D. Caecilius Hospitalis and M. Iulius Hermesianus (CIL VI. 1625b and 20742)


A marble base found in Rome bears a dedication to M. Petronius Honoratus, a prefect of the annona (probably from ad 144 to 146),1 engraved in honour of their patron by the negotiatores ol[eari] exBaetica, curatoribu[s] Cassio Faus[to], Caecilio Ho...2 The ending of the last cognomen, which has been obliterated, has always been reconstituted as Ho[norato]. However, from the amphorae in Monte Testaccio and an inscription from Astigi, we know there was a D. Caecilius Hospitalis living at that time, who can only have been a dealer in olive oil from Baetica. His is the only name on six amphora fragments, on two of which the consular date of 145 figures and on another two, 147;3 on one other fragment, the name is associated with that of D. Caecilius Onesimus, and on seventeen fragments, six of which date from 154, with D. Caecilius Maternus.4 He was thus active at the time when the dedication was engraved; and there can be no doubt that it is his name, Caecilio Ho[spitale], that must be restored in the last line of the inscription. It should be added that, though no Cassius Faustus is known to us from Monte Testaccio, the family name Cassius is well represented on eighteen of its sherds, one dating from 149 and two from 154.5

In Baetica itself, at Astigi on the River Genil, which is the town most often referred to on Monte Testaccio amphorae as the loading point, another stone

First published in Produccion y comercio del aceite en la antiguedad: Primer congreso interna- cional (Madrid: Universidad Complutense, 1981), 155-60. A section on the meaning of the word diffusor was rendered obsolete by the publication of a new inscription from Seville (AE (2001), 118) and has been omitted. On the coincidental relationship between this article and a publication by Silvio Panciera, see n. 26.

  • 1 Pavis d'Escurac (1976: 343-4).
  • 2 CIL VI. 1625b = ILS 1340.
  • 3 CIL XV. 3762-4; Rodriguez Almeida (1974-5: 206-7).
  • 4 CIL XV. 3769-81; Rodriguez Almeida (1972: 164-5; 1974-5: 207-8).
  • 5 CIL XV. 3804-9.

inscription makes mention of D. Caecilius Hospitalis. Along with Caecilia D. f. Materna and Caecilia Philete, he erected a silver statue to Pietas in the names of Caecilia Trophime and her husband, Caecilius Silo, of whom all three were joint heirs.[1] [2] All sorts of hypotheses might be devised about the kinship links among the D. Caecilii. For instance, Caecilia Materna might be the daughter of Maternus, the associate of Hospitalis at Monte Testaccio; she could have inherited from a childless uncle, and if Hospitalis, her co-heir, was her brother, then he was an associate of his own father. Emilio Rodriguez Almeida has kindly confirmed for me the plausibility of such an association: it is attested at Monte Testaccio itself by an unpublished inscription bearing the names of Caecilius Onesimus and Caecilia Charitosa filia as well as by inscriptions of the S(ociorum) IIII Pomp(eiorum) Corneliani patris et filiorum.7 D. Caecilius Hospitalis now stands out as one of the best known of the oil dealers whose names have come down to us from amphorae and stone inscriptions. Though he was Spanish and lived in Astigi, he nonetheless spent some time in Rome in the years after 147, no doubt looking after the family’s commercial affairs. The D. Caecilii were one of the most powerful dynasties that we know of in the oil business, making and unmaking temporary associations among members of their gens and their freedmen; and through these associations we can discern the family unity, reinforced by bonds such as those exemplified in the Astigi inscription by the marriage of Caecilia Philete and Caecilius Silo. The name of the D. Caecilii figures on an amphora from before 79 found at Pompeii.[3] [4] D. Caecilius Hospitalis was thus the heir to more than sixty years of trading in Baetican oil.

  • [1] CIL II. 1474. 7 CIL XV. 3984-5.
  • [2] 8 CIL IV, suppl. 3, 9480. Cf. Tchernia (1964), a fine example of naive anachronism in
  • [3] interpreting family associations [and pp. 54-7].
  • [4] CIL XV. 3974-5 and CIL XII. 4406.
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