Hadrian's Wall

Epigraphic Evidence from the Wall

Wallsend to Newcastle
Newcastle to Benwell
Benwell to Rudchester
Rudchester to Halton Chesters
Halton Chesters to Chesters
Chesters to Carrawburgh
Carrawburgh to Housesteads
Housesteads to Great Chesters
Great Chesters to Carvoran
Carvoran to Birdoswald
Birdoswalds to Castlesteads
Castlesteads to Stanwix
Stanwix to Burgh-by-Sands
Burgh-by-Sands to Drumburgh
Drumburgh to Bowness-on-Solway
Hadrian's Wall, Exact Location Unknown

Wallsend to Newcastle (1309-1315; 7)

Altar to the God Digens

IVL MAXIMVS SAC D DIGENIS O... PEC SVA CVRAVIT
'Julius Maximus for the holy god Digens, O[...] has taken care of his property.'
(RIB 1314; altarstone)

Newcastle to Benwell (1323-1326; 4)

Cohors Primae Thracum - The First Cohort of Thracians

COH I THRACVM
'The First Thracian Cohort [made this].'
(RIB 1323)

Benwell to Rudchester (1353-1394; 41)

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

LEG II AVG COH I FEC LEG II AVG CHO VIII FEC LEG II AVG COH VIII
'The Second Augustan Legion, First Cohort has made [this].' 'Legio Secundae Augusta Cohors Octavae Fecit.' 'The Second Augustan Legion, Eighth Cohort [has made this].'
(RIB 1358) (RIB 1359) (RIB 1360)

Legio Sextae Victrix Pia Fidelis - The Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful

LEG VI VICT P F REFECIT COH X
'The Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful, Tenth Cohort, rebuilt this.'
(RIB 1388)
LEG VI P F REF TER ET SAC COS S... F...
'The Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful rebuilt this when [Sextus Sulpicius] Ter[tullus] and [Quintus Tineius] Sac[erdos Clemens] were consuls S[...] F[...].'
(RIB 1389; from Heddon-on-the-Wall; Dated: AD158)

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

LEG XX V V COH IV LEG XX V V COH VIII LEG XX V V COH X > PRIN
'The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, Fourth Cohort [made this].' 'Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix Cohors Octavae [fecit].' 'The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, Tenth Cohort, century of Prin[... made this].'
(RIB 1385) (RIB 1390) (RIB 1391)

Cohors Primae Dacorum - The First Cohort of Dacians

COH I DACOR > AELI DIDA
'The First Cohort of Dacians, century of Aelius Dides.'
(RIB 1365)
COH PRIM DC...L
'The First Cohort of Dacians [...]'
(RIB 1392)

Votive Inscription to Iupitter

IOV I O M ...
'For Jupiter Best and Greatest [...]'
(RIB 1366)

Rudchester to Halton Chesters (1406-1422; 17)

Legio Secundae Augusta - Second Augustan Legion

LEG II AVG F
'The Second Augustan Legion built this.'
(RIB 1419)

Cohors Primae Vardullorum - The First Cohort of Vardulli

MATRIB TEMPL CVM ARA VEX COH I VARD INSTANTE P D V VSLM
'To the Mother Goddesses, this temple with its altarstone [was built by] a detachment of the First Cohort of Vardulli, under P[ublius] D[omitius?] V[...], willingly and deservedly fulfilling their vow.'
(RIB 1421; altarstone)

Tombstone of Vilidedius

DIS MANIBVS VILIDEDIVS HERES POSVIT
'To the spirits of the departed and Vilidedius. His heirs placed [this memorial].'
(RIB 1420; tombstone)

Halton Chesters to Chesters (1438-1447; 10)

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

LEG II AVG
'The Second Augustan Legion [built this].'
(RIB 1443)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

LEG VI VI F
'The Sixth Victorious Legion has made [this].'
(RIB 1438)

Building Inscription Recording Work Done by a Cavalry Turma

T L A... F P V P CXIII TVRM L A... FANI

(RIB 1445)

Chesters to Carrawburgh (1497-1511; 15)

Building Inscription Naming an Experienced Legionary Centurion

COH I > NA... BASSI HAS P
'The First Cohort, century of Na[...] Bassus, Hastatus Posterior.¹'
(RIB 1501)
  1. The Has[tatus] P[osterior] was the centurion in charge of the Fifth (double) Century of the First (legionary) Cohort. Bassus was therefore numbered among the top five most experienced centurions in the Legion, and the men he commanded would be mostly veteran. An alternative expansion may be Has[ta] P[ura] or 'Spear of Purity', which was a military decoration for distinguished service, a small replica spear made of silver normally awarded to legionary legates or military tribunes.

Carrawburgh to Housesteads (1564-1575; 14)

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

LEG II AVG
'The Second Augustan Legion [made this].'
(RIB 1569 & 1574)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

LEG VI VICTRIX PIA FID
'The Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful [made this].'
(RIB 1567a; Coesike, turret 33b; Britannia ii (1971), p.291, no.10)

Building Inscription from an Unidentified Legionary Vexillatio

VEXILAT LEGIONIS ...
'A detachment of the [...] Legion [... rebuilt¹ this].'
(RIB 1566)
  1. During the initial construction period entire legions constituted the workforce on Hadrian's Wall, whereas the Antonine Wall and later repairs to the Hadrianic barrier were carried out by vexillationes or 'detachments' from each legion.

Cohors Quintae Praetoriae - The Fifth Praetorian Cohort

COH V PR > MAX
'The Fifth Praetorian¹ Cohort, century of Maximus [have made this].'
(RIB 1571; possibly AD122)
  1. A praetorian cohort would not be actually stationed in Britain as their duties were to protect the person of the emperor. It is possible that this stone was placed by a Praetorian century which accompanied the Emperor Hadrian during his visit in AD122 and were conscripted into 'doing their bit on the wall'. This was apparently not the only Praetorian cohort in Britain, as another is recorded on the Wall between Castlesteads and Stanwix (vide RIB 2023 infra). The units in question may alternately have been recruited from the Priantes tribe from Thrace, or even the Praetuttii tribe from the Picenum district of Italy, who are unlikely as they would have been Roman citizens and thus eligible for recruitment into the legions. Equally unlikely are the Praesti and the Prasii both from India, the Pratitae from Caspia Portae, the Pronastae people of Boeotia, the Prothingi tribe from Scythia beyond the Ister, and the Protropi from Apulia near Beneventum.

Housesteads to Great Chesters (1632-1682; 52)

Milecastle 37 - Cuddy's Crags nr. Housesteads

InscriptionTogo-TranslationRIB
DEO COCIDIO VABRIVS VSLM'To the god Cocidius, Vabrius willingly and deservedly fulfills a vow.'1633
... LEG II AVG A PLATORIO NEPOTE ...'[...] the Second Augustan Legion [under the administration] of Aulus Platorius Nepos¹ [...].'1634
LEG VI V P F F'The Sixth Legion Victrix, Loyal and Faithful have made [this].'1635
  1. Aulus Platorius Nepos was governor of Britain from AD122 to c.125.

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

IMP CAES TRAIAN HADRIAN AVG LEG II AVG A PLATORIO NEPOTE LEG PR PR
'For Imperator Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus, the Second Augustan Legion [made this during the administration of] Aulus Platorius Nepos the pro-praetorian legate.'
(RIB 1637, 1638 & 1666; dated: AD122-c.125)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

LEG VI V
'The Sixth Victorious Legion [made this].'
(RIB 1680)

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

LEG XX V V
'The Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix [built this].'
(RIB 1645)

Cohors Primae Pannoniorum - The First Cohort of Pannonians

D M S DAGVALDA MIL COH I PAN VIXIT AN ...PVSINNA CONIVX TITVLVM POS
'To the sacred shades of the departed Dagvalda, a soldier of the First Pannonian Cohort, who lived [...] years [...] Pusinna his wife placed this inscription.'
(RIB 1667; tombstone)

Building Inscriptions of a Company of British Durotriges

C DVRTRG LENDINESIS   > DVROTRAG LENDINIESI
'The Century of Durotriges from Lindinis¹ [have made this].'
(RIB 1672)   (RIB 1673)
  1. The Durotriges were a British tribe from Dorset, Devon and parts of southern Somerset and Wiltshire, this contingent evidently from the city of Lindinis, now known as Ilchester in Somerset.

Exploratores Germanorum - The German Scouts

DEO APOLLN MELONIVS SENILIS EXPL GER SVP V S S L L M
'To the god Apollo, Melonius Senilis, supervisor of the German Scouts. A vow undertaken fulfilled, freely, willingly and deservedly.¹'
(RIB 1665; altarstone)
  1. The last part of this text has been expanded: V[otum] S[usceptum] S[olvit] L[ibens] L[aetus] M[erito].

Tombstone Found Outside Milecastle 38

...VS... ...VIXIT ANNIS ... MENSIBVS DVOBVS DIEBVS QVINQVE
'[...us...] who lived for [...] years, two months and five days.'
(RIB 1639; tombstone; milecastle 38)

Great Chesters to Carvoran (1754-1774; 33)

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

LEG XX V V CHO X > IVLI FLORENTINI LEG XX V V CHO X > FL NORICI
'The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, Tenth Cohort, century of Julius Florentinius [have made this].' 'The Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix, Tenth Cohort, century of Flavius Noricus [built this].'
(RIB 1762; turret 44b) (RIB 1767i; near turret 45a; JRS l (1960), p.237, no.11)

Altar to an Unknown God

...V S L L M
'[...] willingly, gladly and deservedly in fulfillment of a vow.'
(RIB 1767; altarstone)

Carvoran to Birdoswald (1843-1871; 37)

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

IMP CAES DIVI TRAIANI FIL DIVI NERVAE NEP TRAIANO HADRIANO AVG LEG XX V V
'For Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the divine Trajan, grandson of the deified Nerva, the Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious [have made this].'
(RIB 1852; dated: AD117-128)

Building Inscriptions Possibly Recording Two Unknown Auxiliary Cohorts

COH II PON MAGNI ...
'The Second Cohort of Pon[...], the great [...].'
or
'The Second Cohort, [century of] Pontius Magnus [...].'

(RIB 1845)
COH I VAL SABINI
'The First Cohort, [century of] Valerius Sabinus [built this].'
or
'The First Cohort of Val[...], [century of] Sabinus [have made this].'

(RIB 1867b; turret 48b; JRS liv (1964), p.178, no.5b)

Building Inscriptions Recording Work by Dumnonii Tribesmen

CIVITAS DVMNI   CIVITAS DVMNONI
'The tribesmen of the Dumnonii¹ [have made this].'
(RIB 1843)   (RIB 1844)
  1. The Dumnonii were a British tribe who inhabited the Dumnonian Peninsula in the extreme south-west of England, inhabiting the modern county of Cornwall and parts of south-west Devon.

Altar Dedicated to the Rural God Silvanus

DEO SANCTO SILVANO FLAVIVS MARCELLINVS DEC VSLM
'To the holy god Silvanus, Flavius Marcellinus the Decurion,¹ willingly and deservedly fulfils a vow.'
(RIB 1870; altarstone)
  1. A decurion was the commander of a cavalry troop or turma of around thirty horsemen.

Tombstone of a Roman Infant

D M A ...SERENVS VIX ANN II ME II D III
'To the shades of the departed Aulus [...] Serenus, who lived for two years, two months and three days.'
(RIB 1871; tombstone)

Birdoswalds to Castlesteads (1930-1975; 47)

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

DEO COCIDIO MILITES LEG II AVG VSLM
'To the god Cocidius the soldiers of the Second Augustan Legion willingly and deservedly fulfill their vow.'
(RIB 1955; altarstone)

LEG II AVG COH VII SVB CVRA ... LEG II AVG COH I L II AVG > VOLVSIANA
'The Second Augustan Legion, Seventh Cohort, under the direction of [...]' 'Legio Secundae Augusta Cohors Primae [fecit].' 'The Second Augustan Legion, century of Volusian [have made this].'
(RIB 1932) (RIB 1964) (RIB 1965)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

InscriptionTogo-TranslationRIB
... SIL LEG VI VIC ...'[To the god] Silvanus the Sixth Victorious Legion [fulfilled a vow].'1933
IMP CAES TRAIANI HADRIANI AVGVSTI LEG ... A PLATORIO NEPOTE LEG PR PR'For Imperator Caesar Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus, the [Sixth Victorious] Legion [built this during the administration of] Aulus Platorius Nepos, the pro-praetorian legate.'1935
> FLORIANI CHO VIII LEG VI'The century of Florianus, Eighth Cohort, Sixth Legion [built this].'1937
LEG VI VICT PE'The Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful.'1953
AVREA PER CARIVAM¹ VOLITAT VICTORIA PENSIS'Golden through the sky¹ he soars, victorious in his judgement.'1954
DEO COCIDIO VEXIL LEG VI VIC VSLM'To the god Cocidius the detachment of the Sixth Victorious Legion willingly and deservedly fulfil their vow.'1961
  1. In the translation above, the word CAELVM was substituted for CARIVAM.

Of the inscriptions above, RIB 1935 was made on wood and can be dated to AD122-c.125, 1953 and 1961 are altarstones and 1953 and 1954 were found still in situ at the quarry face.

Various Building Inscriptions of Legio VI Victrix

LEG VI VIC P FIDELIS F   LEG VI VIC PIA FID F
'The Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful has made [this].'
(RIB 1934, 1938 & 1939¹)   (RIB 1966, 1967 & 1968)
  1. The inscription RIB 1939 is damaged but is similar in style to both 1934 and 1938.

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

DEO COCIDIO MILITES LEG XX V V VSLM APR...ET RVF COS
'To the god Cocidius , the soldiers of the Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, willingly and deservedly fulfilled their vow, when Apr[onius?] and Ruf[inus?] were consuls.'
(RIB 1956; altarstone; dated: AD262-266)

Cohors Quartae Probiana - The Fourth Cohort of Probus

COH IIII PROBIAN
'The First Probian Cohort [has made this].'
(RIB 1930)

Pedites Classicorum Britanniorum - The foot-soldiers of the British Fleet

PED CL BRIT   PED CLA BRI
'The foot-soldiers of the British Fleet [made this].'
(RIB 1944)   (RIB 1945)

Building Inscription Dedicated to the Emperor Antoninus Pius

IMP C T AEL HADRIANO ANTONINO
'Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus.'
(RIB 1957; dated: AD138-161)

Building Inscription Recording a Contingent From the British Catuvellauni Tribe

CIVITATE CATVVELLAVNORVM TOSSODIO
'The tribesmen of the Catuvellauni,¹ Tossodius.²'
(RIB 1962)
  1. The Catuvellauni were the most powerful tribe in southern Britain, who inhabited the lands now contained within the modern counties of Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire east the River Charwell.
  2. The name Tossodius, or more properly Tossodios, probably belonged to the native commander of the Catuvellaunian contingent.

Shrine to the Germanic God Cocidius

DEO COCIDIO ...
'To the god Cocidius [...]'
(RIB 1963; altarstone)

Castlesteads to Stanwix (2010-2024; 15)

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

MARTI COC M LEG II AVG > SANCTIANA > SECVNDINI D SOL SVB CVRA AELIANI > CVRA OPPIVS FELIX OPTIO
'To Mars Cocidius, the soldiers of the Second Augustan Legion, in the centuries of Sanctian and Secundinus, an offering performed under the management of Aelianus the centurion and Oppius Felix the optio.¹'
(RIB 2024; altarstone)
  1. An optio was a non-commissioned officer second to the centurion. They were allocated one per century.

Building Inscriptions of Legio II Augusta

LEG II AVG FECIT LEG II AVG > IVLI TERTVLLIA VEXILLATIO LEG II AVG REFECIT
'The Second Augustan Legion has made [this].' 'The Second Augustan Legion, century of Julius Tertullius [built this].' 'A detachment of the Second Augustan Legion has rebuilt [this].'
(RIB 2012) (RIB 2016) (RIB 2011)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

DEO COCIDIO MILITES LEG VI VIC P F
'To the god Cocidius the soldiers of the Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful [made this].'
(RIB 2020; altarstone)

Cohors Primae Batavorum - The First Cohort of Batavi

DEO MARTI COCIDIO ... MARTIVS > COH I BAT ET GENIO
'To the god Mars Cocidius [...] Martius, a centurion in the First Cohort of Batavi. And to the guardian spirit.'
(RIB 2015; altarstone)

Cohors Tertiae Praetoriae - The Third Praetorian Cohort

COH III PR POS > IVL VITALIS
'The Third Cohort of Praetorians,¹ century of Julius Vitalis, has placed [this].'
(RIB 2023)
  1. This was not the only Praetorian cohort in Britain, as another is recorded on the Wall between Carrawburgh and Housesteads (vide RIB 1571 supra).

Building Inscription by a Unit of Brigantes

CAPVD PED CIVITAT BRIGIG
'This end [was made by] the foot-soldiers of the Brigantes nation.'
(RIB 2022)
  1. The Brigantes were the most populous tribe of Northern Britain. The occupied the whole of northern England with the exception of the counties of Humberside (occupied by the Parisi) and Cumbria (occupied by the Coritani).

Stanwix to Burgh-by-Sands (2031-2037; 7)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

L IVNIVS VICTORINVS FL CAELIANVS LEG AVG LEG VI VIC P F OB RES TRANS VALLVM PROSPERE GESTAS
'Lucius Junius Victorinus Flavius Caelianus, imperial legate of the Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful, by reason of profitable exploits achieved across the rampart-wall.'
(RIB 2034; dated: 'not after AD208')

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

LEG XX VAL VI COH V
'The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, Fifth Cohort.'
(RIB 2035)

Cohors Quartae Asturum - The Fourth Cohort of Astures

COH IIII ASTA
'The Fourth Cohort of Asturians [made this].'
(RIB 2032)

Burgh-by-Sands to Drumburgh (2050/2051; 2)

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

MATRI DOM VEX LEG VI V P F
'To the mother Goddesses of the Household, the detachment of the Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful [dedicates this].'
(RIB 2050; altarstone)

Drumburgh to Bowness-on-Solway (2054/2055; 2)

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

LEG II AVG COH III
'The Third Cohort of the Second Augustan Legion [has made this].'
(RIB 2054)

Altar Dedicated to the Mother Goddesses

MATRIBVS SVIS MILITES
'To their Mother Goddesses, the soldiers [dedicate this].'
(RIB 2055; altarstone)

Hadrian's Wall, Exact Location Unknown (2062-2090; 30)

Building Inscriptions from Various British Legions

InscriptionTogo-TranslationRIB
... LEG II AVG ... LEG VI V P F'[...] the Second Augustan Legion [...] the sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful.'2075
LEG VI V P FID COH VII >'The sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful, Seventh Cohort [has made this].'2076
LEG XX V V CHO IIII > LIB FRO > TERE MAG'The Twentieth Legion Valiant and Victorious, Fourth Cohort, the century of Liberius Fronto¹ and the century of Tere[ntius?] Mag[nus?] [made this].'2077
  1. This centurion is also mentioned on a stone at Benwell (RIB 1330).

Cohors Quartae Gallorum - The Fourth Cohort of Gauls

I O M COH IIII GALOR ET NAEVIVS HILARVS PRAEF CVRAM AG FIRM...
'For Iuppiter Optimus Maximus, the Fourth Cohort of Gauls and Naevius Hilarus the prefect, saw to the strengthening of the precinct [...]'
(RIB 2062; altarstone)

Altarstones Dedicated to Various Gods

InscriptionTogo-TranslationRIB
DEO MAPONO ET N AVG DVRIO ET RAMIO ET TRVPO ET LVRIO GERMANI VSLM'To the god Maponus and the Divine Spirit of the Emperor, the Germans Durios, Ramios, Trupos and Lurios, willingly and deservedly fulfilled their vow.'2063
MATRIBVS GERMANIS MA SENECIANIVS V...'To the Mother Goddesses of the Germans, Marcus Senecianius [makes this offering].'2064
DEAE NEMESI APOLLONIVS SACERDOS FEC'For the Goddess Nemesis, Apollonius the priest has made [this].'2065
DEO VETERI'For the god Veterus.'2068
HVITIRIBVS VOTVM'An offering to Huiterus.'2069
SIVE DEO SIVE DEAE CL MARCIANVS PRAEF'Whether to a god or to a goddess, Claudius Marcianus the prefect [makes this offering].'2071¹
  1. This stone (RIB 2071) is a pedestal, all others are altarstones.

Altarstone Dedicated to the Brigantian Nymphs and the Spirit of the Emperor

DEAE NYMPHAE BRIG QVOD VOVERAT PRO SALVTE ET INCOLVMITATE DOM NOSTR INVIC IMP M AVREL SEVERI ANTONINI PII FELICIS AVG TOTIVSQVE DOMVS DIVINAE EIVS M COCCEIVS NIGRINVS PROC AVG N DEVOTISSIMVS NVMINI MAIESTATIQVE EIVS V S L L M
'To the goddesses, the Nymphs of Brigantia, because he had prayed for the health and safety of our lord the invincible emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Pius Felix Augustus [and] his entire divine household, Marcus Cocceius Nigrinus, the most devoted procurator of our Augustus, for the divine spirit of his majesty, willingly, gladly and deservedly fulfills his vow.'
(RIB 2066; altarstone; dated: AD212-217)

Inscription from Hadrian's Wall Somewhere in Cumbria

BONO > REI P[ublicae] NATO
'For the benefit of the children of the centurions of the republic.'
(RIB 2314)
  1. Inscriptions bearing variations of this same text have been uncovered in Britain at: Moridunum (Carmarthen, Dyfed; RIB 412); Voreda (Old Penrith, Cumbria; statue base; RIB 930); Vinovium (Binchester, Durham; RIB 1040a).

As always, the Latin texts shown above, originally collated in the R.I.B. by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright, have been obtained from the excellent website: Roman Inscriptions of Britain by Guy de la Bédoyère; all English translations, dating and notes are my own. Togodumnus