Auchendavy

Antonine Wall Fort and Fort

The Auchendavy Antonine Fort

The outline of the Antonine fort at Auchendavy is not fully traced. It was detached from the Wall and situated a little to the south of the earthworks on a northward jutting promontory overlooking the River Kelvin. The fort is located just north of the Harestanes area of Kirkintilloch, and is still visible even now as a raised earthwork south of the B8023 secondary road, sandwiched between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the road itself. The ditches of the fort were visible in the fields as “canals” up until about 1825, when the landowner levelled the ground and removed almost all traces of the defences. The fort measured about 370 ft. by 330 ft. (c.113 x 101 m) thus enclosing an occupation area of about 2¾ acres (c.1.1 ha).

A single coin has been reported at Auchendavy, a gold solidus of Trajan dated to 101/2AD which was “rediscovered” by staff at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh; its provenance is uncertain. A rubbish-pit uncovered by workmen constructing the Forth and Clyde Canal in May 1771 containd four (and a half) altarstones and ‘two huge iron mallets’. Also reported among the finds recovered over the years are a number of pyramidal piles of rounded stones, around fifty in number, probably ammunition for onagri taken from the site of the fort’s armamentarium. There are ten inscriptions on stone from Auchendavy recorded in the R.I.B., comprising five altarstones to various deities, four tombstones, and a building inscription, most of which are reproduced and translated on this page and discussed separately below.

The Roman Military Garrison at Auchendavy

RIB2180 - Building Inscription of the Second Legion

A detachment of the Second Legion Augusta (built this).
VEX
LEG II
[...]G
4.  Huebner suggests that the stone may have carried another line with fecit and numerals to indicate the length of wall built; Sir George Macdonald reads [f]. On balance it seems unlikely that there was once a fourth line R.P.W. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): The elaborate border is like those on the Legion's other slabs RIB 1147 and 1148 [A.D. 139-40] and 2139 [probably a.d. 142/3]: Keppie, CSIR i, 4. 114. To these add the contemporary RIB 2203 which, like the Legion's other 'distance slabs' and RIB 2191, does not refer to a detachment, but to the whole legion. It follows that, unless the style persisted into the Antonine II period, Legion II Augusta was present both as a legion and as a detachment, unlike the other two legions building the Wall and its forts, which were detachments only.

The Gods of Roman Auchendavy

RIB2174 - Altar dedicated to Diana and Apollo

To Diana and Apollo Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, (set this up).
DIANAE
APOLLINI
M COCCE[...]
FIRMVS
𐆛 LEG II AVG
No commentary. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): E. Birley's classic paper on Cocceius Firmus is reprinted in Roman army (1953), 87-103.

RIB2175 - Altar dedicated to the Genius of the land of Britain

To the Genius of the Land of Britain Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, (set this up).
GENIO
TERRAE
BRITA
NNICAE
M COCCEI
FIRMVS
𐆛 LEG II AVG
No commentary. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): E. Birley's classic paper on Cocceius Firmus is reprinted in Roman army (1953), 87-103.

RIB2176 - Altar dedicated to Jupiter and Victorious Victory

To Jupiter, Best and Greatest, and to Victorious Victory for the welfare of our Emperor and the welfare of himself and his family, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, (set this up).
I O M
VICTORIAE
VICTRICI PRO SALV
TE IMP N ET SVA
SVORVM
M COCCEI
FIRMVS
𐆛 LEG II AVG
Huebner wrongly puts dots after victrici, imp, n, et, leg. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): E. Birley's classic paper on Cocceius Firmus is reprinted in Roman army (1953), 87-103.

RIB2177 - Altar dedicated to Mars, Minerva, the Goddesses of the Parade-ground, Hercules, Epona, and Victory

To Mars, Minerva, the Goddesses of the Parade-ground, Hercules, Epona, and Victory, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, (set this up).
MARTI
MINERVAE
CAMPESTRI
BVS HERCL
EPONAE
VICTORIAE
M COCCEI
FIRMVS
𐆛 LEG II AVG
Birley discusses the dedications and suggests that M. Cocceius Firmus had at one time served with the equites singulares, whose dedications in Rome provide a close parallel. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): E. Birley's classic paper on Cocceius Firmus is reprinted in Roman army (1953), 87-103.

Roman Tombstones from Auchendavy

Perhaps the most revealing of latin texts recovered from Roman sites are those inscribed upon tombstones, and they remain a very good indication of social life, ironically. There are four Roman tombstones from Auchendavy, all are shown below.

RIB2179 - Funerary inscription for Marcus Al[...] Victor

... Marcus Al[...] Victor, soldier of the Second Legion Augusta ..
NO [...]
MART M AL[...]
VICTO[...] MIL L[...]
AVG TALAEEX [...]
VLERNIS
No commentary. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): The format of this inscription, the text inscribed within a round wreath presumably of bay or laurel, is appropriate to a unit dedication (e.g. RIB 2163, 2208, 2209), not a tombstone: Davies, Glasgow Arch. J. 4 (1976), 103-7. But his identification of an ala exploratorum is speculative, and no restoration seems to be possible.

RIB2181 - Funerary inscription for Flavius Lucianus

To the spirits of the departed: Flavius Lucianus, soldier of the Second Legion Augusta, (lies here).
D M
FLA LVCIA
NVS MILES
LEG II AVG
No commentary.

RIB2182 - Funerary inscription for Salmanes

To the spirits of the departed: Salmanes lived 15 years Salmanes set this up.
D M
SALMANES
VIXIT AN XV
SALMANES
POSVIT
The name Salmanes is Semitic, and, as Haverfield suggests, indicates the presence of Eastern traders. This name, or a cognate form, had a wide currency in the Syrian area. It occurs in Phoenician as a deity Shalman on an inscription from Sidon of the third, or second, century b.c. (Cooke, A Text-book of North-Semitic inscriptions (1903), no. 7); in Greek, again as a deity, Σελαμάνης, on a text from near Aleppo of the end of the first century a.d. (CIG 4450, 4451); as a man's name Σαλαμάνης on an inscription from Shaqqa, in Syria (Le Bas Voyage archéologique ed. Waddington iii, IGLS no. 2147); in Nabatean as Shalman (Corp. Inscr. Semit. ii, i nos. 294, 302; or in Palmyrene as Shalman on a votive inscription of A.D. 135 (Cooke op. cit. no. 137) or as Salman at Palmyra in A.D. 351 (Vogüé, La Syrie centrale, no. 33a) R.P.W.

RIB2183 - Funerary inscription for Verecunda

To the spirits of the departed (and) of Verecunda.
D M
VEREC
VNDAE
No commentary.

References for Auchendavy

  • The Roman Wall in Scotland by Sir George MacDonald (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1934) pp.285-9;
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
  • The Romans in Britain – An Anthology of Inscriptions by A.R. Burn (Blackwell, Oxford, 1969);
  • Roman Britain – A Sourcebook by S. Ireland (Routlege, New York, 1986);
  • A Survey of the Coin Finds from the Antonine Wall by Richard Abdy in Britannia xxxiii (2002) pp.189-217;

Roman Roads near Auchendavy

Antonine Wall: E (2) to Bar Hill (Strathclyde) Antonine Wall: W (1.75) to Kirkintilloch (Strathclyde)