DECIUS MARIUS VENANTIUS BASILIUS[,] V[IR] C[LARISSIMUS] ET INL[USTRIS][,] PRAEF[ECTUS] URB[IS][,] PATRICIUS[,] CONSUL ORDINARIUS[,] ARENAM ET PODIUM QU[AE] ABOMINANDI TERRAEMO/TUS RUINA PROS/TRAVIT[,] SUM[P]TU PRO/PRIO RESTITUIT[.]
Decius Marius Venantius Basilius, a famous and high-born man, Prefect of the City [i.e. Rome], a Patrician and Consul Ordinary, has restored at his own expense (sumptu proprio) the arena and podium [of the Colosseum] which the disaster of a deplorable earthquake had laid low.
This inscription (CIL VI.1716 b) is one of a few I photographed while I was at the Colosseum (also sometimes called the Flavian Amphitheatre), and which I will be translating and posting on the Medieval Latin blog. The inscription itself commemorates the reconstruction of key parts of the Colosseum, destroyed in an earthquake ca. A.D. 443: namely, the Podium, which comprised the front-row seats reserved for distinguished guests; and the Arena, a word we still use in English with much the same sense, but which also denotes in Latin the sand on which the spectacles would be performed (itself called Arena or Harena).
The Latin also contains a few examples of official Roman titles, which merit explanation: as a Vir Clarissimus, Venantius is of senatorial rank (or in the family of someone of such rank); he has been made Prefect of Rome (Praefectus Urbi), an appointment akin to mayor of the city, which would have been granted to him by the Roman emperor; the status of Patrician (Patricius) originally identified a descendant of the early Senators of Rome (see Livy, ab Vrbe Condita 1.8), but had waned in importance in the imperial period; finally, as a Consul Ordinarius, Venantius was one of the two highest magistrates in Rome (Ordinarius designates the position as it is normally held, as opposed to a Consul Suffectus, i.e. one appointed in place of another who has died, fallen ill, etc.—or, from the time of Julius Caesar, one appointed to replace a living Consul Ordinarius, with the aim of increasing the number of consulars).