Hadrian’s Wall inscriptions (Wallsend)

Introduction

The inscriptions come from three main locations, almost all probably having moved as spolia prior to deposition.

Inventory

The first two stones come from the east (Tynemouth) but are thought to originate from Wallsend.

RIB 1300

RIB 1300

RIB 1300: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / Ael(ius) Rufus / praef(ectus) coh(ortis) / IIII Lingonum (‘For Jupiter Best and Greatest, Aelius Rufus, prefect of the Fourth Cohort of Lingones (set this up).’) Altar found 1783 at Tynemouth Priory. Now at Society of Antiquaries, London. Probably 2nd century AD. Source: RIB I p.430

RIB 1305

RIB 1305

RIB 1305: …] typum cum bas[i] / et templum / fecit G(aius) Iu[l(ius)] / Maximinus [c(enturio)] / leg(ionis) VI Vi[c(tricis)] / ex voto (‘This statue and base and temple were set up by Gaius Iulius Maximinus, centurion of the Sixth Legion Victrix, in accordance with a vow’). Statue base found 1783. Thought to be from Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.432

These examples from Wallsend itself (the first three in the vaguest of senses, the last precisely located, since it was excavated).

RIB 1302:…Di]dius Seve/rus praef(ectus) / v(otum) s(oluit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘… Didius Severus, prefect, willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found before 1732. Source: RIB II p.431

RIB 1307:…]ico / […] prae / […]um [… (‘… prae[f(ectus)? …’). Altar found 1896 in Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1308

RIB 1308:Leg(io) II Aug(usta) (‘Second Legion Augusta (made this)’). Building stone found 1867 at Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 3281: …] / ❧ C[…] / Au[g…] / balin[eum …] / a sol[o … (‘… bath-house … from the ground up …’). Building inscription Found 1998; now in Segedunum museum. Probably late 2nd century AD or later. A bath-house was identified in the civil settlement, near the river, in 1814. Source: RIB III p.281

These inscriptions come from west of the fort but may still originate from Wallsend itself. The first stone was amongst a group seen by Horsley at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall) in 1732.

RIB 1306

RIB 1306

RIB 1306: …]vivus / […] Vic / […] s(oluit) (‘…vivus … Vic… fulfilled…’). Dedication seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend, now lost. Source: RIB II p.432

The second group come from allotments to the west of Cousin’s House.

RIB 1299

RIB 1299

RIB 1299: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) IIII Lin/gonum eq(uitata) / cui attendit / Iul(ius) Honor/atus c(enturio) leg(ionis) II / Aug(ustae) v(otum) s(oluit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For Jupiter the Best and Greatest, Iulius Honoratus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, who is dealing with the Fourth Cohort of Lingones, willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found 1892. Source: RIB II p.430

RIB 1301: [I(ovi) O(ptimo)] M(aximo) / [Cor]neli(ius) / Celer pr/aef(ectus) coh(ortis) / IIII Ling(onum) / [… (‘For Jupiter the Best and Greatest, Cornelius Celer, prefect of the Fourth Cohort of Lingones …’). Altar found in 1894 near Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.430-1

RIB 1303: Deo M(ercurio) s[igil(lum)? / d(edicavit) et p(osuit) coh(ors) / II Ner[vioru]m pago / …]diorum ] (‘For the god Mercury the Second Cohort of Nervii from the region of … dedicated and set up this relief’). Slab found 1894 near Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.431

RIB 1304: D(eo) M(ercurio) […] DIA/NE (‘For the god Mercury …’). Slab found 1892 near Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.432

Analysis

These are all stones of the types generally associated with a fort or its attached civil settlement (building inscriptions or dedicatory stones such as altars). They provide evidence for two garrison units (cohortes II Nerviorum and IV Lingonum) as well as a legion possibly involved in construction (II Augusta). IV Lingonum is listed as the late garrison by the Notitia Dignitatum whilst II Nerviorum is recorded at Whitley Castle in AD 213 (RIB 1202). The stone set up by Iulius Honoratus (RIB 1299), a legionary centurion of II Augusta (whether this is a coincidence or not is unclear) ‘cui attendit‘ the cohort of Lingones, is interesting. To find legionary centurions in charge of auxiliary cohorts is quite common, but the phraseology is unusual and may imply a special (disciplinary?) purpose.

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