PLV Inscriptions (Birdoswald)

Introduction

Unsurprisingly, the principal garrison unit at Birdoswald, cohors I Aelia Dacorum, dominates the inscriptions from the site. A fine series of altars dedicated to Jupiter preserves the names of some of the commanders of the unit.

Inventory

RIB 1872: Deo Cocidio / coh(ors) I Aelia / [Dacorum c(ui) p(raeest)] / [Tere]ntius / Valerianus / [trib(unus) v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito)] (‘For the god Cocidius, the First Cohort of Aelian Dacians, which is commanded by the tribune Terentius Valerianus, willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found before 1695, probably at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.577

RIB 1873: Deae / Fortu/nae (‘For the goddess Fortuna’). Altar found before 1758 built into Birdoswald farmhouse. Source: RIB I p.577

RIB 1874: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / co(hors) I Aelia / Dacorum / qu(i)b(us) pr(a)eest / Ammonius / Victorinus / trib(unus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by Ammonius Victorinus, tribune (set this up)’). Altar found at Birdoswald before 1758. Source: RIB I p.577

RIB 1875: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / [co]h(ors) I Ael(ia) Dac/[orum] c(ui) p(rae)est / [A]urelius Fa(u)s/[t]us trib(unus) / [Pe]rpetuo / co(n)s(ule) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by Aurelius Faustus, tribune (set this up) in the consulship of Perpetuus’). Altar found at Birdoswald before 1600. Perpetuus was consul in AD 237. Source: RIB I pp.577-8

RIB 1876: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / [c]oh(ors) I Ael(ia) Da[c(orum)] / c(uius) c(uram) agit A/urel(ius) Sa[t]urn[inus (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Aelian Dacians under the command of Aurelius Saturninus (set this up)’). Altar found 1599 at Willowford farm house. Now lost. Source: RIB I pp.578-9

RIB 1877: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / c[o]h(ors) I / Aelia / Daco[r]/um Aug(usta) / [cui] p(raeest) Aur(elius) / […] (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, called Augusta, which is commanded by Aurelius […] (set this up)’). Altar found before 1868 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.579

RIB 1878: [I(ovi)] O(ptimo) M(aximo) / [coh(ors) I A]el(ia) Da/[corum] c(ui) p(raeest) F[l(avius)] / [… (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, which is commanded by Flavius […] (set this up)’). Altar found before 1894 in Greenhead. Source: RIB I p.579

RIB 1879: I(ovi) O(ptimo) [M(aximo)] / [coh(ors) I Ael(ia)] / Dac(orum) cu[i pr]/aeest […] / Funisul[an]/us Vetto[ni]/anus t[ri]/b(unus) v(otum) [s(olvit)] l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians which is commanded by the tribune [.] Funisulanus Vettonianus, willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found 1861 in Scaleby church. Source: RIB I p.579

RIB 1880

RIB 1880

RIB 1880: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) Da/cor(um) c(uius) c(uram) a(git) Iul(ius) / Marcelli/nus |(centurio) leg(ionis) II / Aug(ustae) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Aelian Dacians under the temporary command of Iulius Marcellinus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, (set this up)’). Altar found in the face of the cliff above Underheugh Farm. Source: RIB I p.579

RIB 1881

RIB 1881

RIB 1881: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / c(o)ho(rs) I A[el(ia)] / Dac(orum) cui p[rae]/est Iuliu[s] / Saturnin[us] / tribun[us] (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Aelian Dacians under the command of Iulius Saturninus, tribune, (set this up)’). Altar found in 1744 in the SE corner of the clerestory passage of Lanercost Priory. Source: RIB I p.579

RIB 1882: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / et n(umini) Aug(usti) / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) / Dac(orum) c(ui) p(raeest) M(arcius) / Gallicus / trib(unus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest and the spirit of the Emperor, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, cammanded by the tribune Marcius Gallicus, (set this up)’). Altar found before 1852 ‘at Waterhead’ (in which parish Birdoswald is located). Source: RIB I p.580

RIB 1883: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) Dac(orum) / Postumi[ana] / c(ui) p(raeest) Marc(ius) / Gallicus / trib(unus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, called Postumus’, which is commanded by the tribune Marcius Gallicus, (set this up)’). Altar found 1746 100 yds E of Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.580

RIB 1884: [I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo)] / [coh(ors) I] Ael(ia) [Daco]/[rum] c(ui) p(raeest) Do[mit]/[ius H]onor[atus] / tri[b(unus)] (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by the tribune Domitius Honoratus, (set this up)’). Altar found before 1898 in the northern outbuilding at Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.580

RIB 1885: Deo / Co[c]i[dio] // I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) D[a]c(orum) / Tetricianoru/m c(ui) p(raeest) Pomp[on]/[i]us D[eside]/rat[us …] / t[rib(unus) (‘For the god Cocidius // For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, called Tetrician, under the command of the tribune Pomponius Desideratus, (set this up)’). Altar found 1599 in one of the farm buildings at Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.581

RIB 1886: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) / Dacoru[m] / Postum[i]/ana c(ui) p(raeest) / Prob(ius) Au/gendus / trib(unus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, called Postumian, commanded by the tribune Probius Augendus, (set this up)’). Altar found 1747 100 yds E of Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.581

RIB 1887: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) / Dac(orum) c(ui) p(raeest) / Stat(ius) Lon/ginus trib(unus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by the tribune Statius Longinus, (set this up)’). Altar found 1599 at Willowford bridge. Source: RIB I p.582

RIB 1888: [I(ovi)] O(ptimo) M(aximo) / [coh(ors) I A]el(ia) Dac(orum) / [cui pr]aeest / […]us Con/[… t]rib(unus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by the tribune (…)us Con(…), (set this up)’). Plaque found 1833 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.583

RIB 1889: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Ae(lia) / Dac(orum) cui / [p]raees[t] / [… (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by…’). Altar found before 1601 at Willowford. Source: RIB I p.583

RIB 1890: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / co(hors) I Aelia / Dacorum / cui pr(a)eest / […] (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by […] (set this up)’). Altar found before 1732 built into an outhouse at Willowford. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.583

RIB 1891: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Aelia / Dac[or(um)] c(ui) p(raeest) / […] (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by […] (set this up)’). Altar found at Underheugh reused as a pig trough. Source: RIB I p.583

RIB 1892: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) I Aeli[a] / Dac(orum) Anto(niniana) / [… (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians called Antonine, [commanded by…] (set this up)’). Altar found before 1727 at Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.583

RIB 1893: I(ovi) O(ptimo) [M(aximo)] / coh(ors) I Ael(ia) / Dac(orum) Gordi/ana c(ui) p(rae)est / […] (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians called Gordian, commanded by […] (set this up)’). Altar found 1599 at Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.584

RIB 1894: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / co[h(ors)] I A[el(ia)] / [Dac(orum) …] / […] / M[…] / NV[…]A / […]ius / […]rin(.) b(ene)f(iciarius) v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians… williangly and deservedly fulfilled a vow, with …inus, beneficiarius’). Altar found before 1873, probably at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.584

RIB 1895: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / […] / […] / […] / [..]S tri(bunus) (‘For Iupiter Best and Greatest… […]s, tribune…’). Altar found 1881 reused in altar steps at Upper Denton church. Source: RIB I p.584

RIB 1896: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) [D(olicheno)] / coh(ors) I A[el(ia) Dac(orum)] / c(ui) p(raeest) Flavi[us Ma]/ximia[nus] / trib(unus) ex [evoc(ato) c(ohortis)] / I pr(aetoriae) Ma[ximin(ianae)] (‘For Iupiter Dolichenus Best and Greatest, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by the tribune Flavius Maximianus, formerly an evocatus of the First Praetorian Cohort, called Maximinian’). Altar found before 1732 in the courtyard at Willowford. Source: RIB I p.585

RIB 1897: Di(a)e / Lat[i] (‘For the goddess Latis’). Altar found before 1873 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.585

RIB 1898: Deo Ma/rt(i) c(o)h/ortis / pri(mae) [A]e/l(iae) Dac(orum) V / P V / CVI tri[b(unus)] (‘For the god Mars the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians… tribune’). Altar found at Birdoswald before 1624. Source: RIB I pp.585-6

RIB 1899: Deo Marti / et Victor/[ia]e Aurel(ius) / Maximu[s] / s(acrum) s(umptu) s(uo) v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For the god Mars and Victoria Aurelius Maximus, a sacred offering at his expense, willingly and deservedly fulfilling a vow’). Altar found before 1763 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.586

RIB 1900: Deo Ma/rti Au[g(usto)] / [… (‘For the God Mars Augustus…’). Altar found before 1750, probably at Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I pp.586-7

RIB 1901: [Mar]ti Pat[ri] / [… (‘For Mars Pater…’). Fragment found 1952 W of Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.587

RIB 1902: Matr[ib]/us / PRNV[…] / VVSCO [v(otum) s(olvit)] / l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For the mothers… willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found before 1732, probably at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.587

RIB 1903: D(e)ae / Rati / votu/m in / perp/etuo (‘For the goddess Ratis, a perpetual vow’). Altar found before 1873 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.587

RIB 1904: Signis / et n(umini) Au[g(usti) coh(ors) I] / Ael(ia) [Dacorum (‘For the standards and the deity of the Emperor, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians…’). Statue base found before 1728 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.587

RIB 1905

RIB 1905

RIB 1905: Deo Sancto / Silvano ve/natores / Banniess(es) (‘For the holy god Silvanus, the hunters of Banna (set this up)’). Altar found 1821 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.588

RIB 1906: …]/to […] / coh(ors) I [Dac(orum)] / qu[i]b(us) pra[e]/est Amm(onius) / Victorin(us) / trib(unus) (‘… the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians which is commanded by the tribune Ammonius Victorinus’). Base found before 1624 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.588

RIB 1907: …] / V C[…] / L(ucius) Vereius / Fortuna/tus |(centurio) leg(ionis) / V[I …] (‘… Lucius Vereius Fortunatus, centurion of the Sixth Legion…’). Altar found before 1624 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.589

RIB 1908: …] / v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘…willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found before 1732. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.589

RIB 1909: Impp(eratoribus) Caess(aribus) L(ucio) / Sept(imio) Severo Pio / Pert(inaci) et M(arco) Aur(elio) A[nt]o/nino Augg(ustis) [[[et P(ublio) Sep(timio)]]] / [[[Getae nob(ilissimo) Caes(ari)]]] hor/reum fecer(unt) coh(ortes) I Ael(ia) / Dac(orum) et I T(h)racum c(ivium) R(omanorum) sub / Alfeno Senecione co(n)s(ulari) / per Aurel(ium) Iulianum tr(ibunum) (‘For the Emperor Caesars Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Augusti, and Publius Septimius Geta, most noble Caesar, the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians and the First Cohort of Thracians, Roman citizens, built the granary under Alfenus Senecio through the tribune Aurelius Iulianus’). Dedication slab found 1929 in a barrack block. Source: RIB I p.589

RIB 1910: [Impp(eratoribus) Caess(aribus) L(ucio)] / [Septimio Sev]ero / [Pio Pertina]ci et / [M(arco) Aurel(io) Antonino] / [Pio Augg(ustis)] / [… (‘For the Emperor Caesars Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Pius, Augusti…’). Dedication slab found at Birdoswald before 1899. Source: RIB I p.589

RIB 1911: Pro salute / d(omini) n(ostri) Maximi ac / fort(issimi) Imp(eratoris) Caes(aris) / M(arci) Aurel(i) [Anton(ini)] / [P(ii) F(elicis)] Aug(usti) […]OC / […]V[…]VST / […]O aedif(icavit) (‘For the well-being of our greatest and mightiest Lord the Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Pius Felix Augustus … built…’). Altar found before 1600 at Willowford. Source: RIB I p.590

RIB 1912: [DD(ominis)] nn(ostris) Dioc[letiano] et / M[axim]iano Invictis Augg(ustis) et / Constantio et Maximiano / nn(obilissimis) CC(aesaribus) sub v(iro) p(erfectissimo) Aur(elio) (H)arpagio pr(aeside) / praetor(ium) quod erat humo copert(um) / et in labe(m) conl(apsum) et princ(ipia) et bal(neum) rest(ituit) / curant(e) Fl(avio) Martino cent(urione) p(rae)p(osito) c(ohortis?) […] (‘For our Lords Diocletian and Maximian, Invincible Augusti, and Constantius and Maximianus, most noble Caesars, under the Most Perfect Aurelius Harpagius, governor, the … Cohort restored the commanding officer’s house, which had been covered with soil and collapsed in ruins, along with the headquarters building and bath-house, under the command of Flavius Martinus, centurion in charge’). Dedication slab found in 1929 in a barrack building. Source: RIB I p.591

RIB 1913: [Im]p(eratori?) C[aes(ari?) …] / […]V[… (‘For the Emperor Caesar…’). Fragment of dedication slab found before 1887 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.591

RIB 1914

RIB 1914

RIB 1914: Sub Modio Iu/lio leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) / pr(aetore) coh(ors) I Ael(ia) D(a)c(orum) / cui praeest M(arcus) / Cl(audius) Menander / trib(unus) (‘Under the governor Modius Iulius, The First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, commanded by the tribune Marcus Claudius Menander (built this)’). Dedication slab found outside the wall of S guard chamber of the E gate at Birdoswald in 1852. Source: RIB I p.591

RIB 1915: …s]ub cur[a …] / […]ei |(centurionum) Max[…] / [… Sace]rdo[…] / […]MPD[… (‘in the charge of… centurions…’). Fragment of dedication slab found in 1860 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.592

RIB 1916: Leg(io) VI / Vic(trix) P(ia) F(idelis) / f(ecit) (‘The Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis built this’). Building stone found in 1599, probably at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.592

RIB 1917: c(enturia) Congaoni / Candidi p(edes) XXX (‘the century of Congaonius Candidus (built) 30 feet’). Building stone found before 1873 at or near Birdoswald. Source: RIB I pp.592-3

RIB 1918: c(enturia) Deci Sax(ae) / coh(ortis) I Dac(orum) (‘the century of Decius Saxa of the First Cohort of Dacians (built this)’). Building stone found before 1899 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.593

RIB 1919: D(is) M(anibus) / Aureli / Concor/di vixit / ann(um) un/um d(ies) V / fil(ii) Aurel(i) / Iuliani / trib(uni) (‘For the immortal shades of Aurelius Concordus, he lived one year, 5 days, son of the tribune Aurelius Iulianus’). Tombstone found in 1783 in the milking house at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.593

RIB 1920: D(is) [M(anibus)] / Deciba[l… vix(it)] / dieb[us …] / et Blae[… vix]/{s}[i]t a(nnos) X Et[…]/us frat[er (‘For the immortal shades, for Decibalus, who lived … days, and Blaesus, who lived 10 years… their brother (set this up)’). Tombstone found 1752 a little W of Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.593

RIB 1921: …]spa Septimo vi[xi]t ann(os) / XXXX mil(itavit) XVIII coh(orte) I Ae/lia Dacorum / h(eres) f(aciendum) c(uravit) (‘…spa Septimus, lived 40 years, served 18, with the First Aelian Cohort of Dacians, his heir set this up’). Tombstone fragment found 1802 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I pp.593-4

RIB 1922: …]CM[…] / […]IMVS DI[…] / […]ES a solo fe[…] / [Maximino] et Africano c[o(n)s(ulibus)] (‘…built from ground level… in the consulship of Maximinus and Africanus’). Dedication slab fragment found before 1856 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.594

RIB 1923: […]NI[…] / TORTO[…] / TOA[…] / DA[…] (‘?’). Altar fragment found before 1732 in a door jamb at Underheugh. Source: RIB I p.594

RIB 1924: …]A[I …] / […]OQV[…] / […]OCLI[… (‘?’). Fragment found before 1884 at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.594

RIB 1925: …]VI R[…] / […]AL M[…] / […]ET[… (‘?’). Fragment found before 1874 at Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.595

RIB 1926: …]IBVS[… (‘?’). Fragment found loose in 1929 in barrack block. Source: RIB I p.595

RIB 1927: Dada (‘Dada’). Building stone found before 1732 in NE building at Birdoswald farm. Source: RIB I p.595

RIB 1928: ? (‘?’). Weathered altar found 1783 in milk-house at Birdoswald. Source: RIB I p.595

RIB 1929: ? (‘?’). Altar found 1783 built into a fireplace at Underheugh Farm. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.595

Analysis

The altars set up to Jupiter Best and Greatest (1874-84, 1886-96) preserve the names of some of the tribunes (and at least one legionary centurion) who commanded this double-strength infantry cohort based at the fort. However, it is a dedication (1909) which mentions Aurelius Iulianus, who we find elsewhere (1919) mourning the loss of his son Iulius Concordus, who lived one year and five days. Iulianus was in command when a granary was rebuilt in the Severan period and it is interesting to note that the Dacians got the help of the cohors I Thracum in the construction work. The Thracians were also involved in building work at around the same time down at Bowes (RIB 740). The occurrence of the Dacian name Decibalus (1920) is noteworthy, recalling that of the king who opposed Trajan’s invasion of Dacia at the beginning of the 2nd century AD.

One dedicatory slab in particular (1912) stands out, recording the reconstruction of the praetorium, principia, and baths under Arpagius some time in the period AD 297-305. The distinction it draws between the HQ building and CO’s house was to prove key in untangling the nomenclature of internal buildings in forts. In its own way just as significant is another stone (1914) which shows the Dacians’ traditional weapon, the lethal two-handed weapon known as the falx. The inscription is dated to AD 219 so it raises the question of whether the Dacians were in fact still equipped with the falx, a century after they arrived in Britain.

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