Rare Roman altar

Contributed by The Hunterian

There are several examples of altars to Roman gods and goddesses which have been recovered along the length of the Antonine Wall. Many have been dedicated to Victory, the Roman goddess of victory, or Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune. This one is dedicated to the spirit of the land of Britain and is inscribed:

This is an abbreviation from Latin which translates as: "To the presiding spirit of the land of Britain, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Augustan Legion".

This object was selected by Louisa Hammersley, postgraduate student at the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow. Louisa says "I chose this because it is an extremely rare example of altars dedicated to local gods. It demonstrates that at least some Roman soldiers were 'hedging their bets' and attempting to ensure success in battle and their own safety by dedicating prayers and altars to their traditional Roman gods as well as to gods watching over occupied lands. Marcus Firmus is recorded as erecting several altars and one wonders whether he was particularly superstitious or merely extremely careful about his own safety!"

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Vicinity of Antonine Wall


2nd century


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