Titulus pictus

Last updated

A Dressel 20 amphora with examples of tituli picti and potters' stamps found at Monte Testaccio Tituli picti dressel20.jpg
A Dressel 20 amphora with examples of tituli picti and potters' stamps found at Monte Testaccio

A titulus pictus is an ancient Roman commercial inscription made on the surface of certain artefacts, [1] [2] [3] usually the neck of an amphora. [4] [5] [6] Typically, these inscriptions were made in red or black paint. [7] [8] The inscription specifies information such as origin, destination, type of product, [9] and owner. [10] [11] Tituli picti are frequent on ancient Roman pottery containers used for trade. [12] [13] [14] They were not exclusively used for trade. [15] [16] They were also used to provide easily recognizable advertisements and may have served as insurance if a good was damaged in some way. [17] [18] There are around 2,500 tituli picti recorded in CIL IV (the volume of Latin inscriptions from Pompeii and Herculaneum). [19]


The text of these inscriptions used a wide variety of abbreviations such as primum, excellens, optimum, flos, florum, praecellens, penuarium, and secundarium. [20] [21] It is possible that these epithets were used to convey the quality of the product. [22] These abbreviations were organized into a style consisting of several elements. Numerals were used to indicate the age and weight of the contents and the weight of the container when empty. [23] The measurement of the container's weight would be duplicated by another component of the titulus pictus in the genitive case. There was also a tria nomina indicating the buyer and the seller. The fifth element was the name of the owner. [24] [25]

The structure of the titulus pictus differed depending on its usage. The most intricate tituli were for Spanish oil amphorae. Usually, these tituli were painted in black, and indicated the amphora's weight, contents, producer, and owner's name in the genitive case. Wine Tituli from Crete were written in Greek, Latin, or both. These inscriptions informed the reader of the qualities of the wine, the volume of the container, the date, the origin, and the owner (whose name was written in red and the dative case). [26] The colors of the tituli conveyed information about its source. For example, white tituli were used to refer to producers. [27] Red ones meant that the producer was a local producer. [28] Black tituli meant the owners were wholesale traders. [29] Different grammatical cases had different meanings when used in the titulus pictus. The dative case was used to show the recipient or buyer of the good. The genitive case was used to identify the producer and owner of the product. [30] The ablative case was used to identify the consignor of the goods. The nominative case was used to identify the consumer or wholesaler. [31]

A container found in Tunisia has a titulus pictus dated between the 4th century and 6th centuries that reads: [32]

Container of wine, Mary begets Christ, 22 units of wine.

One Cretan titulus pictus found in Capua reads: [33]

wine which is owed to Campania, amphora 472

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fish sauce</span> Condiment made from fish

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years. It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some garum-related fish sauces have been used in the West since the Roman times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Amphora</span> Type of storage container

An amphora is a type of container with a pointed bottom and characteristic shape and size which fit tightly against each other in storage rooms and packages, tied together with rope and delivered by land or sea. The size and shape have been determined from at least as early as the Neolithic Period. Amphorae were used in vast numbers for the transport and storage of various products, both liquid and dry, but mostly for wine. They are most often ceramic, but examples in metals and other materials have been found. Versions of the amphorae were one of many shapes used in Ancient Greek vase painting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ancient Roman cuisine</span> Food preparation styles of the civilization

The cuisine of ancient Rome changed greatly over the duration of the civilization's existence. Dietary habits were affected by the political changes from kingdom to republic to empire, and Roman trading with foreigners along with the empire's enormous expansion exposed Romans to many new foods, provincial culinary habits and cooking methods.

In marketing, brand management begins with an analysis on how a brand is currently perceived in the market, proceeds to planning how the brand should be perceived if it is to achieve its objectives and continues with ensuring that the brand is perceived as planned and secures its objectives. Developing a good relationship with target markets is essential for brand management. Tangible elements of brand management include the product itself; its look, price, and packaging, etc. The intangible elements are the experiences that the target markets share with the brand, and also the relationships they have with the brand. A brand manager would oversee all aspects of the consumer's brand association as well as relationships with members of the supply chain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Garum</span> Historical fermented fish sauce

Garum is a fermented fish sauce that was used as a condiment in the cuisines of Phoenicia, ancient Greece, Rome, Carthage and later Byzantium. Liquamen is a similar preparation, and at times they were synonymous. Although garum enjoyed its greatest popularity in the Western Mediterranean and the Roman world, it was earlier used by the Greeks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fish paste</span> Paste made of fish meat

Fish paste is fish which has been chemically broken down by a fermentation process until it reaches the consistency of a soft creamy purée or paste. Alternatively it refers to cooked fish which has been physically broken down by pounding, grinding, pressing, mincing, blending, and/or sieving, until it reaches the consistency of paste. The term can be applied also to shellfish pastes, such as shrimp paste or crab paste.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cosa</span> Ancient Roman city

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monte Testaccio</span> Waste mound made from broken Roman pottery

Monte Testaccio or Monte Testaceo, also known as Monte dei Cocci, is an artificial mound in Rome composed almost entirely of testae, fragments of broken ancient Roman pottery, nearly all discarded amphorae dating from the time of the Roman Empire, some of which were labelled with tituli picti. It is one of the largest spoil heaps found anywhere in the ancient world, covering an area of 2 hectares at its base and with a volume of approximately 580,000 cubic metres (760,000 cu yd), containing the remains of an estimated 53 million amphorae. It has a circumference of nearly a kilometre (0.6 mi) and stands 35 metres (115 ft) high, though it was probably considerably higher in ancient times. It stands a short distance away from the east bank of the River Tiber, near the Horrea Galbae where the state-controlled reserve of olive oil was stored in the late 2nd century AD. The mound later had both religious and military significance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman economy</span> Economy of ancient Rome

The study of the Roman economy, which is, the economies of the ancient city-state of Rome and its empire during the Republican and Imperial periods remains highly speculative. There are no surviving records of business and government accounts, such as detailed reports of tax revenues, and few literary sources regarding economic activity. Instead, the study of this ancient economy is today mainly based on the surviving archeological and literary evidence that allow researchers to form conjectures based on comparisons with other more recent pre-industrial economies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Country of origin</span> Country of manufacture, production, or growth

Country of origin (CO) represents the country or countries of manufacture, production, design, or brand origin where an article or product comes from. For multinational brands, CO may include multiple countries within the value-creation process.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Merchant's mark</span> Emblem placed on products

A merchant's mark is an emblem or device adopted by a merchant, and placed on goods or products sold by him in order to keep track of them, or as a sign of authentication. It may also be used as a mark of identity in other contexts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Titulus (inscription)</span> Label

Titulus is a term used for the labels or captions naming figures or subjects in art, which were commonly added in classical and medieval art, and remain conventional in Eastern Orthodox icons. In particular the term describes the conventional inscriptions on stone that listed the honours of an individual or that identified boundaries in the Roman Empire. A titulus pictus is a merchant's mark or other commercial inscription.

Titulus, the Latin word for "title", "label" or "inscription", may or may not be italicized as a foreign word, and may refer to:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ancient Rome and wine</span> History of wine in ancient Rome

Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences on the viticulture of the Italian peninsula can be traced to ancient Greeks and the Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw both technological advances in and burgeoning awareness of winemaking, which spread to all parts of the empire. Rome's influence has had a profound effect on the histories of today's major winemaking regions in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thermopolium</span> Ancient Greco-Roman cookshop

In the ancient Greco-Roman world, a thermopolium, from Greek θερμοπώλιον (thermopōlion), i.e. cook-shop, literally "a place where (something) hot is sold", was a commercial establishment where it was possible to purchase ready-to-eat food. In Latin literature they are also called popinae, cauponae, hospitia or stabula, but archaeologists call them all thermopolia. They were mainly used by those who did not have their own kitchens, often inhabitants of insulae, and this sometimes led to thermopolia being scorned by the upper class.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ancient Roman pottery</span> Ceramic creations in ancient Rome

Pottery was produced in enormous quantities in ancient Rome, mostly for utilitarian purposes. Some of this pottery has been uncovered into the 21st century in the former territory of the Roman Empire, as well as in other parts of the world, especially in waste mounds such as Monte Testaccio.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pompeii</span> Ancient Roman city near modern Naples, Italy

Pompeii was an ancient city located in what is now the comune of Pompei near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was buried under 4 to 6 m of volcanic ash and pumice in the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">S'Argamassa Roman Fish Farm</span>

S'Argamassa Roman Fish Farm can be found 2.8 miles (4.5 km) eastwards along the coast from the town of Santa Eulària des Riu on the Spanish island of Ibiza. It is in the municipality of Santa Eulària des Riu. the Romans built this fish farm and connecting aqueduct following their occupation of the island in 146 BC.

Umbricia Fortunata was a businesswoman known from the Roman city of Pompeii. She produced the popular seasoning garum, a fermented fish sauce.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aulus Umbricius Scaurus</span>

Aulus Umbricis Scaurus was a Pompeiian manufacturer-merchant, known for the production of garum and liquamen, a staple of Roman cuisine. He was active in Pompeii between c. 25-35 CE and 79 CE. Scholars believe that A. Umbricius Scaurus was Pompeii's leading fish sauce manufacturer. His products were traded across the Mediterranean in the first century.


  1. Okon 2017, pp. 165–172.
  2. Marzano 2013, p. 193.
  3. Curtis 2015, p. 179.
  4. Kouneni 2014, p. 170.
  5. Rodriguez 2002, p. 303.
  6. Carannante 2019, p. 380.
  7. Bezeczky 1996, pp. 329–336.
  8. Peña 2021, pp. 42–43.
  9. Djaoui 2016, pp. 120–124.
  10. Broekaert 2016, pp. 223–253.
  11. Broekaert 2012, pp. 109–125.
  12. Peña 2021, pp. 79–81.
  13. Berdowski 2008a, pp. 239–252.
  14. Berdowski 2008, pp. 251–266.
  15. Whittaker 1989, p. 539.
  16. Nedelea 2021, pp. 39–70.
  17. Curtis 2018, pp. 195–196.
  18. Peña 2021, p. 51.
  19. Peña 2015, p. 235.
  20. Hosking 2006, p. 210.
  21. Grainger 2020.
  22. Curtis 2018, pp. 159–175.
  23. Curtis 2005, p. 41.
  24. Peña 2021, pp. 52–61.
  25. Peña 2015, pp. 233–253.
  26. Komar 2020, pp. 212–215.
  27. Komar 2020, p. 227.
  28. Komar 2020, p. 226.
  29. Komar 2020, p. 236.
  30. Bekker-Nielsen 2005, p. 41.
  31. Curtis 2015, pp. 197–200.
  32. Peña 2007, p. 112.
  33. Gallimore 2018, p. 376.