Bronze Military Diploma fragment with text:
The inscription IIII IMP XVIII TI can be read on one side.
Emperor Vespasian had his (Tribunical Power)TRP VIIII in 77AD(from July 1st for 1 year) and his IMPXVIIII in 78 AD. Therefore the Diploma matches 78AD from January 1st to July 1st for an unknown soldier. (1)
A Military Diploma was granted by the Emperor to Auxiliary soldiers (non Romans) who had completed their 25 years of military service and were now granted Roman Citizenship along with their family. This entitled the solider to many benefits and rights offered by the Roman state (Much like a Green card).
Today they provide a great source of information on military units, who was in them and where they were stationed. The Military Diploma would list witnesses on the back and provide some information on the inside about the recipient and where they served.
The two sheets of bronze were carefully engraved with the text and would list the exact year that it was issued. They were normally about 15-17 cm x 14 cm and had a hinge like loop in the center, allowing it to open like a book.
They rarely survive in complete form and this example is only a fragment of what would have been a much larger piece.
**See link for one example in detail**
More detailed photos coming soon
(1) Reference: KLAWANS, Zander H; Ancient Greek & Roman Coins, page 257-277 1995
**Note on background. A Fresco from the ancient Roman City of Pompeii. The interior walls of a wealthy Roman's Estate 79AD. Picture taken July 2005.