to the recipients of the building (i.e., the Roman people) or to the cost or the source of the financing for the building.The small fragment tells us where each line of the inscription began, but we don’t have that part of the small fragment where the third line begins. We do, however, know how far to the left of the larger fragment the third line began, based on the small fragment. Alföldy concludes that only a couple of letters are missing from the beginning of the third line. If Professor Alföldy is right in conjecturing that this line contained information as to the source of the funding for the building, a word such as deor exmight well have been the preposition leading to the source of the funding. Alföldy suggests “EX,” “from.”The next word is the key to the meaning of the inscription. Alföldy reconstructs MANVBI(I)S—booty! The hole for the base of the left stem of the M is missing—it must have been off the edge of the left side of the large fragment—but the holes for the other four points of the M are there. Then come three holes for the A. Then another three holes, two for the top and bottom of the left stem of the N and one for the point at the right bottom of this letter. This is followed by three holes for the V. Only one hole has survived for the B. Then there are two holes for the I. Two holes, one above the other, held pegs for the last letter of the word, S; one hole was for the upper curve and one for the lower curve of the letter. This spells MANVBIS, but the proper spelling is “manubiis”; Alföldy suggests that the I would have extended higher than the other letters, to signify, as is common in Latin inscriptions, a double I. Thus the word properly spelled: MANVBIIS. Apparently, the phrase ex manubiiswas standard in dedications of monuments, if we may judge from the second-century antiquarian, Aulus Gellius (15.25.1), who remarks that “all along the roof of the colonnades of Trajan’s forum there are placed gilded statues of horses and representations of military standards, and underneath is written Ex manubiis.”
Manubiismeans booty. The phrase EX MANVBIIS would indicate the source of the funding for thestructure.This would probably be followed by the well-known formula fieri iussit, “[he] ordered to be made.”As reconstructed by Professor Alföldy, the inscription reads:I[MP(ERATOR)] T(ITVS) CAES(AR) VESPASI[ANVS AVG(VSTVS)] / AMPHITHEATRV[M NOVVM?] /[EX] MANVBI(I)S (vacat) [FIERI IVSSIT (?)]“The Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasian Augustus ordered the new amphitheater to be made from the (proceeds from the sale of the) booty.”Each letter of the inscription would have been created separately. Sometimes they were formed from a mold that included the peg, but at other times they were sawed from a bronze plate; the pegs were later wrought and attached. Letters produced in this way were by no means identical. Often theletters were created by several different craftsmen, introducing additional variations.