N Popidius Celsinus and the Temple of Isis

N Popidius Celsinus and the Temple of Isis

N Popidius N f. Celsinus
aedem Isidis terrae motu conlapsam
a fundamento p(ecunia) s(ua) restituit hunc decuriones ob liberalitatem
cum esset annorum sexs ordini suo gratis adlegerunt.

“Numerius Popidius Celsinus, son of Numerius, restored the Temple of Isis with his own money from the ground up after it had been destroyed by an earthquake. Because of his generosity, the town councilors (decuriones) enrolled him into their membership without charge when he was only six years old.”

Notice that the number six, normally spelled “sex” in Latin, is here spelled “sexs”.

In the book Pompeii: The Living City by Alex Butterworth & Ray Laurence, the authors suggest that this Numerius Popidius Celsinus is the same person commemorated by an inscription found in Spain: “To the shades of Numerius Popidius Celsinus, decurion, well-deserving. Quintus Cecilius his son set this up”. If so, then this is a rare example, possibly the only example, of someone from Pompeii who definitely survived the eruption of Vesuvius. The earthquake that destroyed the temple was in 62 CE and Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. Since Popidius Celsinus was 6 when he fixed the temple, he couldn’t have been much older than 23 at the eruption.

(original photo by me)

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