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Good day,

I would like to pose a question about christian soldiers in the Roman army before Constantine. John Helgeland mentions in his articles (Church history 1974 and ANRW 1979) that inscriptions have been found of christain soldiers that could be dated to the third or even second century. He counts eight inscriptions, but bases this, on material that has been found almost a century ago.

I would like to ask the visitors of this forum if the have found or heard of new inscriptions that can be atributed to christian soldiers before Constantine?

Hi Joost
An ANRW article surely came with footnotes explaining which inscriptions those were, did it not? If you have the references, it's easy to find them.
Quote:... new inscriptions that can be atributed to christian soldiers before Constantine?
I wonder what criteria we can use to identify Christian examples of military epitaphs.

I know that an obsessive focus on the deceased's precise age (in years, months and days) has been cited as evidence of Christianity. By contrast, a casual disregard of such an earthly concept (by use of "more or less" with age in years) has been cited as evidence of Christianity. And the standard Dis manibus (To the spirits of the Dead) dedication would be out of place in a Christian context (although there may have been a desire either to conceal one's Christianity or to hedge one's bets).

I'm no expert, but none of Helgeland's examples stands out as particularly Christian to me. Two begin with Memoria ("Remembering"), which certainly sounds Christian, but the others ..? Maybe I'm missing something?

AE 1937, 144: Mem(oria) Leonti/ani mil(itis) de n/um(ero) Ate©u/ttorum.

AE 1946, 43: Mimoria Fl(avio) / Ursacio ex / numero pro/punnantes ex s/culam brac(hi)atorum.

AE 1939, 171: Aelivs Martinvs |(centurioni) / coh(ortis) I pr(aetoriae) et Statiae / Moschianeti coniu/gi eius et Statiae Mar/tinae fillae (e)orum / Aelius Verinus evok(atus) Augg(ustorum) n(ostrorum) / fratri bene merentibus fecit // Ol]ympius se vib[o fecit]

AE 1946, 246: Ex of(f)icina / Parapatosi / votu(m) Felicis / [m]ilitis.

AE 1950, 257: I(ovi) Assaeco / votum / animo luben(s!) / M(arcus) Caecilius / Caeno solvit. (This one doesn't even seem to be military!)

Edit: I just stumbled across AE 1986, 570 (Poetovio), which is a cracker:
Memoriae / Iuliae Cupitae / obsequentissi/mae et rarissime / propter pietatem / coniugi quae / vixit ann(os) XX mens(es) / VIIII d(ies) XIII Apul(eius) Lupus mil(es) leg(ionis) XIIII / Gem(inae) et Iulia Fec(u)la / filia superstis / et Tiberi(a) Domitiana / mater et s(ibi) vivi f(aciendum) c(uraverunt)
I thought that the obsession with a precise age just places them later chronologically, 3rd century and up.