Notes to the Text

Unless otherwise indicated in the Notes that follow, citations of texts by Greek and Roman authors refer to editions in the Loeb Classical Library (1912–), published by Heinemann and later by Harvard University Press. My English translations are based upon them. For Dio Cassius, the standard edition is by U.P. Boissevain (5 vols, 1895–1931) and the Loeb English translation (1927), edited by E. Cary, is numbered one book higher than Boissevain. The Loeb numbering is used here. For Tacitus, and for Pliny the Younger, the Oxford Texts have been used.

Short-form citations such as ‘Opper (2008)’ refer to items appearing in the Bibliography.


The following abbreviations are used in the Notes:

CIL  Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (1862–)

ILS   Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae (1892–1916)

RIB  The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Volume I, Inscriptions on Stone, compiled by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright, edition with addenda and corrigenda by R.S.O Tomlin (Stroud, 1995); Volume II, Instrumentum Domesticum, Fascicles 1–8, edited by S.S. Frere et al. (Stroud, 1990–5)

SHA   Scriptores Historiae Augustae


  1.  ‘Their boundary is the ocean both where the sun god rises and where he sinks, while they control the entire Mediterranean and all its islands as well as Britain in the ocean,’ writes Appian of Alexandria (Preface to History of Romans), 9. Appian was living in Rome after ad 120.

  2.  Halfmann (1986), p. 193; pp. 204–7.

  3.  Sordi (1953), p. 104.

  4.  For his life and career, and that of his father, see Birley (2005), pp. 249–50.

  5.  CIL II 4509 = 6145; ILS 1029.

  6.  The area around Tivoli was popular with the Spanish elite: Opper (2008), p. 135 and footnote 7. Hadrian’s Villa Tiburtina was designed as a public space as much as a private one, and the emperor conducted imperial business there: Opper (2008), p. 159.

  7.  This number of insulae, which is taken from fourth-century descriptions of Rome, is considered to be extremely high, and many argue for a more conservative figure. For a discussion on the size of Rome, see Morley (2013), pp. 29–45.

  8.  Pseudo Sextus Aurelius Victor (Epitome de Caesaribus) 13.

  9.  The grain dole was regarded as a privilege, rather than as a handout for the destitute. Those eligible were assigned a specific day of the month and collection point. At the time of Augustus, some 200,000 of Rome’s population received a monthly handout. From the time of Trajan, 5,000 boys became eligible as a special mark of favour. See Rickman (1980), pp. 184 and 179–97 for the way corn was distributed and the likely size of queues during the month. See also ILS 6069 = CIL VI 10224 C(aius) Sergius C(ai) fil(ius) Alcimus/ vixit ann(is) III mensib(us) III/ diebus tribus/ frumentum accepit/ die x ostio XXXIX, ‘In memory of Gaius Servius Alcimus, son of Gaius, who lived 3 years, 3 months and 3 days. He received grain on the 10th day from entrance arcade 39’, which is cited in Aicher (2004) Vol. 1, pp. 222–5 and Vol. II, p. 130.

10.  There are numerous references to attempts to ban traffic in the city and various exemptions, such as for public building works. SHA (Hadrian) XX states that Hadrian banned heavy wagons entering Rome and banned riding on horseback in the cities.

11.  Suetonius (Augustus) 7. It was once owned by Suetonius, who presented it to Hadrian. It showed Augustus as a boy, and Hadrian kept it in honour among the household gods in his bedroom.

12.  Suetonius (Nero) 38.

13.  Boatwright (1987), p. 101 and footnote 5.

14.  Even non-combatant auxiliaries at the faraway fort of High Rochester, north of Hadrian’s Wall in the mid-second century, set up an altar to Dea Roma n(atali) eius, ‘Goddess Roma on her birthday’. RIB 1270, see Hassall (1980), p. 82.

15.  Opper (2008), p. 119.

16.  SHA (Hadrian) XI, 2.

17.  Opper (2008), p. 104 and footnote 15.

18.  The Porticus Aemilia was 90 metres (295 feet) from the river and was of immense size: 487 metres long and 60 metres wide (1,600 × 197 feet), with its interior divided by 294 piers into a series of rooms, arranged seven rows deep. It is depicted with ‘remarkable precision’ on the Severan Marble Plan (Coarelli, 2007), p. 345.

19.  By the end of its life, in the mid-third century, it contained the broken remains of an estimated 24.75 million amphorae, which once contained some 1.7 billion kilos of olive oil. Today it stands more than 40 metres (130 feet) high with a perimeter of 1 kilometre (3,300 feet) or more. More than 80 per cent of the oil came from Baetica in south-western Spain. Baetican imports reached their peak during the second century, when they comprised between 90 and 95 per cent of the total. See Remesal Rodriguez (1998), pp. 183–99.

20.  Opper (2008), p. 38.

21.  Men such as L. Marius Phoebus, whose name appears on many of the amphorae stamps from Monte Testaccio: see CIL VI 1935 and Noy (2008), p. 208 and footnote 41, who thinks he could have been a Roman trading with Baetica. The Spanish trade associations had Rome-based distributors, men such as the Roman eques (knight) C. Sentius Regulianus, a diffusor olearius, which probably means that he was responsible for repackaging the oil, distributing it—and dumping all those used-up amphorae on Monte Testaccio. In addition to his interests in Baetican olive oil he also described himself as a wine merchant of Lyon: CIL VI 29722, in Noy (2008), p. 208.

22.  Claudius ruled that senators could visit estates in Gallia Narbonensis and Sicilia, however, without seeking this permission. See Talbert (1984), pp. 139–40.

23.  In c. ad 139 Minicius Natalis was honoured as patron of the municipality by the people of Tibur, indicating that he had a villa there. See Millar (1981), p. 159.

24.  Martial (Epigrams) XIII, 54 mentions ham de Menapis (the Menapii being a tribe in Belgic Gaul between the rivers Meuse and Scheldt) and ham from Cerretans, or Cerdana, in Spain.

25.  Martial (Epigrams) XIV, 99: Barbara de pictis veni bascauda Britannis; sed me iam mavolt dicere Roma suam, ‘A barbarian basket, I came from the painted Britons; but now Rome prefers to say I belong to her’.

26.  Propertius (Elegies) II, 1.78: esseda caelatis siste Britannia iugis, ‘stop your British chariot with its fancy harness’. Caelatus means figures engraved/in bas relief.

27.  Caesar (Gallic War) IV, 33.

28.  Hyland (1990), p. 226.

29.  There is very little evidence for a British presence in Rome, either in associations or as individuals. Only one fragmentary inscription has been found, dating from the third century or later, when Britannia had been divided into two provinces, ‘Upper’ and ‘Lower’ Britain (Britannia Citerior et Inferior). On a slab of coarse marble, found within the precinct of the church of S. Pancrazio in the area of the Villa Doria Pamphili, it records a dedication made by the provinciae Brittann(iae) (provincial councils of Britain). See Beard (1980), pp. 313–14.

30.  Of all the surviving inscriptions of foreigners in Rome from the whole of the Roman era, only three are British, and they record deaths during military service. See CIL VI 3279 Nig. Marinianus natione Britanicianus; CIL VI 3301 M. Ulpius Iustus natione Britto; CIL VI 32861 [name lost] natione Brit… in Noy (2000), p. 295.

31.  See, for example, Suetonius (Caligula) 44; Dio Cassius (Roman History) LX, 19; Augustus (Res Gestae) 32.

32.  The reference to elephants taking part in the expedition is in Dio Cassius (Roman History) LX, 21.

33.  Suetonius (Claudius) 17.

34.  Dio Cassius (Roman History) LX, 21.

35.  Erim (1982), pp. 277–81.

36.  See, for example, British Museum Catalogue of Coins in the Roman Empire, Claudius 32, a gold aureus minted at Rome now in the collection of the British Museum, London; and the silver didrachm minted in Caesarea (British Museum Catalogue of Coins in the Roman Empire, Claudius 237).

37.  A 16th-century drawing of fragments associated with the Claudian arch shows a frieze depicting fighting between Romans and Celtic-looking barbarians and some large panels depicting a procession of Roman soldiers, possibly Praetorians. See Barratt (1991), pp. 1–19. A fragment of inscription is in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori and other fragments of sculpture are held in the Museo Nuovo Capitolino: see Coarelli (2007), p. 255.

38.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 31–8.

39.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 36.

40.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 31–9, tells the story of the British uprising.

41.  Dio Cassius (Roman History) LXI, 33. This anecdote reflected not just the sort of ambivalence about imperialism voiced by Tacitus, but perhaps criticism of Rome throwing quite so much money and resources at such an unpromising place as Britannia.

42.  Dacia Superior was a praetorian province formed following Hadrian’s swift reorganisation of the area as a result of unrest in the region in the last years of Trajan’s reign and the start of his own. Moesia Inferior reverted to its original boundaries south of the Danube, and the territories it had encompassed north of the river became Dacia Inferior, with Trajan’s original province of Dacia renamed Dacia Superior. In Dacia, Julius Severus oversaw further changes in the administration of the province when, in AD 124, it was split again, and Dacia Porolissensis (roughly corresponding to north-western Transylvania) was created. Perhaps it was Severus’s experience of reorganizing a troublesome province as much as his reputation as one of Hadrian’s best generals which led to his appointment as governor of Britannia. See Piso (2013), pp. 27–8.

43.  Piso (1993), p. 44.

44.  Birley, A. (1981), pp. 6–7.

45.  Tacitus (Histories) II, 1: et praecipui fama quartadecumani, rebellione Britanniae compressa. Addiderat gloriam Nero eligendo ut potissimos.

46.  For a discussion of Maenius Agrippa’s career and uncertainties over dates in light of recent excavation at Maryport, see Breeze, Dobson, Maxfield (2012), pp. 17–30

47.  Just how erratic and sketchy information about Britannia in the wider world could be is demonstrated by Ptolemy’s monumental eight-volume Geography, written in about ad 140–150. In compiling his section on Britain, he used sources from different periods, having access only to information about the south of Britain up to ad 70, for example, although he was a little more up-to-date with the north—despite omitting to mention Hadrian’s Wall. He left out key places such as Gloucester and Caerleon, but included insignificant ones and mislocated others. Most spectacularly, Ptolemy tilted Scotland through a right angle—an error, it seems, from his mistaken corrections to information from the earlier geographer Marinus of Tyre, who produced a map of the world around the start of the second century AD. For simply collating old material, see Pliny the Younger (Letters) V, 8.12: Vetera et scripta aliis? Parata inquisitio, sed onerosa collatio…, ‘Old stuff written by others? Your research is done—you just have the bore of collating it…’ For Ptolemy’s mistake, see Jones and Keillar (1996), pp. 43–50, and Davies (1998), pp. 1–16, for a discussion of orientation with respect to road design in Britain.

48.  As Tacitus (Agricola) 10–12 remarked, writing decades before, ‘the position and inhabitants of Britain have been recorded by many writers’.

49.  Herodian (History) III, 14.7.

50.  Vindolanda Tablet 164.

51.  Cicero (Ad Atticum) IV, 16.7 (written in early July 54 BC).

52.  Pliny (Letters) X, 11.2.

53.  Horace (Satires) I, 6.101–6.

54.  Josephus (Jewish War) V, 49; Velleius Paterculus (History of Rome) II, 114, for Tiberius’s baggage while campaigning in Pannonia. Both cited in Roth (1999), pp. 89–90.

55.  As a clothing list from the fortress at Vindolanda (just south of Hadrian’s Wall, dating from the early years of the second century) shows, the commanding officer there, Flavius Cerialis, who came from Batavia (roughly the modern Netherlands), needed a bit of a helping hand in this respect from his fellow officers. The list (Vindolanda Tablet 196) mentions that some are sent from ‘Tranquillus’. Birley (2002), pp. 138–9, suggests that this uncommon name may refer to Suetonius Tranquillus, for whom the younger Pliny obtained a commission in Britain, but which he did not in the event take up.

56.  Suetonius (Augustus) 36; for the she-mules and concubines, see SHA (Severus Alexander) XLII, 4; and see SHA (The Deified Claudius) XIV, 2ff., with its fascinating letter from Valerian to Zosimio, procurator of Syria.

57.  See Talbert (1984), p. 208, and (Digest)–1, quoting Ulpian (On Sabinus) XX, describing a proconsul about to set out for his province putting tables, furniture, clothes and medicines into store.

58.  Tiberius in AD 25 determined that it should be 1 June; Claudius, in ad 43, mid-April.

59.  For provincial quaestors returning to Rome at the end of the proconsular year in July and before the kalends of September, cf. Pliny the Younger (Letters) IV, 12.4; IV, 15.6nn; V, 21 in Sherwin-White (1966). For a good discussion, see Talbert (1984), Appendix 3 and Chapter 4.2.

60.  Agricola arrived in Britain in ad 77/8 to take up his governorship ‘in the middle of summer’, media iam aestate; see Tacitus (Agricola) 9.6 and 18.1.

61.  An example of one letter of appointment survives from the time of Marcus Aurelius, because its recipient, Q. Domitius Marsianus, promoted to procurator patrimonii of Narbonensis, had it set up as an inscription in his home town of Marsianus, Bulla Regia, in Africa. See Millar (1992), pp. 288 and 311, for a freedman dispatched to Britain with codicilli nominating Agricola as governor of Syria; Tacitus (Agricola) 40.

62.  Dio Cassius (Roman History) LIII, 15–16; Dio Cassius (Epitome) LX, 17, for the mid-April date.

63.  See Pliny the Younger (Letters) for visits to his estates in September and October: X, 8; X, 9; III, 4; 1.7.4; VII, 30; VIII, 1

64.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) V.21. The young quaestor Julius Avitus died at sea on his way home from a province during the summer. See note on the letter in Sherwin-White (1966), op. cit.

65.  Dio Cassius (Roman History) LIII, 13.

66.  Vota pro itu et reditu, ‘prayers for leaving and returning’: see, for example, Suetonius (Tiberius) 38; Suetonius (Caligula) 14.

67.  Examples are many; see for instance Juvenal (Satires) 3.


  1.  For a discussion of the date of the speech, see Behr (1981). For a commentary on the text and the boundaries of empire under Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, see notes on the passage in Fontanella’s commentary (2007).

  2.  These are attested from at least the mid-second century ad. Terpstra (2013), p. 140.

  3.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) II, 17.

  4.  See La Regina (ed.), Vol. IV (2006), pp. 223–30, and Steinby (ed.) Vol. 5 (1999), p. 144 for Via Portuensis and p. 143 for Via Ostiensis.

  5.  Ovid (Fasti) VI, 773–86.

  6.  Casson (1995), p. 212 and ref. 49 citing G. Jacopi, ‘Scavi in prossimità del porto fluviale di S. Paolo’, Monumenti Antichi, Vol. 39 (1943), pp. 45–96 and plates 3–12.

  7.  For traffic from Rome to Ostia, the road heading through the Porta Raudusculana seems to have become more important than that from the Porta Trigemina in the Forum Boaiarum, which led through Emporium. See J.R. Patterson in Steinby, Vol. 5 (1999). For a detailed description of the Via Ostiensis route outside Rome, see La Regina, Vol. IV (2006), pp. 135–48, and of the route along Via Portuensis, pp. 223–42 of the same.

  8.  Juvenal (Satires) VI: flava ruinosi lupa… sepulchri; Martial (Epigrams) III, 93, 15: cum te lucerna balneator extincta admittat inter bustuarias moechas, ‘when the bath attendant has extinguished his lantern, he lets you in among the grave-haunting whores’.

  9.  Petronius (Satyricon) 71: Praeponam enim unum ex libertis sepulcro meo custodiae causa, ne in monumentum meum populus cacatum currat.

10.  CIL VI 2357: Hospes ad hunc tumulum ni meias ossa precantur/tecta hominis [set] si gratus homo es misce bibe da mi.

11.  CIL IV 3782, 3832, 4586, 5438, in Croom (2011), p. 117.

12.  Croom (2011), p. 77; for private houses, see that of Pascius Hermes, Pompei CIL IV 7716; for the arch near the forum at Thigibba in Africa, see Croom (2011).

13.  Pliny the Elder described the River Tiber as ‘the most gentle merchant (mercator placidissimus) of all that is produced on earth and perhaps with more villas built on its banks and overlooking it than all the other rivers on earth’. Pliny (Natural History) III, 5.54:rerum in toto orbe nascentium mercator placidissimus, pluribus prope solus quam ceteri in omnibus terris amnes adcolitur adspiciturque villis.

14.  Ammianus Marcellinus 17.4.14: tertio lapide ab urbe.

15.  Symmachus had a suburban villa here in the late fourth century: Symmachus (Epistles) 1.6; 2.52.

16.  CIL VI 3539; Birley (1990), p. 10.

17.  Pliny the Younger (Letters), II, 17.2 and 17.3.

18.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) II, 17.26.

19.  Tacitus (Annals) XV, 43.4.

20.  Aelius Aristides (Orations: On Rome) XXVI, 11.

21.  In ad 133 the emperor was honoured by the city for having preserved and enhanced it with all indulgence and generosity: colonia Ostia conservata et aucta omni indulgentia et liberalitate eius.

22.  Keay (ed.) et al. (2005), p. 35.

23.  Suetonius (Claudius) 17.2; Dio Cassius (Epitome) LX, 21.

24.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XIX, 3–4: herbam esse quae Gadis ab Herculis columnis septimo die Ostiam adferat et citeriorem Hispaniam quarto, provam Narbonensem tertio…

25.  A singular reference to a merchant ship from Gaul at Ostia comes from an eyewitness account by the elder Pliny (Natural History), IX, 14–15. He described how a cargo of hides from Gaul sank at Portus while the harbour was under construction during the reign of Claudius. The hides attracted the attentions of a whale wanting to feed on them, but it became trapped and beached. The whale in turn attracted much attention, not least from the Emperor Claudius, who decided to make an entertainment of it by putting nets and ropes across the harbour and then baiting the poor creature with darts and javelins, which he and members of the Praetorian Guard threw from boats. One of the boats was submerged by water which the whale spurted out.

26.  The mosaics are thought to date from the Severan period, when the theatre complex was restored by Commodus and Septimius Severus. Coarelli (2007), p. 457.

27.  Stuppatores res[tiones], ‘tow-rope and cordmakers’; corpus pellion(um), ‘tanners corporation’; codicari(i) de suo, ‘barge owners’; navicul(arii) et negotiantes Karalitani, ‘ship owners and merchants of Cagliari’.

28.  Sadly, he came to a sticky end when taken in by a charlatan oracular snake in the 160s. Lucian of Samosata (Alexander) 27.

29.  In Achilles Tatius’s mid-second-century Greek novel Leucippe and Clitophon the protagonists run down to the harbour to look for a ship ‘and by chance even the wind seemed to invite us’, as they find one on the point of throwing off its stern cables and manage to jump on board. Achilles Tatius (Leucippe and Clitophon) 31.

30.  Juvenal conjured up the dodgiest possible clientele in a large popina in Ostia. Juvenal (Satires) 8, 171–76:… mitte Ostia, Caesar,/ mitte, sed in magna legatum quare popina:/ invenies aliquot cum percussore iacentem. permixtum nautis et furibus ac fugitivis,/ inter carnifices et fabros sandapilarum/ et resupinati cessantia tympani Galli./ aequa ibi libertas, communia pocula, lectus/ non alius cuiquam, nec mensa remotior ulli.

31.  See, for example, Horace (Satires), I, 1.29: perfidus (hic)copo; Apuleius (Metamorphoses) 1.8ff. and St Augustine (City of God) 18.18 on landladies and poisoned cheese.

32.  Seneca (Epistles) 104.6: illum odorem culinarum fumantium quae motae quicquid pestiferi vaporis cum pulvere effundunt…, ‘that reeking odour of working kitchens which cover everything in pestilential steam and smoke’. For Nero imposing restrictions, see Dio Cassius (Epitome) LXII, 14.2; and for Vespasian, Dio Cassius (Epitome) LXV, 10.3.

33.  CIL IV 3948, from Pompeii, in Kleberg (1957), 112.

34.  A notice put up by Hedone at Pompeii CIL IV 1679 in Kleberg (1957), 107: Edone dicit: assibus hic bibitur, dipundium si dederis, meliora bibes, quattus si dederis, vina Falerna bib(es).

35.  CIL IV 8442: futui coponam, found scrawled on an election poster next to a Pompeian bar (Reg. ii, 2, 3); futui ospita, found on a drinking vessel in Bonn, CIL XIII 10018, 95 Kleberg (1957) 90.

36.  Digest–3, quoting Ulpian (On the Edict) 6: ut puta si caupo fuit vel stabularius et mancipia talia habuit ministrantia et occasione ministerii quaestum facientia…, ‘he is liable to punishment for procurement whether this is his principal occupation, or whether he carries on another trade (for instance, if he is an inn- or tavern-keeper and has slaves of this kind serving and taking the opportunity to ply their trade)’. He also goes on to say that a balneator, or bath-keeper, who keeps a servant for guarding clothes and hires them out for other services would be guilty too.

37.  Apicius (The Art of Cooking) 1.2: conditum melizomum viatorium: conditum melizomum perpetuum, quod subministratur per viam peregrinanti, ‘long-life honey wine used by tourists on journeys’, Grocock and Grainger (2006), p. 134.

38.  Petronius (Satyricon) CIII–CIV.

39.  See Simon Keay, ‘The Port System of Imperial Rome’, pp. 33–70, particularly pp. 48–52, in (ed.) Keay (London, 2012).

40.  Papyrus Michigan VIII, 490, for the letter from the young Egyptian naval recruit: ‘I am now writing to you from Portus for I have not yet gone up to Rome and been assigned.’ Papyrus Michigan VIII, 491, for the follow-up letter informing his mother that he has arrived in Rome on the same day. Both letters reproduced and translated in Youtie and Winter (1951).

41.  Trajan brought out a commemorative sestertius showing on its reverse the buildings along sides I, III, IV and VI of the basin where a huge statue of Trajan and temple were located, although these are not shown on the coin. Keay et al. (2005), pp. 308–9.

42.  Each side of the hexagon measured 357.77 metres (1,173 feet), with over a mile of bank around the main basin and a water surface of more than 32 hectares. This is less than half the size of Claudius’s harbour.

43.  Juvenal (Satires) 12.78–9: non sic igitur mirabere portus quos natura dedit.

44.  A modius was a unit of measurement for dry goods corresponding to 566.4 cubic inches or 9.28 litres, similar in capacity to a British imperial peck (554.84 cubic inches or 9.092 litres). The figure of 20 million modii comes from a fourth-century epitome. For North Africa supplying twice as much as Egypt, see Josephus (Jewish War) II, 383, 386, writing in the mid-first century. The figures have been questioned. For a discussion, see Garnsey (1988), pp. 231–2, and Rickman (1980), pp. 118–21.

45.  Tacitus (Annals) 43.

46.  Suetonius (Claudius) 18.2. That ships did travel off season, often in extremely dangerous conditions, is dramatically shown in the Acts of the Apostles, when the Alexandrian grain ship bound for Rome to which St Paul is transferred as a prisoner, at Myra in Lycia, is shipwrecked while sailing in the ‘closed’ season, with 276 passengers on board: Acts of the Apostles 27.

47.  Seneca (Letters) 77.1. It is not certain when the grain ships ceased to use Puteoli. It is possible that during the Hadrianic period some continued to dock here.

48.  Pomey (ed.) (1999), p. 113.

49.  For colours of sails, see Casson (1995), pp. 234–5 and references 45–9. He cites e.g. Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XIX, 22: ‘Cleopatra had a purple sail when she came with Mark Antony to Actium and with the same sail she fled.’ A purple sail was subsequently the distinguishing mark of the emperor’s ship.

50.  Aelius Aristides (On Rome), Oration XXVI, 13.

51.  The Alexandrian grain ship that brought St Paul to Rome went under the sign of Castor and Pollux (Acts of the Apostles) 28.11.

52.  Casson (1995), p. 358.

53.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXV, 41: ‘in painting ships of war the wax colours are melted and laid on with a brush while hot. Painting of this nature, applied to vessels, will never spoil from the action of the sun, winds, or salt water’.

54.  See, for example, Catullus (Poems) 4: phaselus ille, quem videtis, hospites / ait fuisse navium celerrimus. That phaselus which you see, guests, says she was the fastest of ships.

55.  For St Paul’s journey by grain ship, see Acts of the Apostles 27. For a discussion of ships’ tonnage and passenger numbers, see Casson (1995), Chapter 9 Appendix, pp. 183–200.

56.  Statius (Silvae) III, 2: Propempticon for Maecius Celer. A propempticon is an escort or send-off.

57.  Achilles Tatius (Leucippe and Clitophon) 15. Melite and Clitophon have their own private cabin on the ship.

58.  Literary sources only provide vague information about life below deck. In Petronius’s Satyricon, the maid takes Giton below deck to disguise him with her mistress’s false hair and eyebrows, while in a poem of Paulinus of Nola, Martinianus falls into a deep sleep in prorae sinu, ‘in the bosom of the prow’, on a hard bed (duro cubili), presumably meaning the floor. Paulinus of Nola (Poems) 24, v.167: qui tunc remoto fessus in prorae sinu et securus innocentia, / Ionas ut olim ventre navis abditus, somnos anhelabat graves. Sed excitatus luctuosis undique pereuntium clamoribus / pedibusque turbae membra quassus omnia, / duro cubili prosilit.

59.  Casson (1995), p. 176 and footnote 40, citing Paulinus of Nola (Epistles) 49.1; Lucian (Zeus Tragoedus) 48; Suetonius (Tiberius) 51 for bilge duty as punishment.

60.  There is one that is astonishingly well preserved in the Musée d’Archéologie at Antibes.

61.  Papyrus London 1979 for leather cushions in Skeat (ed.) (1974), pp. 74–5, cited in André and Baslez (1993), p. 424; see Aelius Aristides (The Sacred Tales) II, 65–8, and IV, 32–6, for vivid descriptions of the discomforts of sailing. Papyrus London 1979, which was written from Alexandria, mentions people having to leave their leather pillows and cushions behind because the captain cannot get them cleared through customs and they have to be sent on later. The letter, however, dates from 2 January 252 BC. The January date is interesting as the travellers have evidently sailed the Mediterranean in winter.

62.  Petronius (Satyricon) CIX. In the Satyricon, Lichas, the owner of a ship that is about to go down, implores Encolpius to restore a sacred cloak and sistrum (ceremonial rattle), which the latter has stolen from a votive statue of Isis on board the ship. See also Achilles Tatius (Leucippe and Clitophon) 32.

63.  A poetic version of the form such a ceremony might take is preserved in the Anthology: ‘Phoebus Apollo, who lives on the sheer height of Leucas visible from afar to sailors, and washed by the Ionian Sea, accept from the sailors a feast of barley cake kneaded by hand and a libation mixed in a small cup, accept too, the poor light of this lamp lit from a mean little oil-flask. In return for these offerings, be kind to us and send to our sails a favourable breeze carrying us with it to the shore of Actium.’ The Greek Anthology (Philippus) VI, 251 to Apollo: see also The Greek Anthology (Macedonius the Consul) VI, 69 and 70.

64.  For a reconstruction drawing and description of such a kitchen based on the galley found in the excavation of a seventh-century Byzantine wreck, the Yassi Adi I, in Turkey, see Pomey (ed.) (1999), pp. 106 and 189–91, and also the excavation report of Bass (1962).

65.  Pomey (ed.) (1999), p. 107, cites excavations where evidence for animals onboard has been found.

66.  Achilles Tatius (Leucippe and Clitophon) 32.

67.  As depicted on the third-century Torlonia relief, Museo delle Navi, Fiumicino. The arch at Richborough may also have been topped with elephants.

68.  Juvenal (Satires) XII, 77.

69.  Lucian (Zeus Tragoedus) 48–9.

70.  The small shelter suspended over open water behind the stern post, which is depicted on some illustrations of ships, may be a latrine. Later, medieval ships had latrines in a similar position. Casson (1995), p. 181 and footnote 61.

71.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXVIII, 52.

72.  Acts of the Apostles 27.3.

73.  Philo (On the Embassy to Gaius) XXXIII, 251–3.

74.  ‘At breakfast time, a young man who had settled his belongings next to ours very kindly asked us to eat with him… we put what we had together in the middle and shared both food and conversation.’ A scene described by Achilles Tatius in Leucippe and Clitophon II, 33. Translation by John J. Winkler, in Reardon (ed.) (1989).

75.  Ovid (Tristia) I, ii: nec letum timeo; genus est miserabile leti; / demite naufragium, mors mihi munus erit. / est aliquid, fatove suo ferrove cadentem / in solida moriens ponere corpus humo / et mandare suis aliqua et sperare sepulcrum / et non aequoreis piscibus esse cibum.

76.  Achilles Tatius (Leucippe and Clitophon), III, 1–5, with translation based on that by John J. Winkler, in Reardon (ed.) (1989).


  1.  According to Tacitus, the assassins of Faustus Cornelius Sulla Felix—a small group of men, keen to complete their mission as fast as possible—took six days to travel to Marseille from Rome in ad 62. Tacitus (Annals) XIV, 57: Sulla sexto die pervectis Massiliam percussoribus ante metum et rumorem interficitur, cum epulandi causa discumberet. Relatum caput eius inlusit Nero tamquam praematura canitie deforme, ‘Sulla was killed by the assassins who reached Marseille on the sixth day—before fear and rumour—and when he was reclining at dinner. His head was brought back [to Rome] where Nero was amused to see his unsightly prematurely grey hair.’

  2.  For a description, see Pliny the Younger (Letters) VI, 31.

  3.  Meiggs (1973), p. 59, but he gives no reference for this statement.

  4.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) 7.16 wrote that he hoped to persuade Calestrius Tiro, travelling to Baetica in ad 107 as the new proconsul of the province, to make a diversion to see his wife’s grandfather at Ticinum on the Po River near Mediolanum (Milan) and to manumit some slaves on his behalf, which he was entitled to do through his authority as a proconsul.

  5.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) II, 46: ‘similarly in the province of Narbonne the most famous of the winds is Circius (WNW) which is inferior to none other at all in force and which usually carries a vessel right across the Ligurian Sea to Ostia’.

  6.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XIX, 1.

  7.  Sulpicius Severus (Dialogues) 1.1: ‘landing on the 30th day at Marseilles, I came on from there and arrived here on the tenth day—so prosperous a voyage was granted to my dutiful desire of seeing you’.

  8.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) III, 31, and see Syme (1999), p. 73, on Pliny the Younger’s account of being asked: Italicus es an provicialis?, ‘Are you Italian or from the Province?’

  9.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) 5.19.

10.  Colonia Claudia Aequum, to give the city its full name. For Severus’s ancestry, see Piso (1993), p. 45; see also Birley (1981), pp. 130 and 348.

11.  Strabo (Geography) IV, 5.1–5, for routes from Gaul; Diodorus Siculus (History) V, 21–2, for a description of Britain and the tin trade, including the length of time it took for tin traders to cross Gaul.

12.  Tacitus (Agricola) 4.3: arcebat eum ab inlecebris peccantium praeter ipsius bonam integramque naturam, quod statim parvulus sedem ac magistram studiorum Massiliam habuit, locum Graeca comitate et provinciali parsimonia mixtum ac bene compositum.

13The Greek Anthology (Diodorus) VI, 245.

14.  Achilles Tatius (Leucippe and Clitophon), 1.1.

15.  P. Princeton 220. Quoted in in W. Scheidel (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy (2012), p. 232.

16.  Plutarch (Moralia) 518e, ‘on busybodies’.

17.  See Quintilian (Declamation) 359—a case of an altercation between a customs man and a woman wearing an expensive string of pearls: praeter instrumenta itineris omnes res quadragesimam publicano debeant, ‘except for travelling items let all items owe 2.5 per cent excise duty’.

18.  For letters of introduction, see, for example, Horace (Letters) XII; Pliny the Younger (Letters) I, 4; and Apuleius (Metamorphoses), 1.22.

19.  Plautus (The Soldier) I.741.

20.  Diodorus Siculus (History) V, 22.

21.  See Carreras and Morais (2010), pp. 261–4, for a summary of the Atlantic trade routes in the first century BC and the effect of the Roman conquest of Gaul.

22.  Dion (1968), 503.

23.  Marcus Aurelius Lunaris, a sevir Augustalis—a priest of the imperial cult—at both Eboracum (York) and Lindum (Lincoln) was one such prominent Yorkshire businessman trading with Bordeaux. On his safe arrival at Burdigala in ad 237, he dedicated an altar to the presiding goddess of the city, the ‘Tutela Bourdigalae’, and to Salus (good health) in fulfilment of a vow he had made on leaving York. The altar is carved out of sandstone brought especially from Yorkshire (the stone local to Burdigala is limestone), and is dated ad 237. It is on display at the Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux: Inv.: 60.1.354.

24.  Peacock (1978), pp. 49–51.

25.  The social pressure to put on gladiatorial shows eventually led to the intervention of the emperor and Senate in the late second century ad; in Woolf (1998), pp. 216–17. The inscription concerning the ruling on shows and fixing the price of gladiators for games given by city magistrates and high priests of provincial councils comes from Italica in Spain but refers to the concilium Galliarum; see Millar (1977), p. 195.

26.  For Lugdunum as the birthplace of Claudius, see Suetonius (Claudius), 2; for the possibility that Claudius spent the winter at Lugdunum on his return from Britain in ad 43–44, see Halfmann (1986), pp. 172–3. Hadrian might also have overwintered at Lugdunum on his journey through the north-western provinces in ad 121–2: see Syme (1988), p. 160.

27.  Hotel names in Chevallier (1983), p. 190, who also makes the pleasing suggestion that ad Decem Pagos, ‘at the Ten Cantons’, may be translated as an Inter-Continental. He also provides a list of European place names derived from the Latin Taberna.

28Mercurius hic lucrum promittit, Apollo salutem, Septumanus hospitium cum prandio, qui venerit, melius utetur post. Hospes, ubi maneas, prospice. CIL XIII 2031 (Lyon).

29.  Galen (De alimentorum facultatibus) 3.2, 6.66K. Galen was born in Pergamum in c. ad 129.

30.  For sex at inns, see a curious inscription, CIL IX 2689, apparently erected by L. Calidius Eroticus (roughly equivalent to Lucius ‘Hot Sex’), who ‘while he was still living’, made it for himself and for ‘Voluptuous Fannia’. It depicts two men counting up on their fingers and the following dialogue: ‘Boss, let’s settle up. You had one sextarius of wine, bread at one ass, mezze two asses.’ ‘Correct’. ‘A girl, eight asses.’ ‘That’s also correct.’ ‘Hay for the mule, two asses.’ ‘That mule will ruin me.’ Copo, computemus’ Habes vini sextarium unum, pane(m) assem unum, pulmentar(ium) asses duos./ ‘convenit’/ puell(am), asses octo’/ et hoc convenit / faenum mulo, asses duos / iste mulus me ad factum dabit. It is not clear whether this is a joke between two lovers or at someone’s expense or an advert for an inn.

31.  For a porter at the gate, see Apuleius (Metamorphoses) 15.1; for a porter arranging dinner, see Petronius (Satyricon) 90:7.

32.  Apuleius (Metamorphoses) I, 11: grabatulus, alioquin breviculus et uno pede mutilus et putris, ‘my camp bed which was rather short and with one broken, rotten leg’.

33.  CIL V 6668.

34.  Horace (Satires) I, 5.7–8: hic ego propter aquam, quod erat deterrima, ventri indico bellum, cenantis haud animo aequo expectans comites… , ‘here because of the water which was terrible, my stomach waged war with me and I had to watch my companions dine while feeling out of sorts’.

35.  Horace (Satires) I, 5.71–2.

36.  Horace (Satires) II, 4.58–62.

37.  Appian (Gallic Wars) 5 (fragments preserved in Constantine Porphyrogenitus (The Embassies) I, 90.

38.  Diodorus Siculus (The Library of History) V, 26. See Woolf (1998), pp. 179ff .

39.  Martial (Epigrams) XIII, 107; XIII, 123; XIV, 118; X, 36; and see also Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXIII, 47, for Marseille. See also Woolf (1998), p. 185.

40.  CIL XV 4547, 4553, for more Baeterrae inscriptions.

41.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XIV, 62–94.

42.  CIL XIII 10018, 7, found on a curiously shaped bottle in Paris; CIL XIII 10018, 131, 157 see Kleberg (1957), p. 110. Both inscriptions are from a series of cups produced in Gaul in the third century ad.

43.  Horace (Satire) I, 5, 82–5: Hic ego mendacem stultissimus usque puellam ad mediam noctem exspecto; somnus tamen aufert intentum veneri; tum inmundo somnia visu nocturnam vestem maculant ventremque supinum

44.  CIL IV 4957: Miximus in lecto, Fateor, peccavimus, hospes. Si dices: quare? Nulla fuit matella.

45.  Croom (2010), pp. 135–6, and Wild’s work passim on Gallic and British clothing cited in Bibliography.

46.  Birley (2013), p. 10.

47.  The group that accompanies Severus to Britannia would have been the sort of trusted friends, family and colleagues whom Marcus Cornelius Fronto enlisted when appointed proconsul of Asia in about ad 153–4: ‘I called from home relations and friends, whose loyalty and integrity I could count on, to assist me. I wrote to my intimates at Alexandria to get to Athens as quickly as they could and wait for me there and I put these very learned men in charge of my Greek correspondence… From Mauretania also I summoned to my side Julius Senex… to help me not only through his loyalty and hard work but in his military expertise at hunting down and fighting bandits.’ Fronto (To Antoninus Pius) 8. Fronto did not take up the post, because of ill health. See Pliny the Younger (Letters) X, 25, for anxiety over the late arrival—towards the end of November—of the legate Servilius Pudens in Nicomedia in Bithynia.

48.  This estimate is by comparison with the 50 acres of a standard legionary fortress, which could accommodate about 5,500 men. The size of the barracks is unknown, but Mason (2003), p. 106, estimates that at least 4,000 men could be accommodated there, enough for twenty triremes or more than sixty liburnian biremes.

49.  Suetonius (Caligula) 46ff.; Dio Cassius (Roman History) LIX, 25.2.

50.  Arrian (Periplus Ponti Euxini) V, 2, ‘Circumnavigation of the Euxine Sea’, where everything is salvaged when one of the boats in their convoy is shipwrecked.

51.  CIL XIII 3543, 3544.

52.  Tacitus (Histories ) I, 58.

53.  Tacitus (Histories) IV, 12.

54.  AE 1956.249, Cologne: Aemilius son of Saen(i)us who served in the Classis Germanica and was buried at Cologne. If this records a man from the Dumnonii of Devon, then it is the earliest record of a Briton serving in the Roman fleet.

55.  A mosaic at Bad Kreuznach depicts a ship with a leather sail. Ellmers (1978), pp. 1–14.

56.  Caesar (Gallic War) III, 13.

57.  Mason (2003), p. 52.

58.  Tacitus (Annals) II, 6.

59.  Arrian (Periplus), 3–6, has several ships to escort him around his province of Cappadocia in the ad 130s.

60.  (Digest), quoting Ulpian (On the Duties of a Proconsul) I.

61.  CIL XIII 3564, of uncertain date. See Mason (2003), p. 105.

62.  Caesar (Gallic War) V, 1 for adapting ships to sail in tidal conditions during his second expedition, and Tacitus (Annals) II, 6 describes boats being adapted to suit specific conditions and for different purposes during Germanicus’s war in Germany.

63.  (Digest) 37.13.1, quoting Ulpian (On the Edict) 45: ‘in the fleets all rowers and sailors are soldiers’; see also Casson (1995), p. 310.

64.  Dio Cassius (Roman History) XLVIII, 51.5, for Agrippa training oarsmen on practice benches.

65.  Caesar (Gallic War) IV, 23.


  1.  It was occasionally referred to as Albion by later writers, though in a consciously antiquarian way. A fourth-century poem by Avienus describing Britain as the insula Albionum is ultimately based on a sixth-century BC journey from Marseille, pre-dating Pytheas. See Rivet and Smith (1979), p. 39.

  2.  Dio Cassius (Roman History) LIII, 13.

  3.  (Digest) 1.18.15, quoting Marcianus (De iudiciis publicis—On Public Proceedings), I.

  4.  Tacitus (Agricola) 33.

  5.  Tacitus (Agricola) 18.

  6.  ‘The whole remaining population with wives and children were waiting by the roadsides to receive him and each group cried out as he passed and the whole city was filled like a temple with garlands and incense. On his arrival he offered sacrifices of thanksgiving for his homecoming to the household gods.’ Josephus (Jewish War) VII, 69–72.

  7.  On arrival in Asia, for example, the incoming proconsul is obliged always to travel there by sea and to land at Ephesus before continuing to any of the other principal cities—at the request of the people of the province themselves. (Digest) 1.16.4–5, quoting Ulpian (On the Duties of a Proconsul) I.

  8.  When a philosopher called Agesilaus failed to join a welcoming party for the emperor Septimius Severus (r. 193–211) in Anazarbus in Cilicia (southern Turkey), claiming that he was too busy being a philosopher, the emperor sent him into exile. Millar (1992), p. 31.

  9.  Suetonius (Claudius) 38.

10.  Josephus (Jewish War) VII, 69.

11.  Juvenal (Satires) IV, 139–142; Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXII, 62. Oyster connoisseurship was not just a passing fad of the first century. Some 300 years later, Ausonius loyally accorded the winning prize to his native Bordeaux oysters, which he described lovingly as ‘very tender, with plump white flesh, the sweetness of their jus mixing with the taste of seawater to give them a light, salty touch.’ Ausonius (Epistles) III, 24–5.

12.  A sandstone altar found near the Painted House at Dover, RIB 65b, records a dedication to the Mother Goddesses of Italy by Olus Cordius Candidus, who held the office of strator consularis, transport officer for the provincial governor. See Hassall and Tomlin (1977), pp. 426–7, no. 4.

13.  The road entered Canterbury at the Queningate, (built in the Roman wall in the late third century and passing through the area of the present cathedral precinct). This gate was blocked in the medieval period and replaced by Burgate. Wacher (2nd edition, 1995), p. 189.

14.  There is a similar example at Lutetia Parisiorum (Paris), for example. Later in the third century ad it was replaced by an expanded and more thoroughly Classical theatre.

15.  It is not clear exactly when this happened.

16.  The workaholic elder Pliny kept a secretary by his side complete with book and notebook (ad latus notarius cum libro et pugillaribus) when travelling so that he would not waste a moment of work. He scolded his nephew Pliny the Younger for choosing to walk and thus wasting precious work time. Pliny (Letters) III, 5.

17.  Suetonius (Claudius) 33.

18.  Horace (Epistles) 17.7. Aelius Aristides, travelling in autumn ad 144, was taken ill and felt unable to travel overland, ‘for my body would not bear the shaking’. So he and his companions sold their remaining pack animals and risked taking a ship, despite inclement weather. Aelius Aristides (Sacred Tales) II, 65ff.

19.  Pliny the Younger in Letters X ascribed the fever he suffered on his way to Bithynia as being caused by the heat and fatigue of travelling overland.

20.  Suetonius (Augustus) 49.

21.  Pliny the Younger scrupulously asked special permission of Trajan for his wife to be issued with such a permit when she needed to travel unexpectedly because of a family emergency. Pliny (Letters) X, 120 and 121.

22.  The regulations are contained in the fourth–fifth-century Codex Theodosianus.

23.  The site developed over the course of the century, and other temples were built, there as well as a Jupiter column and monumental gateway. See Andrews (2008), pp. 45–62.

24.  The route would have taken them through what is now Greenwich Park. Watling Street coming down Shooters Hill was, at this point, aligned directly with Westminster, but because of a loop of the river at Deptford it needed to go south, where its exact course is unknown. It then seems to have followed the course of the Old Kent Road and joined with Stane Street at Borough High Street. Margary (1972), p. 55.


  1.  The route from the Kent ports joins Stane Street at Borough High Street. Margary (1973), p. 55.

  2.  Cowan (2003), p. 56 and passim; Cowan et al. (2009), pp. 18–24.

  3.  Drummond-Murray, Thompson and Cowan (2002), p. 6.

  4.  Yule (2005).

  5.  The shrine is conjectural. A lead curse tablet (defixio) was found on the north foreshore of the Thames, near the site of the bridge, asking ‘Metunus’ [Neptune] to avenge the supplicant before nine days were up—which could suggest that there was a shrine to Neptune on the bridge, as at Newcastle. For details of the London defixio, see Hassall and Tomlin (1987), pp. 360–3.

  6.  For revolving cranes, see Vitruvius (On Architecture) X, 2.10, in Casson (1995), p. 370, n. 41: ad onerandas et exonerandas naves sunt paratae, aliae erectae, aliae planae in carchesiis versatilibus conlocatae, ‘for loading and unloading ships there are derricks, some fixed vertically, others horizontally on revolving platforms’.

  7.  Marsden, p. 22.

  8.  Peacock (1978) p. 49ff. Dressel 30 is the second-most common type found in London.

  9.  Rodriguez, quoted in Opper (2008), p. 40.

10.  The instructions are given by Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXII, 21; see Milne (1985), p. 95.

11.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXI, 93.

12.  RIB 2492.11 Cod(ae) ting(tae) ve(tus) penuar(ium), though there are other possible readings, see RIB II, Fascicle 6 (1994), p. 5.

13.  Such a boat was found in Thames mud in 1962 at Blackfriars. Its trees were felled between ad 130 and ad 175. It plied the waters of the Thames Estuary for perhaps another couple of decades, before being wrecked in the middle of the century near the mouth of the River Fleet. Merrifield (1983), p. 50, and Milne (1985), p. 38.

14.  On the north side of the basilica are offices with shops adjoining them, separated by partition walls and accessible only from the street.

15.  It is possible—as suggested in Brigham with Crowley (1992), pp. 96–113.

16.  Tacitus (Annals) XIV, 33: copia negotiatorum et commeatuum maxime celebre.

17.  For statues in fora and decoration with garlands, see, for example, the vivid depictions of the forum from wall-paintings found in the House of Julia Felix at Pompeii. The originals are badly faded, but there is a fine set of eighteenth-century engravings in Le antichità di Erocolano, Vol. III (1762).

18.  Millar (1992), pp. 348–9. See Pliny the Younger (Letters) II, 11.2, for an example.

19.  Millar (1992), pp. 348 and 389.

20.  Tacitus (Annals) XIV, 32, for an account of Boudicca’s destruction of Colchester.

21.  Cowan et al. (2009), pp. 100–1.

22.  RIB 2491.147, Austalis dibus xiii vagatur sib[i]cotidim, found in Warwick Lane and now in the Museum of London.

23.  Tacitus (Annals) XIV, 33.

24.  (Digest) 1.15.3, quoting Paulus (On the Duty of the Prefect of the Guard), in Croom (2011), p. 83.

25.  (Digest) 33.7.12, 18, quoting Ulpian (On Sabinus) XX.

26.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) X, 33.2.

27.  This is at what became Pudding Lane, Perring (1991), pp. 73–4 and Milne (1985), p. 140. It was in Pudding Lane that the ‘Great Fire of London’ broke out in 1666.

28.  As shown in the correspondence of Pliny the Younger (Letters) X, with the Emperor Trajan.

29.  (Digest) 1.16.8, quoting Ulpian (On the Edict) 39: Et ideo maius imperium in ea provincia habet omnibus post principem, ‘Therefore the proconsul in his own province has greater authority than anyone else except the emperor.’

30.  Birley (1981).

31.  A third-century inscription from a villa at Combe Down in Somerset names Naevius ‘freedman and assistant of the procurators’ who restored a ‘headquarters’ (RIB 179). The reference to procurators in the plural indicates that this inscription dates from after the division of Britannia into two provinces.

32.  One of the clearest examples of a rift between governor and procurator in Britannia occurred during the reign of Nero, in the aftermath of Boudicca’s revolt. The newly arrived procurator Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus, who came from northern Gaul, objected to the ‘scorched earth’ policy being pursued by Governor Suetonius Paullinus, even in areas that had remained loyal, a situation that not only created economic hardship (and hence the risk of a fall in future revenues) but also caused considerable suffering and was thereby exacerbating hostility to the Roman presence in Britannia. Classicianus complained to Nero, and the situation was investigated, with Paullinus being replaced early with a more placatory governor, Publius Petronius Turpilianus. Classicianus died in post in the mid-60s, and his wife erected a handsome memorial to him in London (RIB 12). Relationships between procurator and governor met their nadir in ad 69, when one procurator put a governor to death, albeit under the orders of the sleazy Emperor Galba. See Tacitus (Histories) I, 7, for the Galba episode. An example of a more cordial relationship is given in Tacitus (Agricola) IX, where Tacitus commends Agricola for getting on so well with his procurator when he was governor of Aquitania; Pflaum (1950), pp. 157–160.

33.  Pflaum (1950), but for scepticism about the extent of the Hadrianic reorganization, see Brunt (1983), pp. 42–75.

34.  Tacitus (Agricola) XV, albeit describing an earlier period, tells how the procurator of Britannia used freedmen to exercise power.

35.  The legal document written on a wooden tablet recording the sale of Fortunata was found in London and has been dated to c. ad 7–125. Incidentally, when the tablet states that the slave is called ‘Fortunata or whatever she was known by’, this does not in itself reflect a casual disregard for her name but was a legal phrase to cover the eventuality that she might have been known by other names. This concern with nomenclature is also expressed in prayers to deities and the belief that no deity who was wrongly addressed would respond to a prayer. In a world of multiple gods and goddesses with their multiplicity of names, qualifications are found such as ‘to the nymphs or whatever name you wish to be called’. See Tomlin (2003). For a whole entourage of slaves owned by slaves see ILS 1514, a funerary monument dedicated to Musicus Scurranus—a slave accountant (dispensator) of the Emperor Tiberius, who worked at the Treasury for the province of Gallia Lugdunensis—by the sixteen sub-slaves of his own, including secretaries, cooks, footmen, a valet, a doctor and others, who were all with him when he died on a visit to Rome.

36.  A man called Rufus, instructing his Celtic correspondent Epillicus in London; diligenter cura(m) agas ut illam puellam ad nummum redigas; RIB II, 4,2443.7.

37.  There is a record of a case presided over by a certain iuridicus Lucius Javolenus Priscus in the ad 70s or 80s, regarding the estate of a helmsman in the classis Britannica whose son had predeceased him. It is quoted in (Digest) 36.1.48. An important document (RIB 2504.29) found in London, dated 14 March 118, refers to a dispute over the tenure of a wood in Kent called Verlucionum. It is the type of case that a judicial legate might have heard, and it demonstrates that land and property in Britannia was now firmly under Roman law.

38.  CIL XI 384; Birley (2005), pp. 272–3.

39.  Hassall (2012), pp. 158–63.

40.  The wood might have been recycled from barrels containing imported goods from other northern provinces. Cowan et al. (2009), p. 98.

41.  In one letter found at Vindolanda just south of the northern frontier, for example, a secretary presumes that his boss has said ‘et hiem’, ‘and winter’ (the ‘h’ being pronounced silently), following something about tempestates (storms). But he has to cross out ‘et hiem’ when he realizes that etiam si, ‘even if’, was meant. Vindolanda Tablet 234; see Bowman and Thomas’s commentary on the text for the suggestion that this was a phonetic dictation error.

42.  At the time, he was looking for an applicable legal ruling, implying that he was drawing on an extensive archive or library, although it is not clear whether this was his personal library or one at his disposal in the province. Pliny the Younger (Letters) X, 65.

43.  Tomlin (2003), p. 41; Suetonius (Nero) 17.

44.  Jones (1949), pp. 38–55.

45.  See the late-first-century figure of an officer from a funerary monument found in Camomile Street, London, which depicts him in military dress but carrying a scroll and writing tablets. See Bishop (1983), pp. 31–48.

46.  Hassall (1996), p. 20.

47.  Hassall (1996), p. 21.

48.  RIB 235, from Dorchester: M. Varius Severus, beneficiarius consularis; and RIB 88 from Winchester, a shrine to the Matres dedicated by Antonius Lucretianus, beneficiarius consularis; and also at many other places, especially on the northern frontier.

49.  Such as Veldedeius, the recipient in Londinium of a letter sent from his old mess-mate Chauttius from Vindolanda, who was seconded from the north to serve the governor in Londinium for a while. Vindolanda Tablet 310.

50.  SHA (Hadrian) XIV, for gladiatorial weapons; SHA (Hadrian) XIX, on building and games in every city.

51.  This took place in either ad 125–6 or 128–9.

52.  Dio (Epitome) LXIX, 10.2; SHA (Hadrian) XIX, 2–4. Jennison (1937), p. 84.

53.  This is speculative. The south gate of the London amphitheatre is more elaborate than the other entrances and its twin passage walls could well have supported a box for the governor. For a discussion about the entrances and tribunalia, see Bateman (2011), pp. 98, 105 and 125.

54.  Suetonius (Claudius) 25.

55.  Dio Cassius (Epitome) LXIX, 8.2; see also SHA (Hadrian) XVIII.

56.  Suetonius (Augustus) 44.3.

57.  Fifty-three items of personal adornment have been found, such as brooches, rings, bracelets, hairpins and shoes, including a fine gold and pearl necklace clasp and bone hairpins with the head of Minerva. See Bateman, Cowan and Wroe-Brown (2008), pp. 132–3.

58.  Fragments of these clibani or portable ovens, together with a miniature Samian-ware bowl depicting a gladiatorial scene, were found outside the Chester amphitheatre, together with specially brought-in yellow sand containing a human tooth; see Wilmott (2008), p. 178 and fig. 27.

59.  A fragment of first-century South Gaulish Samian ware was found in the arena depicting this scene, RP 172. See Bird in Bateman, Cowan and Wroe-Brown (2008), pp. 135–40 and fig. 129. For human bone in the arena, see ibid., pp. 128–9.

60.  Bateman, Cowan and Wroe-Brown (2008), p. 128.

61.  Scobie (1988). The ivory inlaid rollers are hinted at in a poem from Nero’s time regarding the pre-Colosseum amphitheatre at Rome.

62.  Such an iron ring has been found in the legionary amphitheatre at Chester, and a wooden stake that could have served the same purpose (as well as for tethering people) has been found at St Albans. A near complete bull’s skull was found in a drain at the London amphitheatre, as has part of a red deer skull and a fragment of bear bone. See Bateman, Cowan and Wroe-Brown (2008), pp. 128–9.

63.  Martial (de Spectaculis) IX, 3–5, ‘On Shows’: nuda Caledonio sic viscera praebuit urso/ non falsa pendens in cruce Laureolus, ‘Laureolus hanging on a real-life cross offers his naked flesh to a Caledonian bear’.

64.  Martial (de Spectaculis) VI, 5: Iunctam Pasiphaen Dictaeo credite tauro./ vidimus, accepti fabula prisca fidem./ nec se miretur, Caesar, longaeva vetustas:/ quidquid Fama canit, praestat harena tibi, ‘Believe that Pasiphae had union with a Cretan bull / we have seen it and accept that the old myth is true; long ago antiquity shouldn’t rest on its laurels, Caesar,/ whatever fame boasts about is presented to you in the arena.’

65.  RIB 9. Alfidus Olussa died in London, at the age of seventy; his tombstone was erected near Tower Hill.

66.  RIB 3014 was found in 2002 in Tabard Street, Southwark, buried in a pit between two Romano-Celtic temples: num(inibus) Aug(ustorum) deo Marti Ca/mulo Tiberini/us Cerlerianus c(ivis) Bell(ovaus) moritix Londiniensi/um primus…, ‘To the divinities of the emperors and to the god Mars Camulus. Tiberinius Celerianus, a citizen of the Bellovaci, moritix, of Londoners the first…’ For a commentary, see Roger Tomlin in Britannia (2002), p. 364. The inscription dates from the 160s.


  1.  RIB 725 from Catterick, ad 191. Roman inscriptions used abbreviations in a similar way to those found in text messages. ‘SC’ probably stands for summus curator, meaning chief supply officer or accounts manager, a man whose job depended on good roads to ensure supplies reached the auxiliary fort at Catterick, which was an important supply centre. The ‘SC’ in this inscription has also been translated as singularis consularis, meaning the governor’s bodyguard, but the former definition is more likely in the context—although a governor’s bodyguard might also be grateful to the gods for good roads. ‘FVLLM’ is a standard abbreviation for votum, laetus, libens merito, ‘joyfully, willingly, deservedly fulfilled his vow’. ‘BF COS’ stands for beneficiarius consularis, a soldier seconded to the governor’s staff on ‘special duty’. ‘COS’ stands for consulares, ‘consuls’.

  2.  Pitt (2006), pp. 50–3.

  3.  The line of Watling Street from Kent to Verulamium in fact points towards Westminster and suggests a crossing further west rather than directly into the City: see Margary (1973), p.54; but no traces of such a road have been found and this theory is questioned. See Perring (1991), p. 5, for a brief summary of conflicting views.

  4.  Margary (1973), p. 47.

  5.  For the use of ablative-locatives in British place names, see Rivet and Smith (1979), pp. 34 and 441.

  6.  It is mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary. There was possibly a mansio here, although no evidence has yet been found for one.

  7.  P. Jones (2010).

  8.  Margary (1973), p. 82: the fact that there are no known branches along the road’s length indicate that it might have been forested.

  9.  Few milestones survive, here or anywhere else in Britain. Two miles east of Silchester is a possible milestone known locally as the Imp Stone, being inscribed ‘IMP’. Local tradition says it was ‘thrown by a giant from Silchester’. Victoria County History of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Vol. IV (1912), p. 433.

10.  Hyland (1990), p. 259. Traction animals seem occasionally to have been provided with a form of temporary ‘hook on’ iron shoes, known as hipposandals, to prevent them slipping in particularly muddy or wet conditions. The remains of several have been found at Ware, for example, where Ermine Street crossed the River Lea, suggesting animals needed extra help descending slippery slopes down to the river during a late period when roads were less well maintained. Allason-Jones (2011), p. 61, referencing Crummy in O’Brien and Roberts (2006), p. 24.

11.  Davies (1998), p. 71.

12.  (Digest), quoting Ulpian (On the Edict) 32: … si cisiarius, id est carucharius, dum ceteros transire contendit, cisium evertit et servum quassavit vel occidit.

13.  Cunliffe (1973), p. 16.

14.  Noviomagus was perhaps his base. There is a much disputed reading of very hard-to-read letters from the only surviving inscription referring to him which may describe him as ‘a great king of Britain’; see Bogaers (1979), pp. 243–54.

15.  For a summary of Cogidubnus’s life, see Malcom Todd’s entry ‘Cogidubnus (fl. c. ad 47–70)’ in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).

16.  Dating evidence is poor. This first-phase timber amphitheatre is thought to date from c. ad 55–75. It is possible that the amphitheatre had, by ad 130, already been replaced, or was in the process of being replaced, by one more elliptical in shape. In the third century, the amphitheatre was rebuilt in stone in conventional form. There is no evidence for seating arrangements. See Fulford (1989).

17.  Nigel Sunter in Fulford (1989), pp. 161–76.

18.  The largest of them contains a cella 3.9 metres (42 feet) square with a 4.11-metre (13 foot 6 inch) wide portico running around it. Fulford (1989). See also Boon (1990), pp. 397–400, suggesting a possible connection between the amphitheatre and temples. The larger northern temple had a concrete floor, while the smaller floors were of plain red tesserae. Bath stone and fragments of Purbeck marble are associated with the site. There is evidence to suggest at least one other temple in the precinct, possibly a fourth. The date the precinct was established is unknown. Wacher (1995), p. 281.

19.  A small figure of Harpocrates, the god of secrecy and silence, who had once been attached to a charcoal-burning brazier, of a type and quality seen in prosperous homes in Italy was found in a first-century rubbish heap in Calleva. See Crummy (2011), pp. 157–65.

20.  RIB 69–71. See Frere and Fulford (2002), pp. 167–75.

21.  Ravens are also significant in the cult of Mithras. Also buried beneath the foundations of the new forum was a small bronze figure of an eagle, once part of a larger statue, perhaps that of an early-first-century Jupiter or the emperor in the persona of Jupiter. This find, now in Reading Museum, inspired Rosemary Sutcliff’s children’s novel The Eagle of the Ninth. See Boon (1974), pp. 119ff., and Durham (2013), pp. 78–105, for a reappraisal.

22.  Ritual deposits are found from the late first century BC right through to the fifth century ad, throughout Britain. They occur in major towns and cities, such as London and St Albans, through to small towns, rural sites and military camps. Some of the deposits seem to have been the result of private or familial acts of devotion, but others, involving metal or large numbers of animals, suggest communal activity. The deposits seem to have fulfilled a variety of needs, although what these were is rarely clear. It is often hard to distinguish between what was deposited as a deliberate act of ritual, and what was simply thrown into a random pit. What is to say that the glasses discarded at Calleva did not form part of a Roman bottle bank? Even if items were arranged carefully and seem to be deposited deliberately, that still leaves the questions of what motives lay behind the depositions and under what circumstances they were carried out. Some were apparently foundation deposits, made when new buildings were erected, and some were associated with marking boundaries, while others may have been part of funerary rituals, or practices associated with the changing seasons, or linked to people’s work or sporting activities. In London a carefully articulated skeleton of an adult horse, a dog and a juvenile red deer—all arranged nose to tail—were found in a pit. It must signify the hunt in some way, but whether its purpose was to secure good hunting, or to commemorate the life of someone who loved hunting and ensure he would have good hunting in the afterlife (with his horse and his favourite hound beside him), is not known. For a discussion, see Fulford (2001).

23.  In Silchester, there is evidence perhaps of a vet at work in late Roman times, in the form of a lame dog that has had its paw cleaned and immobilized to prevent infection. Clarke (2006), p. 195.

24.  Columella (De Res Rustica) X, 342–4. Ovid tells us that dogs’ or sheep’s entrails could also be used: Ovid (Fasti) IV, 901–10. Inscription about healing dogs from Epidaurus IG IV, 952, 1.36–8, cited in Jenkins (1957), pp. 60–76. See also Green (1992). At the fourth-century shrine at Lydney, Gloucestershire, dedicated to the Celtic god Nodens, pilgrims offered votive objects including cockerels and many images of dogs. The objects included a breathtaking copper-alloy figure of a deerhound, now in the collection of Bristol City Museum. It is not known whether real dogs played a part in either the proceedings at Lydney or at Sequanna’s shrine in France.

25.  Clark (2011).

26.  Diodoros Siculus V, 28.

27.  Timby (2011).

28.  Robinson (2011).

29.  Whether or not they scooped out their ears in public is not known. For nail cleaners, see Crummy and Eckhardt (2003).

30.  N. Crummy (2012), pp. 105–25.

31.  Perring (2002), pp. 49–50.

32.  Gaius Caligula is said to have been so incensed by (the future emperor) Vespasian’s failure to keep the streets clean when he was an aedile and charged with that duty that he ordered Vespasian’s senatorial toga to be heaped with mud. Suetonius (Vespasian) 5.3.

33.  Croom (2011), p. 116.

34.  P. Dark (2011), pp. 294–300.

35.  Galen (De Compositione Medicamentorum Secundum Locos) XII, 786. See Boon (1983). And note also the strength report of the first cohort of Tungrians based at Vindolanda at the end of the first century listing fifteen men as sick and ten as having inflammations of the eye. Vindolanda Tablet 154.


  1.  Margary (1973), p. 135.

  2.  Corney (2001), pp. 15–16.

  3.  Draper (2006), p. 20, and Hostetter and Noble Howe (1997), p. 41. At this period Littlecote Park was still nothing more than a wooden house and barn. It was rebuilt in stone with a brick and flint barn in the 170s. At least thirty-five villas or possible villas have been identified in the area.

  4.  Draper (2006), p. 12.

  5.  Dark and Dark (1997), p. 95.

  6.  Margary (1973), p. 136 and footnote 4, p. 137.

  7.  There may have been a Roman shrine or temple south of the hill, adjacent to the road west. For a discussion of the shafts, and of Roman activity on the hill, see Leary, Field and Campbell (2013), pp. 274–84.

  8.  Leary and Field (2010), p. 159. There was an inn there by the third or fourth century. It has been suggested that the buildings to the north of the road may have been temple precincts around Silbury Hill.

  9.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXVI, 16–20, for marvellous monuments in Egypt.

10.  Plutarch (Moralia) 976C: ‘they open their mouths to let their teeth be cleaned by hand and wiped with towels. Recently our excellent Philinus came back from a trip to Egypt and told us that he had seen in Antaeopolis an old woman sleeping on a low bed beside a crocodile which was stretched out beside her in a perfectly decorous way’ (Loeb translation, VII, 1957); and Strabo (Geography) XVII, 812, for his charming account of feeding the sacred crocodile at Arsinoe.

11.  In fact, this was a memorial to Pharoah Amenhotep III (1400 BC), which had split in an earthquake and thereafter could ‘speak’ at dawn. See Casson (1994) for bibliography on this subject and for sacred crocodiles (above).

12.  Pliny the Younger describes the resort in detail in (Letters) VIII, 8.6. A site that vividly evokes this account in the twenty-first century and where thermal waters still run into the ruins of the Roman baths, situated by the river, is Fordioganus (Forum Traianii) in Sardinia.

13.  Tacitus (Agricola) 16.

14.  Tacitus (Agricola) 21: inde etiam habitus nostri honor et frequens toga; paulatimque discessum ad delenimenta vitiorum, porticus et balinea et conviviorum elegantiam. Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset.

15.  See Pliny the Younger (Letters) X, 32, concerning condemned criminals cleaning baths.

16.  Pseudo Lucian (Erotes) 8 describes avoiding the guides on Rhodes who do just this: ‘two or three fellows rushed up to me offering….’

17.  See Casson (1994), Chapter 16, for numerous references to dodgy tourist guides.

18.  For example, Demetrius the silversmith at Ephesus, mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, made copies of the temple of Diana for tourists. He provoked a riot in the city among other craftsmen, who feared that Christianity, with its abhorrence of idolatry, would destroy their business. Acts of the Apostles 19.22.

19.  For illustrations of the silver pan, of a second-century date, and other offerings thrown into the sacred spring, see Cunliffe (1988); for souvenirs from Hadrian’s Wall and other enamelled objects, see Breeze (2012).

20.  It was a viewpoint apparently much favoured by gay men, who could fantasise that they were seeing the handsome young Ganymede. See Pseudo Lucian (Erotes) 8–18 for the entertaining account of a visit there.

21.  Cunliffe and Davenport (1985), p. 24; the courtyard measures 52 metres (170 feet) by 72 metres (236 feet).

22.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XVI, 251.

23.  Caesar (Gallic War) VI, 13–14.

24.  Lucan (The Civil War) III, 453ff.

25.  Suetonius (Claudius) 25.5.

26.  Caesar (Gallic War) VI, 14.

27.  Tacitus (Annals) XIV, 30. The Latin is particularly enjoyable: Stabat pro litore diversa acies, densa armis virisque, intercursantibus feminis; in modum Furiarum veste ferali, crinibus deiectis faces praeferebant; Druidaeque circum, preces, diras sublatis ad caelum manibus fundentes, novitate aspectus perculere militem ut quasi haerentibus membris immobile corpus vulneribus praeberent.

28.  Lucan (The Civil War) III, 453–57.

29.  Statius (Silvae) V, 2.147–9. (The shield may possibly be that of Venutius, ex-husband of pro-Roman Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes.)

30.  Solinus (Collection of Curiosities) XXII, 10.

31.  RIB 155: sacerdos deae Sulis.

32.  Such as the votive bronze axe found near Canterbury in the form of a bull. See Henig (1995), p. 118.

33.  The inscription that accompanies the statue’s dedication shows that his job title was originally abbreviated to ‘HAR’, in nicely spaced regular letters, but had ‘USP’ crammed in at the end at a later date. Perhaps the temple authorities felt its meaning was being lost and needed to be spelled out more explicitly, see Cunliffe (2000), p. 49. Confraternities of haruspices are attested in the Rhineland CIL XIII 6765 (Mainz); see Cunliffe (1969), p. 189, no. 1.60.

34.  RIB 143; RIB 144.

35.  RIB 149.

36.  RIB 151.

37.  RIB 105, possibly the same person. It was discovered in what might have been his mason’s yard, together with several pieces cut from Bath stone, and is now in Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

38.  During the late second or early third century, the baths were extended and entirely re-roofed with an enormous barrel vault.

39.  SHA (Hadrian) XVIII: lavacra pro sexibus separavit; also mentioned in Dio (Epitome) LXIX, 8.2. For a Hadrianic inscription stating separate bathing hours for men and women, see Lex Metalli Vipascensis (no. 282) and Fagan (1999), p. 184.

40.  Plutarch (Life of Cato the Elder) XX, 5–6, who tells us in the same passage that at the time fathers avoided bathing with their sons-in-law because they were ashamed about being naked. Later, however, having caught the Greek habit, they even taught the Greeks to bathe when women were present.

41.  Martial (Epigrams) III, 68.3–4: Gymnasium, thermae, stadium est hac parte: recede! Exuimur, nudos parce videre viros!

42.  As depicted on the fourth-century mosaics at Piazza Armerina in Sicily. It is often said that the women in bikinis in these pictures are professional acrobats or dancers, but the context is the baths.

43.  A leather bikini was found in a well in Queen Street in London and is now in the Museum of London.

44.  For the reference to paxsa(m) ba(ln)earum et [pal]leum from Bath, see Tab. Sulis 32 in Fagan (1999), p. 37, footnote 65. As it might have been stolen in the baths, it may point to being used as a bathrobe rather than a swimming costume. See also SHA (Alexander Severus) XLI, 1, for reference to sets of bathing clothes.

45.  Juvenal (Satires) VI, 419ff.

46.  (Digest)–3, quoting Ulpian (On the Edict) 6.

47.  (Digest) 48.17.0. A short chapter is devoted to bath thieves, de furibus balneariis, recommending different types of punishment according to the severity of the crime and the rank of the thieves. If thieves defended themselves or hit anyone, they could be condemned to the mines; people of higher rank could be sent into exile; a soldier caught stealing from the baths would be dishonourably discharged.

48.  More than half of the 500 or so Latin curse tablets discovered throughout the empire come from Britain, and most of these are from Bath and the surrounding area (the other thousand are written in Greek). Tomlin, in Cunliffe (1988), p. 60.

49.  Greek Magical Papyri vii, 398–9, cited by Tomlin in Cunliffe (1988), p. 60.

50.  At Bowness-on-Solway, a merchant called Antonianus dedicated a shrine to the Matres—the Mother Goddesses—and promised them in verse that if they helped his venture he would gild the letters of his poem in return. RIB 2059.

51.  Late second century, cited by Tomlin in Cunliffe (1988), p. 169.

52.  No two are written by the same hand, with the exception of one where the writer ran out of room and had to continue on a fresh sheet. Tab. Sulis 95 and 96.

53.  Tab. Sulis 16.

54.  One tablet, citing eight Celtic names, is written in a stylish hand: Tab. Sulis 30. See Tomlin in Cunliffe (1988). For the Latin text in Greek letters, see Uley 52.

55.  The spelling of Patarnianus filius and Matarnus ussor, for example, instead of Paternianus and Maternus, indicates that the writer spoke Latin with a heavy accent, pronouncing their ‘e’ as an open ‘a’ when followed by ‘r’. Bath curse tablets 30.2–3. See Tomlin in Cunliffe (1988), pp. 146–7. This is something that occurs too in Latin loan-words in Welsh, e.g. taberna becomes tafarn; serpens, sarff; see Adams (1992) and Smith, in Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt (ANRW) (1983), p. 900.

56.  The only possible votive offerings found in the spring representing body parts are one amulet of breasts made of elephant ivory and another small copper-alloy breast. Cunliffe (1988), pp. 7, 8 and 36.

57.  The elaborately carved blocks associated with the tholos are comparable in workmanship to the baths at Sens in northern France. Cunliffe (2000), p. 110.


  1.  Text from Lanna (2013), p. 231. This poem written by Hadrian’s court musician Mesomodes captures the hypnotic and inescapable beauty and attraction of Nemesis. Mesomodes of Crete, a freedman of Hadrian, worked at the Museion in Alexandria and is said to have been the composer of the panegyric written to celebrate the life of Hadrian’s beloved Antinous. His hymn to Nemesis is one of four that preserve the ancient musical notation written over the text. According to the SHA (Antoninus Pius) VII, 8, his state salary was reduced after Hadrian’s death, but he was honoured by a cenotaph erected by Caracalla 100 years after his death.

  2.  Abonae may possibly have been a base for a squadron of the fleet. See Burnham and Davies (2010), p. 38.

  3.  Margary (1973), p. 138.

  4.  Bennett (1985), pp. 3–4.

  5.  For the etymology of the name, see Rivet and Smith (1979), pp. 450–1.

  6.  It has been conjectured that there might also have been a ferry crossing running from Aust to Sudbrook, on the Welsh side of the Severn, with other ferry terminals at Black Rock and Magor on the Welsh coast. See Burnham and Davies (2010), p. 99.

  7.  Tacitus (Agricola) 11: Silurem colorati vultus, torti plerumque crines et posita contra Hispania Hiberos veteres traiecisse easque sedes occupasse fidem faciunt. While the geography may be a little dodgy, the people of northern Spain and Brittany and the Celtic people of Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and western Scotland are now considered to be of common descent: see Cunliffe (2001).

  8.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 32: atrocitate non clementia.

  9.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 38.

10.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 39.

11.  Tacitus (Annals) XII, 39.

12.  Tacitus (Agricola) 17: validamque et pugnacem Silurum.

13.  It is most exposed from the north-west, where the land rises steeply to the site of an imposing former hillfort at Lodge Wood, which overlooks the mouth of the Usk and parts of the Severn Estuary.

14.  From where the River Usk ultimately derives its name. (Welsh Wysg is connected but the etymology is complicated; see Rivet and Smith (1979) pp. 376–8.) The modern name ‘Caerleon’ is derived from the Welsh for ‘fortress of the legion’, first referred to around ad 800 as Cair Legeion guar Uisc.

15.  There are parallels for large courtyard buildings situated outside legionary forts at Nijmegen (in the Netherlands) and Carnuntum (in Austria), and also at Mirebeau (in France) and Vindonissa (in Switzerland), where they are similarly close to the amphitheatre as is the case at Caerleon. It is not clear what they were used for. See Guest, Luke and Pudney (2012), p. 8 and passim, for a description of excavations of the courtyard building and associated structures in the southern canabae.

16.  RIB 369. The tombstone also remembers their mother, Tadia Vallaunius, who died at the age of sixty-five.

17.  A fragment of a wooden tablet found at Caerleon provides such a list and is on display at the National Roman Army Museum.

18.  As cited on a papyrus from Dura Europos, early third century: P. Dura 82.

19.  The devastating effects of Roman gold-mining techniques and their vast scale are still vividly apparent at Las Médulas in north-western Spain.

20.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXIII, 21.

21.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXIV, 49.

22.  The exact location of the mines is unknown; they were possibly near Wirksworth. See Rivet and Smith (1979), pp. 403–4.

23.  Tylecote (1964), p. 34.

24.  As on a lead pig from Lutudarum (Wirksworth?, Derbyshire) RIB 2404.39: IMP CAES HADRIANI AUG MET LUT.

25.  Pliny the Elder (Natural History) XXXIV, 50.18: ‘the orator Calvus is said to have cured himself by these plates and so preserved his bodily energies for labour and study’; see Boulakia (1972), pp. 139–44.

26.  Suetonius (Vespasian) 4.1.

27.  For the porticoed courtyard building at Caerleon, see Guest, Luke and Pudney (2012), pp. 91–2. Gardens and fountains were common features of such buildings elsewhere.

28.  Zienkiewicz (1986), Vol. I, pp. 115ff.

29.  Zankiewicz (1986), Vol. II, pp. 226ff.

30.  They are comparable in scale with the surviving Roman baths at Cluny in Paris.

31.  A fragment of a round basin (labrum) found at ‘Castle’ baths outside the fortress walls in 1849 was carved from Purbeck marble and decorated with a Gorgon’s head.

32.  Zankiewicz (1986), Vol II, p. 223.

33.  The strigil is thought to date from c. ad 150–200 and was possibly made in Syria or Egypt. See Zankiewicz (1986), Vol. II, p. 166.

34.  Two dates in May are given for the rosaliae signorum—the 10th and 31st of the month. All military units celebrated a calendar of festivals: the Feriale Duranum, a papyrus believed to date from the ad 220s and found at Dura Europos, Syria, where the Cohort XX Palmyrenorum was stationed, is the only surviving example. For a reference in the Feriale Duranum to the rosaliae feriale, see col. II.II. 8, 14. For an interesting discussion about evidence for the celebration of military festivals on other inscriptions, see Fishwick (1988), pp. 349–61.

35.  Valerius Maximus (Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium,Memorable Deeds and Sayings’) II, 4.7, on the date on which gladiatorial spectacles were first celebrated at Rome in the Forum Boiarum. Gladiatorial games seem to have had their origins in Campania in funeral games, which included forced combat and which are commemorated on wall-paintings found at Paestum and elsewhere, dating from 370–340 BC.

36.  SHA (Hadrian) XVIII: lenoni et lanistae servum vel ancillam vendi vetuit causa non praestita.

37.  See Petronius (Satyricon) XIV, 117: tanquam legitimi gladiatores domino corpora animasque religiosissime addicimus, ‘and like real gladiators we bound ourselves religiously to our master, body and soul’.

38.  Galen (De Compositione Medicamentorum per Genera) III, 2; see also Celsus (De Medicina) Prooemium, 43, on doctors learning about internal organs from examining injured gladiators, soldiers wounded in battle and travellers set upon by robbers.

39.  CIL IV 4397; see Varone (2002), p. 69.

40.  CIL X 6012 in Hopkins and Beard (2005), p. 89.

41.  See, for example, Dio (Epitome) LXVIII, 15.1, and Wiedemann (1992), Chapter 1.

42.  CIL XIII 12048 for Bonn; Martial (de Spectaculis) VII, 3, for Caledonian bears. See Epplett (2001), pp. 210–22 passim, for descriptions of soldiers in all parts of the empire engaged in capturing animals for shows; and pp. 213–14 for possible British examples. Two hundred British stags were provided for a venatio given by the Emperor Gordian in the third century ad: SHA (The Three Gordians) III, 6 and 7. Gordian held the show as aedile under Septimius Severus.

43.  Symmachus writing in the fourth century is the magistrate who suffers such problems: (Letters) II, 46 (for the deaths of the twenty-nine Saxons); II, 76, for the pitiful bears; IX, 141, for similar trouble with crocodiles. See Jennison (1937), pp. 96–7.

44.  The only places where there is the slightest evidence for gladiatorial combat in Britain are the legionary amphitheatres of Caerleon, Chester and London.

45Per Galliam Bretanniam Hispanias Germaniam (CIL III 249, Dessau, 1396) in Sordi (1953), pp. 104ff.

46.  At Bignor Roman Villa, Sussex, the fourth-century mosaics depict twelve Cupids—three dressed as trainers; nine as gladiators. See Neal and Cosh (2009), Vol. III.

47.  Green glass cups of the mid-first century made in Gaul, depicting eight named gladiators, one of whom holds a victory palm, have been found at Colchester; a less complete one has been found in Leicester. See Allason-Jones (2011), p. 221, for a round-up of gladiatorial scenes in Britain and bibliographical references.

48.  Hull (1963), pp. 47–74.

49.  Known as Nene Valley Ware. Examples of both hunt scenes and a ‘Gladiator Cup’ are to be found at Peterborough Museum. Whether many Britons were ever entertained by the sight of a female acrobat vaulting from a horse to a panther in real life, as depicted on a pottery beaker from Durobrivae, is a moot point. Toynbee (1962), p. 190.

50.  A rare ivory knife showing two gladiators fighting, possibly third century, was found in insula XIV of Venta Silurum (Caerwent). Bartus and Grimm (2010), pp. 321–4.

51.  Another piece of surviving graffito from Caerleon depicts a central rosette flanked by a shoulder guard and what may represent the arm-guard of a retiarius. See Brewer (1986), Vol. 1, Fascicle 5, nos 37 and 38.

52.  Marcus Aurelius (Meditations) I, 5: ‘My tutor taught me not to side with the Greens or the Blues at the races, nor the palmularius (Thracian’s shield) or scutarii (rectangular shields of the secutor)’.

53.  A relief found at Chester in 1738 made from local north Welsh slate depicts a retiarius holding his trident and net. He wears a belted loincloth (subligaculum), his right arm is protected by a padded sleeve (manica) secured by leather straps, and on the right shoulder he carries a metal shoulder guard (galerus) protecting neck and face. His opponent is a secutor with a sword (gladius) and curved rectangular shield. The scene may have been part of a frieze, perhaps even adorning the amphitheatre. The Chesterretiarius uniquely holds his trident in his right hand and his net in his left, with his manica and galerus worn on his right arm rather than on his left: it has been suggested that this depicts a known gladiator. The relief is in the Saffron Walden Museum. See Jackson (1983), pp. 87–95.

54.  The sherd was found in 1851 when a drain was being dug. See Wilmott (2008), p. 162, for an overview and illustration Pl.21. RIB 2501.586 in S. Frere and R.S.O. Tomlin, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Vol. II, Fascicle 7, Graffiti on Samian Ware(Oxford, 1995). Had Lucius been killed and Verecunda kept the little fragment of pot as a memento, or were these names scratched by a fan who had seen them both perform? Verecunda means ‘shy’ or ‘coy’ and could perhaps be a stage name. There is so little to go on that the romantic possibilities are endless. The only other names of gladiators to survive from Britain are those commemorated on the spectacular ‘Colchester Vase’ (ad 170s) on display in Colchester Museum. It depicts scenes from the arena, and bears an inscription cut onto the vessel after firing, which reads: MEMNON SAC VIIII VALENTINU LEGIONIS XXX. This could mean that Memnon, the secutor, who had nine victories, defeated Valentinus ‘of the legion’, who had thirty victories. Surviving thirty fights would be a record achievement, and so Memnon’s victory would be all the more worthy of note. See Wilmott (2008), pp. 168–70. Another suggestion is that it refers to the 30th Legion stationed in Xanten, in Lower Germany, and perhaps these gladiators were part of a troupe managed by the 30th Legion and on tour in Britain. ‘Of the legion’ may mean that Valentinus was a gladiator owned by a legion or the favourite of the legion.

55.  Juvenal (Satires) VI, 103: quid vidit propter quod ludia dici sustinuit?

56.  Juvenal (Satires) VI, 82–109.

57.  CIL V 3466.

58.  On Nemesis and games, see Hornum (1993).

59.  A building just outside the amphitheatre has been proposed as a shrine to Nemesis by analogy with one in the same position at Carnuntum, in Austria. See Boon (1972), p. 100. One of the chambers of the amphitheatre was possibly used as a shrine to Nemesis in a later phase of its development. At Chester, a small stone altar found in a chamber near the entrance to the arena at the main north entrance was converted into a Nemeseum: Deae Nemesi Sext Marcianus ex visu, ‘To the Goddess Nemesis Sextius Marcianus, the centurion set this up after a vision.’

60.  RIB 316. An inscription records that a temple of Diana was restored by Titus Flavius Postumius Varus, legionary legate. Nothing is known about the temple itself.

61.  RIB 323. The lead tablet was found in the arena of Caerleon’s amphitheatre. In contrast to Mesmodes’ courtly poem, the humble curse from Caerleon reduces Nemesis to some sort of provincial vigilante: Dom(i)na Nemesis do tibi palleum et galliculas qui tulit non redimat ni[si] vita sanguine suo, ‘Lady Nemesis, I give thee a cloak and a pair of Gallic sandals; let him who took them not redeem them (unless) with his own blood’.

62.  For the curse tablet found in London’s amphitheatre, see Hassall and Tomlin (2003), pp. 362–3.

63.  Tertullian (To the Nations) I, 10, and also mentioned in Tertullian (Apology) XV. Tertullian, an early Christian writer c. ad 160–c.225, from Carthage, was himself said to be the son of a centurion.

64.  Tacitus (Annals) XI, 19, describes how, following the defeat of the rebellious Frisii at the hands of the Roman general Corbulo in ad 47, hostages were handed over, after which Corbulo demarcated land and allocated a senate, magistrates and laws. Tacitus adds:ac ne iussa exuerent praesidium immunivit, ‘should they forget these orders, Corbulo also constructed a fort’.

65.  It is not entirely clear how far the Silures’ territory extended outside the town—possibly to the east as far as the River Wye, which probably marked the boundary with the neighbouring Dobunni.

66.  An open yard to the east probably forms part of a large timber workshop premises of a late-first- or early second-century date. It has comfortable living quarters to its north end and a workshop with several hearths to the south, and was the site of a Romano-Celtic temple in the fourth century.

67.  It measured about 38 metres (126 feet) long and 19 metres (62 feet) wide.

68.  Black (1995), pp. 26–7.

69.  Black (1995), p. 27.

70.  Vegetius (Epitome of Military Science) III, 6.

71.  It is possible that leagues were also used as a unit of measurement in Britain. A medieval copy of a late Roman itinerary, known as the Peutinger map (now held in the Austrian National Library, Vienna), shows the main roads throughout the empire and beyond, from Britain to China, in twelve sheets, of which the twelfth, representing most of Britain and Spain, is—frustratingly—lost. The only surviving fragment of Britain depicts its south and eastern corner, which happened to extend beyond the lost first sheet of parchment and onto the second. The Peutinger map is a parchment roll, 6.4 metres (21 feet) long and 30 centimetres (1 foot) wide, and seems to be a conflation of earlier maps from different periods. Presumably a traveller could have used just one or two sheets as necessary, depending on the length of his journey.

72.  Margary (1973), pp. 318–19.


  1.  Rivet and Smith (1979), pp. 505–6.

  2.  As mentioned in ‘Speech of Thanks to Constantine Panegyric V by a native of Autun’: on receiving the emperor in Autun, ‘we decorated the streets which lead to the palace, with mean enough ornament no doubt but we brought out the banners of all the colleges and the images of all our gods and produced our paltry number of musical instruments, which by means of shortcuts were to greet you several times over’. Translation from Nixon and Rodgers (1994).

  3.  For a discussion about the lettering being provincial rather than imperial quality, see White and Barker (1998), pp. 78–9.

  4.  (Digest) 1.16.7, quoting Ulpian (Duties of a Proconsul) II.

  5.  When the basilica was excavated, inkwells and part of an auxiliary soldier’s discharge certificate (that of Mansuetus) were found among the ashes, dating to the occasion on which the forum burnt down in about ad 165–175, and thus suggesting that the city record office was here. White and Barker (1998), p. 86.

  6.  For Hadrian pronouncing judgement in public from a tribunal in the forum, see Dio Cassius (Epitome) LXIX, 7.1, on Trajan, and Millar (1992), p. 229.

  7.  (Digest), quoting Ulpian (On the Duties of a Proconsul) I.

  8.  Martial (Epigrams) VI, 82, for the Batavian ear. Marcus Aurelius was chided by his tutor Fronto for writing sloppy Latin. Fronto (To Marcus Aurelius) III, 13. See Woolf (2002), pp. 181–8.

  9.  SHA (Hadrian) III.

10.  From a speech of thanks to Constantine (Panegyric V) by a native of Autun, delivered at Trier on behalf of his city in thanks for tax relief before the emperor, his retinue of friends and imperial officials in ad 311. For a critical edition and translation, see Nixon and Saylor Rodgers (1994).

11.  Although gaining audience sympathy (captatio benevolentiae) is part and parcel of such a speech, the sentiments are true enough. Speech made c. ad 313 (XII Panegyric of Constantine Augustus). Translations from Nixon and Saylor Rodgers (1994).

12.  Tacitus (Agricola) 21.

13.  Jackson (1953), pp. 76–121.

14.  As seems to have happened to one of the commanding officer’s boys at Vindolanda, near Hadrian’s Wall. See Vindolanda Tablet 118, which has a line from Virgil’s Aeneid IX (473) written on the back of a letter, partly in clumsy capital letters. The line should read interea pavidam volitans pinnata per urbem, meanwhile winged [rumour] flying through the fearful city’, but the ‘r’ is missing from urbem, as is the ‘er’ from per. Another hand has written ‘seg’ after it, which Bowman and Thomas suggest might readsegniter—‘lazy’: see

15.  See Goetz (1892), a textbook with Greek and Latin parallel text from the fifth century.

16.  Vindolanda Tablet 343. See Bowman and Thomas at

17.  (Digest) 47.14.1, quoting Ulpian (On the Duties of a Proconsul) VIII (citing a rescript sent by Hadrian to the provincial council of Baetica about appropriate punishments for cattle rustlers).

18.  Doloney (2001), pp. 36–45.

19.  Martial (Epigrams) VI, 93; XII, 48.8, and see Bradley (2002) and Wild (1970), pp. 82–6, on fulling in the northern provinces.

20.  Tacitus (Agricola) 21.

21.  See Bradley (2002), p. 22.

22.  No fullers are securely attested in Britain. Fullers’ guilds are known to have existed in the Rhineland, and given that British wool products were so highly rated it is more than likely that they operated in Britain too. See Wild (1970), p. 82.

23.  Vedica the Cornovian died aged thirty at Ilkley. Her tombstone (RIB 639) depicts her sitting sturdily, her hair in two thick plaits. It does not record her marriage to a soldier, but it is a possibility given that there was an auxiliary fort there.

24.  Martial (Epigrams) XI, 21.9: quam veteres bracae Brittonis pauperis.

25.  A poor man’s Tyrian purple, the whelks are related to the Murex brandaris of the eastern Mediterranean, from which true purple derived. See Wild (1970), p. 81.

26.  Wild (1970).

27.  A tossiam Brit(annicam), or British rug or bedspread, was among the presents listed in a copy of a letter, from a certain Tiberius Claudius Paulinus, sent from Britain in ad 238 to a Gallo-Roman aristocrat called Titus Sennius Sollemnis and proudly published on the Thorigny inscription found at Vieux in Gaul: CIL XIII, 3162. In Diocletian’s Edict of Prices listing prices for goods and services across the empire in ad 301, the only British products to be mentioned are the birrus, or hooded woollen cape, which is ranked—in terms of price and quality—equal sixth out of fourteen types, while British rugs (tapetia) of both first-class and second-class grades are second to none. A British coverlet, 1st form, is worth 5,000 denarii; British coverlet, 2nd form is 4,000 denarii; a British hooded cloak is valued at 6,000 denarii.

28.  RIB 2491.79 (a possible ‘Attius, you bugger’). See RIB (Collingwood and Wright), Fascicle 4, p. 117.

29.  RIB 2491.157 (Colchester); RIB 2491.215 (Silchester).

30.  RIB 2447.1 (a); see RIB II, Fascicle 4 (1992), p. 63.

31.  RIB 2447.28(a); RIB 2447.28(d); see RIB II, ibid., pp. 74–6.

32.  RIB 2450.3; RIB II, ibid., p. 102.


  1.  Latin text from Speidel (2007), p. 10.

  2.  Mason (1988).

  3.  The bridge lay on or near the site of the present one – Margary (1973), p. 297.

  4.  Towards the end of the second century, a new and extremely elaborate amphitheatre was built at Chester on the site of its predecessor. Building work also began on the fortress at the start of the third century, indicating that the Legion XX Valeria Victrix had returned there. They remained there into the fourth century.

  5.  For a useful summary and bibliography, see Cheshire Historic Towns Survey: Middlewich—Revised Archaeological Assessment, revised and updated by Malcolm Reid (2013), available online.

  6.  The River Mersey is crossed close to Warrington Parish Church: Margary (1973), p. 367.

  7.  Rogers and Garner (2007), pp. 45–6.

  8.  For a discussion of the ala Asturum and the Sarmatians garrisoned here from c. ad 175, see Edwards (2000), pp. 49–50.

  9.  See Edwards (2000), pp. 4–5, and Margary (1973), p. 377. Between Ribchester and Low Borrow Bridge there was a fort at Burrow-in-Lonsdale on the Lune about which little is known.

10praefectus arcend(is) latroc[in(is)] CIL XIII 5010 = ILS 7007; CIL XIII 6211. Such men are recorded in Noviodunum (Nyon, Switzerland), Bingium (Bingen, on the Rhine) and also in Normandy. See Grünewald (2004), p. 22.

11.  Just as Fronto did, on being elected governor of Asia Minor in the mid-150s. He appointed to his staff his friend Julius Senex of Mauretania, who had an excellent track record of hunting down bandits, though in the end he did not take up his post. Fronto (To Antoninus Pius) 8.

12.  CIL III 2399.

13.  CIL VIII 2728 and 18122 = ILS 5795 (Lambaesis): profectus sum et inter vias latrones sum passus. Nudus saucius evasi cum meis, ‘I set out and on the highways I was attacked by bandits. Naked and injured I escaped from them with my retinue.’ See Grünewald (2004), p. 21.

14.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) VI, 25.

15.  The Gospel According to St Luke 10.25–37.

16.  Celsus (de Medicina—On Medicine) Introduction, 43 (first century).

17.  Travellers coming from Condate could also have chosen the road via Wilderspool, which continued north through undulating farmland to Coccium (Wigan), cutting through great stretches of moss to east and west. From there it was about 16 miles to Preston, where the route entered the Ribble Valley, crossing the river a little to the north of Walton-le-Dale (west of Ribchester).

18.  For the mansio, see Black (1995), pp. 37–8. The fort was built on Castle Hill, where Lancaster Castle and the Priory Church of St Mary now stand.

19.  RIB 3185 Dis Manibus Insus Vodulli […] Cive Trevereques Alae Aug [.] Victoris Curator Domitia […], see Bull (2007) and Iles and Shotter (2010).

20.  As their name ‘Aelia’ suggests, they seem to have been raised during the time of Hadrian.

21.  The Roman name for Ambleside may have been Clanovanta, ‘the market beside the shore’, rather than Galava: see Shotter (2004), p. 63. Hardknott’s Roman name is not certain—it has been suggested that Mediobogdum would be better ascribed to the fort at Watercrook, near Kendal: see, e.g., Shotter (2004), p. 68. For the date of the fort and the inscription recording the presence of the cohort of Dalmatians, see Wright (1965), pp. 169–75.

22.  For a table of altars and a discussion of Maenius Agrippa’s career and uncertainties over dates in light of recent excavation at Maryport, see Breeze, Dobson and Maxfield (2012), pp. 17–30.

23.  Emperors received frequent requests for military posts to further equestrian careers, although Pliny’s correspondence shows that imperial legates might also have had the power to grant them. For Pliny attempting to secure a job for the young Suetonius, see Pliny the Younger (Letters) IV, 4. The letter mentioned above (Chapter ix, Note 27) from the legatus serving in Britannia Inferior to his friend and client in Gaul promises him a letter of appointment as a tribune with a salary of 25,000 sestertii as soon as there is a vacancy. See also Millar (1992), pp. 284–5.

24.  He was at Maryport in about ad 132, and was promoted as a centurion in the Legion X Fretensis, serving in Judaea (under Severus’s son or nephew, Gnaeus Julius Verus). In ad 133 Julius Severus was sent to Judaea: see Postscript. See Piso (1993), p. 46, citing Petersen, in E. Groag et al. (eds), Prosopographia Imperii Romani (PIR), 2nd edition (Bonn, 1933–), I, 618.

25.  Birley (1981), pp. 151–5. The Fourth Cohort of Lingones is attested at Wallsend in the third century but its whereabouts in Britannia in the early ad 130s is not known. M. Statius Priscus was decorated with a military flag by Hadrian for his part in the Judaean war and later admitted to the Senate. He returned to Britain as its governor in ad 161.

26.  Suetonius (Vespasian) 8.3.

27.  Named after the River Derwent, which was also called Derventio: Rivet and Smith, p. 334.

28.  SHA (Hadrian) XI, 2.

29.  SHA (Hadrian) V, 2. And for trouble in the reign of Antoninus Pius, see also SHA (Antoninus Pius) V, 4, and Pausanias (Description of Greece) VIII, 43.4: ‘He also took away from the Brigantes in Britain the greater part of their territory because they too had begun an unprovoked war…’

30.  There is much debate as to the date of the expeditio Britannica. Because the word expeditio seems to be used only of a military campaign at which the emperor himself is present, this may indicate that the war was fought around ad 122. Whatever its date, the sources surrounding Britannia’s troublesome reputation are consistent. As Fronto later wrote in a letter to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, ‘under the rule of your grandfather, Hadrian, what numbers of soldiers were killed by the Jews, what numbers by the Britons!’: Fronto (On the Parthian War) 2, Avo vestro Hadriano imperium obtinente quantum militum a Judaeis, quantum ab Britannis caesum? See Breeze, Dobson and Maxfield (2012), pp. 17–30.

31.  RIB 3364. His tombstone records his death in war. The Tungrians were at Vindolanda in the ad 90s, and from c.105 until possibly as late as 146, so it is unclear to which war it refers—although a date between ad 100 and ad 125 has been suggested, based on the style of the inscription.

32.  In Egypt, Karus served as military tribune of the III Cyrenaica Legion, AE 1951.88.

33.  SHA (Hadrian) XII, 6.

34.  Breeze (2011), pp. 56–8, for the character and extent of the Upper German-Raetian limes.

35.  Zant (2009), Vol. I, Chapter 6 (‘The Second Fort’) and Vol. II, pp. 763ff.

36.  Birley (1979), p. 63. RIB 812. The altar is second- or third-century and is in the British Museum.

37.  The turf wall was thus similar in height to the stone wall, which was an estimated 15 Roman feet high (4.4 metres). The walls of the forts may have been a little higher, at 15 feet (4.5 metres). See Breeze and Dobson (2000).

38.  Caesar (Gallic War) VII, 73.

39.  Breeze and Dobson (2000), p. 41.

40.  The falx is shown on Trajan’s Column, which commemorates the conquest of Dacia. It is depicted on two building inscriptions from Birdoswald Fort, where the Dacians were stationed from the early third century for the next 200 years. Intriguingly, thefalxinscriptions and the tombstone recording the name ‘Decebal’ date from a hundred years or more after the unit was raised, where all the original recruits from Dacia would have been long dead. This raises the possibility that fresh recruits from Dacia continued to be brought over to join the cohort into the third century, a phenomenon for which there is otherwise no evidence. For a discussion, see Wilmott (2001).

41.  As a result of unrest in Dacia at the start of his reign, Hadrian had reorganised the area, hiving off territories north of the Danube, which had formerly belonged to the neighbouring province of Moesia Inferior, to create a new province, Dacia Inferior, with Trajan’s original province of Dacia renamed ‘Dacia Superior’. It was to the newly named Dacia Superior that Julius Severus was appointed governor by June 120. He oversaw a further change in ad 123, splitting Dacia Superior by creating Dacia Porolissensis, which roughly corresponds to north-western Transylvania. Julius Severus might well have had similar plans for reorganizing Britannia, had he not been required to leave the province prematurely. See Piso (2013), pp. 27–8, for the reorganization of Dacia.

42.  Vindolanda Tablet 164.

43.  It has been suggested that this, the most lavish building found at Vindolanda, was to accommodate Hadrian on his visit in ad 122. See, for example, Birley (2002), pp. 75–6.

44.  Fragmentary Inv. 1503B lists these items ‘ordered through an Adiutor from London’.

45.  Bowman and Thomas (Tabulae Vindolandenses III, 2003), 581, for example, implies that the governor was entertained to a lunch of chicken: lines 95–7.

46.  Vindolanda Tablet 208:

47.  Aelius Aristides (Orations) XXVI, 83; Behr (1981), pp. 90–1.

48.  Tacitus (Histories) IV, 64: quod contumeliosius est viris ad arma natis, inermes ac prope nudi sub custode et pretio coiremus.

49.  It is unclear whether the no-man’s-land north of the Wall was imposed as a deliberate policy or whether the presence of such a formidable barrier, with its consequent confiscation of land, made it impossible for communities to sustain a living there. What happened to these people is unknown. For a summary of recent research on the impact of the Wall on the native population, see Hodgson (2013).

50.  Northern Britain continued to be troubled. Two soldiers serving at the fort at Galava (Ambleside) in Cumbria in the fourth century were killed in the camp ‘by enemies’, in cas(tris) inte(rfectus ab hosti(bus). See Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 53, No. 4 (1963), and Breeze (1993).

51.  Vindolanda Tablet 164: equites gladis non utuntur equites nec resident Brittunculi ut iaculos mittant, ‘the cavalry do not use swords nor do the Britlings stay in their saddles to throw javelins’.

52.  Arrian (Periplus Ponti Euxini) 11.

53.  For hides from the Frisii for military use, see Tacitus (Annals) IV, 72. The virtual absence of any coins found at native sites on the northern frontier indicates that this was not a cash economy.

54.  Tax-gatherers are equated with prostitutes and other sinners in the New Testament, their reputation for extortion and enriching themselves at the expense of others made plain in the story of the conversion of Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector in Jericho, who declares, following Jesus’s visit to his house, that ‘Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ (The Gospel according to St Luke) 19, 1–10.

55.  CIL 5213. The inscription from Haterius Nepos’s home town describes him as censitor Brittones Anavionesium, ‘census officer of the Britons in Annandale’.

56.  Tacitus (Annals) IV, 72.

57Codex Theodosianus 10.2 and

58.  Vindolanda Tablet 344: virgis cruentatum (line 17), ‘bloodied by the birch’, and innocentem virgis castigatum (line 6), ‘an innocent man chastised by the birch’. Apuleius (Metamorphoses) IX, 39: Latini sermonis ignarus tacitus praeteribat, ‘ignorant of the Latin language he kept quiet and rode on’. For the soldier’s hobnail boot, see Juvenal (Satires) III, 247–8, and for brutal military life in general, see Juvenal (Satires) XVI.

59.  In a pridianum, an annual inventory of personnel recorded by the Cohort I Hispanorum Veterana serving in Moesia. BM Papyrus 2851, dating from c. ad 99.

60.  (Digest) 49.16.14.

61.  Dated 18 May, the year is uncertain, though it dates no later than ad 97. Bowman and Thomas (Tabulae Vindolandenses III, 2003), 154.

62.  Livy (History of Rome) XLIII, 3.

63.  RIB 1065.

64.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) X, 65–66, on the problem of foundlings in Bithynia.

65.  P.Oxy.IV.744, ‘Letter of Hilarion’, dated 17 June 1 BC; and see Apuleius (Metamporphoses) 10.23 for a story about a man who similarly goes abroad, instructing his pregnant wife that if she has a girl she should have it killed.

66.  A letter from Vindolanda refers to being prevented from travelling to Catterick for fear of injuring the animals because the roads are bad. Bowman and Thomas (Tabulae Vindolandenses III, 2003), 343. (This is the same letter quoted earlier concerning the delivery of hides and sinew: Chapter IX, Note 16. Brocchus, however, managed to visit his friend Cerialis in December and January.)

67.  RIB 725. He might alternatively have been a singularis consularis, or bodyguard of the governor.

68.  RIB 1550 restored: […Se]verus, [Pro-P]raetorian Legate [of Augustus], the 1st Cohort of Aquit-[anians] built this [under…] Nepos the [Pr]efect.

69.  This is based on Speidel’s translation.

70.  Austen and Breeze (1979); the Discipulina altar at Chesters is the earliest known in Britain.

71.  SHA (Hadrian) X, 4: triclinia de castris et porticus et cryptas et topia dirueret.

72.  As seen adapted for an urban context at Calleva.

73.  Blagdon Park 1 and 2, see Hodgson (2013).

74.  Glass bangles of a type known as Kilbride Jones Type 2.

75.  Active Iron Age construction plots have been found and excavated at numerous points beneath the construction levels of the Wall and its forts. See Hodgson (2013).

76.  The parties were destined not to last, and towards the end of the century the site was abandoned. See Proctor (2012).

77.  Vindolanda Tablet 233. When Brocchus was later transferred to Pannonia he took his passion for the chase with him, dedicating an altar there to Diana, goddess of the hunt. CIL III 4360, and see notes to Vindolanda Tablet 233

78.  Bowman and Thomas (Tabulae Vindolandenses III, 2003), 594.

79.  Arrian (Cynegetica) 3–4.

80.  Arrian (Cynegetica) IX, based on Sestili’s Italian translation and commentary (2011).

81.  Dio (Epitome) LXIX, 10. For the inscription in Gaul: CIL XII 1122.

82.  Aymard (1951).

83.  SHA (Hadrian) XX, 12–13.

84.  RIB 1041: silvano invicto… formae captum quem multi antecessores eius praedari non potuerunt.

85.  See Hetherington, Lord and Jacobi (2006) for recent carbon-dating evidence that shows lynx to have been present in Yorkshire into the early medieval period.

86.  Pliny the Younger (Letters) III, 5.15 which describes admiringly how even in winter the workaholic elder Pliny kept a secretary constantly at his side, whose hands ‘were well protected by sleeves so that the bitterness of the weather could not snatch any time away from study’, and so Pliny could continue to dictate notes to him.

87.  Croom (2011), pp. 78–82.

88.  Bowman and Thomas (Tabulae Vindolandenses III, 2003), 660. A fragment of a character reference found at Vindolanda recommends: viri boni accedit etiam liberalium studiorum amor e[iu]s profectus morum denique te[m]peramentum et cu-.

89.  RIB 1319: Neptuno le(gio) VI Vi(ctrix) P(ia) F(idelis); and RIB 1320 Ociano leg(io) VI Vi(ctrix) P(ia) F(idelis). See Bidwell and Holbrook (1989) for a discussion.

90.  Bidwell and Holbrook (1989), pp. 99–103.

91.  Fronto (Principia Historiae) 11: Eius itinerum monumenta videas per plurimas Asiae atque Europae urbes sita, cum alia multa tum sepulcra ex saxo formata, ‘And so you may see monuments of his journeys through many cities of Asia and Europe with many other types of buildings as well as tombs made out of stone.’

92.  RIB 1051a and 1051b for the very, very heavily restored text from two fragments of a second-century inscription from St Paul’s Church, Jarrow, which has been interpreted as a possible speech by Hadrian.


  1.  Julius Severus is attested in Britain on a diploma dated 9 December ad 132 (‘et sunt in Britannia sub Iulio Severo’). See Piso (2013), pp. 25 and 28, which means that he probably did not set off to Judaea until spring ad 133.

  2.  Dio Cassius (Epitome) LXIX, 13.3–14.1. Julius Severus had a statue erected in his honour at Burnum in his native Dalmatia, ILS 1056 (= CIL III 2830 = 9891), which records that he was awarded the ornamenta triumphalia. This description gives the fullest account of his career. Monuments were also erected in his home town of Aequum. AE 1904, 9, states that he was governor of Syria Palaestina—the province of Judaea having been extinguished as punishment.

  3.  See Piso (1993), p. 45 and footnote 19, for Syme on Syrian inscriptions attesting Severus’s presence in the province, and footnote 20 for Eck expressing doubts.

  4.  Claudian (On the Consulship of Stilicho) II, 247ff.: Inde Caledonio velata Britannia monstro, ferro picta genas, cuius vestigia verrit / caerulus Oceanique aestum mentitur amictus

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