Honorary Inscription for Cornelia Marullina AE 1958.4

woman in a stola
Marble funerary statue
2nd century CE

Cornelia Marullina lived during the first half of the 2nd century CE. Her name indicates that she was the daughter of Gaius Cornelius Marullus (see women's names). She was a prominent citizen of Castulo, a civitas in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica that was wealthy enough to have a circus and was well-known for its production of wine, olive oil, and garum, a fish sauce that Romans consumed in great quantities. Her wealth may have derived from a local produce business that she inherited from her family, as was the case with Coelia Mascellina, a fellow Baetican and businesswoman (see her bronze stamp), who exported wine and oil to Rome during the last half of the 2nd century CE. Marullina is celebrated in the dedicatory inscription (AE 1958.4) on this statue base for her generous acts of civic benefaction. These included silver statues, a public banquet (epulum) and circus games (circenses), dedicated on her behalf by her kinsman and heir, Gaius Cornelius Bellicus, in her deceased son's name (Lucius Cornelius Marullus), whose cognomen derived from his maternal grandfather. Marullina's husband’s name does not appear, perhaps because of divorce or his death; there is no mention of other children. It is thought that her son pre-deceased her, since her heir Bellicus set up an inscription (CIL 2.3265) to Pietas Augusta (a divinity celebrated on imperial coins), which she had promised in her son's memory. When the Ordo (Senate) of Castulo voted to honor her by erecting statues of her and her son, she paid for them with her own money. The epigraphic record of women hosting epula was greater in Spain (50%) than in Italy (10%), a statistic which is open to interpretation (see Saavedra). In particular, Spanish women were not restricted by the Lex Ursonensis (the 44 BCE founding charter of Urso, which survives on bronze tablets from the Flavian period); it prevented men from giving public banquets or games while they were candidates for public office in Spain. Cornelia Marullina asserted her rank and stature in Castulan society by her popular gifts to the community, perhaps in the hope that her benefactions would advance the aspirations of the males in her family.

      L[ucio] COR[nelio] MARVLLO

QVOD ORDO CASTVLON[ensium]

PRO LIBERALITATE COR[neliae]

MARVLLINAE, MATRI[s]

EIVS, QVOD CIVITATEM

CASTVLONENSIVM STA-

TVIS ARGENTEIS ET EPV-

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LO ET CIRCENSIB[us] DECORAS-

SET, STATVAM EI ET FILIO SVO

POSITVRAM SE DECRE-

10VERAT, COR[nelia] MARVLLI-

[n]A HONORE ACCEPTO

D[e] PEC[unia] SVA PONI IVSSIT.

HOC DONVM ILLIVS

C[aius] COR[nelius] BELLICUS, HERES EIVS,

15            D[edit] D[edicavit]

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EDI[tis] CIRCENSIB[us]

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