A bronze military diploma believed to be almost 2,000 years old has been found by archaeologists in Turkey.
The discovery was made during excavations in the ancient city of Perrhe, located in the province of Adıyaman in the south-east of the country.
Perrhe was one of the five largest cities of the Commagene Kingdom, established in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) in 163 BC by Ptolemaeus of Commagene out of the declining Seleucid Empire. Commagene was later subsumed into the Roman Empire in AD 72.
The city of Perrhe was famous for the beauty and quality of its water, and for its rock-carved tombs. Recent archaeological work has uncovered a historic Roman fountain, water ducts, blocks of stone, and other ancient structures.
The diploma was found inscribed on a bronze plate in late May last year, on the last day of excavations that season.
It contains personal information in Latin regarding a soldier’s service in the Roman army, and is believed to be exactly 1,898 years old. The diploma was translated by ancient history and languages expert Professor Mustafa Hamdi Sayar of Istanbul University in the latter half of last year.
Discussing the artefact, Mehmet Alkan, director of the Adıyaman Museum, said: ‘The inscription includes information about Calcilius Antiquus, who served in the military during the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian from AD 117 to 138.’
‘The person in question was given an award after serving in the military for 20 years. He was given the right to marry and gained Roman citizenship.’
Around 100,000 similar documents are thought to have been prepared at the time, but only 800 survive, around 650 of which have been studied.