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Marble inscription with damnatio memoriae of Geta, son of Septimius Severus

 

Height: 81.500 cm
Width: 47.500 cm

Townley Collection

GR 1805.7-3.210

    Marble inscription with damnatio memoriae of Geta, son of Septimius Severus

    Roman, AD 193-211
    From Rome, Italy

    Removed from the memory of Roman society

    The inscription was dedicated by Antonius, a libertus or freed slave, and commemorates the safe return of the emperor Septimius Severus (reigned 193-211), his wife Julia Domna and their children Caracalla and Geta. The names of Geta and Plautilla (Caracalla's wife) were erased after Geta's murder and Plautilla's execution following her implication in plots against Caracalla.

    Caracalla and Geta were bitter rivals and their attempt to partition rather than share the empire after the death of their father was only narrowly thwarted by their mother. In 211 Geta was killed by Caracalla, according to some reports in his mother's arms. Geta, Plautilla and others suffered damnatio memoriae; their names were expunged from all official records and inscriptions and their statues and all images of them were destroyed. This process was the most horrendous fate a Roman could suffer, as it removed him from the memory of society. Ironically, Geta's popularity with the Roman people and the army ensured that Caracalla had to give him a decent funeral and burial on the Via Appia near Rome.

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