Skip to Content.

Kent Archaeological Review extract
 

Some Inscriptions of the Classis Britannica.
by Howard Davies.

The fleet of Roman Britain (Classis Britannica) has been mentioned in several recent issues of the Kent Archaeological Review. In particular there was an article by Gerald Brodribb (KAR Number 21 (1970), page 25) on stamped tiles and also an interim report by Brian Philp (KAR Number 23, (1971), page 74) on the discovery of the fort at Dover.

It is likely that many readers will also find the following inscriptions of interest.

  1. The Lympne Altar

    (From Lympne (LEMANIS) Kent).

    Found in 1850 by Roach Smith in the ruins of the east gate of the Saxon Shore Fort. Now in the British Museum. (R I B 66).

    The translation of the inscription on this altar reads:

    "TO NEPTUNE,
    LUCIUS AUFIDIUS PANTERA,
    PREFECT OF THE
    BRITISH FLEET
    (SET UP THIS) ALTAR."

    This altar has been dated to about AD 135 (Starr page 212).

  2. The Benwell Inscription

    (From Benwell (CONDERCUM), Northumberland). Found in 1937 in the PORTICO of the granaries of the Roman fort. Now in the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle.

    The translation of the inscription reads:

    "FOR THE EMPEROR CAESAR TRAJAN HADRIAN AUGUSTUS UNDER AULUS PLATORIUS NEPOS, EMPEROR'S PROPRAETORIAN GOVERNOR, THE DETACHMENT OF THE BRITISH FLEET (BUILT THIS)."

    This inscription is dated to between AD 122-126.
  3. The Maenius Agrippa statue-base

    (From Camerin (CAMERINUM), Italy). A statue base found in the seventeenth century. Now in the public buildings, Camerin.

    The translation of the inscription reads:

    MARCUS MAENIUS AGRIPPA LUCIUS TUSIDIUS CAMPESTER, SON OF GAIUS, TRIBE CORNELIA; FRIEND OF THE DEIFIED HADRIAN, FATHER OF THE SENATOR; COMMANDER OF THE SECOND CAVALRY COHORT, "FLAVIA," OF BRITONS, SELECTED BY THE DEIFIED HADRIAN AND SENT ON THE EXPEDITION TO BRITAIN; COMMANDER OF THE FIRST SPANISH CAVALRY COHORT, COMMANDER OF THE ARMOURED CAVALRY WING OF GAULS AND PANNONIANS; BY NOMINATION OF THE EMPEROR, ADMIRAL OF THE BRITISH FLEET, FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE PROVINCE OF BRITAIN; OFFICIAL MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF EQUITES, PATRON OF HIS BOROUGH; THE PEOPLE OF THE DISTRICT OF CENSORGLACUM(?) ERECTED THIS IN RECOGNITION OF THE PRIVILEGES THEY OBTAINED BY FAVOUR OF THE EXCELLENT AND ALL POWERFUL EMPEROR ANTONIUS AUGUSTUS PLUS AS A RESULT OF HIS INTERVENTION; PRIVILEGES WHICH ARE A SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND COMFORT FOR EVER, THE SITE WAS PRESENTED BY DECREE OF THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL.

    Hadrian's "Expeditio Britannica" is either the big one in AD 122, (so Burn), or a later one circa AD 130 (Birley RBRA 28 and RBRA Loc, cit).

    This inscription is dated to circa AD 130.

REFERENCES.

  • RIB -- Roman Inscriptions in Britain (1966), by R P Wright
  • Starr -- The Roman Imperial Navy (1941), by C G Starr
  • ILS -- Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae (1955), by H Dessau
  • RBRA -- Roman Britain and the Roman Army (1961), by E Birley
 
Close Window
Accessed this page via search engine or bookmark? Full K A R Index here.