Longinus Sdazepe

The tombstone of Longinus Sdazepe in Colchester, prior to AD 60 (presumably broken in the Boudiccan Revolt). A roman cavalryman riding roughshod over a native Briton.

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Inscription beneath, according to RIB 201 (with further bibliography), reads:

Longinus Sdapeze 
Matyci (filius) duplicarius 
ala prima Tracum pago 
Sardi(ca) anno(rum) XL aeror(um) XV 
heredes exs testam(ento) [f(aciendum)] c̣(uraverunt) 
h(ic) s(itus) e(st)

Longinus Sdapeze son of Matucus, duplicarius from the First Cavalry Regiment of Thracians, from the district of Sardica, aged 40, of 15 years’ service, lies buried here; his heirs under his will had this set up.

The name is interesting. Longinus reminds me of St. Longinus, of course, the soldier who pierced Christ’s side on the cross with his spear, later intoning, “Indeed, this was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39). His spear is reputed to be one of the pillars over the altar at St. Peter’s in Rome. According to RIB above, the last name, Sdapeze, appears to be Thracian– from Sardica, now Sophia, the capital of Bulgaria.

Concerning the native being trampled–note his beard, not unlike the Gorgon on the temple pediment at Aquae Sulis (Bath), or any other number of depictions of the Britons. He  is naked, cowering on his shield beneath Longinus’ horse. No doubt this represents an instance of the arrogance of the Roman veterans and soldiers settled in Camulodunum (Colchester) that would gave rise to the Revolt of Boudicca in 60 AD. As described by Tacitus (Ann. 14.31), … acerrimo in veteranos odio. Quippe in coloniam Camulodunum recens deducti pellebant domibus, exturbabant agris, captivos, servos appellando, foventibus impotentiam veteranorum militibus similitudine vitae et spe eiusdem licentiae. “The bitterest animosity was felt against the veterans; who, fresh from their settlement in the colony of  Camulodunum, were acting as though they had received a free gift of the entire country, driving the natives from their homes, ejecting them from their lands, — they styled them ‘captives’ and ‘slaves,’ — and abetted in their fury by the troops, with their similar mode of life and their hopes of equal indulgence.”

About Uncomely and Broken

I am a classicist in Sewanee, Tennessee.
This entry was posted in Bible, Cemeteries & Funerals, England, Military, Rome, Saints, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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