Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version



Journal of Roman Archaeology 34 (2021), 130–150 doi:10.1017/S1047759421000088


© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence


This article considers the evidence of newly discovered inscriptions from Antiochia ad Cragum in western Rough Cilicia and proposes two distinct observations: one, the city had an additional civic name different from that which is most commonly known; and two, the emperor Hadrian and Sabina may have visited the city and region during their journey from Egypt to Athens in 131 CE.

The excavations at the Roman-era city of Antiochia ad Cragum on the Turkish south coast have been ongoing since 2005, and since the beginning inscriptions have been discovered that shed helpful light on the history of the city. However, 2018 was an exceptional year for epigraphical discoveries in which several inscribed stones were found that challenge long-held notions about the city and add significantly to the historical record. Two of the inscriptions found that year offer the first instances on stone of a novel toponymic epithet for the city rather than the commonly held toponymic ad Cragum. The editiones principes of both, dealing solely with physical autopsy and textual reconstruction, have appeared separately.1 The current paper addresses the historical context of these inscriptions – civic nomenclature and possible imperial patronage in particular. The first section considers the formation of the city under Antiochus IV of Commagene and how these new inscriptions and known civic coinage reveal a different name than that by which the city is commonly known. In the second section, epigraphical evidence from one of the inscriptions is used to build a circumstantial case for a proposed visit to the city by Hadrian and Sabina in 131 CE as part of their westward journey from Egypt to Athens.