DescriptionThe tabulae patronatus represent official documents that had the function of reminding the bond existing between the citizens of a colony or a municipality and their patron, generally residing in Rome. In this sense, they correspond to the " private " function of the first cards, called hospitales, which since ancient times sanctioned a bond of hospitality between two contractors, the host and the guest: similar objects therefore provided for a "double copy", with which hospitality could be claimed. Similarly, the tabulae patronatus, widespread in the imperial age in the Roman provinces and in the fourth century. AD also in Italy, there were usually two, one public to be posted in the forum or other place reserved for community life, and the other private, intended for the patron's house, often mentioned by the inscription itself.
The tabulae patronatus, with a standardized content, could be drawn up in a short form, which provided for the choice of someone as patron and confirmation of the registration of the patronage, or in a long form, which also recalled the decree conferring the patronage. The latter is also the form of the two texts of Amiternum: the first tabula concerns the patronage on Amiternum conferred on Gaius Sallius Pompeianus Sofronius in 325 AD , while the second concerns the patronage on Foruli attributed to his son , with the same name, in the 335 AD . They are representatives of an Amiternina family whose existence is documented for over two centuries: the same tabulae remember three patrons over four generations.
The first text mentions the generous interventions of Gaio Sallio in favor of the city ("splendidissimae civitati nostrae"): the reactivation of the aqueduct (Aqua Arentani) and the offer of two days of theatrical performances for the inauguration of the thermal baths that Gaius Sallio himself had it rebuilt and equipped with arcades and statues. The second tabula, more concise, is no less interesting, as the conferral ceremony, unlike the first, is "pagan" or "vicana".
The two tables represent the last evidence of life in the town. The fact that they were found in Amiternum, about 150 m south-east of the amphitheater, near the walls of a large house, suggests identifying the building with the Domus dei Sallii, still inhabited in the fourth century. AD by its owners.