PLV Inscriptions (Great Chesters to Carvoran)

Introduction

The bulk of the inscriptions from this sector derive from 19th- and 20th-century excavation and 20th-century consolidation work on the curtain wall, mostly in the region of Walltown Crags.

Inventory

RIB 1754: coh(ortis) V / c(enturia) Sexti Proc(uli) (‘Fifth Cohort, century of Sextus Proculus (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1909 near Milecastle 44. Source: RIB I p.549

RIB 1755: coh(ortis) III [c(enturia)] / Seni[lis] (‘Third Cohort, century of Senilis’). Centurial stone found 1904 in debris near Milecastle 44. Source: RIB I p.550

RIB 1756: coh(ortis) VII / [c(enturia) ..]XI[..]IAN[.] (‘Seventh Cohort, century of (…)’). Centurial stone found before 1732 at Allollee farm cow shed. Source: RIB I p.550

RIB 1757: coh(ortis) VIII / c(enturia) Secci (‘Eighth cohort, the century of Seccius (built this)’). Centurial stone found in Wall debris near Milecastle 44. Source: RIB I p.550

RIB 1758: c(enturia) Maxi(mi) (‘the century of Maximus (built this)’). Centurial stone found in Wall debris near Milecastle 44. Source: RIB I p.550

RIB 1759: co[h(ortis) (‘… cohort …’). Centurial stone found before 1732 at Allolee farm. Source: RIB I p.550

RIB 1760: c(enturia) Mari Dex(tri) (‘the century of Marius Dexter (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1873 near the Wall, then built into Allolee farm. Source: RIB I p.550

RIB 1761: c(enturia) Valeri / Veri (‘the century of Valerius Verus (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1873 near the Wall, then built into Allolee farm. Source: RIB I p.551

RIB 1762: [Leg(ionis)] XX V(aleriae) V(ictricis) / [c(o)h]o(rtis) X / [|(centuria) Iul]i Flo/[ren]tini (‘the Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix, Tenth Cohort, century of Iulius Florentinus (built this)’). Centurial stone found in 1892 at Mucklebank Turret. Source: RIB I p.551

RIB 1763

RIB 1763

RIB 1763: coh(ortis) I c(enturia) / Fl(avi) Cre(scentis) (‘First Cohort, century of Flavius Crescens (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1892 on the SE corner of Turret 44b. Source: RIB I p.551

RIB 1764: coh(ortis) VIII / c(enturia) Secci (‘Eighth Cohort, century of Seccus’). Centurial stone found before 1873 at Low Town farm. Source: RIB I p.551

RIB 1765: c(enturia) Mu/nati / Max(imi) (‘century of Munatius Maximus (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1732 near Walltown. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.552

RIB 1766: coh(ortis) V / c(enturia) Val(eri) / Maximi (‘Fifth Cohort, the century of Valerius Maximus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1807 at Walltown. Source: RIB I p.552

RIB 1767: …v(otum)] / s(olvit) l(ibens) l(aetus) m(erito) (‘gladly, willingly, and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found before 1716 near Walltown. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.552

RIB 1768: coh(ortis) III / |(centuria) Socelliana (‘Third Cohort, the former century of Socellius (built this)’). Centurial stone found in 1757, probably near Turret 44b. Now lost. Source: RIB I pp.552-3

RIB 1769: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) Ferroni / Vegeti (‘Third Cohort, the century of Ferronius Vegetus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1939 E of Walltown quarry. Source: RIB I p.553

RIB 1770: c(enturia) Cl(audi) Au/gus[t]a(ni) (‘the century of Claudius Augustanus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1939 E of Walltown quarry. Source: RIB I p.553

RIB 1771: c(enturia) Mar/i Dext(ri) (‘the century of Marius Dexter (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1939 E of Walltown Quarry. Source: RIB I p.553

RIB 1772: c(o)ho(rtis) VI c(enturia) / Lepidiana (‘Sixth Cohort, the former century of Lepidius (built this)’). Centurial stone found in 1948 E of Turret 45b. Source: RIB I p.553

RIB 1773: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) [IIOIIV] (‘Third Cohort, the century of… (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1883 near Turret 45b. Source: RIB I p.553

RIB 1774: coh(ortis) V / c(enturia) Iuli Vale(ntis) (‘Fifth Cohort, the century of Iulius Valens (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1885 between Turret 45a and 45b. Source: RIB I p.553

RIB 3377: coh(ortis) V / c(enturia) Val(erii) / Rufini (‘Fifth Cohort, the century of Valerius Rufinus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1980 near Turret 45a. Source: RIB III p.353

RIB 3378: leg(ionis) XX V(aleriae) V(ictricis) / c(o)ho(rtis) X / c(enturia) Fl(avi) Nor/ici (‘From the Twentieth Legion, Fifth Cohort, the century of Flavius Noricus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 7.63m W of Turret 45a. Source: RIB III p.354

RIB 3379: coh(ortis) VI / c(enturia) Caledo(ni) / Secundi (‘Sixth Cohort, the century of Caledonius Secundus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1959 47.28m W of Turret 45a, fallen from S face. Source: RIB III pp.354-5

RIB 3380: X (’10’). Building stone found 1987 96m W of Turret 45a in situ on the N face. Source: RIB III p.355

RIB 3381: X (’10’). Building stone found 1987 98m W of Turret 45a in situ on the N face. Source: RIB III p.355

RIB 3382: coh(ortis) I c(enturia) / Libonis (‘First Cohort, the century of Libo’). Building stone found 1987 95.16m W of Turret 45a in rubble from the S face. Source: RIB III p.356

RIB 3383: c(enturia) Ulpi Vo/lusiini (‘the century of Ulpius Volusiinus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 96.28m W of Turret 45a in rubble on N side of Wall. Source: RIB III p.356

RIB 3384: VIII (‘8’). Building stone found 1960 96.28m W of Turret 45a in rubble on N side of Wall. Source: RIB III pp.356-7

RIB 3385: c(enturia) Caledon(i) / Secundi (‘the century of Caledonius Secundus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1959 137.4m W of Turret 45a. Source: RIB III p.358

RIB 3386: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) Maximi (‘Third Cohort, the century of Maximus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 between Turrets 45a and b. Source: RIB III p.358

RIB 3387: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) Max(imi) Ter(e)n(ti) (‘Third Cohort, the century of Maximus Terentius (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 151m W of Turret 45a. Source: RIB III p.359

RIB 3388

RIB 3388

RIB 3388: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) O[…] (‘Third Cohort, the century of O(…) (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 160m W of Turret 45a. Source: RIB III p.360

RIB 3389: c(enturia) Mari / Dext(ri) (‘the century of Marius Dexter (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 245.2m W of Turret 45a fallen from S face. Source: RIB III p.360

RIB 3390: c(enturia) Val(eri) Veri (‘the century of Valerius Verus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 287.3m W of Turret 45a fallen from S face. Source: RIB III p.361

RIB 3391: coh(ortis) II / c(enturia) Laetiani (‘Second Cohort, the century of Laetianus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1960 295.5m W of Turret 45a. Source: RIB III p.361

Analysis

These inscriptions almost exclusively derive from the building work of the Twentieth Legion and this is reflected in the number of inscriptions with very detailed geolocational information. The issue of the allocation of centurial inscriptions has been dealt with elsewhere, but the sample provided by this and subsequent consolidated sections provides a detailed insight into the cohorts and centuries of the Twentieth Legion working here.

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The Jarrow Inscription

Two fragments of a 2nd-century AD Latin inscription (RIB 1051a and b) discovered in St Paul’s church at Jarrow in 1782 may throw important light on Hadrian’s visit to Britain in AD 122.

RIB 1051a

RIB 1051a

RIB 1051a: [Divorum] omnium fil[ius] / [Imp(erator) Caesar Traianus] Hadr[ianus] / [Augustus imposit]a necessitat[e imperii] / [intra fines conser]vati divino pr[aecepto] / [… c]o(n)s(ul) II[I …] (‘Son of all the divine emperors, Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, once the need to maintain the empire within limits had been placed upon him by divine authority… consul for the third time…’). Dedication found 1782 at St Paul’s church, Jarrow. Now in the GNM. Source: RIB I pp.349-51

RIB 1051b

RIB 1051b

RIB 1051b: diffusis [barbaris et] / provinc[ia reciperata(!)] / Britannia ad[didit limitem inter] / utrumque O[ceani litus …] / exercitus pr[ovinciae … fecit] / sub cur[a A(uli) Platori Nepotis leg(ati) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore)] (‘After the barbarians had been scattered and the province of Britain recovered, he added a frontier… between both Ocean’s shores. The army of the province built this… under Aulus Platorius Nepos, Emperor’s propraetorian legate’). Dedication found 1782 at St Paul’s church, Jarrow. Now in the GNM. Source: RIB I pp.349-51

Dated to after AD 119 (the year in which Hadrian held office as consul for the third time), the fragments were interpreted by Ian Richmond and R.P. Wright in their publication as parts of one text, separated by about seven lines of missing text. Richmond and Wright restored the inscription to include mention of Hadrian’s eponymous Wall, although that restoration remains speculative and, indeed, contentious. The first section (1051a) contains Hadrian’s names. so clearly belongs at the beginning, whilst the second (1051b), recording the governor’s name, should come at the end. What came between, however, is anybody’s guess, assuming both pieces belonged to the same text (and that is by no means certain). What is clear is that mention is being made of the exercitus Britannicus doing something, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that that something was building the Wall.

Eric Birley¹ was sceptical of Richmond and Wright’s claim for the stones being Hadrianic (mainly on the style of the lettering), preferring a Severan date for them, reasoning that it may have marked that emperor’s reconstruction of the Wall as the occasion for the dedication. Nevertheless, his son Tony Birley has pointed out² that Cantarelli suggested as far back as 1898 that the text may record part of a speech by Hadrian, given to the troops during his visit to Britain. Was this the address illustrated on the exercitus Britannicus coins he issued? Was it also at this occasion that the discharge of veterans from fifty auxiliary units occurred, recorded on a diploma as 17th July 122? We have no way of knowing for sure, for the time being, but these are, at the very least, interesting possibilities.

1. Research on Hadrian’s Wall (1962) 159.
2. Hadrian, the Restless Emperor (1997) 331-2 n.16.

Podcastellum 2: Brunton Turret

Brunton Turret (T26b)

Above is a Google Map showing the location of Brunton Turret (T26b), described in Podcastellum 2. Below are some views of the turret, together with a plan.

The surviving western extremity of the curtain wall, looking EThe eastern 'wing wall', looking WNo wing wall on the western side of the turret (looking NE)Brunton Turret with its entrance on the eastern side of the south wall, looking NWDetail of the threshold, looking NBrunton Turret looking NEView towards Chesters from Brunton Turret, looking WPlan of Brunton TurretNota Bene

Here are the soldiers on Trajan’s Column mentioned in the podcast, marching across the pontoon bridge, seemingly not in step. The sinister (their left) leg is marked S and the dexter D where they are in the lead.

Marching soldiers on a pontoon bridgeHere are the marching soldiers in Scene CVI with the advanced leg marked once again.

Marching in Scene CVIFinally, thanks are due to the Ermine Street Guard, and most especially Chris Haines and Mike Garlick, for allowing me to record their splendid cornu whilst they were performing at Fishbourne. Here is Mike in mid-blow:

The cornicenThe podcast is available as an MP3 file (11Mb). If there is enough demand I can create an Ogg Vorbis file too, but you have to tell me you want it. Right click to download. A bit torrent link is also available.

With a fair wind and a measure of good fortune, you can subscribe to the podcast series using this link.

The PLV eboojs