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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 May 2020

Andrea F. Gatzke*
State University of New York at New Paltz


Urban landscapes in the Roman world were covered in written text, from monumental building inscriptions to smaller, more personal texts of individual accomplishment and commemoration. In the East, Greek dominated these written landscapes, but Latin also appeared with some frequency, especially in places where a larger Roman audience was expected, such as major cities and Roman colonies. When Latin and Greek appear alongside each other, whether in the same inscription or across a single monumental space, we might ask what benefits the sponsor of the monument hoped to gain from such a bilingual presentation, and whether each language was serving the same function. This paper considers the monumental entrance to the Pamphylian city of Perge as a case study for exploring this relationship between bilingual inscriptions and civic space. By surveying the display of both Greek and Latin on this entrance, examining how the entrance interacted with the broader linguistic landscape of Perge, and considering the effects that each language would have had on the viewer, I show that the use of language, and the variation between the languages, served not only to communicate membership in both Greek and Roman societies but also to delineate civic space from imperial space, both physically and symbolically.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 2020

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1 Adams, J.N., ‘Romanitas” and the Latin language’, CQ 53 (2003), 184205, at 200–1CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 For the complex's insecure date, see Jameson, S., ‘Cornutus Tertullus and the Plancii of Perge’, JRS 55 (1965), 54–8, at 55–6Google Scholar; Eck, W., ‘Hadrian als pater patriae und die Verleihung des Augustatitels an Sabina’, in Wirth, G. (ed.), Romanitas–Christianitas (Berlin, 1982), 217–29, at 226–8Google Scholar; Boatwright, M.T., ‘Plancia Magna of Perge: women's roles and status in Roman Asia Minor’, in Boatwright, M.T. and Pomeroy, S.B. (edd.), Women's History and Ancient History (Chapel Hill, 1991), 249–72, at 251Google Scholar; ead., The city gate of Plancia Magna in Perge’, in D'Ambra, E. (ed.), Roman Art in Context: An Anthology (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1993), 189207, at 196Google Scholar; Mierse, W.E., ‘The Roman second-century gate at Perge and its literary associations’, Rev. do Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia 7 (1997), 4964, at 53–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Şahin, S., Die Inschriften von Perge, 2 vols. (Bonn, 1999 and 2004), 1.131Google Scholar; Dräger, M., ‘Überlegungen zu den Reisen Hadrians durch Kleinasien’, Klio 82 (2000), 208–16, at 211–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For Plancia Magna, see PIR2 P444.

3 A.M. Mansel, ‘Berichte über Ausgrabungen und Untersuchungen in Pamphylien in den Jahren 1946–1955’, AA (1956), 34–120, at 104–20; Boatwright (n. 2 [1991 and 1993]); Van Bremen, R., The Limits of Participation: Women and Civic Life in the Greek East in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods (Amsterdam, 1996), 104–7Google Scholar; Mierse (n. 2); Şahin (n. 2), 1.107–45; Grainger, J., The Cities of Pamphylia (Oxford, 2009), 183–4Google Scholar; Ng, D.Y., ‘Monuments, memory, and status recognition in Roman Asia Minor’, in Galinsky, K. (ed.), Memory in Ancient Rome and Early Christianity (Oxford, 2016), 235–60, at 251–4Google Scholar.

4 Eck, W., ‘Presence, role and significance of Latin in the epigraphy and culture of the Roman Near East’, in Cotton, H.M., Hoyland, R.G., Prince, J.J. and Wasserstein, D.J. (edd.), From Hellenism to Islam: Cultural and Linguistic Change in the Roman Near East (Cambridge, 2006), 1542, at 32Google Scholar.

5 For the earlier Hellenistic gate and courtyard, including diagrams, see Boatwright (n. 2 [1993]), 192–3 and figs. 76–7, following Lauter, H., ‘Das hellenistische Südtor von Perge’, BJ 172 (1972), 111Google Scholar; cf. Abbasoğlu, H., ‘The founding of Perge and its development in the Hellenistic and Roman periods’, in Parrish, D. (ed.), Urbanism in Western Asia Minor: New Studies on Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Hierapolis, Pergamon, Perge, and Xanthos (Portsmouth, RI, 2001), 173–88, at 178Google Scholar.

6 Mansel (n. 3), 106–8.

7 IPerge 101–7; Mansel (n. 3), 109–10. The other named heroes are Machaon the Thessalian, Leonteus the Lapith and Minyas the Orchomenian. Rixus and possibly others may have had cults in Perge: Boatwright (n. 2 [1993]), 194; cf. Graf, F., ‘Myth and Hellenic identities’, in Dowden, K. and Livingstone, N., A Companion to Greek Mythology (Malden, MA, 2011), 211–26, at 223–4Google Scholar.

8 Şahin (n. 2), 142–3.

9 See Boatwright (n. 2 [1993]), 195 and n. 22, who compares this positioning with the tetrakionion in the oval courtyard of Palmyra. For a reconstruction of the view from the courtyard into Perge, see Martini, W., s.v. ‘Perge’, in Bagnall, R.S. et al. , Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Malden, MA, 2013), fig. 3Google Scholar.

10 Mansel (n. 3), 117–18 n. 83; Boatwright (n. 2 [1993]), 199; Grainger (n. 3), 182. Some examples of this will be discussed in the last section of this article.

11 IPerge 86; cf. Mansel (n. 3), 117–18.

12 Boatwright (n. 2 [1993]), 195.

13 IPerge 89–99.

14 Eck (n. 4), 30–1; Kearsley, R.A., Greeks and Romans in Imperial Asia: Mixed Language Inscriptions and Linguistic Evidence for Cultural Interaction until the End of a.d. III (Bonn, 2001)Google Scholar; See Adams, J.N., Bilingualism and the Latin Language (Cambridge, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially 413–15 for more general discussions on the social function of bilingualism.

15 Landry, R. and Bourhis, R.Y., ‘Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality. An empirical study’, Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16 (1997), 2349, at 23–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 Halliday, M.A.K., Language and Society. Vol. 10 in the Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday, ed. by Webster, J.J. (London, 2007), 255Google Scholar.

17 Corbier, M., ‘Writing in Roman public space’, in Sears, G. et al. (ed.), Written Space in the Latin West, 200 b.c. to a.d. 300 (London, 2013), 1347, at 21Google Scholar. See also Graham, A.S., ‘The word is not enough: a new approach to assessing monumental inscriptions. A case study from Roman Ephesos’, AJA 117 (2013), 383412CrossRefGoogle Scholar for an excellent study on linguistic landscapes in Roman Ephesus.

18 Adams (n. 14), 358.

19 Grainger (n. 3), 179.

20 For details on the breakdown of Perge's epigraphic corpus by language, see n. 34 below.

21 Hdt. 7.91; Strabo 14.4.3.

22 The Plancii probably arrived in Pamphylia as negotiatores sometime in the first century b.c.: Jameson (n. 2), 54–5. For the various provincial offices held by her male family members, see also Tac. Hist. 2.63; Syme, R., ‘Legates of Cilicia under Trajan’, Historia 18 (1969), 352–66, at 365–6Google Scholar; Houston, G.W., ‘M. Plancius Varus and the events of a.d. 69–70’, TAPA 103 (1972), 167–80Google Scholar; Mitchell, S., ‘The Plancii in Asia Minor’, JRS 64 (1974), 2739Google Scholar; Jones, C.P., ‘The Plancii of Perge and Diana Planciana’, HSPh 80 (1976), 231–7Google Scholar; Halfmann, H., Die Senatoren aus dem östlichen Teil des Imperium Romanum bis zum Ende des 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. (Göttingen, 1979), 128 no. 31CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Şahin (n. 2), 1.112–14.

23 Suffect consul with Pliny in a.d. 100 (Plin. Pan. 90.3); PIR2 I273; see also Jameson (n. 2), 54. For Plancia's marriage to Tertullus, see IPerge 122.

24 See IPerge 55 (Latin or possibly bilingual), set up by Plancia's brother C. Plancius Varus (PIR2 P442); 127 (bilingual), set up by Plancia to her son, C. Iulius Plancius Verus Cornutus (PIR2 I470). For its relationship to the gate complex, see Şahin (n. 2), 1.164–5. See also the Latin text from Germa honouring her father M. Plancius Varus (PIR2 P443): Mitchell (n. 22), 27–31 no. 1.

25 INikaia 25–8; cf. Şahin, S., Katalog der antiken Inschriften des Museums von Iznik (Nikaia), 2 vols. (Bonn, 1979–87)Google Scholar for a full account of the city's inscriptions.

26 e.g. IPerge 117–25 (honours to Plancia from various individuals and groups); 128 (to Plancia's son). Outside of Perge, see Mitchell (n. 22), 34–7 no. 3, who provides evidence of other members of the Plancii family in Colonia Germa.

27 E.g. Şahin (n. 2), 1.141, who argues that the statues of the Plancii in conjunction with the statues of Greek heroes served as ‘Repräsentanten der griechischen Vergangenheit und der römischen Gegenwart’; likewise, Mierse (n. 2), 62, who reads the statues of the Plancii as testaments of the family's accomplishments in the imperial administration. On κτίστης as an honorific title, see Robert, L., Hellenica: recueil d’épigraphie de numismatique et d'antiquités grecques, vol. 4 (Paris, 1948), 116Google Scholar.

28 Şahin (n. 2), 1.141–2; Ng (n. 3), 254.

29 Mierse (n. 2), 51–2; Dillon, S., The Female Portrait Statue in the Greek World (Cambridge, 2010), 158–9Google Scholar. We see the correlation between language choice and sculptural dress elsewhere, such as in the Library of Celsus in Ephesus, which is discussed below (pages 393–4).

30 Swain, S., Hellenism and Empire: Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World, a.d. 50–250 (Oxford, 1996), 6973Google Scholar; Woolf, G., ‘Becoming Roman, staying Greek: culture, identity and the civilizing process in the Roman East’, PCPhS 40 (1994), 116–43Google Scholar.

31 Ng (n. 3), 253–4.

32 Plancia was not alone in this. Swain (n. 30), 7 argues that the manipulation of the Greek past was open to non-Greeks as well.

33 Adams (n. 1), 184–205; Swain (n. 30), 9.

34 Based on the corpus of over 450 Pergean inscriptions in Şahin (n. 2), only 23 Latin inscriptions and 16 Latin-Greek bilinguals have been identified. Despite these small numbers, Perge actually has the most bilinguals of any city in Asia Minor after Ephesus. The numbers of bilinguals drop significantly after Perge: Cyzicus and Smyrna have seven, Nicaea five, and the remaining cities only have one or two, if any at all. However, when the bilinguals in Perge are adjusted to account for individual sponsors, the picture changes dramatically: thirteen of the sixteen bilinguals belong to Plancia Magna's arch, and at least one other can be attributed to her as well. That means that bilinguals were actually quite the anomaly in Perge, and that Plancia Magna stands as nearly the only sponsor of bilingualism in the city's epigraphic landscape.

35 See n. 24 above.

36 As has been implied by Şahin (n. 2), 1.117; Martini (n. 9).

37 For example, both the Arch of Hadrian in Antalya and the monumental gate in Side incorporated free-standing columns like Plancia's arch: Ward-Perkins, J.B., Roman Imperial Architecture (New Haven, 1970), 485 nn. 48–9Google Scholar; cf. Boatwright (n. 2 [1993]), 195; Abbasoğlu (n. 5), 178.

38 However, it should be noted that the missing upper level of the Gate of Hadrian in Antalya could very well have contained a Latin inscription.

39 Celsus (PIR2 I260), who was originally from Sardis, was one of the first four Asian Greeks to be admitted to the Senate and, later, elected to the consulship (a.d. 92). He also served as governor of Asia in 105–7: ISard 7.1.45; IDR I.25.

40 Swain (n. 30), 71.

41 Smith, R.R.R., ‘Cultural choice and political identity in honorific portrait statues in the Greek East in the second century a.d.’, JRS 88 (1998), 5693, at 73–4Google Scholar.

42 IEph 3006: (above left arch) Imp. Caesari Diui f. Augusto pontifici | maximo, cos. XII, tribunic. potest. XX et | Liuiae Caesaris Augusti | Mazaeus et (above right arch) M. Agrippae L.f. cos. tert. imb. tribunic. | potest. VI et | Iuliae Caesaris Augusti fil. | Mithridates patronis. (above middle, recessed arch) Μαζ[αῖο]ς καὶ Μιθριδάτης | [τοῖς] πά[τ]ρωσι καὶ τῶι δή[μωι].

Latin: ‘To Emperor Augustus, son of the divine Caesar, Pontifex Maximus, consul for the twelfth time, with tribunician power for the twentieth time; and to Livia Caesar, wife of Caesar Augustus. To Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius. Consul for the third time, imperator, with tribunician power for the sixth time; and to Julia, daughter of Caesar Augustus. Mazaeus and Mithridates to their patrons.’

Greek: ‘Mazaeus and Mithridates to their patrons and to the city.’

43 The gate's inscription (IEph 329.3: ---]νῶι Καίσ[αρι---) marked the outer boundaries of the city from the inside, and thus was visible only to those already standing within the city. The emperor was probably Trajan or Hadrian, though the inscription is too fragmentary to be certain. Similar directionality is found on the Arch of Hadrian in Athens; cf. Burrell, B., ‘Reading, hearing, and looking at Ephesus’, in Johnson, W.A. and Parker, H.N. (edd.), Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (Oxford, 2009), 6995, at 82–3 and n. 45Google Scholar.

44 PIR2 I322.

45 ILaodLyk 24:

(Side A) [Imp(eratori) [[Domitiano]] ] Caesa[ri Aug(usto) [[Germ(anico)]] ] dedicante Sex(to) [Iulio Frontino] pro[c]o[(n)s(ule)]. | [Διὶ Μεγίστωι Σωτῆρι καὶ Αὐτοκράτορι [[Δομιτιανῶι]] Καίσαρι Σεβαστῶι Γερμανικῶι], ἀρχιερεῖ μεγίστωι, δημαρχικῆς ἐξο[υσίας τὸ δʹ, ὑπάτωι τὸ ιβʹ, πατρὶ πατρί]δος | [Τειβέριος Κλαύδιος Σεβαστοῦ ἀπελεύθερος Τρύφων] τοὺς πύργους καὶ τὸ τρίπυλον σὺν [— — … –- — ] Ι̣ω̣ι̣ [ἀ]ν[έθηκεν].

(Side B) Διὶ Μεγίστωι Σωτῆρι καὶ Αὐτοκράτορι [[Δομιτιανῶι]] Καίσαρι Σεβαστῶ[ι Γερμανικῶι, ἀρχιερεῖ μεγίστωι, δημαρχικῆς ἐξουσίας τὸ δʹ, ὑπάτω]ι τ[ὸ ιβʹ], πατρὶ πατρίδος | Τειβέριος Κλαύδιος Σεβαστοῦ ἀπελεύθερος Τρύφων τοὺς πύργ[ους καὶ τὸ τρίπυλον ἀνέθηκεν, Σέξτος Ἰούλιος Φροντῖνος ἀνθύπατος τὸ σύμπ]αν ἔ[ργ]ον καθιέ[ρ]ω[σεν].

LATIN: For Imperator Domitian Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Sextus Iulius Frontinus the proconsul made this dedication.

GREEK: For Zeus Megistos Sōtēr, and for Imperator Domitian Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, with tribunician power for the fourth time, consul for the twelfth time, father of his nativeland, Tiberius Cl. Tryphon, freedman of the emperor, dedicated the towers and the triple gateway with …

46 Mierse (n. 2), 62.

47 Adams (n. 14), 9–15; Corbier (n. 17), 38; Graham (n. 17), 387.

48 Mierse (n. 2), 55; Ng (n. 3), 244.

49 Eck, W., ‘Die Präsenz senatorischer Familien in den Städten des Imperium Romanum bis zum späten 3. Jahrhundert’, in Eck, W., Galsterer, H. and Wolff, H. (edd.), Studien zur antiken Sozialgeschichte: Festschrift F. Vittinghoff (Cologne, 1980), 283322, at 312Google Scholar.

50 Van Bremen (n. 3), 106.

51 IPerge 117–25 show that Plancia held a variety of titles, including the priestess of Artemis, high priestess of the imperial cult (see also A.M. Mansel, ‘Bericht über Ausgrabungen und Untersuchungen in Pamphylien in den Jahren 1957–1972’, AA [1975], 49–96, at 74–5), ‘first and only’ priestess of Magna Mater, gymnasiarch and dēmiourgos (at least three times). In addition, several honorific inscriptions hailed her as the ‘daughter of the city’. Plancia is only one of many women in the early second century who held important civic positions: see Sherk, R.K., ‘The eponymous officials of Greek cities IV. The register part III: Thrace, Black Sea area, Asia Minor (continued)’, ZPE 93 (1992), 223–72, at 240Google Scholar; Van Bremen (n. 3), 55–73; Dmitriev, S., City Government in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor (Oxford, 2005), 180Google Scholar.

52 In addition to the fourteen extant Greek inscriptions, we can reasonably speculate that the missing bases from the courtyard—the five κτίσται and the fourteen Greek deities—also identified her as their sponsor in Greek. For the prestige of inscribing a name onto a monument, see Corbier (n. 17), 22.

53 Şahin (n. 2), 142–3 suggests that Tertullus was included in the courtyard, but his absence from most of Plancia's other inscriptions (with the exception of IPerge 122) suggests that he did not play a large role in her public persona, and that he may have been omitted here as well; cf. Van Bremen (n. 3), 105–6 in opposition to claims that Tertullus’ absence is evidence that the courtyard was built before Plancia's marriage; see also Boatwright (n. 2 [1991]), 255; Nollé, J., ‘Frauen wie Omphale? Überlegungen zu “Politischen” Ämtern von Frauen im kaiserzeitlichen Kleinasien’, in Dettenhofer, M.H. (ed.), Reine Männersache?: Frauen in Männerdomänen der antiken Welt (Munich, 1996), 229–59, at 250Google Scholar.

54 Swain (n. 30), 65.