PLV Inscriptions (Rudchester)

Introduction

An important group of four altars comes from the mithraeum to the south-west of the fort, in the civil settlement. The other stones were found reused in the vicinity.

Inventory

RIB 1395

RIB 1395

RIB 1395: Deo Invicto / Mytrae P(ublius) Ae(lius) / Titullus prae(fectus) / v(otum) s(olvit) l(aetus) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For the Invincible God Mithras, Publius Aelius Titullus, prefect, gladly, willingly, and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found 1844 in the mithraeum at Rudchester. Source: RIB I pp.454-5

RIB 1396

RIB 1396

RIB 1396: Deo Soli Invic(to) / Tib(erius) Cl(audius) Dec(i)mus / Cornel(ius) Anto/nius praef(ectus) / templ(um) restit(uit) (‘For the invincible sun god, Tiberius Claudius Decimus Antonius, prefect, restored the temple’). Altar found 1844 in the mithraeum at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.455

RIB 1397

RIB 1397

RIB 1397: Soli / Apollini / Aniceto / [Mithrae] / Apon[i]us / Rogatianus / [… (‘For the sun god Apollo Anicetus Mithras, Aponius Rogatianus…’). Altar found 1844 in the mithraeum at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.455

RIB 1398

RIB 1398

RIB 1398: Deo / L(ucius) Sentius / Castus / (centurio) leg(ionis) VI d(ono) p(osuit) (‘For the god, Lucius Sentius Castus, centurion of the Sixth Legion set this up as a gift’). Altar found 1844 in the mithraeum at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.456

RIB 1399: …]ulius [… / …]ogenes [… / sol]uit felic[iter] (‘…]ulius […]ogenes …successfully fulfilled…’). Found 1875 in a wall at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.456

RIB 1400: coh(ortis) III[I] / c(enturia) Pedi Qui(nti) (‘Fourth cohort, the century of Pedius Quintus (built this)’). Centurial stone found around 1875 in a wall at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.457

RIB 1401: [c]oh(ortis) VI / c(enturia) Aprilis (‘the sixth cohort, century of Aprilis (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1848 at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.457

RIB 1402

RIB 1402

RIB 1402: c(enturia) Arri (‘the century of Arrius (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1875 in a wall at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.457

RIB 1403: NEMI (‘?’). Found before 1852 near Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.457

RIB 1404: [D(is) M(anibus)] / Aur(eli) […]/rini [vi]/xit [an]/nis […] (‘For the immortal shades and Aurelius […]rinus, he lived […] years…’). Tombstone found 1810 at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.457

RIB 1405: …] / [si]t tib[i / terra] levis (‘…may the soil rest lightly upon you’). Tombstone found 1789 at Rudchester. Source: RIB I p.458

Analysis

The four inscribed altars (RIB 1395–8; an additional, small, uninscribed one was recovered in 1844) reflect the elite nature of the adherents of the cult of Mithras, three of them being set up by unit commanders, the fourth (possibly) by a centurion (who, given that he explicitly states he was from the Sixth Legion, may have been in temporary command of the unit based there). Although the mithraeum was first found in 1844, it was not properly excavated until 1953.

None of the inscriptions from Rudchester records the fact, but the fort was garrisoned by the cohors I Frisiavonum in the 4th century (and probably in the 3rd century too); the earliest unit based there is unknown.

Other stones, such as the centurial stones RIB 1400–2, may have come from the Wall near the fort (Arrius was certainly active near Benwell). The two tombstones, on the other hand, almost certainly derive from the civil settlement of the fort itself.

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