’ fourth wife, was adopted in the year 50, when Claudius approached the age of 60. In the next year, AD 51, Claudius started to single out Nero comparable to the measures Augustus had taken for Lucius and Gaius Caesar: Nero assumed the toga uirilis a year before the minimum age of fourteen. In March of the same year, he was pre-elected consul, consul designatus at this very age, fourteen, to take over the office only six years later. Necessarily, this designation to the highest office included the exemption from the lower magistracies. The festivities for Nero included his announcement of a largess to the people and the soldiers62. These distinctions were comparable to those of Gaius and Lucius Caesar. Both had been co-opted in one of the priestly collegia, Nero was co-opted into four of them. That there did not exist a couple of potential successors, no Dioscuri-like-twin-pair, no second Gaius-and-Lucius-Caesar-leaders-of-the-youth became manifest, when Britannicus reached the same age of fourteen, two and a half years later. In this last year of Claudius’ reign, he was not singled out at all, did not receive such honours as those Nero had received at that age. Although in literary tradition, the princeps iuuentutis title is only one of many privileges and honours bestowed on young Nero, on coin issues of the year, the title is most prominent.

  • 63 H.-M. von Kaenel, Münzbilder und Münztypen des Claudius, Berlin, 1986, p. 100-105.
  • 64 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 75, 82: NERO CLAVD CAES DRVSVS GERM PRINC IVVENT.
  • 65 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 76, 77, 107: SACERD COOPT IN OMN CONL SVPRA NVM EX S C with simpulum, lituus (...)
  • 66 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 108 (cf. 78, 79), obv.: NERONI CLAVDIO DRVSO GERM COS DESIGN; rev.: EQVESTER (...)
  • 67 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 78, 79.

40With the year 51, Nero’s portrait appeared on the Roman coin issues. Aurei and denarii-types with a similar iconography and Nero-legends were minted in the imperial mints of Rome and Lugdunum. Von Kaenel distinguishes three main types minted in Rome in AD 5163. Firstly, with Claudius on the obverse and Nero with name and princeps iuuentutis title on the reverse (cointype 51)64, secondly, a draped bust of Nero with his name and the title of princeps iuuentutis on the obverse and on the reverse the allusion to the four priesthoods (cointype 52)65; and thirdly the cointype 5366, a draped bust of Nero on the obverse with his name and the title as consul designate in the dative case and on the reverse the honorific silver shield and the spear the Roman knights had offered him when making him their leader of the turmae of the youth. The legend refers to Nero being the leader of the Roman knights. Two other coin-issues for Nero have variations of the three types: one with Nero’s name and title as consul designate in the dative case on the obverse and on the reverse the EQVESTER ORDO PRINCIPI IVVENT legend but without the iconographic symbols of that honour67.

Fig. 3: RIC, I2, 79, Nero princeps iuuentutis

Fig. 3: RIC, I2, 79, Nero princeps iuuentutis

Münzkabinett der Staatl. Museen zu Berlin, no. 1/1929/ACC

41The Nero-coinage is obviously used to present the young Caesar quite similar to the Gaius and Lucius tradition – with symbols and legends referring to the priesthoods, the princeps iuuentutis title and honour and the privilege to be a designated consul before age and then later become consul at the age of nineteen.

Flavian princes: Experienced Titus and Young Domitian

  • 68 Inscriptions during lifetime of the emperors Vespasian and/or Titus: e.g. ILS, 246, Rome (… Caesari (...)

42Titus and Domitian were made Caesares in the second half of AD 69 in one of the days, when their father Vespasian had just gained the supremacy in the civil war and was accepted as emperor in the city of Rome. Titus’ name changed from Titus Flavius Vespasianus to Titus Caesar Vespasianus. Domitian became princeps iuuentutis probably at the same time, a title attested in coins and inscriptions from AD 7068.

  • 69 RIC, II2 (Vespasian), no 5, 6 (Rome). Similar coins minted in Lugdunum no 1122-1126 (AD 71), Tarrac (...)

43It is assumed by few coin issues with several types that Titus had received the same honour69. And as these short-lived coin issues presenting both Caesares, Titus and Domitian, as principes iuuentutis, was a phenomenon restricted to a couple of months, it becomes obvious that whoever made that choices was not considering the concept of that honour, and for whom Augustus had designed it for. Whatever the notion of a princeps iuuentutis was at that time, it was obviously ignored. Titus was at that time an established member of the senate: he had made his career, was quaestor in 64 or 65 and legatus legionis XIV Apollinaris in 66. When he was made Caesar and (perhaps) princeps iuuentutis in AD 69, he was already 30 years old, a respected senator with a good reputation as a military man – a reputation he reinforced by his conquest of Jerusalem in late summer AD 70. Senators like him are not supposed to take part in the yearly parade of the equites. After his victory in the Jewish war, he was acclaimed imperator and – if he ever had the title – the title princeps iuuentutis dropped apparently.

  • 70 See above note 69.

44In the first months after the new emperor was installed, on a coin-issue with few types the Caesares Titus and Domitian were presented together: TITVS ET DOMITIANVS CAES or CAESARES PRINC IVV or IVVENTVTIS is the matching legend70. Although Domitian received several coin-types and issues with the prince of the youth title since AD 70, there was none of that kind minted for Titus alone. Thus it may be presumed that the title for Titus was either adopted in anticipatory obedience by the mint-master (or another responsible?) or was chosen by the knights in the course of the shaky events of AD 69, as not to miss an opportunity to confirm the equestrian order’s consent and assistance of the new emperor and his family. Although we can be sure that the general ideas, images and legends on the imperial coins minted in Rome in the first months of Vespasian’s reign were approved, accepted by the new princeps or one of his confidants, the princeps iuuentutis title for Titus was obviously not thought appropriate. It apparently seemed that this not fitting young-unexperienced-man-title and honour was used for Titus for only a couple of months, a period of time in which Titus himself was not in Rome and was not personally involved in whatever ceremonies and rituals of the knights might have taken place to celebrate the new emperor and his sons. By AD 70, after his conquest of Jerusalem, followed accumulations of powers and offices connected to the senatorial commander Caesar Titus a triumphator and experienced junior partner to his father Augustus Vespasian.

  • 71 Princeps iuuentutis before his father’s death in 79: e.g. RIC, II2 (Vespasian), no 662, 787-788 (AD (...)
  • 72 See T. Buttrey, Documentary Evidence, p. 32.

45Domitian, however, became a kind of princeps iuuentutis «perpetuus» – he had the age of eighteen at the end of AD 69 and was 28 when his father died and his elder brother became the new emperor. And Domitian Caesar obviously remained princeps iuuentutis until at least AD 80, probably even until September AD 81 when he became Augustus himself71. Domitian Caesar princeps iuuentutis kept the title when he became older and took over senatorial offices. He was praetor urbanus in AD 70, became a member of the priesthood of the Arval brethren and in AD 76 member of the pontifical collegium72. As the previous principes iuuentutis he was soon made consul designatus, and was made one of the consules suffecti in the year AD 71, aged twenty. He became consul ordinarius in 73, the year in which Vespasian and Titus were occupied with the censorship.

  • 73 E. g. RIC, II2 (Vespasian), no 654, 787-788, 883, 926.
  • 74 Suet., Vesp., 8, 1; Titus, 6, 1; Dom., 2, 1; Jos., Bell., 7, 152, cf. P. Southern, Domitian, p. 25; (...)
  • 75 Titus was always ordinarius whereas Domitian most often suffectus.

46The images on the coins that present Domitian the Caesar and princeps iuuentutis are often combined with the goddess Spes73. Spes obviously meant the hope and promise of a good future of the imperial house, secured by the existence of young successors. Domitian the ideal princeps iuuentutis as a knight on his white horse, this allusion comes up, when reading Suetonius and Josephus’ descriptions of the triumphal parade over Judaea in Rome in 7174: whereas Titus and Vespasian were on their triumphal chariots, Domitian is the horseman between the chariots. Later historiography, denouncing the emperor Domitian as a monster and tyrant, paint his time as Caesar and princeps iuuentutis rather pale. Apart from the hostile later traditions, we have no clues to the relationships of Domitian with his father and with his brother. But Domitian stayed princeps iuuentutis and Caesar from AD 69/70 to 80/81. During this period of time, he was made six times consul under his father Vespasian, only one time less than Titus75. It is unknown, if Vespasian ever intended Domitian to become a prospective successor like the much more distinguished and decorated eleven or twelve years elder brother Titus. However, the few hints we have, the Spes in the coins, the titles and magistracies are a clear sign of the quite positive view Domitian’s father and his contemporaries had, much more favourable than the later – post-emperor-Domitian – historiographers make their readers believe.

47If Titus was officially elected First of the Youth, one could doubt that there still existed a clear concept of the notion of princeps iuuentutis in post-Neronian Rome. Titus does not fit into the line of Gaius, Lucius, Nero and his younger brother Domitian. And if elected, then at least the title was rarely used and had no prominence at all for the experienced senator and general. However, as the title was dropped within a couple of months, it seems as if the Julio-Claudian concept of the young, more or less inexperienced in public offices and duties, but protruding and promising son of the emperor was still valid.

  • 76 See e.g. above note 31 for Gaius and Lucius, p. 92-94 with note 62 for Nero. Later such attestation (...)

48In the last quarter of the first century, Domitian, the young princeps iuuentutis fits well into the line, even if the iconography of shield and spear was not used regularly in connection with the title. And like in the cases of Gaius, Lucius, and Nero, Domitian became member of priesthoods, became consul-designate and kept the title even when he had become senator and consul. Historiographical anecdotes as well as few coins attest that principes iuuentutis presided over games and were thus presented in more than the occasion of the transuectio and similar occasions of public appearance of the knights to the people in the city of Rome as outstanding young men with outstanding wealth and the appropriate generosity and benevolence76.

The second century: a new principate with new concepts of succession?

49The «creation» of the ideology of the best possible princeps, a princeps chosen best of the senators via adoption by the predecessor and acclaimed by the senate, gave the «concept» of the princeps iuuentutis as well as the notion of the name and designation of a Caesar another turn. At the end of the first century and in the first half of the second century the successors were chosen by adoption, the adoption of adult and distinguished senators. The title of princeps iuuentutis was obviously inappropriate for a Trajan, Hadrian, or Antoninus Pius.

  • 77 Sevir: HA, Marc., 6, 3:… seuiri turmis equitum Romanorum iam consulem designatum creauit et cum col (...)

50In AD 138, the issue of young potential successors was brought up again into the idea of imperial succession. The combined adoption of the 52 years old Antoninus Pius by Hadrian who was made Caesar at that occasion, and of the 16 years old Marcus Aurelius and 7 years old Lucius Verus by Antoninus Pius, made obvious, that a quinquagennarian was not thought to be young enough to (symbolically or really) secure the future of the imperial house and the Empire. A few months after Antoninus Pius became the new emperor, Marcus was elected quaestor for AD 139, and in the same year was made Caesar, seuir equitum Romanorum, and was co-opted in all priestly collegia77. Albeit singled out in cult (priesthoods) and ritual (parade of the knights), Marcus demonstratively was not made consul before the age, he was not exempted from the lower magistracies as Gaius, Lucius, Nero, and Domitian had experienced. At the beginning of Antoninus’ reign, the Antonine senate-focused-ideology thus seems to have required republican titles and traditions as well as the standard senatorial career to mark and honour the heir-to-be and future emperor, Marcus.

  • 78 A. Birley, Marcus Aurelius: a biography, Londres, 19872, p. 57 presents Marcus as princeps iuuentut (...)
  • 79 RIC, III (A. Pius), no 423a, 1238-1239, BMC, III (A. Pius), no 268-275, no 1407-1410. For the seuir (...)

51It is sometimes assumed that Marcus received the title of princeps iuuentutis although it is not used in Roman imperial coinage and on official inscriptions78. But obviously, he did not carry the title. Apparently, to Antoninus Pius, the duty of one of the seuiri of the turmae of the knights seemed more appropriate to connect the young man to the Roman knights, thus avoiding any allusion to the negative image of the last such principes of the Youth, Nero and Domitian. A vague connection of the Caesar Marcus to the young Roman knights was probably propagated on imperial coins: between AD 140 and 144, aurei and coins of lesser value were issued in Rome that combined the personification of Iuuentas on the reverse with Marcus Aurelius Caesar consul, son of Antoninus Pius on the obverse79.

  • 80 See above note 46.
  • 81 See above note 50 for the coin-issue of AD 177-178 with Commodus Augustus on the obverse and Castor (...)

52The younger Caesar Lucius Verus was presented in quite a different way, less prominent. He did not become seuir of the Roman knights, no coins with Iuuentus / Iuuentas were issued. And although, Marcus and Lucius presented themselves together with the Dioscuri on one medaillon in AD 161-165 as a symbol of young knights fighting for Rome, of two young men that guarantee the Roman victory in times of external threat, this iconography was only chosen after Lucius and Marcus had become emperors themselves80. Later, the imagery of the one single rider as alleged reference to the twin-couple of the Dioscuri was again used for a young Augustus, Commodus81.

  • 82 Cf. O. Hekster, Commodus. An Emperor at the Crossroads, Amsterdam, 2002 (= Commodus), p. 34.
  • 83 Nero’s coin types see above p. 92-94. Commodus princeps iuuentutis was connected to Liberalitas, Vi (...)
  • 84 For the dates, see O. Hekster, Commodus, p. 38 with November 176 for the Augustus name, D. Kienast,(...)

53After Lucius Verus’ death, at the beginning of the year 169, Commodus, son of Marcus became more prominent. Born in the year 161, the year Marcus and Lucius had become emperors, he had been made Caesar of the two Augusti at the age of five. Henceforward he was named L. Aurelius Commodus Caesar. In the year 175, then aged nearly 14, he took the toga uirilis, was co-opted to the priestly collegia, and received the title of princeps iuuentutis. In early March of that very year AD 175, Avidius Cassius, mislead by rumours that Marcus had died, proclaimed himself emperor82. Compared to the situation of Marcus, adopted son of Antoninus, the situation had changed for Commodus, son of Marcus. What had seemed appropriate for the teenager Marcus Aurelius in AD 138/139 (Caesar, quaestor, priesthoods, and seuir of the turmae) did not seem appropriate to his little boy Commodus under the pressure of usurpation and revolt in Syria. Thus may be explained Commodus’ title princeps iuuentutis, a title that was probably thought to allude to Augustan times when the 14 years old Gaius and Lucius were singled out in similar fashion. In addition, for the little boy of five the title of Caesar was part of his personal name and he was then clearly denoted as son of one of the two ruling Augusti. Later, for the 14 years old young man, now the eldest son of the sole emperor, the princeps iuuentutis title made him the designated successor in a time of danger. Some of the many coin issues of this short period of time that present Commodus as princeps iuuentutis refer explicitly in legend (but not in all variants in the iconography) to the order of the Roman knights, similar to one of the coin-types issued by Claudius in the name of Nero83. The danger lasted only few months and was over by the end of July. The pressure gone, the title and the ostentatious unity of the orders were of no longer of use as it seems – the coin-issues with this title are restricted to AD 175/176. In AD 176, a year in which internal and external threats still existed, the emperor Marcus probably shared his acclamation as imperator with his 14/15 years old son, the designated heir Caesar Commodus84.

54However, in difference to the earlier principes iuuentutis, Commodus was designated for a consulate not in the same year but only one year later. In November 176, he was made Imperator and perhaps Augustus, and in December he was granted the tribunicia potestas. In AD 177, two years after he had become princeps iuuentutis, the 15 and then 16 years old young man had become Augustus and the ‘boyish’ princeps iuuentutis title was obsolete. Instead, Commodus’ consulate, the title and name of Imperator, Augustus and Caesar as well as the tribunicia potestas and the victory-names (Germanicus and Sarmaticus) became crucial. These honours, offices, and titles were of much greater importance for the presentation of the 16 years old young man as no longer designated successor to the throne, but himself now a co-ruler.

  • 85 M. Horster, «The Emperors’ family on coins (3rd century): Ideology of stability in times of unrest» (...)

55With Caracalla and Geta, this short overview of the evidence for principes iuuentutis comes to an end, as the short-lived reigns of the third century required more assurance of dynastic continuity. This was underlined by the strengthening of the visual and verbal presence of successors or partners. The imperial family but especially sons as designated successors, most often then called Caesares, as well as partners, Augusti, became even more important as means to secure a reigning emperor and assure the people of a long-lasting and secured stability of the dynasty and thereby the peace and prosperity for all85. Only the very young were sometimes still entitled principes iuuentutis.

Septimius Severus, his children and the child-emperor Caracalla

  • 86 A. Birley, The African Emperor Septimius Severus, Londres, 19882, p. 117.

56In AD 195, Severus created himself a dynastic continuity by proclaiming himself son of Marcus Aurelius and his seven years old son Bassianus was renamed after his new «grandfather», M. Aurelius Antoninus86. Probably soon after Antoninus/Caracalla was made Caesar. The proclamation of Caracalla/Antoninus as Caesar was as well an affront to Clodius Albinus who was Caesar and an important ally since Septimius Severus had become emperor. In AD 197, only after Clodius Albinus had been defeated, Caracalla was additionally entitled imperator destinatus, princeps iuuentutis, and he was co-opted into two of the priestly collegia. Probably already in the autumn of the same year, Caracalla/Antoninus was made Augustus, then aged only nine. This child-emperor was soon co-opted in the other priesthoods and received the title of pater patriae at the end of AD 199, then eleven years old. Again, the following events and especially the following honours with the Augustus-title later in the same year, made the princeps iuuentutis title only of secondary, minor importance and it was dropped.

  • 87 The variety of Geta’s inscriptional titles is well presented by A. Mastino, Le titolature di Caraca (...)

57Geta received the title and name of Caesar when Caracalla was made Augustus probably late in the year AD 197, at that time he was eight years old. Together with the Caesar-name he was entitled princeps iuuentutis. It is unlikely that he received the toga uirilis with the age of eight, thus the title of princeps iuuentutis had become now an «empty» honour, without the responsibility and honour of riding at the top of the parade or presiding games – as the iconography on coins without hasta and parma makes likewise obvious. In addition, only a small minority of the various and many imperial coin issues in gold, silver and bronze of Geta Caesar informs explicitly that he is also princeps of the youth, whereas the honour and priestly office of pontifex is named in most of the coins. The epigraphic evidence is comparable: the princeps iuuentutis title is often neglected, the name Caesar and the priestly office of pontifex and then later also the consulate was obviously seen to have much more value and importance to designate the emperor to be, the successor to the throne87.

  • 88 On general features of Caracalla’s and Geta’s iconography in various media, see J. Pollini, «A Port (...)
  • 89 RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 174 obv. bust of Severus with name and titles.
  • 90 RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 38 obv: ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, rev: P. SEPT GETA CAES PONT.

58During Septimius Severus’ reign and after AD 197, coins of Caracalla and Geta depict two young boys, an iconography referring to heirs of the throne88. But the titles of Geta and Caracalla tell a different story because one of the two boys, Caracalla, was at that time already Augustus. One such aureus of AD 201 presents the emperor Septimius Severus on the obverse. On the reverse are busts of his two sons as incarnation and insurance of the eternity of the empire as the legend AETERNIT IMPERI says89. At that time, Caracalla is already Augustus in his fourth year, Geta is Caesar and princeps iuuentutis. The second example of the same year has the fifteen years old emperor Caracalla Augustus characterised with a bust of a boy on the obverse and the bust of twelve years old Geta Caesar on the reverse outlines the same imagery: young boys which are the future of the empire and which have already taken over responsibilities and duties for the res publica90.

  • 91 RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 18 (AD 199/202), cf. no 16-17. All illustrations are presented with permis (...)

59The third such example is a coin minted probably already in 199, when Geta was co-opted as pontifex91. It has on the obverse Geta Caesar, the pontife. On the reverse his title princeps iuuentutis is combined with allusion to a military scene with a trophy next to Geta. One might see this as an allusion to the knights because of the spear. But the requisite shield, as a significant equestrian icon in combination with the spear, is replaced by a branch in the boy’s hand.

Fig. 4: RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 16 a

Fig. 4: RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 16 a

Münzkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, no. 18203780

60The depiction of young boys on coins is in the case of Geta connected to the princeps iuuentutis title, but the spes and eternity of the empire is connected in the first place to the fact that there are two healthy natural sons of the emperor, one despite his youth already an emperor, the other standing in the second line but as well capable and trained to become part of the imperial regime. This kind of iconography and such legends already hint to the third century when aeternitas, securitas, hilaritas and similar legends are usually connected to portraits of the sons of young Caesars or Augusti.

Conclusion: Youth as its best, the leaders to come?

61In the very beginning, the princeps iuuentutis honour and title was bestowed successively on two young boys, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, who were adopted by the ruling emperor Augustus and thus singled out as potential successors for the future, even if only after another emperor to come. They were then aged fourteen, were each additionally co-opted to a priestly collegium, and were both designated for a consulate. The next principes iuuentutis eighteen years old Tiberius Gemellus (honoured thus only for a couple of months and unreported in coins and inscriptions) and Nero were likewise adopted by the ruling emperor. According to the Fasti of the Arvales, Tiberius Gemellus became a member of the brethren. Nero was as well co-opted – but to all four major priesthoods and he was designated to a consulate. In these cases, the Roman imperial coin-issues stress the narrow connection to the knights. The line continued with young Domitian. The short-lived and obviously mismatching title for Titus was dropped soon, probably at the latest when Vespasian arrived in Rome (summer AD 70) and took over personal control of the Roman mint.

62Germanicus, Drusus and Marcus Aurelius were not made principes iuuentutis. Nevertheless, Germanicus and Drusus were obviously honoured by the equestrian order posthumously, and Antoninus Pius made Marcus seuir of the turmae of the knights that is one of the leaders of these units. However, this title and duty as well as the coin with the Iuuentas reverse make obvious that the young designated successor Marcus was narrowly connected to the Roman knights. There is no clue to any such arrangement for Lucius Verus and no such coins were minted in his name. More importantly, Marcus, Lucius and later Commodus were initially singled out by the title and name Caesar, a name that designated the successor, the junior partner of an Augustus.

63Commodus, who had become Caesar at the age of five, was later made princeps iuuentutis. In the same year, AD 174, he took the toga uirilis and was co-opted to the priesthoods. Although age and other offices and titles are similar to the first century tradition, the context seems somewhat different, and the title was soon no longer of use, when the usurper Cassius who threatened the dynasty, was beaten. As with Augustus, Claudius, and Vespasian, it seems likely that this was Marcus’ specific way to connect the emperor and the imperial dynasty with the Roman knights and thus demonstrate that the emperor is well aware of the importance of that order. However, with Commodus and the later Severan use of titles, honours and offices for very young boys, the respective conceptual contexts were lost and became superfluous. And in the specific case of the princeps iuuentutis, the iconography of spear and shield was no longer the main marker of the honour (and previous duty). A Caesar of five, a princeps iuuentutis of nine, a holder of the tribunicia potestas with sixteen and an emperor-Augustus at the age of nine – this all reduces the importance, which specific title, office, duty the designated successor received as long as the boys accumulated several of these honours and titles. There was left only one, however important, message and symbolic meaning of all these various titles and honours, including the one of the princeps iuuentutis: the security and future of the Empire. As in Augustan times, youth, especially the young male members of the elite and the imperial family, symbolised wealth, prosperity, physical strength and security of the Roman People. The existence of one or two (natural or adopted) sons secured this future. These boys were guarantors of internal peace and of the external security of the Roman Empire. They promised peace, stability and welfare to the Roman People, whatever age they had, whatever title and honours they had received.

Notes

1 S. Weinstock, s. v. «Transvectio Equitum», RE, II, 6.1, 1937, col. 2178-2187, esp. 2184f. (= Transvectio Equitum) and W. Behringer, s.v. «Princeps Iuventutis», RE, XXII, 2, 1954, col. 2296-2311 (= Princeps Iuuentutis), esp. 2297-2299 pointed out that Livy’s combination of the words equites and principes iuuentutis in the context of his narration of early Roman history was used exclusively for the group of the young aristocratic elite of Italy and Rome (see below note 6). Since the late Roman Republic, the epithet (but not «title») princeps iuuentutis was used to distinguish individuals like Pompeius or Brutus, Cic., fam., 3, 11, 3, cf. Cic., Sull., 34; Verr., 1, 139; Vatin., 24. Some modern authors mistook this epithetic allusion to youth and aristocracy as a proof for the existence of a concept (and title) of a princeps iuuentutis in pre-Augustan times, see e. g. S. Geppert, Castor und Pollux. Untersuchung zu den Darstellungen der Dioskuren in der römischen Kaiserzeit, Münster, 1996, p. 34.

2 A. Stein, Der römische Ritterstand. Ein Beitrag zur Sozial- und Personengeschichte des römischen Reiches, Munich, 1927, esp. p. 54-85; S. Weinstock, Transvectio Equitum; S. Demougin, L’Ordre équestre sous les Julio-Claudiens, Rome, 1988, p. 258-260 (= L’Ordre équestre).

3 RGDA, 14: Filios meos, quos iuuenes mihi eripuit fortuna, Gaium et Lucium Caesares honoris mei caussa senatus populusque Romanus annum quintum et decimum agentis consules designauit, ut eum magistratum inirent post quinquennium. Et ex eo die, quo deducti sunt in forum, ut interessent consiliis publicis decreuit senatus. Equites autem Romani uniuersi principem iuuentutis utrumque eorum parmis et hastis argenteis donatum appellauerunt. Cf. Mon. Anc., 14 (ll. 11-20): Υἱούς μου Γάιον καὶ Λεύϰιον Καίσαϱας, οὓς νεανίας ἀνήϱπασεν ἡ τύχη, εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν τειμὴν ἥ τε σύνϰλητος ϰαὶ ὁ δImage 10000000000000090000000F25AD6E2039A6183B.jpgμος τImage 100000000000000E0000000FE0A9F7078773E32A.jpgν ῾Ρωμαίων πεντεϰαιδεϰαέτεις ὄντας ὑπάτους ἀπέδειξεν, ἵνα μετὰ πέντε ἔτη εἰς τὴν ὑπάτων ἀϱχὴν εἰσέλθωσιν· ϰαὶ ἀϕImage 10000000000000070000000F1324B5DBCE83FE35.jpgς ἂν ἡμέϱας εἰς τὴν ἀγοϱὰν ϰαταχθImage 100000000000000E0000000FE0A9F7078773E32A.jpgσιν, ἵνα μετέχωσιν τImage 10000000000000090000000F25AD6E2039A6183B.jpgς συνϰλήτου ἐψηϕίσατο. ἹππεImage 10000000000000070000000F118D753C940E55EE.jpgς δὲ ῾Ρωμαίων σύνπαντες ἡγεμόνα νεότητος ἑϰάτεϱον αὐτImage 100000000000000E0000000FE0A9F7078773E32A.jpgν πϱοσηγόϱευσαν, ἀσπίσιν ἀϱγυϱέαις ϰαὶ δόϱασιν ἐτείμησαν.

4 W. Eck, «La riforma dei gruppi dirigenti. L’ordine senatorio e l’ordine equestre», dans G. Clemente, F. Coarelli et E. Gabba (éd.), Storia di Roma II 2: L’impero mediterraneo: I principi e il mondo, Rome, 1991, p. 73-118 (German transl.: id., «Die Umgestaltung der politischen Führungsschicht-Senatorenstand und Ritterstand», dans id., Die Verwaltung des römischen Reiches in der hohen Kaiserzeit, Bâle, 1995, p. 103-158); S. Demougin, L’Ordre équestre, p. 135-175; 283-323; 702-764. Cf. H. -G. Pflaum, Les procurateurs équestres sous le Haut-Empire romain, Paris, 1950.

5 Lugdunum, on the reverses of Aurei and Denarii: 9/8 BC: RIC, I2, 198-199; 7/6 BC: RIC, I2, 205-212. In Roman provincial/civic coinage, portraits of Gaius and Lucius were often depicted on the obverses, however, apart from a bronze from Tarraco with a shield combined with Gaius and Lucius (RPC, I, 211; 213), the shield-and-spear-iconography was not used. Parma and hasta were obviously not supposed to be an easily recognizable iconographic marker for the two princes and the specific title and function of princeps iuuentutis. Inscriptional references to the title of one or both Caesares e.g. ILS, 106 (Polimartium, Italy), 107 (Pavia), 131 (Rome), 132 (Rome), 134 (Angulus, Italy), 136 (Rome).

6 Liv., 2, 12, 15 (Mucius Scaevola’s speech to Porsenna); 9, 15, 4 (600 equites as hostages); cf. with more references W. Behringer, Princeps iuuentutis, esp. p. 2297-2299. For the late Republican more individualised use of the epithet, see above note 1.

7 On the duties of the organized body of knights at few occasions see: S. Demougin, L’Ordre équestre, p. 258-272.

8 Equitum turmas frequenter recognouit, post longam intercapedinem reducto more trauectionis. Sed neque detrahi quemquam in trauehendo ab accusatore passus est, quod fieri solebat, et senio uel aliqua corporis labe insignibus permisit, praemisso in ordine equo, ad respondendum quotiens citarentur pedibus uenire; mox reddendi equi gratiam fecit eis, qui maiores annorum quinque et triginta retinere eum nollent.

9 P. Veyne, «Iconographie de la transvectio equitum et des Lupercales», REA, 62, 1960, p. 100-112. F. Rebecchi, «Per l’iconografia della ‘transvectio equitum’: altre considerazioni e nuovi documenti», dans S. Demougin et al. (éd.), L’Ordre équestre – histoire d’une aristocratie (iie siècle av. J.-C. – iiie siècle ap. J.-C.), Rome, 1999, p. 191-214 (= Iconografia).

10 F. Rebecchi, Iconografia, p. 197-198 divides the general features of the funerary reliefs into two groups: a) depiction of mature person/persons, appointed/accepted knights, who most often have followed later a municipal career; b) depiction of young men/boys who died prematurely that is even before they had the opportunity to take part in the transuectio equitum.

11 On Roman child-knights see also, M. Kleijwegt, Ancient Youth. The Ambiguity of Youth and the Absence of Adolescence in Greco-Roman society, Amsterdam 1991 (= Ancient Youth), p. 209-219 and M. Horster, «Kinderkarrieren?», dans C. Klodt (éd.), Satura Lanx, Festschrift für Werner Krenkel, Hildesheim, Zürich, New York, 1996, p. 223-238.

12 F. Rebecchi, Iconografia, p. 198-199 and fig. 1.

13 For the role of hunting and horse-riding in private contexts as part of «aristocratic» behavior of young men, see M. Kleijwegt, Ancient Youth, p. 109-115.

14 See the list of statuary groups and dedications (incl. all potential successors in Augustus’ and Tiberius’ reign) assembled by F. Hurlet, Les collègues du prince sous Auguste et Tibère. De la légalité républicaine à la légitimité dynastique, Rome, 1997 (= Les collègues), Annexes II et III p. 573-612, and the catalogues, lists of statues, statue groups, portraits, and inscriptions presented by I. Cogitore, «Séries de dédicaces italiennes à la dynastie Julio-Claudienne», MEFRA, 104, 1992, p. 817-870 and Ch. B. Rose, Dynastic Commemoration and Imperial Portraiture in the Julio-Claudian Period, Cambridge, 1997.

15 CIL, XI, 1421 (ILS, 140), cf. W. D. Lebek, «Ehrenbogen und Prinzentod: 9 v. Chr. 23 n. Chr.», ZPE, 86, 1991, p. 47-78, esp. p. 63-66.

16 Even more problematic as concerns the «understanding» of a complicated iconography for soldiers would be to understand the «X» in the Lugdunum-issues of Gaius and Lucius Caesar, if R. Wolters’ hypothesis turns out to be true: according to R. Wolters, «Gaius und Lucius Caesar als designierte Konsuln und principes iuuentutis. Die lex Valeria Cornelia und RIC I2 205ff.», Chiron, 32, 2002, p. 297-323, the Lugdunum Gaius and Lucius-issues with unchanged iconography and legends except for an additional «X»-mark continued to be minted after Gaius’ and Lucius’ respective death as a reference to the posthumous honorific names the centuriae of the comitia had received.

17 The discussion, if the princeps iuuentutis had become the princeps of all organized knights or if he was only the leader of the iuniores-part of the knights (the over 35 years old were called seniores), is of no importance for the symbolic context and interpretation of the title, cf. S. Demougin, L’Ordre équestre, p. 258-259.

18 RIC, I2, 198-199 rev.: Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus on horseback with weapons and shield. In 9/8 BC, Gaius accompanied Augustus in Gaul. Augustus donated a congiarium to the Rhine-army in Gaius’ name.

19 RIC, I2, 205-212 rev.: Gaius and Lucius Caesar as togati, standing front, shield and spear, simpulum and lituus. A discussion of these and of later coins for the Julio-Claudian Caesares is presented by A. Mlasowsky, «Nomini ac fortunae Caesarum proximi. Die Sukzessionspropaganda der römischen Kaiser von Augustus bis Nero im Spiegel der Reichsprägung und der archäologischen Quellen», JdAI, 111, 1996, p. 249-388 (= Nomini) and J. A. Mellado Rivera, Princeps Iuventutis. La Imagen monetaria del heredero en la época Julio-Claudia, Alicante, 2003 (= Princeps), especially on C. and L. Caesares, p. 92-106.

20 For a discussion of the literary discourse of the above cited verses and its literary implications, see M. Steudel, Die Literaturparodie in Ovids Ars Amatoria, Hildesheim, Zürich, New York, 1992, p. 175-183, and U. Schmitzer, «Die Macht über die Imagination. Literatur und Politik unter den Bedingungen des frühen Prinzipats», RhM, 145, 2002, p. 282-304. Ovid composed a similar text for Germanicus iuuenum princeps, Ov., pont., 2, 5, 41-42 (see below note 57). For the idea of the «princeps», the «princeps senatus» and ideas of succession in republican and Augustan Rome, see the contrasting approaches and results of P. M. Martin, L’idée de royauté à Rome. Haine de la royauté et séductions monarchiques (du ive siècle av. J.-C. au principat augustéen), Clermont-Ferrand, 1994 (vol. 2), p. 353, p. 438-472, J. A. Mellado Rivera, Princeps, p. 17-30, and F. Hurlet, Les collègues.

21 Examples of the «childish» and sweet young boys depictions are e.g. the Gaius-portrait of Béziers or the North frieze of the Ara Pacis. Cf. D. Boschung, Gens Augusta, Mayence, 2002, (= Gens), Katalog Nr. 13.3 and Tafel 41 (Béziers).

22 For the princes assimilated to Augustus portraits, see D. Boschung, Gens, p. 185-187. Later iconography does not adopt the scheme. For example, the young Augustus and consul Caracalla is depicted like a little boy, cf. the Roman aureus, RIC, IV (Caracalla), p. 218 no 38: obv. ANTO-NINVS AVG. with a childlike portrait, laureate and draped; rev. P. SEPT GETA CAES PONT. with a boyish bare headed portrait.

23 B. Poulsen, «The Dioscuri and Ruler Ideology», Symbolae Osloenses, 66, 1991, p. 119-146 (= Dioscuri), E. La Rocca, «‘Memore di Castore’: principi come Dioscuri», dans L. Nista (éd.), Castores. L’immagine dei Dioscuri a Roma, Rome, 1994, p. 73-90 (= Memore).

24 One invincible on his horse, the other one with his fists: Hor., carm., 1, 12, 25-28 (hunc equis, illum superare pugnis / nobilem quorum simul alba nautis / stella refulsit…). According to E. La Rocca, Memore, p. 73 they had later become «protectors of the dead», thus, his unconvincing explanation of their presence on funerary monuments. The many deities and heroes on funerary monuments and sarcophagi may but must not have a special connection to the underworld, or have a specific tutelary function for the dead.

25 For the Italian origin of the cult and its Greek roots, see M. Bertinetti, «Testimonianze del culto dei Dioscuri in area laziale», p. 59-62 and M. Cancellieri, «Le aedes Castoris et Pollucis nel Lazio: una nota», p. 63-70, dans L. Nista (éd.), Castores. L’immagine dei Dioscuri a Roma, Rome, 1994.

26 Dion. Hal., 6, 3ff.; Liv., 2, 20; 2, 42, 5. Later, the epiphany-scene was replicated after Aemilius Paulus’s victory over Perseus at the battle of Pydna in 168 BC, Cic., nat. deor., 2, 6; 3, 11; 3, 13; Val. Max., 1, 8, 1; Plin., nat., 7, 86 and later sources. For the military and political aspects of the Dioscuri in Republican literary traditions, see J. Sihvola, «Il culto dei Dioscuri nei suoi aspetti politici», p. 76-91, and T. Sironen, «I Dioscuri nella letteratura romana», p. 92-109, dans E. M. Steinby (éd.), Lacus Iuturnae, vol. I, Rome, 1989.

27 Liv., 8, 11, 16, cf. B. Poulsen, «Cult, Myth, and Politics», dans I. Nielsen et B. Poulsen (éd.), The Temple of Castor and Pollux. The pre-Augustan temple phases with related decorative elements, Rome, 1992 (= Castor and Pollux), p. 46-53, esp. p. 49. B. Poulsen p. 49-51 gives a concise chronological description of the various literary sources and of the Roman coin-images and legends related to the Dioscuri-cult and temple of Republican time. The couple Castor and Pollux on galloping horses are prominent on coins from 211 BC to ca. 130/120 BC, after that date, only thirteen mint-masters used the Dioscuri (with variations in iconography) for references to their own family-traditions, or for other unknown reasons, cf. RRC, p. 726-731, B. Poulsen, ibid., p. 51.

28 The Augustan (or pre-Augustan) date of the temple-inauguration is the 27th January: Inscr. Ital., XIII, 2, p. 403; Ovid., fast., 1, 707-708. Either Augustus chose a new date for the inauguration of the rebuilt temple which was dedicated by Tiberius in AD 6, or the January-date was already established by the first temple (or one of the later renovations). In the latter case, the transuectio of the knights, installed in the late fourth century BC, had not been connected to the Dioscuri-cult as tightly as often assumed, at least as far as the date is concerned.

29 P. Zanker, Das Forum Romanum. Die Neugestaltung durch Augustus, Tübingen, 1972; M. Spannagel, Exemplaria Principis. Untersuchungen zu Entstehung und Ausstattung des Augustusforums, Heidelberg, 1999 (= Exemplaria); S. Walker, «The Moral Museum: Augustus and the image of Rome», dans J. Coulston et H. Dodge (éd.), Ancient Rome. The Archaeology of the Eternal City, Oxford, 2000, p. 61-75.

30 S. Sande et J. Zahle (éd.), The Temple of Castor and Pollux II. The Augustan Temple, Rome, 2009. K. A. Nilson, C. B. Persson et J. Zahle, «Appendix I: A Rebuilding of the Metellan Temple?», ibid., p. 263-266, present a short overview of the substantial rebuilding that included a completely new and enlarged cella.

31 Gaius and Lucius had played an eminent role in the festivities connected to the dedication of the Forum of Augustus. For the festivities and other associations of the two Caesares and the Forum, see M. Spannagel, Exemplaria, p. 21-40.

32 The triumuir monetalis Aulus Postumius Albinus of 96 BC, RRC, no 335/10a-b. However, the Dioscuri-motive was only one of several images (like e.g. Diana) this triumuir monetalis chose to be present on «his» coins. Albeit the famous lake Regillus story and the dedication of the Dioscuri-temple, the Dioscuri were obviously not the main iconographic symbol of the family.

33 RRC, no 267/1: Obv.: helmeted head of Roma, rev.: Dioscuri galloping, below, Macedonian shield.

34 The temple was inter alia renovated in 117 BC by L. Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus, financed by spoils of the war, Cic., Scaur., 46; Verr., 2, 1, 154; Plut., Pomp., 2, 4. Dioscuri on coins of mint-masters e.g. C. Serveilius (denarius, 136 BC) RRC, no 239/1l; L. Servius Rufus (?) (denarii, aurei, 41 BC) RRC, no 515/2. Mythography: for the epiphany of the Dioscuri after the battle of Pydna, see above references in note 26.

35 In the 10th BC, Horace praises Augustus and his merits several times and compares him with various gods and deities and their merits and achievements, inter alia with Romulus, Liber Pater, Castor and Pollux (Hor., ep., 2, 1, 5-9), and Heracles and Castor (Hor., od., 4, 5, 29-36). Apart from «official» iconography, choices of imagery on Roman coins etc., the spectrum of deities assimilated to Augustus and his family members becomes large and confusing with all the many individuals and cities in Italy and the provinces which chose to honour members of the imperial family on monuments, civic coins or in inscriptions, or by sophists, rhetoricians, and poets in their writings. Cf. T. Mikocky, Sub specie deae: les impératrices et princesses romaines assimilées à des déesses: étude iconologique, Rome, 1995, criticised by A. Alexandridis, Die Frauen des römischen Kaiserhauses: eine Untersuchung ihrer bildlichen Darstellung von Livia bis Iulia Domna, Mayence, 2004.

36 E.g. J. A. Mellado Rivera, Princeps, p. 98-100 and B. Poulsen, Dioscuri, p. 123-126 with the few explicit and many faint references. Unconvincing is the «evidence» (thus E. Rocca, Memore, p. 80) for the assimilation of Dioscuri with Gaius and Lucius by one inscription, in which T. Statilius Crito of Heracleia, one of Trajan’s personal physicians, is honoured. He is also priest of the Anactoroi (which should be the Dioscuri), of Alexander the Great, and of Gaius and Lucius, SEG, 4, 521 = IK Eph., 719.

37 Iconography as well as explicit references usually relate to both deities. For the Roman templum Castoris as a abridged usage of the otherwise well attested templum Castoris et Pollucis, see B. Poulsen, «The Written Sources», dans Castor and Pollux, p. 54-60, esp. p. 54 (= Written Sources). Only in the second half of the second century AD, there are attested few imperial coins and medaillons depicting only one of the Dioscuri on the reverse: the first one seems a medaillon for Marcus Aurelius Caesar (AD 155, see below note 49) then followed coin-issues in AD 177 and 178 for Commodus Augustus and Marcus Augustus (see below note 50) and in AD 200/202 for Geta Caesar (see below note 52).

38 With Marcus Aurelius Caesar, the combination of Dioscuri and leader of the knights came back once more: but Marcus was not made princeps iuuentutis, but became one of the seuiri of the equestrian turmae, and in addition the Dioscuri aspect is present only on few coin issues and medaillons.

39 Ovid., fast., 1, 707-708; Suet., Tib., 20; Dio Cass., 55, 27, 4. The reconstruction of the Castor and Pollux temple building inscription in CIL is rather creative: CIL, VI, 40339 (AE, 1992, 159).

40 E. Meise, «Der Sesterz des Drusus mit den Zwillingen und die Nachfolgepläne des Tiberius», JNG, 16, 1966, p. 7-21, cf. A. Mlasowsky, Nomini, p. 339-353 for the various media presenting Drusus minor and his twins. Most assimilations of the twins and the Dioscuri are known from the provinces (in honorific inscriptions as it seems), see B. Poulsen, Dioscuri, p. 121; B. Poulsen, Written Sources, p. 51.

41 Suet., Cal., 15, 2; Dio Cass., 59, 8, 1.

42 In AD 25, Drusus (III) became praefectus of the Feriae Latinae-festival and was co-opted into priesthoods. However, the sons of Germanicus, Nero Iulius Caesar and Drusus (III) Iulius Caesar were according to B. Poulsen, Written Sources, p. 52 named as principes iuuentutis. This is insofar misleading, as the title is not attested in any of these posthumous coin-issues (RIC, I2, 110f. no 34, 42, 49; BMC, I (Caligula), no 44, 70, 71) and there is no clue that Nero and/or Drusus received such an honour during their lifetime. Caligula made a specific and quite sophisticated use of the coins as means of propagating his legitimation as princeps and emperor of the Roman people with a series of coins issued in the name of and in commemoration of family members, cf. W. Trillmich, Familienpropaganda der Kaiser Caligula und Claudius. Agrippina Maior und Antonia Augusta auf Münzen, Berlin, 1978, p. 39 with plate 10.11, p. 181-184. On Nero and Drusus and their assimilation to the Dioscuri, see A. Mlasowsky, Nomini, p. 353-360, J. A. Mellado Rivera, Princeps, p. 167-173.

43 Book IV was published in AD 95, cf. K. Coleman, Statius Silvae Book IV, Oxford, 1988, p. XIX-XX. In Stat., silu., 4, 2, 46-48, Domitian, the reigning emperor is called Pollux, and in Stat., silu., 1, 1, 53-54 his horse is called Cyllamus. B. Poulsen, Written Sources, p. 52, however presents this evidence for Domitian in her listing of the Caesares, the successors who were assimilated to the Dioscuri.

44 F. Gnecchi, I Medaglioni Romani. Volume Secondo: Bronzo. Parte prima: Gran modulo, Rome 1912 (= Medaglioni), p. 20 no 95, plate 54.6 (AD 140-143), cf. B. Poulsen, Dioscuri, p. 124-125, and ead., «Ideologia, mito e culto dei Castori a Roma: Dall’età repubblicana al tardo-antico», dans L. Nista (éd.), Castores. L’immagine dei Dioscuri a Roma, Rome, 1994, p. 91-100 (= Ideologia), esp. p. 97.

45 On Marcus and Lucius, see below p. 97-98.

46 F. Gnecchi, Medaglioni, p. 43 no 5, plate 71.5 (AD 161-165), W. Szaivert, Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus und Commodus (161-192), Vienne, 1986, (= Münz-prägung) p. 176 no 1008 (AD 163): obv. with busts, names and titles of the Augusti, rev. with Castor and Pollux.

47 See above note 35.

48 See above note 43.

49 Medaillon with Marcus Aurelius Caesar’s bust and legend on the obverse, nude Castor with horse on the reverse, AD 155, F. Gnecchi, Medaglioni p. 31-32 no 39 with plate 62.2, cf. B. Poulsen, Ideologia, p. 98.

50 Bust and legend of Marcus Aurelius in AD 177 and 178 on obverse and Castor with horse on reverse, W. Szaivert, Münzprägung, p. 135 no 403, p. 137 no 420. Commodus Augustus’ bust and legend on reverse and Castor with horse on reverse, AD 177-178, RIC, III (M. Aur.), no 648, 1578; BMC, IV (M. Ant. and Comm.), no 774-775, no 1671-1672. For variants of the type, see B. Poulsen, Ideologia, p. 100 note 94.

51 However, this is W. Szaivert’s, Münzprägung, p. 66 explanation for this iconographic «innovation», probably he had ignored Marcus’ medaillon of AD 155 (above note 49).

52 Castor-issue: of the years AD 200/202, RIC, IV (Geta), no 6, 111, 116: on the rev. CASTOR, Castor standing, r. holding horse in front by rein, l. holding spear or sceptre. The Castor-issue makes no allusion in legend or iconography to the princeps iuuentutis title/honour. Princeps iuuentutis-Issue: RIC, Geta, no 15-18; no 113a; no 124-125; no 130-131 obv. with bust or portrait of Geta, rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Geta standing, holding branch and spear; behind trophy. The standard allusion to the Augustan princeps iuuentutis would have been spear and shield. Cf. quite similar RIC, Caracalla, no 318A: the obverse with ANTONINVS AVG and his boyish portrait, on the reverse: PRINC IVVENT Geta (and not Caracalla as identified in RIC) standing left, holding branch and sceptre, behind is a shield leaning against a trophy. In no 124-125 and 130-131, there are three or five galloping horsemen on the reverse combined with the PRINC IVVENT COS SC legend.

53 Suet., Nero, 6, 4; Tac., ann., 11, 11-12, for such occasions and the populace’s reactions see M. T. Griffin, Nero. The End of a Dynasty, Londres, 1987, p. 29.

54 The exceptional honours were expressed in inscriptions as in one for several members of the family, including Nero as princeps iuuentutis: ILS, 222, Rome (… Neron[i] / Claudio Aug(usti) f(ilio) Caisa[ri] / Druso Germanic[o] / pontif(ici) Auguri XVuir(o) s(acris) [f(aciundis)] / VIIuir(o) epulon(um) / co(n)s(uli) [des(ignato)] / principi iuuentuti[s] //…).

55 Tac., hist. 3, 64-69; Suet., Dom., 1; Dio Cass., 64, 17, 4. See P. Southern, Domitian. Tragic Tyrant, Londres, 1997, p. 17f (= Domitian).

56 D. Kienast, Kaisertabelle: Grundzüge einer römischen Kaiserchronologie, Darmstadt, 19962 (= Kaisertabelle) and M. Peachin, Roman Imperial Titulature and Chronology AD 235-284, Amsterdam, 1990 provide extensive lists with titles, offices, dates etc.

57 The genitive case of «iuuenum» princeps (see the text in the note below) cannot be taken and translated as youthful, young princeps; thus, the interpretation as a poetic, meter-matching variant of the princeps iuuentutis title. Ov., pont., 2, 5, 41-42: Te iuuenum princeps, cui dat Germania nomen, / participem studii Caesar habere solet.

58 Tac., ann., 2, 83: Honores ut quis amore in Germanicum aut ingenio ualidus reperti decretique: ut nomen eius Saliari carmine caneretur; sedes curules sacerdotum Augustalium locis superque eas querceae coronae statuerentur; ludos circenses eburna effigies praeiret neue quis flamen aut augur in locum Germanici nisi gentis Iuliae crearetur. Arcus additi Romae et apud ripam Rheni et in monte Syriae Amano cum inscriptione rerum gestarum ac mortem ob rem publicam obisse. Sepulchrum Antiochiae ubi crematus, tribunal Epidaphnae quo in loco uitam finierat, statuarum locorumue in quis coleretur haud facile quis numerum inierit. Cum censeretur clipeus auro et magnitudine insignis inter auctores eloquentiae, adseuerauit Tiberius solitum paremque ceteris dicaturum: neque enim eloquentiam fortuna discerni et satis inlustre si ueteres inter scriptores haberetur. Equester ordo cuneum Germanici appellauit qui iuniorum dicebatur, instituitque uti turmae idibus Iuliis imaginem eius sequerentur. Pleraque manent: quaedam statim omissa sunt aut uetustas oblitterauit.

59 CIL, VI, 31200: Equestris quoq(ue) o[rdinis studium probare senatum - - - quod morte Drusi Caesaris cognita incredi]/bilem dolorem pub[licum suum maxime proprium ratus - - - cupiditate nominis uultusque eius reti]/nendi plurimos et m[aximos honores ei decreuisset quos senatum arbitrari plurimum ad memoriam] / Drusi Caesaris conser[uandam ualere - - - itaque placere uti statua equestris inaurata Drusi] / Caesaris in Lupercali p[oneretur sumptu equestris ordinis - - - ] / utique clupeus argenteus c[um imagine Drusi Caesaris praeferretur equitibus Romanis cum transuehe]/rentur Idib(us) Iul(iis) cum titul[o eum clupeum - - - ab equestri ordine - - - datum] / esse Druso Caesari Ti(beri) Caesa[ris Aug(usti) f(ilio) - - - ] / utique omnibus [t]heatris [cuneis qui Germanici Caesaris adpellarentur Germanici Caesaris et Drusi] / Caesaris nomina i[nscriberentur eique Germanici Drusique Caesarum adpellarentur]. Additional honours: Tabula Ilici and Tabula Hebana mention the following posthumous honours: the names of Gaius and Lucius were earlier given to centuriae of senators and knights as were given now after their respective death the names of Germanicus and Drusus Minor: all in all, 20 centuriae with 10 in common named after Gaius and Lucius and with 5 each to Germanicus (in AD 20) and Drusus (in AD 23). These centuriae were designed to vote/designate the consuls and praetors.

60 The fact that the title is even not mentioned in privately set up honorific inscription and in civic coinage of the cities in the provinces makes it even more obvious that there was no such title during Germanicus’ and Drusus’ lifetimes.

61 Suet., Tib., 76; Dio Cass., 59, 1, cf. Tac., ann., 6, 46. See A. Mlasowsky, Nomini, p. 360-369 for Gaius’ and Tiberius Gemellus’ literary sources and visual presentations.

62 Tac., ann., 12, 41 toga uirilis, consul designatus, imperium proconsulare, princeps iuuentutis; Suet., Nero, 7, 2 congiarium; Dio Cass., 61, 31 Nero assumes toga uirilis; 61, 32 at the same time, Britannicus’ rejection by Agrippina; 61, 34 Claudius plans to advance Britannicus against Agrippina’s intentions, therefore, Agrippina plans to poison her husband. For the priestly collegia on coins, see below note 63. Britannicus is present in few provincial coin issues, J. A. Mellado Rivera, Princeps, p. 184-189.

63 H.-M. von Kaenel, Münzbilder und Münztypen des Claudius, Berlin, 1986, p. 100-105.

64 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 75, 82: NERO CLAVD CAES DRVSVS GERM PRINC IVVENT.

65 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 76, 77, 107: SACERD COOPT IN OMN CONL SVPRA NVM EX S C with simpulum, lituus, tripod and patera.

66 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 108 (cf. 78, 79), obv.: NERONI CLAVDIO DRVSO GERM COS DESIGN; rev.: EQVESTER ORDO PRINCIPI IVVENT with hasta and parma.

67 RIC, I2 (Claudius), no 78, 79.

68 Inscriptions during lifetime of the emperors Vespasian and/or Titus: e.g. ILS, 246, Rome (… Caesari Aug(usti) f(ilio) / Domitiano / co(n)s(uli) destinato II / principi iuuentutis …); 267, Cures Sabini, Italy; AE, 1911, 228, Guntia, Raetia; AE, 1986, 590, Aquincum, Pannonia; CIL, III, 12218, Hierapolis, Cappadocia (… [et] / [Domitia] nus [Cae]sar diui / [Vespas]iani f(ilius) co(n)s(ul) VII desig(natus) VIII / sacerdos omnium collegi/orum princeps iuuentutis…).

69 RIC, II2 (Vespasian), no 5, 6 (Rome). Similar coins minted in Lugdunum no 1122-1126 (AD 71), Tarraco no 1318 (AD 69/early 70) and in uncertain military mints in the East (AD 69/early 70) no 1362-1363, 1376-1378, 1387. T. V. Buttrey, Documentary Evidence for the Chronology of the Flavian Titulature, Meisenheim am Glan 1980 (= Documentary Evidence), p. 21 (Titus), p. 32 (Domitian), presumes that the title had been granted by the senate (!) at the earliest in December 69 as no coins with that title can be dated with certainty to 69. Neither B. W. Jones, The Emperor Titus, London/New York 1984, p. 79 (even does not mention Titus’ princeps iuuentutis title) nor B. Levick, Vespasian, London/New York, 1999, p. 79 discuss the problem of that single issue with the title used for Titus and Domitian together. D. Kienast, Kaisertabelle, p. 115 specifies (without reference) that Titus was elected princeps iuuentutis on the 21st or 22nd December AD 69.

70 See above note 69.

71 Princeps iuuentutis before his father’s death in 79: e.g. RIC, II2 (Vespasian), no 662, 787-788 (AD 73), no 719 (AD 74), no 835 (AD 75), no 888 (AD 76), no 1083, 1085-1087 (AD 77-78), 1102 (AD 79); after Vespasian’s death: RIC, II2 (Titus), no 96, 97, 99, 265-267, 270-271.

72 See T. Buttrey, Documentary Evidence, p. 32.

73 E. g. RIC, II2 (Vespasian), no 654, 787-788, 883, 926.

74 Suet., Vesp., 8, 1; Titus, 6, 1; Dom., 2, 1; Jos., Bell., 7, 152, cf. P. Southern, Domitian, p. 25; B. W. Jones, The Emperor Domitian, Londres, 1992, p. 19-20.

75 Titus was always ordinarius whereas Domitian most often suffectus.

76 See e.g. above note 31 for Gaius and Lucius, p. 92-94 with note 62 for Nero. Later such attestations are e.g. RIC, III (M. Aur.), no 597, no 612 with obv. bare-headed bust of Commodus Caesar; rev. LIBERALITAS AVG Commodus is seated on a platform presiding over a distribution. Prominent participation in ceremonies and games is attested e. g. for the fourteen or fifteen years old Geta Caesar, princeps iuuentutis at the Secular Games of AD 204. In addition four liberalitates are attested for him as Caesar between AD 202 and 211.

77 Sevir: HA, Marc., 6, 3:… seuiri turmis equitum Romanorum iam consulem designatum creauit et cum colleges ludos seuirales adsedit…; Dio Cass., 71, 35, 5.

78 A. Birley, Marcus Aurelius: a biography, Londres, 19872, p. 57 presents Marcus as princeps iuuentutis. A. Birley obviously understands that the texts (HA, Marc., 6, 3; Dio Cass., 71, 35, 5) refer to the equivalent of princeps iuuentutis, a title Marcus would have received even if not presented as such in imperial coins and in «official» inscriptions; see also e.g. D. Kienast, Kaisertabelle, p. 141 who presents this title.

79 RIC, III (A. Pius), no 423a, 1238-1239, BMC, III (A. Pius), no 268-275, no 1407-1410. For the seuiri equitum Romanorum and their connection with the iuuentus as organised groups connected to training and ludi, see L. Ross Taylor, «Seviri Equitum Romanorum and Municipal Seviri: A Study in Pre-Military Training among the Romans», JRS, 14, 1924, p. 158-171.

80 See above note 46.

81 See above note 50 for the coin-issue of AD 177-178 with Commodus Augustus on the obverse and Castor with horse on the reverse (and a similar issue with Marcus Aurelius).

82 Cf. O. Hekster, Commodus. An Emperor at the Crossroads, Amsterdam, 2002 (= Commodus), p. 34.

83 Nero’s coin types see above p. 92-94. Commodus princeps iuuentutis was connected to Liberalitas, Victories over Germans and Sarmates, to Hilaritas, Pietas, Jupiter, Spes etc. The «Neronian» coin type is RIC, III (M. Aurel.), no 1534-1535: obv. with bare-headed bust, names and titles of Commodus in the nominative case, rev. EQVESTER ORDO PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS.C. One issue has a shield with two spears, the other one an oak wreath. Because of his overall interest in the Hercules-subject as an important paragon for Commodus, O. Hekster, Commodus, p. 90-92 focuses his discussion of the princeps iuuentutis coins on the Hercules-type issued for Commodus Caesar and Augustus.

84 For the dates, see O. Hekster, Commodus, p. 38 with November 176 for the Augustus name, D. Kienast, Kaisertabelle, p. 139 and 149 dates this event to mid-177.

85 M. Horster, «The Emperors’ family on coins (3rd century): Ideology of stability in times of unrest», dans O. Hekster et G. de Kleijn (éd.), The Impact of Crises on the Roman Empire, Leyde, 2007, p. 291-309.

86 A. Birley, The African Emperor Septimius Severus, Londres, 19882, p. 117.

87 The variety of Geta’s inscriptional titles is well presented by A. Mastino, Le titolature di Caracalla e Geta attraverso le iscrizioni, Bologne, 1981, p. 175ff. However, Mastino’s presentation does not give clues to the character and context of the respective inscriptions. Geta, princeps iuuentutis in e. g. ILS, 8916, Aquae Flavianae, Numidia:… [[P(ublius) Septimius Geta nob(ilissimus) Caes(ar) princ(eps) iu[uentutis…]]…

88 On general features of Caracalla’s and Geta’s iconography in various media, see J. Pollini, «A Portrait of Caracalla from the Mellerio Collection and the Iconography of Caracalla and Geta», Rev. Arch., 2005, p. 55-77.

89 RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 174 obv. bust of Severus with name and titles.

90 RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 38 obv: ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, rev: P. SEPT GETA CAES PONT.

91 RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 18 (AD 199/202), cf. no 16-17. All illustrations are presented with permission of the Münzkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. I thank Dr. Bernhard Weisser and Sandra Matthies for their kind support. The Münzkabinett’s coins are to be found at «Der interaktive Katalog des Münzkabinetts» der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin: http://www.smb.museum/ikmk/.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: reverse of RIC, I2, 205-212 Lugdunum, G. and L. Caesar as principes iuuentutis
Crédits Münzkabinett der Staatl. Museen zu Berlin, no. 18202575
URL http://books.openedition.org/septentrion/docannexe/image/68459/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Titre Fig. 2: reverse of RIC, I2, 198, C. Caesar riding, Lugdunum
Crédits Münzkabinett der Staatl. Museen zu Berlin, no. 18202573
URL http://books.openedition.org/septentrion/docannexe/image/68459/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Fig. 3: RIC, I2, 79, Nero princeps iuuentutis
Crédits Münzkabinett der Staatl. Museen zu Berlin, no. 1/1929/ACC
URL http://books.openedition.org/septentrion/docannexe/image/68459/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Fig. 4: RIC, IV (Sept. Sev.), no 16 a
Crédits Münzkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, no. 18203780
URL http://books.openedition.org/septentrion/docannexe/image/68459/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k

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