Roman Altar, Manchester Museum

Contributed by The Manchester Museum

Roman altar in the Manchester Gallery at the Manchester Museum. Copyright: The Manchester Museum

One of only three altars to survive from Roman Manchester and the first inscription to be found since the 19th century.The Roman altar was set up by a man called Aelius Victor in honour of the mother goddesses of a Germanic tribe, the Cannanefates, who lived at the mouth of the River Rhine. He is very likely to have been a German who was recruited into the Roman army and posted to the Roman fort of Mamucium (Manchester) perhaps some time in the 2nd century AD. Unfortunately he doesn't give his rank or the name of the regiment with which he was serving. Aelius Victor must have made a vow to the mother goddesses to erect an altar in their honour if he arrived safely. The altar turned up buried face down in a rubbish pit when the site of a former garage was being excavated by Pre-Construct Archaeology in 2008. This inscription tells us about the diverse peoples who lived and worked in Manchester 2000 years ago.

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