PLV Inscriptions (Birdoswald to Castlesteads)

Introduction

This section of the Stone Wall includes centurial stones from the curtain wall, altars and other inscriptions from milecastles, as well as quarry inscriptions from Coombe Crag and Lodge Crag.

Inventory

RIB 1930: coh(ortis) IIII / c(enturia) Probian(a) (‘Fourth Cohort the former century of Probus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1833 30ft W of the NW corner of Birdoswald fort. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.595

RIB 1931: c(enturia) Hort/ensia/na (‘the former century of Hortensius (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1857 in a field wall ½ mile W of Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.595

RIB 1932: leg(ionis) II Aug(ustae) [coh(ors)] / VII su[b] / [cu]ra / [… (‘Second Legion Augusta, Seventh Cohort, in the charge of…’). Dedication slab found unstratified in Milecastle 50 SW in 1911. Source: RIB I p.596.

RIB 1933: vex]sil(latio) / [leg(ionis) VI Vi]c(tricis) / [… (‘…vexillation of the Sixth Legion Victrix…’). Dedication slab found unstratified outside the SE corner of Milecastle 50 SW in 1911. Source: RIB I p.596.

RIB 1934

RIB 1934

RIB 1934: [L]eg(io) VI Vic(trix) / [P(ia)] Fidelis / f(ecit) (‘Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis built this’). Dedication slab found about 1849 at MC50SW (left) and Birdoswald farmhouse garden wall (right). Source: RIB I p.596

RIB 1935: [Imp(eratoris) Caes(aris) Traiani] / [Had]ria[ni Augusti] / [leg(io) … A(ulo)] Pl[atorio Nepote] / [leg(ato) pr(o) pr(aetore)] (‘Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus the […]th Legion… under Aulus Platorius Nepos, governor…’). Wooden dedication found in Pit B of MC50TW in 1934. Source: RIB I p.596

RIB 1936: c(enturia) Cari(si) Scipion(is) (‘the century of Carisius Scipio (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1896 in NE corner of High House farm. Source: RIB I p.597

RIB 1937: c(enturia) Floriani / c(o)h[o(rtis)] VIII / leg(ionis) [V]I (‘the century of Florianus, Eighth Cohort, Sixth Legion (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1941 in NW corner of High House farm. Source: RIB I p.597

RIB 1938

RIB 1938

RIB 1938: Leg(io) VI Vic(trix) / P(ia) Fidelis / f(ecit) (‘Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis built this’). Red sandstone dedication slab found 1911 in T50aSW. Source: RIB I p.597

RIB 1939: Leg(io)] VI V[ic(trix)… (‘Sixth Legion Victrix…’). Red sandstone dedication slab found 1911 in T50aSW. Source: RIB I p.597

RIB 1940: c(enturia) […]didi (‘the century of …didus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1934 in a field wall E of Appletree barn. Source: RIB I p.598

RIB 1941: c(enturia) coh(ortis) I / […]len[…] (‘First Cohort, then century of …len… (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1732 in Lanerton farmhouse. Source: RIB I p.598

RIB 1942: c(enturia) […] (‘the century of… (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1732 in Lanerton farmhouse. Source: RIB I p.598

RIB 1943: c(o)ho(rtis) VIIII / [c(enturia)] Mar(ci) Ruf(i) (‘Ninth Cohort, the century of Marcius Rufus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1604 at Triermain. Source: RIB I p.598

RIB 1944: ped(atura) / cl(assis) Brit(annicae) (‘the distance in feet by the British Fleet’). Building stone seen 1604 at Triermain Castle. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.598

RIB 1945

RIB 1945

RIB 1945: ped(atura) cla(ssis) / Bri(tannicae) (‘the distance in feet by the British Fleet’). Building stone seen (in 1772?) at Netherby. Source: RIB I p.599

RIB 1946

RIB 1946

RIB 1946: …] Securus / c(enturia) Ap[…] / Iustus (‘Securus, the century of Ap…, Iustus’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.599

RIB 1947

RIB 1947

RIB 1947: Maternus (‘Maternus’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1948: Matern[us] (‘Maternus’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1949: DE (‘?’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1950: Iulius (‘Iulius’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1951: Stadus f(ecit) (‘Stadus made this’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1952: [A]pol(l)onius Daminius nolui / [..]dos / [.]S[…] (‘Apollonius, I Daminius, did not wish (to do it)’). Quarry inscription found before 1817 at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1953: Leg(io) VI Vict(rix) P(ia) F(idelis) (‘Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis (made this)’). Quarry inscription found in 1694 at Lodge Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1954: Aurea per caelum volitat Victoria pennis (‘Golden Victory flies across the sky on wings’). Quarry inscription found in 1694 at Lodge Crag. Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1955

RIB 1955

RIB 1955: Deo / Cocidio / milites / l[eg(ionis)] II Aug(ustae) / [v(otum)] s(olverunt) l(ibentes) m(erito) (‘For the god Cocidius, the soldiers of the Second Legion Augusta willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found in 1808 in Bankshead Milecastle (52). Source: RIB I p.600

RIB 1956

RIB 1956

RIB 1956: Deo / Cocidio / milites / leg(ionis) XX V(aleriae) v(ictricis) / v(otum) s(olverunt) l(ibentes) m(erito) / Apr(…) et Ruf(…) co(n)s(ulibus) (‘For the god Cocidius, the soldiers of the Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found in 1808 in Bankshead Milecastle (52). Source: RIB I p.601

RIB 1957: Im[p(eratore) C(aesare) T(ito) Ael(io)] / Hadri[ano] / Anto[nino (‘Under the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus’). Fragment found in 1862 in Bankshead Milecastle (52). Source: RIB I p.601

RIB 1958

RIB 1958

RIB 1958: c(enturia) p(rimi) p(ili) (‘the century of the primus pilus (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1894 at Moneyholes. Now at Hare Hill. Source: RIB I p.601

RIB 1959: coh(ors) / VIII (‘The Eighth Cohort (built this)’). Building stone found before 1841 near Randylands Milecastle (54). Source: RIB I p.602

RIB 1960: coh(ors) / VIIII (‘The Ninth Cohort (built this)’). Building stone found before 1732 near Randylands Milecastle (54). Source: RIB I p.602

RIB 1961: Deo / Cocid[io] / vexil(l)[atio] / leg(ionis) VI v[ic(tricis)] / [v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito)] (‘For the god Cocidius, a detachment of the Sixth Legion Victrix willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found 1808 in a cottage garden at Howgill. Source: RIB I p.602

RIB 1962

RIB 1962

RIB 1962: Civitate Cat/uvellaun/orum Toss/[o]dio (‘By the tribe of Catuvellauni, Tossodius (built this)’). Building inscription found before 1718 at Howgill. Source: RIB I p.602

RIB 1963: Deo Co[cidio…] (‘For the god Cocidius…’). Altar found 1833 at Low Wall. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.603

RIB 1964: leg(ionis) II Aug(ustae) / coh(ors) I (‘Second Legion Augusta, First Cohort (built this)’). Building stone found at Naworth Castle before 1696. Source: RIB I p.603

RIB 1965: l(egionis) II Aug(ustae) / c(enturia) Vol/usia/na (‘Second Legion Augusta, the former century of Volusius (built this)’). Building stone found at Naworth Castle before 1624. Source: RIB I p.603

RIB 1966: Leg(io) VI Vic(trix) / Pia Fid(elis) f(ecit) (‘Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis built this’). Building stone found 1744 in a house at Naworth. Source: RIB I p.603

RIB 1967: Leg(io) VI / Vic(trix) P(ia) F(idelis) f(ecit) (‘Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis built this’). Building stone found before 1840 at Lanercost. Source: RIB I p.603

RIB 1968

RIB 1968

RIB 1968: Leg(io) VI V[ic(trix)] / Pia Fid(elis) [f(ecit)] (‘Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis built this’). Building stone found before 1941 on N face of pele tower of Lanercost vicarage. Source: RIB I p.604

RIB 1969: coh(ortis) IIII c(enturia) / Auruncul(e)i (‘Fourth Cohort, the century of Aurunculeius (built this)’). Centurial stone found c.1938 on S face of N boundary wall at Lanercost Priory, 38 yds from E end. Source: RIB I p.604

RIB 1970: coh(ortis) VIII / |(centuria) Iuli Ter/tulliani (‘Eighth Cohort, the century of Iulius Tertullianus (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1624 in wall near garden back door at Naworth castle. Source: RIB I p.604

RIB 1971

RIB 1971

RIB 1971: coh(ortis) X / [c(enturia)] Pi[…] (‘Tenth Cohort, the century of Pi… (built this)’). Centurial stone found before c.1857 in E wall of crypt at Lanercost Priory near SE corner. Source: RIB I pp.604-5

RIB 1972: c(enturia) Cl(audi) Prisci (‘the century of Claudius Priscus (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1732 at Naworth Castle. Now Lost. Source: RIB I p.605

RIB 1973: c(enturia) Cl(audi) Prisci (‘the century of Claudius Priscus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1833 at Lanercost, rediscovered during farmyard construction in 1860. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.605

RIB 1974: c(enturia)] Bassi S/[…]lis (‘the century of Bassius S… (built this)’). Centurial stone found before 1624 at Naworth. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.605

RIB 1975: […] / CEO[… (‘?’). Building stone found 1833 at Lanercost. Now lost. Source: RIB I p.605

RIB 3449: coh(ortis) VI / c(enturia) Pompei / Albani (‘Sixth Cohort, the century of Pompeius Albanus (built this)’). Centurial stone found c.1957 c.183m W of Birdoswald. Now lost. Source: RIB III p.399

RIB 3450: IIV (‘?’). Building stone found 1987 248.5m W of Birdoswald. Source: RIB III p.399

RIB 3451: c(enturia) Eppi / Con(stantis) (‘the century of Eppius Constnas (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1966 in field wall 270.8m W of Birdoswald and 24.7m S of the Wall. Source: RIB III p.400

RIB 3452: SIA BLEI / SVROS (‘?’). Quarry inscription found 1991 in situ at Coombe Crag. Source: RIB III p.401

RIB 3453: c(enturia) Cand[i]d[i] / Cres[ce]nt(is) (‘the century of Candidius Crescens (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1970 128.3m E of Turret 51a (Piper Sike). Source: RIB III p.402

RIB 3454: coh(ortis) III c(enturia) / M(arci) Solli Iuliani (‘Third Cohort, the century of Marcus Sollius Iulianus (built this)’). Centurial stone found 1975 at Hare Hill where Hare Croft now stands. Source: RIB III pp.402-3

Analysis

This selection contains an important clue to a major missing epigraphic element on Hadrian’s Wall: wooden inscriptions. Although inscriptions on barrels, handles, and sundry other bits of waterlogged accoutrements that are dug up are by now quite familiar to us, largely thanks to the Vindolanda excavations, we must not forget that all the forts and milecastles west of the Irthing were first built in turf and timber as part of the Turf Wall. This (1935) is the only fragment of monumental inscription to have been recovered from them. Wooden inscriptions may have had their part to play elsewhere too, perhaps representing a whole missing class of data for the grave markers of the poor all along the Wall. Wood was ubiquitous, but is largely lost to us now except in unusual circumstances.

There are evidently at least three sets of work represented by the building inscriptions along this stretch (1930-45, 1957-60, 1962, 1964-74, 3449, 3451, 3453-4). There was the initial construction of the Turf Wall; then the replacement Stone Wall (on a different line); finally a reconstruction of the Stone Wall to make up for its shoddy workmanship in the first place. The presence of quarries nearby provides us with the doodlings of soldiers actually building the Wall (1946-54), including the wistful musing on an airborne Victory (1954).

Finally, as ever, the soldiers in the milecastles were dedicating altars to Cocidius (1954-6, 1961, 1963). Four out of five of these, it is worth noting, were dedicated by legionary soldiers.

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