Maryport: Cohors I Hispanorum

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Maryport © David Gill

The Senhouse Roman Museum at the Roman fort of Maryport on the Cumbrian coast contains an extensive series of Latin inscriptions. Among them is this altar (RIB 816), found in 1870 to the north-east of the fort.  It was dedicated by the prefect of the Cohors I Hispanorum, L. Antistius Lupus Verianus, from Sicca in Africa (Numidia Proconsularis). David Breeze provisionally dates his command to 136 (and prior to 139 when the Cohors I Delmatarum arrived).

Hadrian’s Wall: official guides

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1963 (1969)

A.R. Birley prepared ‘an illustrated guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall in 1963. This supplemented the guides to individual forts on the wall (Chesters, Housesteads) as well as the Stanegate (Corbridge). (See now the English Heritage guide to Birdoswald.) A foldout plan inside the card cover showed key locations between Wallsend and Bowness. There are some excellent reconstructions by Alan Sorrell (including one with an overlay to show the inside of the bath-house).

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1970

There was a fold-out MPBW guide to the Wall in 1970.

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1987 (3rd ed. 1996)

David J. Breeze prepared the Souvenir Guide to the Roman Wall, which is described inside the cover ass ‘The greatest monument to the Roman occupation of Britain’. Breeze has also prepared the Handbook to the Roman Wall. The guide includes South Shields and Vindolanda, as well as the Roman fort at Maryport on the Cumbrian coast.

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2006

The souvenir guide was replaced by Breeze’s ‘Red Guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall. The tour goes from west to east and includes non English Heritage sites such as Maryport, Vindolanda, Wallsend and South Shields.

Silvanus at Corinium

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Corinium Museum © David Gill

A fragmentary altar to Silvanus was found at Circencester (Corinium) in the 19th century (RIB 104). It was dedicated by [.] Sabidius Maximus.

Anthony Birley has suggested a possible link with M. Sabidiu[s] Ma[ximus] known from an inscription found at Elbasan, Albania, on the route of the strategic Via Egnatia (AE 1937, no. 101) [JSTOR]. He served in various roles, including signifer, in the Legio IX Claudia, then as centurion in the Legio III Gallica (during the reign of Hadrian). Birley suggests that one of the Legions in which he served could be restored as the Legio I[I Augusta] (based at Caerleon).

Londinium: tombstone of Vivius Marcianus

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Vivius Marcianus, London © David Gill

The tombstone of Vivius Marcianus was found during the rebuilding of St Martin’s Church on Ludgate Hill in 1669 (RIB 17). (The church itself had been destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.) The gravestone was then placed in the Ashmolean Museum (that opened in 1683); it is now displayed in the Museum of London (since 1974). It is likely that this came from the cemetery outside (and to the west) of Ludgate.

Vivius Marcianus is described as a centurion of the II Augustan Legion. He is shown in the relief holding the centurion’s stick, vitis, in his right hand. The legion was based at Caerleon in south Wales. There is a possibility that he was attached to the staff of the governor.

The monument was set up by Januaria Martina, his wife.

Great Chesters: Roman altar

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Great Chesters © David Gill

The Roman fort of Great Chesters (Aesica) on Hadrian’s Wall lies entirely to the south of the wall. Remains of a milecastle were found underneath it (MC43).

Parts of the fort were excavated in 1894 and 1925. The 14th edition of the Handbook to the Roman Wall notes: ‘The overgrown remains of the south gate contain an uninscribed altar’.

This photograph taken in the early 1980s shows an altar, decorated with a jug, placed in the eastern guardroom of the southern gate. A letter (‘The Roman Wall: Examples of Vandalism’) to The Times (London) by Basil Barham of the East Herts Archaeological Society (27 August 1928) listed a series of complaints about activities along the line of Hadrian’s Wall including at Great Chesters: ‘At Aesica I notice a large portion of stone, apparently an altar, has been brought from some place and erected in the middle of a guard chamber, with a small piece of pillar stuck on its top.’ This staged display clearly lasted for over a century.

 

Hadrian’s Wall: Mucklebank

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Mucklebank, Hadrian’s Wall © David Gill

Turret 44b lies on the top of Mucklebank Crag to the east of Walltown Crags. T44b was excavated in 1892. There is a dogleg in the wall at this point: the north and west sides of the turret form the exterior. The latest occupation is indicated by a coin of the emperor Valens (364-78).

To the west of Mucklebank is Walltown Nick.

Tiberius Claudius Paulinus at Caerwent

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Caerwent © David Gill

The honorific inscription to Tiberius Claudius Paulinus, legate of the II Augustan legion, was recovered from Caerwent in south Wales (RIB 311). It is now displayed in the parish church of  St Stephen and Tathan (see guidebook). Paulinus, who had been based at the nearby legionary fortress at Caerleon, subsequently became governor of Britannia Inferior in 220 (and recorded in an inscription from the fort at High Rochester, RIB 1280).

The decree was set up as a result of a decree passed by the ordo or council of the Silures. It is particularly important as it provides details of the career of Paulinus, including governorships in two separate provinces of Gaul.