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The client kings of Emesa: a study of local identities in the Roman East

Michaela Konrad
Traduction de Mary Wong-Sommer
p. 261-295

Résumés

Les dynastes d’Émèse, la Homs antique au nord-ouest de la Syrie, faisaient partie des plus importants alliés de Rome à la frontière orientale de l’Empire romain. La nécropole de Tall Abū Ṣābūn, mise au jour par Henri Seyrig en 1936 à l’occasion de fouilles clandestines, a livré un certain nombre d’objets qui — en plus d’une tombe pyramidale dynamitée en 1911 — constituent une source de première qualité pour mieux comprendre l’auto-perception des élites locales en Syrie. Tout laisse à penser que ces tombes abritaient l’entourage des rois-clients émésiens. Parmi le mobilier de 22 tombes du début et du milieu du ier s. apr. J.-C. dans la nécropole d’Émèse, on trouve surtout des accessoires vestimentaires et de parure ainsi que des armes et des éléments funéraires. Ces objets ont été soumis à des analyses archéologiques et socioculturelles, mettant ainsi en avant une évolution identitaire de cette partie de la population, parallèlement à une intensification des contacts avec Rome. Alors que jusqu’à la fin du ier s. apr. J.-C. le rituel funéraire et les formes de tombe et d’inhumation se rattachent aux traditions locales mésopotamiennes, les parures et insignes semblent fortement influencés par les cultures des steppes d’Asie centrale. Ces caractéristiques, propres aux élites locales des provinces d’Orient, semblent dans le cas d’Émèse reléguées à un rang second lorsque disparaît leur statut d’allié, pour adopter des formes représentatives romaines. Sur la base des faits archéologiques constatés à Émèse, ajoutés aux sources écrites, plusieurs paramètres d’influence, en termes de création et de changement identitaire des principautés alliés de Rome sont à discuter. L’étude montre que pour Rome, de telles alliances avec les rois locaux dépassaient amplement la volonté d’une politique de sécurité et que les formes de représentation identitaire ne peuvent être comprises que si l’on tient compte de la structure globale sociale, économique et politique.

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Introduction

  • 1 This contribution summarizes the results of Konrad 2014; because of the outbreak of the civil war, (...)
  • 2 Kropp 2013a, p. 208-211, and 2010, p. 201; Oenbrink 2009, p. 204, n. 82.
  • 3 Seyrig 1952 and 1953; Konrad 2014.

1Clientships and the identity of East Roman foederati from the 1st cent. bc through the 1st cent. ad were in the very focus of scholarly research of the last years 1. Given the good literary and archaeological evidence, the concentration on the Eastern foederati of Rome is understandable, although a transregional analysis of the topic still is a desideratum of research, which should also include the (north)western Roman provinces. The reason for this unbalanced scholarly approach lies in the nature of the very different material legacies: whereas in the East we have rich architectural, epigraphic, numismatic, written and even iconographic and sculptural sources, the material resulting from foederati contexts on the northwestern fringe of the Empire mainly consists of tombs and grave goods. Architectural structures here are scarce and pale in comparison to the impressive architecture in the East. The richness of architectural and iconographic sources there has obstructed the view on less spectacular relics that, however, allow deeper insights to the sense of identity of the eastern client kings 2. I mean, precisely, the tomb inventories of Emesa-Tall Abū Ṣābūn that were published by Henri Seyrig, who became general director of the antiquities of Syria and Lebanon during the French mandate in 1929 3. Seyrig realized the significance of the necropolis that had been discovered by grave robbers and immediately started rescue excavations to avoid further destruction and plundering of the tombs. In spite of Seyrig’s intervention, most of the 27 tombs were destroyed by robbery and we have to assume that the most precious objects of some tombs were hidden in order to be sold on the art market before Seyrig intervened. Nevertheless, the finds that could be saved serve to highlight the ambiguous situation of the East Roman client kings in the 1st cent. bc and ad. The strong assumption that the tombs belong to the royal family of ancient Emesa is based on the high semantic meaning of the grave goods. Even if we cannot prove this social assignment they provide clear evidence for a local context of the highest social level, including close contacts with Rome (see below).

  • 4 For the topography Seyrig 1959; Konrad 2014, p. 5, n. 25; Oenbrink 2009; Kropp 2010 and 2013a, p.  (...)

2Among the sepulchral assemblage of ancient Emesa is a huge eclectic tomb monument with an inscription dated to ad 78/79 that mentions a certain Gaios Iulios Samsigeramos. Samsigeramos is a male name that was also used for members of the royal family. This has led some scholars to identify the owner of the tomb, with tria nomina indicating Roman citizenship, as a descendant of the local nobility who were buried in the necropolis of Tall Abū Ṣābūn 4. The main subject of the following contribution is the analysis of the tombs and their objects as well as their implication for questions concerning a change in the sense of identity of the client kings of Emesa and their functions in the tensions between the great powers of Rome and Parthia.

Emesa

  • 5 Sartre 2001, p. 382-383, 497-527, esp. p. 504-507; Gebhardt 2002, p. 232-233; Funke 1996, p. 217-3 (...)
  • 6 Seyrig 1959; Freyberger 1998, p. 62, n. 812; Kropp 2013a, p. 24-26.
  • 7 Seyrig 1959; Sartre 2001, p. 505; Gatier 1996, however doubts the importance of the trade for Emes (...)
  • 8 Sommer 2005, p. 95-97; Gebhardt 2002, p. 235 correctly points out the deficit of information. For (...)
  • 9 Gebhardt 2002, p. 232; cf. in contrast Millar 1993, p. 302-309.

3The kingdom of the Emeseni was one of several local kingdoms in the Near East that arose simultaneously with the decline of the Seleucid Empire. In this power vacuum, the most powerful families of pastoral tribes that had invaded from the Arabian peninsula could strengthen their authority and took on leadership functions within their tribal networks as “phylarchoi”. These leading families of tribal groups living in the arid border zones of Syria were the first to come in contact with Rome after the settling of the province of Syria in 64 bc 5. Emesa, modern Homs (Middle Syria), was founded in a privileged topographic position at the crossing of two, respectively three, main long-distance trading routes: the “Frankincense Road” from the south, the “Spice Road” from the Persian Gulf and a branch of the “Silk Road” coming from the northeast 6. To the west Emesa was connected with the main harbour of the Levant. In spite of the lack of evidence for greater activities in trade, the importance of this geostrategic position should not be neglected 7. Furthermore, agricultural production is an important economic branch of the Homs region until now, due to moderate climate conditions and the possibility of rain-fed agriculture (300-400 mm isohyet). Agriculture implies that at least a (bigger) part of the society formerly living a transhumant existence switched over to sedentariness, with a dimorphic society as likely result 8. In spite of the fact that Rome attested to a part of the Emesans a “civilized” way of life, the degree of Hellenization in the territory of Emesa seems to have differed substantially 9. However, as long as archaeology knows nothing about the settlement structures, including the residential and domestic architecture and also the material culture of Emesa, it is difficult to assess the real cultural conditions of ancient Emesa.

  • 10 Jacobson 2001, p. 22 and 29; Kropp 2010, p. 200-201 and 214-216. The fact that Emesa was not found (...)

4It is very likely that Emesa was founded as a new residence in the chronological context of the rehabilitation of the royal family by the Romans at about 20 bc, following Arethusa as capital of the early kingdom 10. The fact that the city received the name of the leading tribe of the Emeseni is a strong indication for hierarchic structures within the tribal networks. The situation of Emesa characterizes very well the differentiated social and cultural situation in the Near East with a heterogeneous provincial population of Hellenic, Roman, Aramaean and Arabic roots who differed from each other by their language, culture and ways of life. The cemetery of Emesa is a primary source that can elucidate this situation and enable us to observe aspects of identity and how cross-border interaction with foreign powers over a time span of at least three generations can change self-identification.

Emesa as a Roman client kingdom

  • 11 Konrad 1996; Eck & Pangerl 2005, p. 101-118; Konrad 2003, p. 237-256; Gebhardt 2002; description o (...)
  • 12 Braund 1984, p. 91-103; Sullivan 1977; Graf 1998. Shahid 1984, esp. p. 4, 41-43 and 145-153. Cf. a (...)
  • 13 Schörner 2011, esp. p. 113-14 with ref. n. 3; Speidel 2005, p. 89-90; Elton 1996, p. 29-35; Braund(...)

5The Emesan dynasty represented one of several client kingdoms that were installed at the Roman eastern frontier. As authorities within the tribal system and familiar with local fighting techniques, the oriental foederati played an important role in the control of the eastern fringe of the Roman Empire. The foedus with the client kings was intended to allow the Romans to concentrate the legions in the densely populated and intensively urbanized hinterland of the coast and in the areas of agricultural production. This is probably the reason why Rome initially decided against the garrisoning of auxilia and deployed only vexillationes of the legions to the frontiers and along the main roads in the interior zones of the province 11. Furthermore, the local socii with pastoral roots knew which route was the best to use at what time of the year. They knew water locations, weather conditions and had experience in dealing with the tribes that were still powerful in the arid zones and who were difficult for the Romans to assess. These conditions made the client kings important mediators between Rome and the local population of the steppe-desert 12. The foedera were individual contracts with the king and their designation as amicitia, fides or obsequium as well as the honorary title for the king, rex sociusque et amicus, exemplify the importance of the personal bond between king and emperor, with the aim of maximizing loyalty. However, the friendship cannot obscure the fact that the client kingdoms de iure were part of the Roman Empire, with the foedus as donum populi Romani and the emperor’s care as reward for fides 13.

  • 14 Millar 1993, p. 27-90; Sullivan 1977, p. 205-207; cf. also Ios., bell. Iud. 1.188; bell. Alex. 65; (...)
  • 15 Millar 1993, p. 301-302; Paltiel 1991, p. 35-38 and 214.
  • 16 Gebhardt 2002, p. 236-237 with ref.; Millar 1993, p. 303-309; Baldus 1971, 242 and 248-250.

6The kings of Emesa obviously played a very important and specific role for Rome, with an amicitia-agreement that probably goes back to the time of the formation of the province (64 bc), albeit with some crisis periods resulting from unfavourable coalitions in the time of the civil wars. Nevertheless, the clientship was renewed in about 20 bc, and from then on there were obviously good relationships with the princeps: In the 1st cent. ad Emesa contributed a substantial contingent of troops not only in the Ituraean and Jewish wars, but even against the Commagenians, their own relatives 14. Their self-confidence finds its expression in the immodest titulature of the Emesan king as “first under the dynasts of Syria” that can be found in Aramaean sources 15. The foedus was probably terminated in ad 72/73, a period that is very close to the inscription of the tomb monument mentioned above (see below). In regard to the earlier tombs in the cemetery, this chronological coherence is not a coincidence, but the consequence of a crisis and self-definition within changed frameworks. Nevertheless, even if some scholars have doubts about the identity of the family of the client kings as being the family of Iulia Domna and Elagabal, there are several hints that the leading family/ies of Emesa profited for a long time from their privileged position in the Early Empire 16.

The cemetery of Emesa-Tall Abū Ṣābūn

  • 17 For the following see Seyrig 1952, p. 207 with n. 2; however, the review of Seyrig does not clarif (...)
  • 18 Konrad 2007, 84 with ref. n. 42 and 88, fig. 3, 1, and 2013, p. 206-207; regarding the similaritie (...)

7The excavations in of Tall Abū Ṣābūn were undertaken in the southern and in the northern section of the cemetery 17. In the two sections seems to be a differentiation, probably with a chronological implication, in regard to the types of tombs represented in the respective sections. The northern section comprises a hypogaeum with 28 loculi and five “superficial” tombs (“tombes superficielles”) whose original appearances above ground are unknown, as they were all disturbed by robbery; from Seyrig’s report, stone architecture may be surmised, with the burial in the traditional manner of a rock-cut tomb. Five of them appear also in the southern section, although here the majority are tombs in the typical local tradition of the steppe desert: rock-cut tombs, covered by several simple stone slabs. We know that type of burial from local contexts in the region from the Levant up to Mesopotamia, with a concentration in the desert zone. At sites with strongly Hellenized or Romanized social contexts, this type of tomb is not represented. Clay sarcophagi on the eastern fringe of the cemetery (tombs 7-9) expand the range of tomb types and represent an element that is more usual in Mesopotamia than in the Levant 18. Round metal fittings, nails and splint fittings for ring handles indicate wooden sarcophagi for the rock-cut tombs, the motives of the fittings are of Hellenistic-Roman origin: Apollo, lions and the olive branch symbolize victory, honour and close relations to the Roman emperor (tomb 1, fig. 1, 1-2 et 5), whereas Victoria (tomb 1) and Athena (tomb 11) stand for military qualities (fig. 1, 3; 3, 11). Most of the tombs have a west-east/east-west orientation and, in the better conserved tombs, with the head in the west.

  • 19 Konrad 2014, p. 22; on the tradition of burial mounds Konrad 2004, p. 135 with further ref.; p. 14 (...)

8The relatively large distance between of the tombs to each other, especially the isolated position of tomb 1, could be the result of tumuli with a diameter of 4 m (e.g. tombs 6, 14) to 20 m (tomb 1). This could confirm the exceptional social position that is indicated by the precious finds that come from the simple rock-cut tombs 19.

  • 20 See below ; Konrad 2014, p. 11-12 and 65.

9The tomb monument mentioned above was situated farther to the north, standing in line with other monuments, probably along a burial road 20.

Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Inventory of tomb 1. Scale: 1, 3, 4, 6, ca. 1:3; 7, ca. 1:4 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953)

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Inventory of tomb 1 (continuation). Scale: 1-8 and 10, ca. 2:3; 1a and 2a, ca. 1,5:1; 9, ca. 1:3 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953, drawings M. Lerchl)

Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Objects from tomb 11 (1-3, 9-12) and tomb 6 (4-8). Scale: 1-9, ca. 2:3; 10, ca. 1:2; 11, ca. 1:3 ; 12, ca. 1:5 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953)

Selected finds from the cemetery

10The finds that have been preserved can be differentiated as objects of personal use and objects for funerary rituals. The latter include vessels, flasks, coins, and funeral masks or parts of them (see below).

Tomb 1

  • 21 Konrad 2014, p. 22-34.

11Tomb 1 is the key to the interpretation of the whole necropolis. To understand the context it is important to begin with the description and interpretation of its inventory 21.

  • 22 A more detailed description of the finds in Fick 2004, p. 165-77; Curtis 1995, p. 226-231; Wildung(...)

12Golden funeral masks are typical objects of elite tombs of the east (fig. 1, 6). They have their main distribution in local contexts from Mesopotamia to Thracia and stand with their individual facial expression for the nature and qualities of the oriental king and for his closeness to the highest goddess, Šamaš, the “red golden sun of the sky” 22.

  • 23 Konrad 2014, p. 31-32; Kropp 2010, p. 202-204, both with further ref. On Augustus und Apollo Lambr (...)
  • 24 This renewal marked the end of a period of crisis during the civil wars when most of the eastern c (...)
  • 25 Haake 2014, p. 24-28; Kropp 2010, p. 202-204; and earlier Seyrig 1952, p. 236-239; Salzmann 2007, (...)
  • 26 Regarding the privilege for members of the equestrian and senatorial order to wear the massive gol (...)
  • 27 For the date of the portrait Kropp 2010, p. 202-204; Kropp 2013a, p. 82; compare however for a lat (...)

13The other grave goods in this tomb are characterized by their different origin, indicating a hybrid cultural background of the deceased. The Roman objects can be identified easily: an early Roman silver-plated “cavalry” helmet and a golden finger ring with a red chalcedony cameo portraying Apollo (fig. 1, 7; 2, 2), with the latter referring to the Augustan period 23. The ring might have come to Emesa as sign of the restored fides after the renewal of the clientship with Rome in about 20 bc and symbolize the solidarity and friendship of its owner with the domus Augusta 24. The provenence of another golden finger ring with a massive golden inlay depicting an oriental dynast in the style of Augustus’ portraits with the Hellenistic diadem, a band with loose ends knotted in the nape, is not clear (fig. 2, 1) 25. Nevertheless its material might indicate a function as an insignium for the promotion of the owner to the equestrian order 26. The portrait has been dated by Kropp from 10 bc or later, whereas von Gall prefers a date not before the first decade ad, a date that is closer to the date of the helmet from the first quarter of the 1st cent. ad 27. An interpretation of the significance of these objects will be discussed below.

14Of great interest are the objects of eastern origin: jewellery, clothing elements, weapons and their fittings, and a glass amulet.

  • 28 For the type see Musche 1988, pl. LXII–LXV, esp. type 1.2; Konrad 2014, p. 33-34; for star-shaped (...)
  • 29 Musche 1988, p. 269, pl. XCVI, type 2, p. 176-185, esp. 177 and 266-269; for parallels on Palmyren (...)

15It is possible that the star-shaped golden fibula with a central inlay was made locally (fig. 2, 5) 28. The inlay has been lost, but was probably made of stone. The construction with two separate needles indicates that the fibula was not removed separately, but taken off together with the garment, probably a chlamys, as it is indicated on Palmyrenian reliefs. The fastening of the chlamys with a single brooch is not usual in the East and may have been introduced in local contexts through Roman influence 29.

  • 30 Konrad 2014, p. 30. Amulets are very characteristic elements in local grave goods, see Konrad 2004 (...)

16There are no formal parallels for the blue glass amulet with a marble back and rich bronze-cased inlays on the front. The blue colour and the central hole indicate its use as periapt against the evil eye (fig. 2, 8) 30.

  • 31 Konrad 2014, p. 24-25; Werner 1994, p. 278-280 with ref.; Sarianidi 1985; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann (...)
  • 32 Musche 1988, p. 33, 43 and 284; on the preference for a simple and plain design of traditional cos (...)
  • 33 Overview of objects of this style Musche 1988; Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 441, fig. 5; ho (...)

17Most exciting —and yet ignored in discussions— are the other objects of non-Roman origin. These are primarily jewellery and elements of the garment, made in the “turquoise- gold-style” that is typical for Central Asian contexts from the 1st cent. bc until the early 2nd cent. ad, with traditions that continued into the Byzantine period 31. Characteristic features of this style are massive golden jewellery with a plain surface and mixed polychrome stone inlays, usually turquoise and garnet, but also lapis, cut as cabochons and fixed in case-shaped frames. The torcs and armlets typically are equipped with a closing hinge. Jewellery in turquoise-gold-style was distributed from Central Asia through Mesopotamia to the north Pontic region, with the most significant parallels coming from the tombs of Tilla Tepe (Afghanistan) 32. Whereas portrait sculpture, especially from Hatra, show the use of such jewellery in the autochthonous contexts of the steppe-desert, the finds from the sepulchral assemblages of Homs are one of only a few material relics corresponding with a part of the figurative depiction 33.

  • 34 Konrad 2014, p. 24-25.
  • 35 Konrad 2014, p. 28-30 with table 1; Fick 2004, with ref. about the post-Babylonian tombs of Nippur (...)
  • 36 Ios., ant. Jud. 19.8.2; after Herodian., Hist. 5.3, 6 this kind of ceremonial garment was also wor (...)
  • 37 Dirven 2008, p. 221-231 and 238; for Uranius Antoninus see Baldus 1971, p. 237-238, 248˗250 and 26 (...)
  • 38 Sarianidi 1985, p. 231, fig. 21, pl. 51 and 232, fig. 22 (paisley-/trefoil-shaped). Feature in sit (...)

18The bracelet in tomb 1, composed of massive golden s-shaped elements with turquoise inlays, is a very characteristic example of this style (fig. 2, 3) 34. In other tombs, various golden objects have been found, again all golden: torcs with ornamental discs, earrings, and bands worn at the hair parting (see below). Typical for the official and ceremonial clothing of kings and priest-kings of the steppe-cultures are tunics, trousers and tiaras adorned with small golden fittings in tombs 1, 6 and 11 (fig. 2, 6 ( ?)-7; 3, 7-8), as well as remains of gold brocade (tomb 10). Chronologically going back to Scythian contexts, we know such clothes’ fittings, massive or moulded, and clothes made of gold brocade from tombs and portrait sculpture in Central Asia, as well as from Arsacid contexts and neighbouring principalities 35. From the Roman side, this unusual habit provoked not only commentaries but also criticism and suspicion (see below) 36. The most important evidence for this kind of ceremonial clothing are the portrait statues of Hatrene kings of the 2nd cent. ad. L. Dirven could prove that most of these were presented in a sacral context, which fits with the depiction of the Emesan usurper and priestly king Uranius Antoninus on coins 37. The paisley shape of the fitting in tomb 1 finds its best parallels in Tilla Tepe, where paisley fittings with turquoise inlays were found and also in the portrait statue of Abdsimiya from Hatra 38. The brilliant appearance of the king again aims to express his closeness to the sun god (see above).

  • 39 Seyrig 1952, p. 240-244 and 240, fig. 18-19, pl. 27.1; for the following discussion Konrad 2014, p (...)
  • 40 Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (2010) “Ziege/Ziegenbock” (H. Frey-Anthes) (http:// (...)
  • 41 Seyrig 1937. Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 432-434. Skripkin 2003, p. 9-18, esp. 12-13, pl.  (...)
  • 42 Sarianidi 1985, p. 248 no 9, pl. 162, 164 and 165.
  • 43 Inventory No A29/1231, autopsy of the author in the Palmyra museum, Sept. 2010. Tomb sculpture fro (...)
  • 44 Parzinger 2006, p. 751 and 753, fig. 240.13; cf. also ibid. 719 and 718, fig. 225.21 (middle Sarga (...)
  • 45 Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 439, n. 42; Winkelmann 2003, p. 71-75; on the identification o (...)

19Another close connection with the cultures of the steppe is given by the massive golden appliqué from tomb 1 with the central motive of a ram’s head that Seyrig has identified as a mouflon, a species of the caprinae that lived primarily in the Altai mountains (fig. 2, 4) 39. The ram plays a key role in the interpretation of the assemblage because of its central meaning in steppe cultures of Mesopotamia and the Levant: The ram, respectively the sheep flocks for which the ram stands, was the main livelihood of the populations living in these areas and thus became not only a sacrificial animal, but also a semantic motive on insignia and a sign of dignity and virility from the Ancient Near Eastern periods onwards 40. In this semantic motive, the ram’s head appears on so-called “four strap daggers”, originally a typical Central Asian short sword type with an angular pommel that was adopted by local kings and elites as a sign of dignity on the western, northern and southern fringe of the steppe cultures 41. Corresponding to the dagger’s significance as an insignium, the sheath is decorated by key motives of ruler representation. Its name results from the sheath with straps that were shaped as medaillons. Usually, the medaillions were decorated and in some cases bore a ram’s head 42. Another important reference to the ram’s head of Emesa can be seen in a statue in the Palmyra museum (fig. 543. Here the chape of the dagger’s sheath that was fastened at the narrow chest belt, is designed as a ram’s head, and is very similar to the piece from Emesa. The widening that can still be observed at the top of the chape makes a similiar interpretation for the Emesan piece plausible, even if its use at the horse harness, as proposed by Seyrig, is still possible. The Palmyrene also wears a “four strap dagger” at the right leg, which completes the argument that the ram head was part of the chape. Massive animal-shaped appliqués in solid casting technique, such as the Emesan ram’s appliqué, are typical for Sarmatian contexts of the 1st cent. bc and ad. A very close parallel to the piece from Emesa is a mouflon’s or gazelle’s head from the Tes’ culture in the Ienisej region (2nd and 1st cent. ad44. Tilla Tepe’s tomb 4 and other tombs with daggers with angular pommels respectively four strap daggers date into the time span between the 2nd half of the 1st cent. bc and the 1st half of the 1st cent. ad, whereas the portrait sculpture may be also later 45.

  • 46 Winkelmann 2003, p. 32-38; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 190-196; Winkelmann 2009, p. 341-348; (...)

20Of local origin is also the lance that has been reconstructed by Seyrig with a length of 4.58 m (fig. 2, 10). If he is right, this belongs to the type of long riding lance that is best known from Sasanian reliefs and silver plates as a fighting and hunting weapon 46. The golden sheath of the shaft could argue for its use as insignium in the context of royal self-representation and ceremonies.

Commentary on selected finds from other tombs

  • 47 Konrad 2014, p. 35; Musche 1988, pl. XLV, type 9.2; Pfeiler 1970, p. 86 with pl. 21; cf. also from (...)
  • 48 Konrad 2014, p. 36.
  • 49 Seyrig 1952, p. 205 and 245, fig. 25; Adler 2003, esp. p. 30-31 and 300-2; cf. also the coin depic (...)
  • 50 Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 432, pl. 40-42; see also Musche 1988, p. 257-260, pl. XC–XCI t (...)

21Additional pieces of jewellery in turquoise-gold-style have been found in other tombs: in the children’s tomb 6 there is a disc from a necklace with garnets and turquoises, and a green translucent (glass?) inlay in the centre (fig. 3, 4; 4). It has close stylistic parallels to Armazis Chevi/Mzcheta (Georgia) and, except for the silver, in Dura-Europos 47. A torc ring was found in children’s tomb 11 (fig. 3, 1) 48. Analogous to iconographic sources, also the moulded disc in tomb 11, which could have been a portrait disc, was the central medallion of a torc (fig. 3, 2). The torc is a typical insignium and sign of dignity of the Parthian and local kings, as it is clearly shaped on portrait sculpture in the Parthian Empire and neighbouring principalities (fig. 5). On Parthian coins, different types can be distinguished 49. A very close parallel to the object in Emesa with threeparted collar is known from the portrait of a local dignitary in Osrheone 50. The fact that in Hatra gods also wear torcs again shows how these rulers aimed to be presented in close affinity to the gods.

Figure 4.

Figure 4.

Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Jewellery from tombs 1, 6 and 11 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953)

© Watercolour J. Lauffray

Figure 5.

Figure 5.

Portrait sculptures of Hatrene kings: 1. Sanatrukh (after Mathiesen 1992, p. 215, fig. 82); 2. Uthal (after Sommer 2003, p. 30, fig. 33; 3. Vologases (after Gall 1998, p. 94, pl. 10,c); 4. Abdsimya (after Mathiesen 1992, p. 212, fig. 79)

  • 51 Konrad 2014, p. 35; Musche 1988, p. 51 and 106-107.

22Tomb 6 also contained two club-shaped earrings in turquoise-gold-style with garnet inlays (fig. 3, 6) 51.

23The purpose of various other golden appliqués is not certain. The bigger part of them may have belonged to the garments (tomb 6, fig. 3, 5), others with rivets may have been fixed elsewhere, for example to leather (tomb 6, fig. 3, 7-8, see above). All correspond with the turquoise-gold-style. Golden fibres in tombs 10 and 14 (in tomb 10 around the head and the legs) document clothing with gold embroidery or gold brocade (see above).

  • 52 Musche 1988, p. 27-40, pl. III–IV; Konrad 2014, p. 37; regarding the production of the interlaced (...)

24One of the most significant finds are the two golden interlaced bands with garnet inlays from tomb 11 that may be interpreted as parts of a decorative band worn at the hair parting (fig. 3, 3). In the East such bands were worn by the young children and youths of nobles and by female priests. The two bands have close parallels in Armazis Chevi and Parthian Seleuceia on the Tigris52.

  • 53 Musche 1988, p. 161-162; better photographs of the Emesan example are in Zouhdi 1971, p. 95-111, e (...)
  • 54 Konrad 2014, p. 37-38.
  • 55 Seyrig 1953, p. 16-17.

25A fusiform chalcedony bulla with lion-shaped fittings at each end is part of the personal belongings of the child in tomb 11. As at the the fittings the rest of eyelets are preserved, one can deduce that originally the bulla was suspended horizontally (fig. 3, 9). A similar, late Parthian agate piece from the southwest Caspian region of Iran with bell-shaped pendants and the fittings formed as male deer heads was interpreted by Ellen Porada as part of a priest’s accessory (late 1st cent. bc to 1st cent. ad53. Together with the small shield (see below), the torc and the diadem, the bulla strengthens the interpretation of tomb 11 as the burial of a deceased prince, unifying the functions of a young noble descendant of a local ruler (with diadem and torc), priest-king (bulla), and member or commander of a cavalry unit (small shield, see below) 54. Another golden “capsule with stone inlay” from the same tomb could be another bulla, however, in the absence of a picture it is not possible to make a clear decision about the function of the object 55.

  • 56 Konrad 2014, p. 37.
  • 57 E.g. Tanabe 1986, 164 no 131; also 143 no 110.
  • 58 Winkelmann 2003, p. 53.

26Very unusual in a local environment is the presence of a shield as a grave good in the same tomb (fig. 3, 10) 56. It seems very obvious that the shield refers to personal qualities and qualifications of the deceased, for whom the whole assortment of grave goods (diadem, torc, red chalcedony bulla, see above) suggests that the owner was a designated successor of the king. The silver-plated buckle indicates a small shield similar to those worn by Palmyrenian gods. The gods are equipped with the typical local armament, as is indicated by the long lances (see above tomb 1) 57. The shield’s rim is decorated with moulded laurel leaves (fig. 3, 12). Thus, it is possible that the round shield, deposited on the sarcophagus, was a symbolic element expressing not only virtus, but also the future of the child as a designated leader of a local troop or of the iuventus 58. The topic of virtus also finds its expression in a Hellenistic-Roman manner in the moulded metal fittings of the sarcophagus of the same tomb with the image of Athena (fig. 3, 11).

  • 59 Musche 1988, p. 29 and 46-49; Quast 2014, p. 267-270; Konrad 2014, p. 39.
  • 60 Konrad 2014, p. 35-36 and 38 with table 1; Quast 2014, p. 270-274.

27A typical element of east mediterranean sepulchral customs that probably developed under Hellenistic influence in the neighboring kingdoms of the Diadoch Empires is represented by the golden wine leaves in tomb 14 that originally were composed as a wreath 59. Also part of the typical eastern sepulchral equipment are, beside the complete golden mask in tomb 1 (see above), burial masks, or parts of them, as for example eye-shaped foils, that appear in several tombs (tombs 5-6, 10, 14) 60.

  • 61 Konrad 2014, p. 30 and 34; Konrad 2004, p. 140 with ref.; for bells see Musche 1988, p. 50; Oettel(...)
  • 62 Cf. here Musche 1988, p. 118-132; Konrad 2014, p. 36; regarding the fica pendant see Musche 1988, (...)

28Amulets of various materials and shapes, such as a glass triangle (tomb 1), a bell (tomb 5), a fayence figue pendant (tomb 10), and possibly also a fayence medaillon with depiction of a star (tomb 14) belong to the apotropaic objects that are typical grave goods in the local contexts of Mesopotamia and the steppe-desert 61. Common for local contexts are also various types of beads as part of necklaces (tomb 6 [?], 10, 14) 62.

  • 63 Konrad 2014, p. 39, with nr. 224 for the date of the coin of tomb 8; generally Konrad 2004, p. 141 (...)
  • 64 Sarianidi 1985, p. 58; Konrad 2004, p. 141, with n. 61.

29Coins, especially when they were deposited in the mouth, are an adoption of Greco-Roman burial rituals, as payment for Charon. Nevertheless, there seems to have been a broad acceptance of this ritual as part of the local burial customs 63. Coins were found in tombs 5 (5 bc), 8 (ad 5/6 [or 114?]), and 10 (94/93 bc; ad 14/15). The placement in the hand or mouth of the deceased (tomb 5) is also usual in local contexts and thus not an indicator of foreign influence 64.

30In most cases vessels can be interpreted as relics of the death rituals. Especially when they were deposited in or upon the sarcophagus, such as the silver amphora (tomb 1, fig. 2, 9), their purpose was to guarantee food and drink for the deceased during his afterlife. A wooden vessel with bronze fittings (bucket?) (tomb 5), a ceramic jug and a glass bowl (tomb 6), for which the exact position is not known, can be added here.

  • 65 Konrad 2014, p. 39; 2004, p. 140 with ref.

31Twelve glass flasks were deposited on the sarcophagus of tomb 10, probably in accordance with the Hellenistic-Roman ritual of the sprinkling of the tomb, whereas a bronze basin in the same tomb is again a possible hint for Roman dining conventions, such as the hand-washing ritual. Traces of wood on the surface of the seven glass flasks and a small fayence vessel in tomb 14 also indicate their deposition on the sarcophagus 65.

The finds and the necropolis: date, origin and interpretation

  • 66 Seyrig 1952; Kropp 2010 and 2013a.
  • 67 Compare e.g. the tumuli of the Commagenian kings: Sanders 1996, p. 135-138; cf. also Wagner 2000, (...)
  • 68 Konrad 2014, p. 39-41.
  • 69 Konrad 2014, p. 39 with n. 224.

32The necropolis of Tall Abū Ṣābūn with less than 30 tombs seems to be a small separate cemetery with extraordinarily rich grave goods and tomb furnishings. For good reasons scholars have interpreted the assemblage as the burial site of the royal family of Emesa, that, since the late Republic and again from about 20 bc was a client kingdom of Rome 66. The great distance between some of the burials could indicate that the tombs originally were covered by tumuli, some of them even covering two or more tombs —as for example tombs 6, 11, 12 (see above). If this is correct, the tumuli in combination with the rich grave goods could confirm the high rank of the deceased 67. The date of the tombs is given by the coins that are concentrated in the later period of Augustus and indicate a dating that terminus post quem may not have been very late in the 1st cent. ad (see above)68. If the late date of the coin from tomb 8 is correct, the last burials may have taken place in the early 2nd cent. ad 69.

  • 70 Robinson 1975, p. 118-123, esp. 121, fig. 349-350; Dating according to Mackensen 2000, p. 127 with (...)
  • 71 Sullivan 1977, p. 205-212, esp. 211-212; Schörner 2011, p. 122 proposes Iamblichus II for the high (...)

33A more precise date can be determined for tomb 1 through the finger rings that were probably produced in the Augustan/late Augustan period (see above) and the silver-plated Roman helmet of the type Nijmegen/Kops Plateau (resp. Homs/Plovdiv after Fischer) that has been dated to the 1st quarter of the 1st cent. ad 70. As prestige objects, the finds of Roman provenance need not be contemporaneous with the date of the burial, but came to Emesa during the lifetime of the deceased or as an inheritance from one of his close ancestors. This assumption is supported by the fact that the portrait ring shows traces of long use. Thus it is very probable that tomb 1 contained objects that were accumulated during the first decennia of the 1st cent. ad. As a result, there are good reasons that the person that was burried in tomb 1 was the king that ruled from the twenties until at least the forties of the 1st cent.: Samsigeramos II 71.

Reflections on the origin of the objects

  • 72 Compare also the presentation of a boy with diadem at the hand of his mother (Iotape from Commagen (...)

34Within the assemblage, tomb 1 excels in splendour and the hybrid composition of its grave goods, comprising elements of a pronounced ‘eastern’ character as well as of Roman origin. It is important to point out, however, as we will explain below, that the ‘local’ character of the jewellery, clothing and insignia is only pseudo-local, because their main distribution is in Central-Asia. In Mesopotamia and the Levant this style is limited to the highest representatives of the local elites: the local kings and leaders of tribes. Objects of this style are also characteristic for the two childrens’ tombs 6 and 11. As we have pointed out, the boy in tomb 6 was probably designated as a dynastic successor to the king, as is indicated by the diadem, the torc, the bulla and other insignia in tomb 6. In the girl’s tomb 11, a necklace and other jewellery were found. In this ambience it is tempting to think of the two as the children of Samsigeramos II and Iotape III 72.

  • 73 For the interpretation of the helmet Konrad 2014, p. 50-56 with further ref.
  • 74 On the discussion about the origins of the “cavalry”-helmets (Orient, Thrace, Italy) Junkelmann 19 (...)
  • 75 Schörner 2011, p. 121-123 with ref. for tomb finds with helmets; Lenz-Bernhard 1999, esp. p. 27; Q (...)
  • 76 Fischer 2012, p. 221; Hanel, Peltz & Willer 2000, p. 270 with a discussion of the use of the “cava (...)
  • 77 Differentiated source critique through Flaig 1995, p. 54-55; general information Waurick 1990, p.  (...)
  • 78 Krier & Reinert 1993, p. 41-43 and 51-53 (mostly from contexts of regular auxiliary troops); for t (...)

35For the interpreation of the whole sepulchral assemblage the silver-plated helmet is of great significance 73. There is no doubt that it is of Roman provenance. Nevertheless, the face clearly shows portrait features and the laureate diadem links the helmet with the portrait ring and the decoration on the buckle in tomb 11. Helmets of this type were part of the parade armour used in cavalry parades 74. Such splendid helmets, in terms of their material or decoration, often appear in 1st cent. tombs of Roman client kings and leaders of the tribal elites between the Lower Rhine and Thrace. Usually, they have been interpreted as evidence for the command of Roman federate troops or regular auxiliary units 75. However, apart from differences in the political status of the territories where these helmets were found (some of them, such as northern Gaul, were already Roman provinces, while others, on the Balkans and in the East, were still client kingdoms) it is still under discussion if the precious helmets fitted with visors were actually used in battle 76. Secondly there are strong arguments that the local troops retained their local armament, as this was one of the main reasons for their recruitment 77. And thirdly, there are arguments interpreting helmets with individual designs or decoration (e.g. diadem, imago clipeata, dona militaria and other honours or individual relief designs) as gifts of Rome as sign of estimation, gratitude, and/or fidelity 78. In this context, another individually fashioned helmet from Syria that is part of the tomb assemblage of Nawa will play a central role for the interpretation of the Emesan helmet (see below).

36The finds of Roman origin are a strong contrast to the objects of Iranian tradition (jewellery, weapons, ceremonial clothing, imagery) and the local burial customs. It is remarkable that they emerge more prominently in the self-portrayal of men, especially in contexts of public and religious representation.

Figure 6.

Figure 6.

Portrait sculpture from Palmyra (after Schlumberger 1970, figure on p. 90)

The greater significance of the finds from the royal cemetery of Tall Abū Ṣābūn

  • 79 Konrad 2014, p. 43-45; Musche 1988, p. 282-283; cf. also the older, important research on “Iraniza (...)
  • 80 See n. 96.
  • 81 Compare, however Kropp 2013a, p. 343-344, who points out the very different signs of self-represen (...)
  • 82 Sommer 2005 with additional references; another interpretation on the material culture has recentl (...)
  • 83 Fowler & Hekster 2000, p. 31-33; compare also generally Ehling & Weber 2014 and specifically for C (...)

37As mentioned above, Emesa is one of the few sites where we have found actual objects of the typical style of the elites of the steppe-desert, that generally is only known through portrait sculpture. This style of appearance was interpreted as Parthian “fashion” or “influence” that dominated in local contexts of the steppe-desert 79. With the hybrid character of the Emesan sepulchral assemblages the question arises of whether the explanation that has been generally accepted is, in fact, plausible: Commagene, for example, was not actually part of the steppe-desert tribes. Long-distance trade or fashion are also not convincing reasons for the presence of “Parthian” objects, as neither Commagene nor Emesa played major roles in trade with Parthia, although the role of Emesa should be reassessed (see below) 80. However, there are other features that connect the autonomous groups at the fringe of the steppe-desert 81. They appear in the context of the formation of the small kingdoms simultaneously with the decline of the Seleucid kingdom and the assumption of specific functions in relation with the great powers of Rome and Parthia. Together with the tribal elites of the caravan cities they became a group that Michael Sommer has defined as “functionary ethnicities” (“Funktionsethnien”). The contact with the great powers resulted in the development of a specific culture of the tribal elites and principalities in the desert zones of the Near East that can be proven in Hatra, Palmyra, Commagene and now in Emesa 82. Sommer defined the culture as amalgamated, with a merging of cultural elements of different origins into a completely new cultural identity and self-image. But, as has already been pointed out, even elements that seem to be local actually were actually borrowed from a plausible cultural background of the steppe-desert: a more careful examination of the garments and jewellery reveals a composite adoption of elements from neighboring and even distant cultures, rather than truly local traditions. Nevertheless, the ostentatious demonstration of otherness unified the local elites on the fringe of the Roman Empire. Lacking local roots and a glorious history and genealogy, it seems that they deliberately chose artificial signs and symbols to express self-confidently a specific identity. In the case of Commagene, the search for relatives among the Achaemenids and the Seleucids reveals such processes of identity and legitimacy construction, including prudent and well thought-out wedding strategies 83. Of course, their importance (for Rome) was based above all on their resources, networks and knowledge, and their authority within the tribal social structures.

38Still, we have to question the deeper meaning of the amazing and hybrid inventories at Emesa and to search for a plausible explanation. The extraordinary objects of Roman origin in tomb 1 exceed much of what we know from other sites of this group and also other Roman client kingdoms. If we want to interpret their extraordinary objects of Roman origin it is necessary to examine whether Emesa could have played a particular role for Rome within the networks of the Near East in the early 1st cent. ad.

Rome and Emesa in the late-republic and early-imperial period

  • 84 Sullivan 1977, p. 199-205; the alliance often was interpreted as measure to prevent a coalition wi (...)
  • 85 with reservations Millar 1993, p. 301-302; Paltiel 1991, p. 35-38 and 214. Plin., nat. 5.19.81 men (...)
  • 86 The dating of Emesa’s founding as not before the late 1st cent. bc is based on an epitaph in Areth (...)
  • 87 Regarding the relationship of Augustus with the —generally faithful to Antonius— communities and d (...)
  • 88 Strab. 16.2.11 [= 753]; Konrad 2014, p. 47-48.
  • 89 The epigraphic sources have been collated by Millar 1993, p. 34; Kropp 2010; Raggi 2010, p. 91, n. (...)
  • 90 Speidel 2005, 86; Millar 1993, p. 81-82.

39From the time that the province of Syria was established, the leading families of the Emesan tribes were courted by Rome 84. The Emeseni had settled in the region around Homs with Arethusa, to the north of Homs, as the original centre. Their kings apparently had a leadership function over smaller tribes led by tetrarchs. This explains why the Emesan sheiks took over a key role as coordinators for Rome. The Roman-Emesan relationship suffered in the second half of the 1st cent. bc, when the Emesan kings joined the revolt led by Iulius Bassus and later supported Marcus Antonius in the final phase of the civil war. After a punitive expedition that resulted in the execution of the Emesan king Iamblichus I order was restored in 20 bc under Augustus and the relationship was cemented by a foedus 85. It is very likely that during the same time the metropolis was moved to the strategically more advantageous location of Homs/Emesa 86. The finger ring with an Apollo gem could be interpreted in this context as a gift of the princeps to the Emesan leader as a symbol of the renewed fides. Golden finger rings were awarded either to persons who were especially close to the emperor, or to someone who was elevated into the equestrian order. They could only be presented by the emperor himself or by a magistrate with imperium 87. According to Strabon, the Emeseni can be differentiated from the other transhumant tribes in the Syrian steppe periphery by their “civilised relationships and well-ordered conditions” 88. In the 1st cent. ad Emesa was, in fact, one of the most important and loyal allies of Rome in the East. There is proof that Emesan troops fought against the Itureans in Lebanon during the early years of Tiberius’ reign. Later, in the First Jewish-Roman War, Sohaemus II supported Rome with 4,000 soldiers. The fact that a slave freed by Samsigeramos II became a procurator at the Roman imperial court confirms the close relationship between Rome and the Emesan dynasty. In the 70’s of the 1st cent. ad (C. Iulius) Sohaemus received patronage over the veterans’ colony and Roman enclave of Berytus as well as the consular insignia (see below). The rewards also served the purpose of encouraging him to further the development of these coloniae 89. Preceding this event was the Roman annexation of the Kingdom of Commagene with the support of Emesan troops, although Emesa and Commagene were connected through marital ties 90.

Roman interests in North Syria

  • 91 Olbrycht 1998, p. 106-118 and 138-144; Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 114-123.
  • 92 Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 115; on the importance of this route, especially in the 1st cent. b (...)

40Until the late 2nd cent. ad the north of the province of Syria served as the contact zone to Parthia. Following the return of the standards of Carrhai, the Euphrates functioned as demarcation line between the two Great Powers. The significant role played by Armenia in the power struggles of the East and the attempts of both Parthia and Rome to influence the succession to the Armenian throne have often been pointed out 91. In addition to power politics, the possibility of gaining access to the northern route of the Silk Road must have been a key cause for the interest of these states in Armenia, because the southern branch of the Silk Road through the Jazirah was controlled by local tribes who demanded tolls along the way 92.

  • 93 Mahler 2008, esp. p. 313-314; Sonnabend 1986, p. 250-253.
  • 94 On Commagene see Speidel 2005; Kissel 1997, p. 147-178.
  • 95 Cf. Freyberger 1998, p. 62, n. 812; Seyrig 1959, p. 188, fig. 1.
  • 96 The possibility of trading operations by the Emesans has been generally dismissed until now, cf. G (...)

41From the written sources one can conclude that it was for strategic and economic reasons that Germanicus in ad 17 was sent to Syria when Roman influence in Armenia had been weakened by the deposition of Vonones. At the same time, a friendly meeting with Germanicus that had been suggested by the Parthians seems to be related to an alliance that Augustus had already formed with the Kuschan ruler Kadphises —and which had seriously eroded Parthia’s power 93. A Chinese source, that unfortunately cannot be more precisely dated, indicates that Parthia was not pleased with Rome’s mercantile activities: a Roman legation was blocked from proceeding on its way to China. Rome’s trading interests become clear not only through the alliance with Kadphises, but also through Germanicus’ activities. These include a visit to Palmyra in which a Palmyrenian named Alexander was charged by Germanicus to make contact with the kings of Mesene and Characene at the Schatt al-Arab. Germanicus was well-advised to approach these territories, which were under Parthian control, inconspicuously through Alexander, as Palmyra operated foreign trading posts in Spasinou Charax. In the same context, it is said that Germanicus desired contact with a King Samsigeramos, which is probably a reference to Samsigeramos II of Emesa. After the Kingdom of Commagene fell (temporarily) to Rome in ad 17 with the Euphrates crossing at Zeugma, the opportunity for trade along the southern Silk Road route imroved substantially for Rome. With Emesan aid, goods could be transported from Homs to the Mediterranean port of Tyre 94. The sources here make it clear that the strategic relevance of Emesa's location in terms of transportation has been greatly underestimated in the research to date. In fact, there is good reason to believe that the final transport of goods to the coast was in the hands of the Emesans 95. This could also have been the reason for the later separation, respectively demarcation, of the territories of Emesa and Palmyra. Also the death of an auxiliary soldier of the cohors Damascenorum at Palmyra in september 27 ad that implicates that the unit probably was stationed there before, should not be neglected in this context 96.

  • 97 Olbrycht 1998, 138-142 and 153-155.

42The relationship between Rome and Emesa thus appears to have been founded on several components and was clearly intensified under Germanicus, as part of the establishment of a more comprehensive tie to the local leaders of the East, in order to support Roman strategic and economic interests. For this reason, the counterpart of Germanicus, Piso, referred to him as “Parthian prince”, a title with clear negative connotations for the Romans 97.

  • 98 Konrad 2014, p. 32-34 and 50-56; Kropp 2013a, p. 315-338, especially for Herod’s participation in (...)
  • 99 For details see Konrad 2014, p. 50-56.

43The finds from the necropolis of Tall Abū Ṣābūn exactly date into this period. They show that both before and during Germanicus’ expedition Emesa was rewarded with personal and individual gifts emphasizing the kingdom’s role as a highly valued partner of Rome. In light of the many functions of the client kings, the portrait-like design of the helmet undoubtedly plays a key role in the superordinate interpretation of the finds. In another instance, it was possible to show in detail that the helmet —just as with other comparable helmet finds in Syria— can be interpreted as evidence for the adherence of the local elite to the imperial cult 98. The decursio with full military pageantry was a standard part of the ceremonies 99. In this particular temporal context, the participation of the Emesan client kings in the funeral rites and the annual memorial celebrations in honour of Germanicus (dec. ad 19 in Syria) should be viewed as an indication of the close personal relationship between the Emesan kings and the Iulian-Claudian dynasty.

The Emesan client kings caught between their local identity and their role as privilegeed stakeholders of Rome

  • 100 Cf. the abundant literature on Herod and his successors, summarised by Günther 2005 and 2007; Jaco (...)
  • 101 Konrad 2014, p. 13-16 and 67-68.
  • 102 Konrad 2014, p. 16-20; partially already realized by Kropp 2010.
  • 103 Tac., ann. 2.2.1-3.1; Konrad 2014, p. 59-61.

44Tomb 1 of Emesa is an example of the delicate balance that the local elite strived to maintain between their (pseudo-) local identity and the demands that the Roman and Persian powers placed upon them. The Emesan grave finds have considerably enriched our understanding of the architecture and sculpture that had previously been based on literary sources 100. In the funerary rituals, grave forms, and grave goods from around ad 1 and the first half of the 1st cent. ad, elements have been found indicating that the buried persons still adhered to the “local” values and believed in the oriental ideal of the king as Sun God and a caring and just ruler. Examples include the monuments of the local elite from Hermel, Sirrin and Suweida that function as nephesh 101. The iconography of the tomb monument of Hermel (Lebanon), especially the motive of the bear hunt, strongly suggest a belief in the oriental ruler ideal 102. An emphasis on local ruler qualities was chosen in order to legitimize a ruler within his own interest group, because, as the example of the Parthian Prince Vonones —who was raised by Rome— shows, too much “Roman-ness” could lead to a loss of authority within the local hierarchies 103.

  • 104 Ios., ant. Jud. 19.8.2; Bernett 2007, p. 298-299; cf. also Fick 2004, p. 176-77.
  • 105 Ios., ant. Iud. 19.8.1.
  • 106 The whole scene is extensively discussed and interpreted by Konrad 2014, p. 61-62.

45During the early principate, this ostentatious demonstration of carefully selected (pseudo)local values could only be considered by Rome to be a parallel —or even counter— system to Roman rule. Two literary descriptions shed light on the situation: The dissolution of a meeting of eastern friendly kings who were invited by Agrippa I in Tiberias (see below) by the Syrian governor Vibius Marsus, and the description of an appearance of the Iudaean client king Agrippa II during a celebration of the imperial cult in the theatre of Caesarea. His ceremonial robe was bedecked with so much silver that the audience was blinded by the reflected light and forced to avert their heads. This brilliance was seen as a sign of his godliness. Given that the Roman imperial cult was supposed to be practised there, this type of appearance by a local dynast was not considered acceptable by the Romans 104. Iosephus’ report to the scene in Tiberias is most striking: the Syrian legate Vibius Marsus sent Agrippa’s guests home because the meeting “of so many powerful rulers [Antiochus of Commagene, Samsigeramus of Emesa, Kotys of Lesser Armenia, Polemon of Pontus and Herod of Chalkis] struck him as being suspect” 105. In the end, Rome could not penetrate the system and handled the impervious foreigner with distrust and authoritarian directives 106.

Samsigeramos’ tomb monument

  • 107 Kropp 2010; Oenbrink 2009; Schörner 2011; Konrad 2014, p. 11-13 and 63-65; now Freyberger in press (...)

46The tomb monument referred to above is key when studying the Emesan dynasts’ conception of their role and identity within thiet political and social frameworks 107.

  • 108 Seyrig 1952, p. 204; see above n. 20.
  • 109 Watzinger 1923.
  • 110 Recently also Kropp 2010; Oenbrink 2009; Schörner 2011; Konrad 2014.

47In 1911, the monument was detonated to make space for an oil storage facility (fig. 7). However, no one had any idea at the time that it belonged to an archaeological ensemble of the greatest significance. It was not until 1932 that it became clear that the tomb monument was part of the Abū Ṣābūn necropolis 108. In 1923 Carl Watzinger had analysed the monument in a fringe publication 109. His reconstruction of the edifice was, in fact, so precise that the latest reconstruction suggestions do not include any major changes from Watzinger’s model. His work, which focused on the architectonic elements, made it very clear at the time that the monument represents an extremely important attestation of the transcultural processes that took place between Rome and the local elites kings 110.

Figure 7.

Figure 7.

Emesa, Tomb monument of Gaios Iulios Samsigeramos (ad 78/79), after Watzinger 1923

  • 111 Sullivan 1977, p. 219; IGLS V 2212 (= OGIS 604): [Γάἴος Ἰούλι|ος, Φαϐἰᾳ, Σαμ|σιγέραμος ό καὶ Σείλα (...)
  • 112 Freyberger 1998, 15, n. 177. Cf. Oenbrink 2009, p. 199, n. 50.
  • 113 Oenbrink 2009, p. 195.
  • 114 Pococke 1754, p. 207-208.

48As one can see from the relatively small Greek epitaph (0.54 x 0.48 m) on a wall in the upper storey, this was the tomb of a Roman citizen named Samsigeramos, who built the monument for himself and his family in the year 390 of the Seleucid era (= ad 78/79) 111. As the researchers of this monument believe that the epitaph was not located above the main entrance in the east, but rather in the north, it is surmised that Samsigeramos had his own body buried in an existing family tomb in the upper floor. For this reason, and because of artistic parallels between the monument and the Herodian constructions in Masada, Klaus Stefan Freyberger has dated the tomb to the Augustan period. He believes the inscription was a later addition 112. Due to the uncertainty regarding the original location of the inscription, Oenbrink decided to define the date of the epitaph solely as terminus ante quem (ad 78/79) for the construction of the edifice 113. Accordingly, in the case of the eastern facade, the original donation inscription is required. However, from the report of Pococke, to whom we owe the first description of the monument, can be concluded that the epitaph of Samsigeramos was situated over the main entrance at the east side of the monument because it begins with “ΓΑΙΟΣ”. This would then refute the main argument for a subsequent placement of Samsigeramos’ epitaph: “Auf der Ost und Nordseite ist oben an dem zweiten Geschosse eine Inschrift, ich hatte aber keine Gelegenheit herauf zu steigen, und sie zu lesen. Auf der Nordseite konnte ich keinen Buchstaben von dem anderen unterscheiden; allein auf der Morgenseite hieß das erste Wort ΓΑΙΟΣ; und ich schrieb noch einige andere Buchstaben ab” 114 (= At the east and north side, on the second floor, there is an inscription, but I did not have the time to climb up and read it. On the north side I could not differentiate any letters; only on the east side could I read the first word ΓΑΙΟΣ; and I also copied a few other letters). In my opinion, the content of the inscription argues against Freyberger’s postulation. It is specifically stated that Samsigeramos built the tomb for himself and his family. The location of a construction epitaph in the second floor —from a Roman viewpoint uncanonical— was a common practice among the locals, as was the small format, has its best paralle at the Flavian tomb monument for the local priest of Maʿnu at Sirrin (see below).

  • 115 Watzinger 1923, p. 28-35.
  • 116 Oenbrink 2009, p. 196-198.

49The topographic connection with the necropolis of Tall Abū Ṣābūn and onomastic factors make it highly likely that the person described in the epitaph was a member of the Emesan dynasty. According to Watzinger’s description, the tomb monument is a square construction, about 21 m high, having sides of 12.5 m with a core of opus caementicium that is faced with opus reticulatum. The two storeys are separated by pilasters, the edifice is crowned by a pyramid. Black basalt and white limestone tesserae cover the facade in a netlike pattern. The facade is further structured by white pilasters and black cornices. In this way, the surface articulation dominates the greatly reduced architectonic structuring. Watzinger attributed this unusual style to the influence of oriental traditions in facade design 115. The storey where the inscription was found was accentuated by a dome, probably with a stucco coffered ceiling. Having considered all of the architectonic and decorative elements, Oenbrink, like Watzinger, concludes that the tomb monument should be interpreted as an example of an eclectic architectural style. Although the builder wanted to demonstratively incorporate Roman architecture, this intention was not, in fact, carried out tectonically. Instead, the structure remained essentially true to the oriental design principles and simply included Roman components 116.

The tomb monument of Samsigeramos in the context of the time

  • 117 On Emesa’s autonomy and the question of when the client status was dissolved cf. Millar 1993, p. 8 (...)

50After the victory over Parthia in 63 ad Rome undertook a comprehensive restructuring of the organization of the frontiers in the east, successively building frontier garrisons similar to those in the limites of other provinces. Parallel to this, the client kingdoms of Commagene and Emesa were dissolved in the early 70’s of the 1st cent. ad 117.

  • 118 Speidel 2005, p. 85-89; now also in the wider context of Roman policy in the Near East Hartmann 20 (...)
  • 119 Konrad 1996 and 1992; Millar 1993, p. 80-90.
  • 120 Kissel 1997, p. 147-178.

51Thus, there was no longer a possibility for those client kings whom Agrippa had previously invited to Tiberias to gather too much power through an “entente cordiale”. The fact that the main reason for Rome’s decision to implement these measures was the suspicion of intrigues against Rome is revealed by Rome’s accusations that the Commagene client kingdom was planning a revolt 118. The dissolution of the client status of Commagene as well as Emesa (probably ad 72/73), accompanied by a massive deployment of troops, therefore meant nothing more to Rome than a welcome consequence of the new territorial and political situation after the Parthian war 119. With Samosata, Zeugma, Hierapolis (Tall Banāt), Thapsakos, Sura and Nikephorion, Rome now directly controlled the most important Euphrates crossings. Furthermore, with its domination of Emesa, a significant location on the east-west transverse axes was also completely in Roman hands (see above) 120.

The necropolis, the tomb monument and the issues regarding the local elite’s sense of identity and self-perception

  • 121 Elton 1996 and Wendt 2008 correctly point out that, legally, the client kingdoms were already part (...)

52As can be seen in the example of Emesa, the dissolution of the client status and Emesa’s transformation into a Roman province in the 70’s ad triggered an identity crisis 121.

  • 122 For the reception and meaning of opus reticulatum in the architectural program of early Roman clie (...)

53C. Iulius Samsigeramos, the occupant of the tomb monument, lived through Emesa's dramatic change from client kingdom to province. With his choice of an orientalized Aedicula tomb instead of the traditional rock-cut tombs covered by a stone slab (and possibly even a tumulus), he picked a type of tomb based on the prototype of representative Roman tomb monuments. This decision is a self-statement that the person(s) buried here is no longer a client king representing local values, but rather a Roman citizen —one who has a new definition of himself, his merits and his social position in accordance with the new relationship to Rome and its frameworks. His choice of tomb sought to express his affinity to Rome, its social system and to Roman culture. Like Herod two generations earlier, he displays himself as a connoisseur of Roman architecture. Samsigeramos, though, vigorously demonstrates his acculturation to the public: the opus reticulatum (as the facing of an opus caementicium) is not plastered according to the Italian custom, but rather left uncovered to make a point of his expertise, cultivation, social and political connections as well as his superiority and closeness to the sovereign 122.

54What is it, exactly, that differentiates C. Iulius Samsigeramos, of the tomb built in ad 78/79, from his relative in tomb 1, name unknown, but who may be Samsigeramos II, phylarch and Roman client king from the second decade ad into the 40’s?

  • 123 Kropp 2010, p. 203, n. 28, argues against using the terms “Arabic/Arab” in the context of Emesa, a (...)
  • 124 See also Kropp 2013a, p. 365.
  • 125 Paltiel 1991, p. 114 and 241-243.
  • 126 Raggi 2010, p. 96. I am grateful to Hans-Ulrich Nuber (†) for pointing out the unusual mention of (...)

55C. Iulius Samsigeramos abandons the traditional tomb type, his epitaph is written in Greek and not Aramaic or bilingual, as is still the case with the contemporary inscription of the local priest in Sirrin 123. The architecture of his tomb monument follows the Roman model, but is subtly adapted to the local taste and architectural style 124. Although the family probably received Roman citizenship by 20 bc (see above), Samsigeramos is the first to publicly cite his Roman name first, followed by his personal and pet names in appositional structure: “Caius Iulius Fabia, Samsigeramos, also called Silos ...” The fact that even the tribus (Fabia) is mentioned is unusual in Roman contexts and is intended to emphasize his registration in an Italian tribus. This marks a major deviation from older written material. Well into the mid 1st cent., the absence of the mention of citizenship by using the tria nomina is exactly what distinguished the Oriental client kings 125. Roman citizenship was previously not considered to be a valuable trait in one's own local society. Instead, authority within the tribe or tribal confederation was based on the values illustrated in the grave goods of the necropolis in the valley of Abū Ṣābūn and in the Hermel relief: bravery, piety, responsibility, loyalty, and victoriousness. In contrast, Samsigeramos portrays himself proudly as civis Romanus, emphasizing his membership in Roman society and his acceptance of Roman social systems and values 126.

56Between the time of Samsigeramos' tomb monument (ad 78/79) and the oldest graves covered with stone slabs (e.g. tomb 1, ad 25-50) there is a span of about two generations. During this period, the client kings presented themselves as loyal coalition partners with Rome. Thus, even more so than C. Iulius Samsigeramos, his predecessors performed a delicate balancing act in which they represented both the subordinate local groups and Roman interests. Their attempts to embody an appropriate identity that was acceptable and authentic to both parties is reflected in their hybrid tomb inventory.

GENERAL ASSESSMENT

Identity and the development of identity

  • 127 Summarizing Konrad 2014, p. 67-71.

57The client kings of Emesa operated within a field of tension that derived from the specific political and social constellations of the early-imperial period 127. As official functionaries, they mediated between a state with highly developed administrative, institutional and political systems and a society organized according to tribal structure. As can be seen with the example of the tombs’ inventories and the design of the contemporaneous tomb monuments in the client kingdoms (Sirrin, Hermel, Suweida) and in the extraterritorial neighbourhoods of the Roman province, the value systems of the societies with a tribal organization differed greatly from that of the Romans.

58The fact that the tribal elite ostentatiously continued to practice local traditions and use specific semantic forms of expression while at the same time demonstrating a commitment to Rome arose from the necessity of adapting to developments in the political environment. The change can be seen in the way that the phylarchoi portrayed their higher social standing and privileges, and their intensive ties to the hegemon.

  • 128 Cf. on the Oriental ideal ruler Otto 2013, p. 45-68; see above for the ideal of the “charismatic” (...)

59A look at the witnesses of the late 1st cent. bc to mid 1st cent. ad shows that the tribal elite nevertheless continued to identify themselves according to their common heredity and cultural and economic roots. Semitic language and script, religion, a semi-nomadic way of life and economic basis, local costume as well as a distinct architectural style —these are all expressions of a social group that clearly differentiates itself from the Hellenistic-Roman society. At the same time, it can be seen that the development of these common “shows of identity”, which were self-confidently presented to the external world by the local rulers and phylarchs, first began with their interaction with the Great powers. The cultural independence of this group is also evident in the demonstration of its own value system, including, for example, the royal hunt. The basis of authority is the auctoritas within the tribal social structure and also legitimation through the will of the gods. As priest-kings sent by the gods, they simultaneously embodied the ideal of the pious ruler and the “good shephard”. The virtue of the caring kings is illustrated in the Hermel reliefs, for example. In this case, the euergetic qualities of Mesopotamian and Hellenistic ruling ideals are combined 128.

  • 129 Paltiel 1991, p. 205; Millar 1993, p. 60-61; Braund 1984, p. 105-22; Jacobson 2001, p. 26 and 34.

60As philorhomaioi or amici populi Romani, the client kings were also obliged to demonstrate publicly their friendship and loyalty to Rome 129. Within the Hellenistic-Roman power structure, neither the auctoritas based on tribal hierarchy, nor the will of the gods were sufficient legitimizations of power. Hence, it was of advantage to also find a dynastic derivation for the gens. This was even more important in light of the fact that the ruling dynasties of the steppe regions did not owe their authority in this period mainly to evolved tribal traditions, but rather to the intensifying relations to the hegemonic foreign powers, which, moreover, strengthened their authority in the local social networks.

  • 130 Erll 2011.

61This “identity profile” helps us to understand how the newly constructed representation of their past was used by the Oriental client kings of Rome to develop a new sense of identity. In this way, a collective cultural basis was created for a body of social groups that had previously had no common ties. An exact choice of parameters and communication mediums played a major role in the conveyance of this identity. This was based on the one hand on the representation of a common past and, on the other hand, on the regions’ function as Roman foederati. In other words, we have here an impressive example of a “self-made image” that served as basis for the formation of local identities at the eastern periphery of the Roman empire. Both the lifeworld and the natural environment were used as a foundation for developing methods of interaction that promoted the collective identity 130.

Results and summary

  • 131 Wißmann 2011, p. 41-69, esp. 47 and 52-58; Claessens 1984, p. 1-16.
  • 132 Wißmann 2011, p. 63-69 and 156-80, esp. 158-66; Waldenfels 1997 and 2006.
  • 133 Wißmann 2011, p. 47, 136 and 166-77; Claessens 1984; for the assessement of Eastern dynasts from t (...)

62The material discussed here is particularly useful to show how the construction of a social identity can occur within a specific chronological, spatial and contextual framework 131. In the example above, the influence of external bodies, including the clashing of entirely different order systems and values, was paradigmatic for the development of new identities 132. In the Marsus scene at Tiberias, which can be considered representative of many similar situations, the structural alienness becomes apparent: The behaviour of the protagonists follows cliché-like patterns, and the “rules” are clearly not understood 133.

  • 134 Wißmann 2011, p. 44-52, esp. 47 and 52-58; Keupp & Höfer 1997, esp. p. 12; Keupp 2006.
  • 135 Wißmann 2011, p. 95-120, esp. 113-20; Werlen 1987.

63Furthermore, the archaeological and written evidence lead to the conclusion that identity can change, and it is possible for one person to have multiple identities 134. In our example, the framework is critical: the political framework in which a constitutional state came together with tribal structures at the frontier of Roman territory as well as the environmental framework of the steppe with its specific requirements for life and the economy, including particular social, economic, and political structures and forms of interaction. In this case, therefore, the “socially constructed” framework is identical to both the sphere of action that corrsponds with the borders of the steppe-desert as natural environment 135.

  • 136 For the relations of the local elites with Parthia see Luther 2004, esp. p. 338-339. A different v (...)

64The orientation of the Emesan kings and the phylarchs to the Parthian steppe-nomadic culture as well as the acceptance of relevant emblems and symbols of this cultural groups are evidence of the conscious construction of an alternative world to the Greek-Roman model 136. At the Imperium Romanum’s eastern frontier it can be shown that the interaction with the ruling powers led not only to “functional elites”, but also to “functional ethnicities” whose significance should be considered in a comprehensive geographic and historic discussion.

La rédaction de Syria remercie Chadi Hatoum (doctorant, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) pour la traduction des résumés et mots-clés en arabe.

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Notes

1 This contribution summarizes the results of Konrad 2014; because of the outbreak of the civil war, it was not possible to examine the objects by a recent autopsy. Latest publications referring to the archaeology of the East Roman Client kings with all relevant ref. Kropp 2013a, esp. p. 343-384 the very prudent synthesis with a differentiated view on the specific characteristics of the local kingdoms; for a differentiated view an meaning of the terms “client kings”, “vassals” etc. see Hartmann 2015 esp. p. 301-307 ; Schörner 2011; Braund 1984; Wendt 2008; Konrad 2014; a comparing approach follows Creighton 2009, p. 361-381.

2 Kropp 2013a, p. 208-211, and 2010, p. 201; Oenbrink 2009, p. 204, n. 82.

3 Seyrig 1952 and 1953; Konrad 2014.

4 For the topography Seyrig 1959; Konrad 2014, p. 5, n. 25; Oenbrink 2009; Kropp 2010 and 2013a, p. 24-26, p. 208-212, fig. 85, each with further ref.; Kropp 2010 doubts that the person mentioned in the tomb inscription is a member of the royal family; for the discussion about the date of the monument see below.

5 Sartre 2001, p. 382-383, 497-527, esp. p. 504-507; Gebhardt 2002, p. 232-233; Funke 1996, p. 217-328, esp. 222-226; Gogräfe 1995, p. 168-170; Freyberger 1998, p. 103; Butcher 2003, p. 87-98; Sommer 2005, esp. 58-63. See now also in general for the meaning and different kinds of clientship Wendt 2015; esp. Hartmann 2015; for the Late Republic see Schulz 2015 and with a specific perspective on the East Van Wijlick 2015.

6 Seyrig 1959; Freyberger 1998, p. 62, n. 812; Kropp 2013a, p. 24-26.

7 Seyrig 1959; Sartre 2001, p. 505; Gatier 1996, however doubts the importance of the trade for Emesa; cf. however Konrad 2014, p. 4, n. 18 and 50, n. 269; Gebhardt 2002, p. 233-234 and 239.

8 Sommer 2005, p. 95-97; Gebhardt 2002, p. 235 correctly points out the deficit of information. For the archaeology and environmental conditions see Abdulkarim 2014, p. 41-50, esp. 47-48; Konrad 2014, p. 4, n. 14-18; Philip et al. 2002, p. 1-23, esp. 19-20, fig. 7, and 2005, p. 21-42, esp. 39-40; Abdulkarim 2002-2003, p. 261-275.

9 Gebhardt 2002, p. 232; cf. in contrast Millar 1993, p. 302-309.

10 Jacobson 2001, p. 22 and 29; Kropp 2010, p. 200-201 and 214-216. The fact that Emesa was not founded before the late 1st cent. bc can be surmised from an epitaph in a tomb in Arethusa (IGLS V 2085; ad 5/6). According to this, Arethusa (al-Rastan), c. 15 km north of Homs, was the first residence of an autonomous Arabic tribe —which, Seyrig believes, was led by the family that later became the Emesan royalty. This is corroborated by Strabon (Strab. 16.2.10 [= 753]), when the Emeseni supported Q. Caecilius Bassus’ revolt (46/43 bc), see below n. 24; cf. also Kropp 2010, p. 201; Seyrig 1959, p. 187. On the archaeology of the 6.5 ha area of the citadel of Emesa (diam. 275 m): King 2002, p. 39-58, esp. 43-44 and 55 with a mention of Eastern Sigillata A from moved contexts, which could imply a settlement from the period of the client kingdom status. Especially in light of the questions related to the reticulatum technique, the publication of the ibidem mentioned Roman brick masonry would be important here. Gatier 1996, p. 433; Seyrig 1959; EI (1971), 409-415, s.v. “Ḥimṣ” (N. Elisseeff) with attached map and reference to the still-recognizable Roman road grid plan and to the extreme pagan influence that lasted into the medieval period; the resettlement from Arethusa to Homs that is dated here to the late 1st cent. ad is not convincing; Ball 2007, p. 37-47.

11 Konrad 1996; Eck & Pangerl 2005, p. 101-118; Konrad 2003, p. 237-256; Gebhardt 2002; description of the historical background in Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 65-73.

12 Braund 1984, p. 91-103; Sullivan 1977; Graf 1998. Shahid 1984, esp. p. 4, 41-43 and 145-153. Cf. also in general Lewin 2011; Elton 1996, p. 29-35, who strongly argues that from the Roman viewpoint these territories already belonged to the Empire, just as the allied troops during the Year of the Three Emperors were considered to be a part of the Roman forces; Tac., ann. 1.11.4; Tac., hist. 4.37-39; this Roman self-image also influenced the Roman actions regarding the rules of succession and the stationing of Roman troops on their allies’ territory, as occurred in Armenia, cf. Elton 1996, p. 34.

13 Schörner 2011, esp. p. 113-14 with ref. n. 3; Speidel 2005, p. 89-90; Elton 1996, p. 29-35; Braund 1984, p. 66; Wendt 2008, p. 155; Millar 1993, p. 60; Raggi 2010, p. 96; Braund 1984, p. 94; Konrad 2014, p. 1-6. D. Braund assumes that the client kingdoms were not required to pay a tribute, except in rare cases, Braund 1984, p. 55-73. Cf. also Schumacher 2008, p. 141-60, esp. 143-44. Tac. ann. 4.5.

14 Millar 1993, p. 27-90; Sullivan 1977, p. 205-207; cf. also Ios., bell. Iud. 1.188; bell. Alex. 65; cf. also Cic., ad fam. 15.1.2; on this point Graindor 1931, p. 128, n. 2. For the military engagement Gebhardt 2002, p. 235 n. 3; Speidel 2005, p. 86; Millar 1993, p. 69-76 and 81-82; Konrad 2014, p. 7, 47-48 and 57-58; see also Hartmann 2015, p. 314-325.

15 Millar 1993, p. 301-302; Paltiel 1991, p. 35-38 and 214.

16 Gebhardt 2002, p. 236-237 with ref.; Millar 1993, p. 303-309; Baldus 1971, 242 and 248-250.

17 For the following see Seyrig 1952, p. 207 with n. 2; however, the review of Seyrig does not clarify whether the separation refers to the run of the road or only to the necropolis itself; Seyrig 1953; Pococke 1754, p. 208. Konrad 2014, esp. p. 21-41, pl. 1-7 and 79-84 the catalogue of the tombs.

18 Konrad 2007, 84 with ref. n. 42 and 88, fig. 3, 1, and 2013, p. 206-207; regarding the similarities reaching back into the mid-Assyrian period of the one-piece clay “bathtub sarcophagus” (Trogsarkophag) in Assur cf. also Haller 1954, p. 58-60; especially the post-Assyrian and Parthian examples Haller 1954, p. 74-85, table 17 i, 18 a and b.

19 Konrad 2014, p. 22; on the tradition of burial mounds Konrad 2004, p. 135 with further ref.; p. 144, fig. 6.

20 See below ; Konrad 2014, p. 11-12 and 65.

21 Konrad 2014, p. 22-34.

22 A more detailed description of the finds in Fick 2004, p. 165-77; Curtis 1995, p. 226-231; Wildung 1990, p. 206-221. Another interpretation in terms of golden death masks as a distinguishing medium of the elites has recently been proposed by Quast 2014, p. 265-310; for the necropolis of Emesa ibid. 278, fig. 11 and p. 288-289, fig. 18.

23 Konrad 2014, p. 31-32; Kropp 2010, p. 202-204, both with further ref. On Augustus und Apollo Lambrechts 1988, p. 88-107 (= translation from id. 1953, p. 65-82); Miller 2009; Simon 1978, p. 202-227, esp. 216-27, and 1957, p. 30-44; Miller 1994, p. 99-112; Balensiefen 2009, p. 67-89, esp. 67-71; Zanker 1987, p. 57-61.

24 This renewal marked the end of a period of crisis during the civil wars when most of the eastern client kings were on the side of Marcus Antonius, see Sartre 2001, 463-469. In the case of Emesa the conflict began as early as 46/43 bc, when Iamblichus I supported Q. Caecilius Bassus in his intrigues against C. Iulius Caesar, an alliance for which he was sentenced to death by M. Antonius (see above). Raggi 2010, p. 91; Coşkun 2005, p. 127-154, esp. 128-129, n. 3. Cass. Dio 50.13.7; Strab. 16.2.10 [= 753]. For a discussion of the granting of citizenship to the Emesan rulers see Raggi 2010, p. 90-91 and 96 (Augustan); cf. in contrast Braund 1984, p. 44, who argues that citizenship was already granted under Caesar. Regarding the relationship of Augustus with the communities and dynasts of the east, who were generally loyal to Antonius, and the respective measures to secure authority, see Kienast 1999, p. 454-473 and 230-238, esp. 461 on the role of Apollo; Bernhardt 1985, p. 157-158; for the local rulers as clients of Antonius see Wendt 2008, p. 96-97. For the restored fides with Octavian after the partisanship of Herod with Marcus Antonius cf. Wilker 2005, p. 201-223, esp. 203; Bowersock 1965, p. 42-61 esp. 47 (Emesa); Paltiel 1991, p. 114; Speidel 2005, p. 94-95. The meaning of the Apollo on the gem as legitimating god of the Seleucid kings seems not reasonable to me in the context of a tomb with its obvious Roman relations. For Apollon as dynastic god of the Seleucids, see Günther 1971, p. 71-74.

25 Haake 2014, p. 24-28; Kropp 2010, p. 202-204; and earlier Seyrig 1952, p. 236-239; Salzmann 2007, p. 37-43, esp. 40-41 and 43, fig. 9-14 argues that the fact that under Augustus the characteristic portrayal elements typically used to depict Oriental rulers was eschewed in favour of a more Roman imperial style represents a break and is proof of the dependence of the client kings on Rome.

26 Regarding the privilege for members of the equestrian and senatorial order to wear the massive golden signet ring (anulus aureus), see e.g. Spalthoff 2010, p. 19-27 with additional ref. On the significance of the gold ring as an insignia see Plin., nat. 33.4.8–9.36. On the granting of rings as a symbol of friendship, also with foreign friends, see the summary with literary sources of Zwierlein-Diehl 2007, p. 14-17; on the significance of signet rings, especially since Augustus, see Plin., nat. 37.3.41. There seems to be no functional correspondence with the ruler-portraited sealing rings that were used by magistrates and other functionaries of the Ptolemaeic resp. Hellenistic kings. Nevertheless they could also have the meaning of a honorary gift, distinguishing the φίλoı, see Kyrieleis 2015, p. 53-56 with n. 165 for their appearance in the Seleucid Empire.

27 For the date of the portrait Kropp 2010, p. 202-204; Kropp 2013a, p. 82; compare however for a later date Gall 1969-1970, p. 306-307 and 301, fig. 2 c; for the date of the helmet Mackensen 2000, p. 127 with ref.

28 For the type see Musche 1988, pl. LXII–LXV, esp. type 1.2; Konrad 2014, p. 33-34; for star-shaped fibulae as part of the womens’ dress see for example Tanabe 1986, p. 368-369, pl. 337-38.

29 Musche 1988, p. 269, pl. XCVI, type 2, p. 176-185, esp. 177 and 266-269; for parallels on Palmyrenian sculpture see Seyrig 1952, p. 244; Chabot 1922, p. 123, no 23, pl. 32,6; Ingholt 1928, p. 106, n. 4.

30 Konrad 2014, p. 30. Amulets are very characteristic elements in local grave goods, see Konrad 2004, p. 140, with n. 57; RdV (1924) 158-63, s.v. “Amulett” (K. Sudhoff); philological sources: Maul 1994, esp. p. 106-113.

31 Konrad 2014, p. 24-25; Werner 1994, p. 278-280 with ref.; Sarianidi 1985; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 108 and 229-238; Schmauder 2002, p. 237-255, esp. 238-239; cf. also Bespaly 1992, p. 175-191, esp. 179, fig. 4 and 181, fig. 5-6 (together with a typical dagger with decorated ends), good photographs Vollkommer 1993, p. 247-273; M. Treister in Hesberg, Treister & Schenke 2004, p. 62-82, esp. 72-73 and 76-78.

32 Musche 1988, p. 33, 43 and 284; on the preference for a simple and plain design of traditional costume elements and jewelery since the 4th/3rd cent. bc in the Black Sea region see ibid. p. 146; Pfeiler 1970, p. 78-84.

33 Overview of objects of this style Musche 1988; Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 441, fig. 5; however, compared to the wide variety of finds, the portrait sculpture seems to reproduce only a selection of the jewellery and weapons. Especially in Palmyra, the clothing style and the embroidered tissues have a distinctly local flavour. In contrast, Hatrene male portrait sculpture includes torcs, golden cloth fittings or bracelets in turquoise-gold-style. Cf. however from Palmyra Tanabe 1986, p. 405-414, pl. 374-383; 455, pl. 426 and 457, pl. 429; Seyrig 1952, p. 227-236.

34 Konrad 2014, p. 24-25.

35 Konrad 2014, p. 28-30 with table 1; Fick 2004, with ref. about the post-Babylonian tombs of Nippur and Seleukeia (?); on Nippur (without figs.) Peters 1898, p. 226-230, esp. 227; Seyrig 1952, p. 205; Šarov 2003, p. 46, n. 37; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 232; Landskron 2005, p. 93-98, pl. 16, fig. 69-70; Musche 1988, p. 278-281; Sarianidi 1985, p. 20 and 24-25; ibid. p. 231, fig. 21, pl. 51 and 232, fig. 22 (paisley/trefoil design). Feature in situ p. 255 no 38; better shown in: Bernard & Cambon 2010, p. 60 fig.; Sarianidi 1985, p. 231 no 10; p. 233 no 25; p. 236 nos 8 and 10-13; p. 238 nos 23, 26 and 27; p. 240-241 nos 37, 24, 4-11, 13-14; p. 243 nos 25-31; p. 244 nos 38-39; p. 245 no 43; p. 252-253 nos 12-14, 16-20 and 22; p. 259 nos 8-12; p. 261 nos 24 and 26, pl. 5-9, 17, 21-35, 100, 125-26, 132-33 and 153, esp. pl. 21; (hemispheric); 52 and 100 (heart-shaped). Hatra: Ghirshman 1962, p. 89, fig. 100 (garment and tiara of King Uṯal 2nd(/3rd) cent. ad); on the dating of the Hatrene sculpture see Winkelmann 2003, p. 44-45, n. 71. Whether Sanaṭrūq’s garment of consists of brocade or rather material with additional edging, perhaps with metal appliqué, is not clear, cf. Winkelmann 2003, p. 94 , fig. 105; Young 1963, pl. 48 and 50A (Arsameia). Star-shaped decoration at the tiara of Mithra from Arsameia: Young 1963, p. 201, fig. 28. On the appearance of the clothing of a daughter from the royal family cf. Ghirshman 1962, p. 95, fig. 106.

36 Ios., ant. Jud. 19.8.2; after Herodian., Hist. 5.3, 6 this kind of ceremonial garment was also worn by oriental priests; cf. also 5.5.3-4 (description of Bassianus’ priestly garments with interwoven gold thread that also included leg covering, described here as “barbarian costume”).

37 Dirven 2008, p. 221-231 and 238; for Uranius Antoninus see Baldus 1971, p. 237-238, 248˗250 and 267 with sources; for the depiction on coins of Elagabalus at the sacrifice ibid. p. 274, n. 56 (for example see RIC IV, 2 Pl. II, 8-9, 13 and 20); on Bassianus (Elagabal) also Herodian, Hist. 5.3.6 and 5.5.3.

38 Sarianidi 1985, p. 231, fig. 21, pl. 51 and 232, fig. 22 (paisley-/trefoil-shaped). Feature in situ p. 255 no 38; better pictured in Bernard & Cambon 2010, p. 60 fig.; on Abdsimiya-Statue cf. Mathiesen 1992, I 35 and II 212, fig. 79, no 209 (statue of Abdsimiya, 2nd half 2nd[/1st quarter 2nd?] cent. ad).

39 Seyrig 1952, p. 240-244 and 240, fig. 18-19, pl. 27.1; for the following discussion Konrad 2014, p. 25-28.

40 Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (2010) “Ziege/Ziegenbock” (H. Frey-Anthes) (http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/stichwort/35346/); cf. also the garment appliqué in form of a ram’s head in tourquoise-gold-style from Tilla Tepe: Sarianidi 1985, p. 236 no 8, pl. 153; (secondary use) Moufflon statuette: ibid. 40 and p. 251 no 3, pl. 112-120 (described as ibex); the meaning of the ram becomes clear with a necklace from Amazis-Khevi where an amethyst ram's head is part of a wreath-shaped necklace of tourquoise and garnet attached to a perfume bottle. This may thus also be considered as having a cult context, cf. Pfeiler 1970, p. 79, pl. 22. Wamers & Stutzinger 2003, p. 160 no 140 (ram-shaped cast vessel, Sarmatian, 1st cent. ad).

41 Seyrig 1937. Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 432-434. Skripkin 2003, p. 9-18, esp. 12-13, pl. 1; Shchukin 2003, p. 29, fig. 10; Šarov 2003, p. 35-38 and 39, fig. 3 (Bosporan Kingdom). On the provenence of this type from the Altai Brentjes 1994, p. 215-224, esp. 218-224, on the younger ceremonial versions with depictions of local animals on the straps and pommels; in detail Winkelmann 2003, p. 46-47, 54-58 and 77-81; ibid. p. 75 with mention of the close ties between the Sarmatian-Sakian and the Parthian-Hatrene weapons; id. 2009, p. 349-350; summary Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 190-196; Winkelmann 2013, p. 243-245; cf. also Wamers & Stutzinger 2003, p. 51, fig. 19 (Dači at the Don, Kurgan 1); another richly decorated gold sheath of this type in Nabačikov 1989, pl. 46 no 250 and 178 no 250 (Gorgippia, tomb 2, sarcophagus 2, “2nd-mid 3rd cent. ad” with depictions of eagles, some hunting, and peacocks.) There are, however, no parallels for the way the Palmyran statue carries the dagger at the left on his chest. Winkelmann 2003, esp. p. 71-75; id. 2013, p. 243-245; on depictions in sepulchral banquet scenes of Osrhoene cf. id. 2009, esp. p. 363, fig. 18; Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999. On pictoral evidence in Commagene Metzler 2000, p. 55, fig. 72 b, 59 fig. 79; Ginters 1928, p. 49-59, pl. 25 b (sword with ring handle) and 26 (antenna knob); Young 1963, esp. p. 206 and 223, pl. 48 and 51A. The short sword was not part of the fighting weapons, compare Ginters 1928, p. 21-23; summary Landskron 2005, p. 98-99; cf. also Encyclopædia Iranica II (1987) esp. p. 494-499 s.v. “army” (A. Sh. Shahbazi); for a more regional differentiation see Winkelmann 2003, p. 47-52; Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 107-109. Cf. e.g. also in Sasanian ruler depictions the general presence of the (long) sword in ritual contexts, e.g. at the ruler’s investiture, as an insignium for dignity and for victory. The long sword is not shown, however, in local battle scenes, cf. Herrmann 1980, fig. 1, pl 4 (Bishapur III, triumph of Shapur I), and 1981, p. 11-20, esp. 13-14, fig. 2, pl. 12 (Bishapur V, investiture of Bahram I), p. 20-38, esp. 22-23, pl. 18 (Bishapur VI, Sasanian king on his throne with his hands resting on his sword); Herrmann 1983, p. 28, pl. 25 and 27 (Sarab-i Bahram, Bahram II on his throne with hands resting on his sword), 31-36, pl. 33 (Tang-i-Qandil, ceremonial scene); Trümpelmann 1991, p. 44, fig. 70, and 45, fig. 73-74; summary of the sword as main type of weapon of the nomadic tribes in Eurasia since the 2nd cent. bc and, since the 1st cent. bc, also in sedentary contexts with an extended meaning as badge of rank in Parthian and Sasanian contexts, see Winkelmann 2009, p. 349-350; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 190-96.

42 Sarianidi 1985, p. 248 no 9, pl. 162, 164 and 165.

43 Inventory No A29/1231, autopsy of the author in the Palmyra museum, Sept. 2010. Tomb sculpture from the “Qasr al-Abyad” in Palmyra: Tanabe 1986, p. 466, fig. 440; ibid. 467, fig. 441 with 4 half-rounded appendages on the sheath of the short sword worn on the right side of the Acinaces type. Recognizable with a side view of the sword by Colledge 1976, fig. 112; esp. Seyrig 1937, p. 14, fig. 4, pl. 1 (ad “100-150”) esp. 34-37. I cannot follow the categorization of the object as jar or ewer and incense pyxis (ibid. p. 35) and the resulting identification of the portrayed man as a priest; cf. also ibid. p. 27-31 with 29, fig. 19 the depiction of a dagger with an annular pommel in the “Tomb of Three Brothers”; another depiction of a dagger worn at the chest in Metropolitan Museum New York, Mathiesen 1992, p. 218, fig. 83 no 225.

44 Parzinger 2006, p. 751 and 753, fig. 240.13; cf. also ibid. 719 and 718, fig. 225.21 (middle Sargat-period and Kulajka-culture of the west Siberian steppe, 3rd/2nd cent. bc-late 2nd cent. ad).

45 Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 439, n. 42; Winkelmann 2003, p. 71-75; on the identification of the “Prince of Shami” with Orodes II (57-38 bc) cf. Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 202; Ginters 1928, p. 56-59, pl. 25; younger Sasanian examples: Goldman 1993, p. 201-246, especially the older examples of the 1st and 2nd cent. ad. with ring handles p. 230, fig. 40 g-i; cf. also the depiction of a local king from Hatra Dirven 2008, pl. 75, or for the depiction of an Abgarid king from the ritual cave of Sumatar Harabesi Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 218-219 (ad 165).

46 Winkelmann 2003, p. 32-38; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 190-196; Winkelmann 2009, p. 341-348; Konrad 2014, p. 31; Robinson 1967, p. 17-51; Chudjakov 2006, p. 48, esp. 68, fig. II, 7. Nicolle 1996, p. 7, esp. fig. 1 D (Parthian) and 8, fig. 2; Wilcox 1986, p. 22 and 41; Nicolle 1991; James 2004, p. 43, fig. 23; see also 42, fig. 22. On the problematics of interpreting visual depictions see Winkelmann 2003, p. 31-33 and 39-42.

47 Konrad 2014, p. 35; Musche 1988, pl. XLV, type 9.2; Pfeiler 1970, p. 86 with pl. 21; cf. also from Seleuceia Braidwood 1933, pl. XXIV.3; on the decorative silver disc from Dura-Europos with a central star-shaped motive that was excavated as part of a collection of jewelery finds in the bastion, cf. Baur, Rostovtzeff & Bellinger 1933, pl. 25.3 (= Musche 1988, pl. XXXV, type 3.2.4.1); on Armazis Chevi (Mzcheta) Brentjes 1959, p. 83-92, esp. 88, fig. 4.2 (tomb 6, terminus post quem ad 180).

48 Konrad 2014, p. 36.

49 Seyrig 1952, p. 205 and 245, fig. 25; Adler 2003, esp. p. 30-31 and 300-2; cf. also the coin depictions on a necklace that is open at the front and a comparable necklace with three-parted collar in Wroth 1964, pl. 5.2 (Artabanes I); other necklaces with relief work, also worn by younger Parthian kings, for example Phraates IV (38/37 bc-ad 3/2) ibid. pl. 19.2-9 and 20.1; Ghirshman 1962, p. 89, fig. 100; Jacobs 2000, p. 31, fig. 38; Wagner 2000, p. 15, fig. 20; Metzler 2000, p. 54; Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 234-235. A similar torc is worn by the “Parthian prince” from southwestern Iran (Shami), see Schneider 2007, p. 56, fig. 4.

50 Jacobs & Schütte-Maischatz 1999, p. 432, pl. 40-42; see also Musche 1988, p. 257-260, pl. XC–XCI type 3.1.16-3.1.17 (with decorative disc), auch pl. XCI type 3.1.18.

51 Konrad 2014, p. 35; Musche 1988, p. 51 and 106-107.

52 Musche 1988, p. 27-40, pl. III–IV; Konrad 2014, p. 37; regarding the production of the interlaced bands see ibid. p. 132; and Pfeiler 1970, p. 87, pl. 28 with a detailed description; Yeivin 1933, p. 33-64, esp. 48-59; very similar to the Emesan example are two 18.7 cm long gold interlaced bands, also with wire-shaped eyelets at the ends: Braidwood 1933, p. 68, pl. 24, fig. 2, 7-8 (with garnet cabochons, heart-shaped turquoise [?] inlays and gold granulated work); the interpretation as armlets is probably incorrect.

53 Musche 1988, p. 161-162; better photographs of the Emesan example are in Zouhdi 1971, p. 95-111, esp. 99 no 3, pl. 14.3. Parallels: Reuther 1926, p. 264, pl. 95, fig. 238 b (tomb 238); Porada 1967, p. 99-120; cf. also the cylindrical glass beads that were fixed at a golden necklace of the same construction from the southern Russian Kuban region: Nabačikov 1989, pl. 30 no 169 and 145 no 169 (Kubantal, Bezirk Teutscheshsk Kurgan 3; “2nd/1st cent. bc”). Here, too, the eyelets may have been used to hang pendilia, like in Edith Porada’s example.

54 Konrad 2014, p. 37-38.

55 Seyrig 1953, p. 16-17.

56 Konrad 2014, p. 37.

57 E.g. Tanabe 1986, 164 no 131; also 143 no 110.

58 Winkelmann 2003, p. 53.

59 Musche 1988, p. 29 and 46-49; Quast 2014, p. 267-270; Konrad 2014, p. 39.

60 Konrad 2014, p. 35-36 and 38 with table 1; Quast 2014, p. 270-274.

61 Konrad 2014, p. 30 and 34; Konrad 2004, p. 140 with ref.; for bells see Musche 1988, p. 50; Oettel 2000, p. 106-120.

62 Cf. here Musche 1988, p. 118-132; Konrad 2014, p. 36; regarding the fica pendant see Musche 1988, p. 172, pl. LVII, 22.2 and XLIII, 5.1.

63 Konrad 2014, p. 39, with nr. 224 for the date of the coin of tomb 8; generally Konrad 2004, p. 141; Oettel 2000, p. 106-120.

64 Sarianidi 1985, p. 58; Konrad 2004, p. 141, with n. 61.

65 Konrad 2014, p. 39; 2004, p. 140 with ref.

66 Seyrig 1952; Kropp 2010 and 2013a.

67 Compare e.g. the tumuli of the Commagenian kings: Sanders 1996, p. 135-138; cf. also Wagner 2000, p. 18, fig. 23, esp. the tomb of Mithridates II in Sesönk, ibid. p. 23, fig. 30. With a diameter of 35 m, this corresponds roughly to the proposed reconstruction of Emesa tomb 1.

68 Konrad 2014, p. 39-41.

69 Konrad 2014, p. 39 with n. 224.

70 Robinson 1975, p. 118-123, esp. 121, fig. 349-350; Dating according to Mackensen 2000, p. 127 with additional ref.; Fischer correctly points out the difficulties in creating a typology of mask helmets, cf. Fischer 2012, p. 222-224.

71 Sullivan 1977, p. 205-212, esp. 211-212; Schörner 2011, p. 122 proposes Iamblichus II for the highly decorated person of tomb 1. Discussion below.

72 Compare also the presentation of a boy with diadem at the hand of his mother (Iotape from Commagene?) on the Ara pacis: Landskron 2005, p. 111-113, pl. 21, fig. 96-97.

73 For the interpretation of the helmet Konrad 2014, p. 50-56 with further ref.

74 On the discussion about the origins of the “cavalry”-helmets (Orient, Thrace, Italy) Junkelmann 1996, p. 22-26; for the meaning of the Eastern provinces see also Waurick 1988, p. 361-362. Considering the assemblage in tomb 1 with the laurel diadem on the Roman helmet and the Hellenistic diadem on the golden fingerring the hypothesis of Kropp to interprete the laurel wreath of the Nabataean king Aretas IV as expression of his individuality and autonomy seems not plausible to me, see Kropp 2013b.

75 Schörner 2011, p. 121-123 with ref. for tomb finds with helmets; Lenz-Bernhard 1999, esp. p. 27; Quast 2014, p. 288.

76 Fischer 2012, p. 221; Hanel, Peltz & Willer 2000, p. 270 with a discussion of the use of the “cavalry” in parades and games as well as in battle; Born & Junkelmann 1997, p. 29-31; and Lenz-Bernhard 1999, p. 23; Busch 2009, p. 328˗346, esp. 340˗342. See also the distinct view of “cavalry helmets” and “face/mask helmets” by Waurick 1988, p. 359-364; Gonzenbach 1965, p. 85.

77 Differentiated source critique through Flaig 1995, p. 54-55; general information Waurick 1990, p. 26-27. Arguing against a generalized interpretation of the sporadic occurence of Roman weapons in the contexts of early (regular) auxiliary troops Herz 1992, p. 51, n. 29 on Tac., hist. 1.38.3. If, as has been proposed, the oversized statues with local lamella armour from the Allat shrine in Palmyra are portrayals of Emesan kings from the 1st cent. ad, this would be strong evidence for the accuracy of the written sources with regard to the local weapons and the military equipment of the foederati. However, Tanabe doubts the identification, cf. Tanabe 1986, p. 190-193, fig. 157-160; Gawlikowski 2008, p. 396-411, esp. 403-404, fig. 4.

78 Krier & Reinert 1993, p. 41-43 and 51-53 (mostly from contexts of regular auxiliary troops); for the early parade helmets as individualized gifts see also Prittwitz und Gaffron 1991, p. 240.

79 Konrad 2014, p. 43-45; Musche 1988, p. 282-283; cf. also the older, important research on “Iranization ” in Franz 1987a, 163-178, and 1987b, p. 200-227, both with further ref. In this context it is worth mentioning that even the culture in the Parthian central regions is an eclectic combination of elements of different provenance with Central Asian and Iranian, Mesopotamian and Hellenistic roots. The reason for that has to be explained by the origins and history of the early Parthians until the creation of the Parthian Empire, see Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 21-56 and 31-40; cf. also Ellerbrock & Winkelmann 2012, p. 203-204; on Nisa ibid. p. 130-133; Musche 1988, p. 282-284. Especially in the western fringe of the Parthian Empire there is a strong continuity of local Mesopotamian traditions, which means that it is generally problematic to speak of a “Parthian culture that corresponds with the political borders, see Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 135-142, 153 and 177; Musche 1988, p. 11-18, see also Sommer 2000, p. 73-90.

80 See n. 96.

81 Compare, however Kropp 2013a, p. 343-344, who points out the very different signs of self-representation of the local dynasts.

82 Sommer 2005 with additional references; another interpretation on the material culture has recently been published by Jacobs 2014, p. 82-95. Regarding mostly the portrait sculpture he doubts about the “Parthian” origin of the clothing and other kinds of appearance of the eastern client kings. I agree with him in interpreting the specific signs of this group as a result of self-definition under the general conditions that were given by the Great Powers Rome and Parthia and not as items that stand for ethnic groups. Nevertheless the objects from the Tall Abū Ṣābūn necropolis cannot deny Central Asian roots in style that appears also on a smaller group of portrait sculpture in Palmyra.

83 Fowler & Hekster 2000, p. 31-33; compare also generally Ehling & Weber 2014 and specifically for Commagene Winter 2014, p. 141-146, esp. 142-143; Konrad 2014, p. 59-71.

84 Sullivan 1977, p. 199-205; the alliance often was interpreted as measure to prevent a coalition with Parthia. For the following see also Konrad 2014, p. 48-50.

85 with reservations Millar 1993, p. 301-302; Paltiel 1991, p. 35-38 and 214. Plin., nat. 5.19.81 mentions Hemeseni living in inner Syria, but does not provide details.

86 The dating of Emesa’s founding as not before the late 1st cent. bc is based on an epitaph in Arethusa (IGLS V 2085; ad 5/6) cf. also Kropp 2010, p. 201; Seyrig 1959, p. 1.

87 Regarding the relationship of Augustus with the —generally faithful to Antonius— communities and dynasties of the east see Kienast 1999, p. 454-473 and 230-238, esp. 461 on the role of Apollo; Bernhardt 1985, p. 157-158; on the local rulers as clients of Antonius: Wendt 2008, p. 96-97. On the restored fides with Octavian after Herod’s alliance with Marcus Antonius cf. Wilker 2005, p. 201-223, esp. 203; Bowersock 1965, p. 42-61, esp. 47 (Emesa); Paltiel 1991, p. 114; Speidel 2005, p. 94-95. Regarding Augustus und Apollo Lambrechts 1988, p. 88-107 (= translation of id. 1953, p. 65-82); Miller 2009; Simon 1978, p. 202-227, esp. 216-27; id. 1957, p. 30-44; Miller 1994, p. 99-112; Balensiefen 2009, p. 67-89, esp. 67-71; Zanker 1987, p. 57-61. H.-M. von Kaenel interprets the coin dies of Tiberius placed in the cavalry grave of Chassenard as demonstrative symbols of a personal connection between a member of the local elites and the domus Augusta, cf. Kaenel 2002. Regarding the privilege for equites and senators of wearing the massive gold signet ring (anulus aureus) see Spalthoff 2010, p. 19-27 with further ref. On the significance of the gold ring as insignia see Plin., nat. 33.4.8-9.36. On the presentation of rings as a symbol of friendship, including foreign friends see summary with literary sources by Zwierlein-Diehl 2007, p. 14-17; on the significance of signet rings, especially since Augustus, see Plin., nat. 37.3.41.

88 Strab. 16.2.11 [= 753]; Konrad 2014, p. 47-48.

89 The epigraphic sources have been collated by Millar 1993, p. 34; Kropp 2010; Raggi 2010, p. 91, n. 58; CIL VI 35556a (Rom): C(aio) Iulio, regis / Samsicerami / l(iberto), Glaco. CIL III 14387a (= IGLS VI 2760 = ILS 8958) (Baalbek): Regi Magno / C(aio) Iulio Sohaemo / regis Magni Sam/sigerami f(ilio) Philo/caesari et Philo/[r]ohmaeo honora t[o ornamentis] consulari/ḅ[us - - - ] / patrono coloniae / IIviro quinquenn(ali) / L(ucius) Vitellius L(uci) f(ilius) / Fab(ia tribu) Soss[i]a[nus]. Cf. also Freyberger 1998, p. 62-66; Konrad 2014, p. 53 and 57-58. About Berytus Millar 1993, p. 279-280.

90 Speidel 2005, 86; Millar 1993, p. 81-82.

91 Olbrycht 1998, p. 106-118 and 138-144; Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 114-123.

92 Hackl, Jacobs & Weber 2010, p. 115; on the importance of this route, especially in the 1st cent. bc and the first half of the 1st cent. ad, see Olbrycht 1998, p. 211 and 221; for the following remarks see Konrad 2014, p. 48-50

93 Mahler 2008, esp. p. 313-314; Sonnabend 1986, p. 250-253.

94 On Commagene see Speidel 2005; Kissel 1997, p. 147-178.

95 Cf. Freyberger 1998, p. 62, n. 812; Seyrig 1959, p. 188, fig. 1.

96 The possibility of trading operations by the Emesans has been generally dismissed until now, cf. Gatier 1996, p. 434; Gebhardt 2002, p. 233-234 and 239; cf. however Paltiel 1991, p. 130. Edwell 2008, p. 36-41. For the tomb stone of the auxiliary soldier Mabogaios see Gawlikowski 2010.

97 Olbrycht 1998, 138-142 and 153-155.

98 Konrad 2014, p. 32-34 and 50-56; Kropp 2013a, p. 315-338, especially for Herod’s participation in the imperial cult.

99 For details see Konrad 2014, p. 50-56.

100 Cf. the abundant literature on Herod and his successors, summarised by Günther 2005 and 2007; Jacobson & Kokkinos 2009; Bernett 2007; Lichtenberger 2009.

101 Konrad 2014, p. 13-16 and 67-68.

102 Konrad 2014, p. 16-20; partially already realized by Kropp 2010.

103 Tac., ann. 2.2.1-3.1; Konrad 2014, p. 59-61.

104 Ios., ant. Jud. 19.8.2; Bernett 2007, p. 298-299; cf. also Fick 2004, p. 176-77.

105 Ios., ant. Iud. 19.8.1.

106 The whole scene is extensively discussed and interpreted by Konrad 2014, p. 61-62.

107 Kropp 2010; Oenbrink 2009; Schörner 2011; Konrad 2014, p. 11-13 and 63-65; now Freyberger in press proposes an Augustan date of the tomb monument, based on the assumption that the inscription is a secondary addition to the monument. To my opinion there is no proof to doubt the original belonging to the monument, see Konrad ibid.

108 Seyrig 1952, p. 204; see above n. 20.

109 Watzinger 1923.

110 Recently also Kropp 2010; Oenbrink 2009; Schörner 2011; Konrad 2014.

111 Sullivan 1977, p. 219; IGLS V 2212 (= OGIS 604): [Γάἴος Ἰούλι|ος, Φαϐἰᾳ, Σαμ|σιγέραμος ό καὶ Σείλας, Γαίο|| υ Ἰουλίου Ἀλεξι|ῶνος υἱὸς ζῶν | ἐποίησεν έαυ | τῷ καὶ τοῖς ἰδί|οις, ἔτους Ϟτ´] (= Gaios Iulios Samsigeramos, [from the tribus] Fabia, also called Silos, son of Gaios Iulios Alexion, built [this tomb] in the year 390 during his life for himself and his family); Oenbrink 2009, p. 195.

112 Freyberger 1998, 15, n. 177. Cf. Oenbrink 2009, p. 199, n. 50.

113 Oenbrink 2009, p. 195.

114 Pococke 1754, p. 207-208.

115 Watzinger 1923, p. 28-35.

116 Oenbrink 2009, p. 196-198.

117 On Emesa’s autonomy and the question of when the client status was dissolved cf. Millar 1993, p. 80-90; Paltiel 1991, p. 255-258; the liquidation of the Emesan kingdom in the early 70’s (72/73?) is not proven, cf. Paltiel 1991, 257; see also Sullivan 1977, p. 219; Millar 1993, p. 84-85 opposes this with strong arguments for a dissolution of the client kingdoms, including Emesa, in connection with the infrastructural and military reorganization of Syria under Vespasian; similarly Kropp 2010, p. 205, cf. also Gebhardt 2002, p. 234-235; cf. also Elton 1996, p. 34-35; Konrad 2014, p. 57-58.

118 Speidel 2005, p. 85-89; now also in the wider context of Roman policy in the Near East Hartmann 2015, p. 314-325.

119 Konrad 1996 and 1992; Millar 1993, p. 80-90.

120 Kissel 1997, p. 147-178.

121 Elton 1996 and Wendt 2008 correctly point out that, legally, the client kingdoms were already part of the empire; ibid. p. 155; see above n. 5. For the following remarks see Konrad 2014, p. 59-71.

122 For the reception and meaning of opus reticulatum in the architectural program of early Roman client kings see Schörner 2011, p. 120-121 with ref.; Kropp 2010; Oenbrink 2009, p. 197; see also the tomb monument of ʿAyn Bina, close to Raphanea, also in opus reticulatum, bordering the antique main road to the coast: Gschwind & Hassan 2014, p. 119-29, esp. 125, fig. 10; see Jacobson 2002, p. 84-91, esp. 88; id. 2001, p. 28; also Lichtenberger 2009, p. 43-62 with the certainly correct interpretation of Roman architecture in the local context as an expression of the maiestas of the builder and not of subjugation; Kropp 2010, p. 206, n. 57, and p. 207, n. 60 for unplastered examples of opus reticulatum; see also for the monument Kropp 2013a, p. 208-212. Lugli 1957, p. 487-526, esp. 490-491 with late-republican to early Augustan examples of polychrome reticulated technique. In light of this, it is questionable whether the pyramid shape of Samsigeramos’ tomb monument should be interpreted as a demonstration of the deceased's roots in local tradition and as a symbol of his legitimacy within the tribal system cf. Kropp 2010, p. 213. As the older tombs of this necropolis possibly were marked by tumuli, this would have been a more appropriate form to emphasize ties to the Emesan dynasty and thus depict local legitimacy. The legitimacy theory would, of course, lose validity if the deceased was merely an “affluent Roman citizen” whose connections to royalty were unknown (Kropp 2010, p. 205-216), however, in light of the tomb’s location close to the royal necropolis I doubt about this.

123 Kropp 2010, p. 203, n. 28, argues against using the terms “Arabic/Arab” in the context of Emesa, as the personal names are close to Aramaic, see also Kropp 2013a, p. 21-22. Cf. however Konrad 2014, p. 5, 47 and 64 with n. 355 on the rapid usage of the Aramaic language in the Arabic context; Paltiel 1991, p. 36-37.

124 See also Kropp 2013a, p. 365.

125 Paltiel 1991, p. 114 and 241-243.

126 Raggi 2010, p. 96. I am grateful to Hans-Ulrich Nuber (†) for pointing out the unusual mention of tribus in the Italian context. A tribus (Horatia) designation also exists in the statue dedication for Tiberius, Drusus and Germanicus through the legate of the 10th legion, Minucius Rufus, in Palmyra. Cf. also the registration of a priest of Bel at Baalbek in the tribus Fabia, AE 1933, 204; cf. Freyberger 1998, p. 66, n. 857.

127 Summarizing Konrad 2014, p. 67-71.

128 Cf. on the Oriental ideal ruler Otto 2013, p. 45-68; see above for the ideal of the “charismatic” Hellenistic kings who individually had to prove their qualification and got their legitimation from their success as victorious and brave commanders, see Gehrke 1982. Kropp 2013a, p. 365 doubts about the role of the Emesan kings as priestly kings of Elagabal.

129 Paltiel 1991, p. 205; Millar 1993, p. 60-61; Braund 1984, p. 105-22; Jacobson 2001, p. 26 and 34.

130 Erll 2011.

131 Wißmann 2011, p. 41-69, esp. 47 and 52-58; Claessens 1984, p. 1-16.

132 Wißmann 2011, p. 63-69 and 156-80, esp. 158-66; Waldenfels 1997 and 2006.

133 Wißmann 2011, p. 47, 136 and 166-77; Claessens 1984; for the assessement of Eastern dynasts from the Roman perspective and different kinds of behaviour between the Roman and Parthain vassals see now the amplified analysis on the textual evidence of Hartmann 2015.

134 Wißmann 2011, p. 44-52, esp. 47 and 52-58; Keupp & Höfer 1997, esp. p. 12; Keupp 2006.

135 Wißmann 2011, p. 95-120, esp. 113-20; Werlen 1987.

136 For the relations of the local elites with Parthia see Luther 2004, esp. p. 338-339. A different view had Gall 1998, p. 80.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1.
Légende Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Inventory of tomb 1. Scale: 1, 3, 4, 6, ca. 1:3; 7, ca. 1:4 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,7M
Titre Figure 2.
Légende Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Inventory of tomb 1 (continuation). Scale: 1-8 and 10, ca. 2:3; 1a and 2a, ca. 1,5:1; 9, ca. 1:3 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953, drawings M. Lerchl)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Figure 3.
Légende Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Objects from tomb 11 (1-3, 9-12) and tomb 6 (4-8). Scale: 1-9, ca. 2:3; 10, ca. 1:2; 11, ca. 1:3 ; 12, ca. 1:5 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,6M
Titre Figure 4.
Légende Emesa, Tall Abū Ṣābūn: Jewellery from tombs 1, 6 and 11 (after Seyrig 1952 and 1953)
Crédits © Watercolour J. Lauffray
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,3M
Titre Figure 5.
Légende Portrait sculptures of Hatrene kings: 1. Sanatrukh (after Mathiesen 1992, p. 215, fig. 82); 2. Uthal (after Sommer 2003, p. 30, fig. 33; 3. Vologases (after Gall 1998, p. 94, pl. 10,c); 4. Abdsimya (after Mathiesen 1992, p. 212, fig. 79)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,8M
Titre Figure 6.
Légende Portrait sculpture from Palmyra (after Schlumberger 1970, figure on p. 90)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 228k
Titre Figure 7.
Légende Emesa, Tomb monument of Gaios Iulios Samsigeramos (ad 78/79), after Watzinger 1923
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5703/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1006k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Michaela Konrad, « The client kings of Emesa: a study of local identities in the Roman East », Syria, 94 | 2017, 261-295.

Référence électronique

Michaela Konrad, « The client kings of Emesa: a study of local identities in the Roman East », Syria [En ligne], 94 | 2017, mis en ligne le 15 décembre 2019, consulté le 07 août 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/syria/5703 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/syria.5703

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