Priest of the imperial cult


“I am a priest of Roma and Augustus, a priest of the imperial cult. This is my way of supporting the emperor and the state and of helping to promote popular enthusiasm for the Roman empire. Of course I am a Roman citizen and come from one of the most influential families in the town; otherwise I could never have attained such a high office as this. Although I appreciate the office, and after all it is beneficial in many ways, it does place a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. And between you and me: financially it is not worth it! First of all, I had to pay a significant sum before I could even take office, and now I have many other expenses. I am, for instance, obliged to cover the costs of municipal construction projects. And that can be really expensive! At the moment I am building public baths – from my own purse I will have you know. But to make sure that passers-by and those who visit the baths know to whom they owe the pleasure, I am having my name “immortalised” in a dedicatory inscription on the building, as is the custom here. Now you will have to excuse me, the gods are waiting”.