The Gods of Roman Britain


Abandinus is represented in Britain by a single votive object. He is unknown throughout the rest of the Empire and is therefore thought to have been a local god of Cambridgeshire, possibly associated with either a natural spring or a stream in the neighbourhood.


Aesculapius. was the son of Apollo by Coronis the daughter of Phlegias. He was taught the art of medicine by Chiron, the centaur who also reputedly instructed mankind in the medicinal properties of herbs. He was numbered among the crew of the Argo, serving as ships physician. He received divine honours after his death and was worshipped as the Greek god of Medicine. Aesculapius is represented in Britain by six altarstones, two of which are shared with other deities, Fortuna and Hygiene; notably, two of the altarstones are written in Greek.


‘Eternity’ is mentioned on a single British altarstone, which appears to be unique within the Roman empire. Eternity is, however, a known surname for the goddess Roma, of which many examples are known throughout the Empire, also at two locations in Britain (see below).


The Germanic goddesses known as the Alaisiagae are known from three altarstones, all from the same fort on Hadrian’s Wall and all shared with other gods; either the ‘Spirit of the Emperor’ or Mars. There appear to have been only two of these goddesses, and they are named on one altar as Boudihillia and Friagabis, and on another as Beda and Fimmilena. These goddesses are possibly recorded on two inscriptions in Greek recorded in L’ Année Épigraphique for 1973 (AE 1973, 265/266). Another clue to their origins comes from the ancient name of Bitburg in West Germany, which was called Beda Vicus or the ‘Village of Beda’ in Roman times (ILS 7056; CIL XIII 4131; Dated: 245AD; Bitburg).

  • Housesteads (1576 [Alaisiagis Boudihillia et Friagabis et Num Aug], 1593 [Mars Thincsus et Alaisagis et Beda et Fimmilene et Num Aug], 1594 [Mars et Alaisiagis et Num Aug]).


The goddess Ancasta is mentioned on a single inscription, from Bitterne near Southampton. This is the only known altar to this goddess in the entire Roman empire so it seems certain that Ancasta was a local goddess, possibly associated with the River Itchen.


Anicetus was a son of Hercules by Hebe, also the name of a notorious freedman advisor of the emperor Nero. His name appears on two British inscriptions, both in conjunction with other deities; on an altarstone from Hadrian’s Wall alongside the names of three known sun gods, and at Bath in Gloucestershire with the spa town’s patron goddess Sulis. The name of the god also appears on altarstones from the continent as Sol Invictus Mithras Anicetus (ILS 4229; CIL III 1436; Sarmizegetusa, Asia) and as Apollo Anicetus (AE 1987, 880). It would seem likely that Anicetus was a solar deity, but his relationship with Sul/Minerva is uncertain. Anicetus appears also to have been a popular cognomen or last-name, particularly of slaves at Rome, and is mentioned in all sections of the CIL catalogue.

  • Bath (148 [Anicetus Sulis]);
  • Rudchester (1397 [Sol, Apollo, Anicetus, Mithras]).


Antenociticus appears at only one site in Britain, on Hadrian’s Wall, where three altars to the god were found within the ruins of a small temple. This god is not mentioned on any known Roman altarstones from the continent, and is therefore thought to be a native British deity, the fact that the god is revered at Benwell by a legionary legate, the tribune of an auxiliary infantry cohort and the prefect of an auxiliary cavalry ala, lends credence to this assumption, and perhaps proves that the god was not transferred here as the patron deity of an auxiliary regiment.

  • Benwell (1327 [et Num Aug], 1328, 1329 [c.175-7AD]).


Apollo, or Phoebus the Sun, was the son of Jupiter and Latona, and the brother of Diana the Moon. He was the god of all the fine arts, of eloquence, poetry, music and medicine. He was a prolific lover, and many demigods were born of his romantic encounters with mortal women, notable among them being his son Aesculapius. He was said by some to be the inventor of the lyre, while others assert that he was given the instrument by Mercury but was the first to gain mastery over it. His worship was established throughout the Mediterranean world, especially in Egypt, Greece and Italy, but his most splendid temple was at Delphi, itself named after a son of Apollo, where a famous oracle was also established. There are at least seventeen altars dedicated to Apollo in Britain, several of which are shared with other gods; two with the god Maponus, one with Arecurius, another with Grannus, and one with his sister Diana. Perhaps the most interesting altarstone is one found at one of the forts on Hadrian’s Wall, which is dedicated to four sun gods; Mithras of Persia, Greek Apollo, Anicetus and Sol of Rome.


Arciarcon is mentioned on a single British altarstone possibly dedicated to an otherwise unknown British or Germanic deity. It is possible, however, that there is evidence suggesting that this may have been one of the guises of Apollo the sun god (see Arecurius below).

  • York (640 [et Num Aug]).


Arecurius appears to have been a pseudonym of the sun god Apollo, and was possibly worshipped separately as a distinct British or Germanic solar deity (see Arciarcon above). The god is otherwise unrecorded in the Roman Empire.


The goddess Arnomectae is mentioned on a single British altarstone which is unique throughout the known Roman world. She may be a local British deity associated with the River Noe, but this cannot be proven.


In the Syrian pantheon the divine personification of love was the goddess Astarte, who was also said to be the personification of the Moon, to whom a massive temple served by three-hundred priests was erected at Hierapolis in Syria. Her worship was spread throughout the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians, who raised other temples to the goddess in the Cretan towns of Knossos and Gortys. She was associated by the Greeks with their own goddess of love Aphrodite – who has no known altars in Britain – also by the Romans with their goddess Venus, both of whom, however, are associated with the like-named planet. There is only one known altar dedicated to this powerful Syrian deity in Britain, with the inscription recorded in Greek.


For the goddess Beda, see the twin goddesses known as the Alaisiagae.


Belatucader is a common surname of Mars and is also worshipped in his own right as a warrior god. His name is said to be from Irish and Welsh meaning ‘the fair shining one’, and appears on many altarstones along Hadrian’s Wall and in northern Britain, particularly within the lands of the Carvetii, where he may have been worshipped as a tribal patron god.


Bellinus is another warrior god, whose name has survived until the present day in the name of the famous British king Cunobelin or ‘the Hound of Belinus’, who died shortly before the Claudian invasion of southern Britain. He is undoubtedly related to the ancient Roman goddess of war Bellona.


Bellona, known anciently as Duelliona, was the sister of the Roman war god Mars, whose main task was to prepare her brother’s war chariot. Known by the Greeks as Enyo, she was depicted in battle with dishevelled hair flowing in the wind, bearing in one hand a whip to incite the troops into battle-frenzy, and in her other hand a torch with which to light the enemies funeral pyres. Her temple at Rome was outside the city limits near the Porta Carmentalis, and was used to receive foreign ambassadors and dignitaries, also victorious Roman generals prior to their triumphal parade. Her greatest temple was at Comana in Cappadocia, which reputedly employed 3,000 priests and attendants. Her priests, called Bellonarii, were initiated into her preisthood in a ritual during which they were obliged to slash open their thighs with ceremonial knives, then, collecting their own blood up in their hands, they would pour it onto the altar of the goddess in libation.

Bona Dea

This deity, whose name means simply The Good Goddess, is represented in Britain by a single altarstone. She was worshipped under many guises, including Ops, Vesta, Cybele, Rhea, Fauna and Fatua. Seen as being particularly desirable and equally as chaste, her following was restricted to women, who would perform her rites in the dead of night in the absence of men, even covering-up statues or other male images during the ceremonies. Her festival was celebrated annually on the first of May by the most respected Roman matrons, the wives, mothers and close relatives of the highest officers of the state, within their private residences. Her rites were famously profaned by Publius Clodius during the time of Julius Caesar (Dio XXXVII.xlv.1). The secrecy shrouding her worship was to provoke many misguided comments and much speculation among the menfolk, which mainly concentrated on the orgiastic and debauched side of things.

  • Chesters (1448 [Bona Dea Regina Caelesti]).

Bonus Eventus/Bona Eventui

The name of this god is easily translated as A Good Outcome. Unlike the goddess Fortuna whose sphere of influence extended over all human activities and fields of endeavour, the divine powers of this god were limited to specific events only. There are only two known dedications to this god in Britain, notably both shared with Fortuna and both from places connected with the Legions.


For the Goddess Boudihillia see the Alaisiagae.


Brigantia was the patron deity of the Brigantes tribe of north-east England. It is thought by some to be connected with the names of Birgit, Brigit and Bride. If so she would be one of the three-fold goddess of wisdom, known as the ‘Mother of Memory’, a daughter of Dana the mother goddess. Many of her altars are conflated with Victoria or Nike and demonstrate that she must have shared some attributes with these martial goddesses.


The goddess Britannia was the celestial personification of the British Isles. Worshipped only in Britain, her altars are restricted to the militarized north of the province.


The Campestres or Matres Campestris, literally ‘Mothers of the Parade Ground’, were mother goddesses to whom the military parade ground was held sacred. Several ‘Parade Grounds’ have been identified in Britain, most notably outside the forts at Hardknott and Housesteads, where strangely, no altars to these goddesses have been found.

  • Gloster Hill (1206 [by an unknown auxiliary cohort]);
  • Benwell (1334 [238AD, Matribus Campestribus et Genio Alae by the Alae I Hispanorum]);
  • Newstead (2121 [by a decurion of the Alae Vocontiorum);
  • Cramond (2135 [Matribus Alateruis et Matribus Campestribus by a ‘master at arms’ of the Twentieth Legion]);
  • Castle Hill (2195 [Campestribus et Britannia by the prefect of Cohors IV Gallorum]).


The god Camulos was a major war deity so it is surprising that in Britain only one dedication exists in his name. Hus name is translated as ‘the powerful one’. Although there are some place-names in Roman Britain which indicate religious centres dedicated to the god, certainly Camulodunum (Colchester, Essex), possibly also Cambodunum (Slack, Yorkshire). This god was also worshipped in Germany.

  • Bar Hill (2166 [Mars Camulos by the soldiers of Cohors I Hamiorum]).


The daughter of Saturn and Vesta, mother by Jupiter of Proserpine who was later carried-off by Pluto, Ceres was the Roman goddess of agriculture and the harvest, vegetation and fruitfulness, a major Roman deity known to the Greeks by the name Demeter. The word ‘agriculture’ in Latin is cerialis, derived from the goddesses name, from whence comes the modern English word cereal, the collective noun for grass which produces edible grain, the staple food for much of the World’s population. Demeter in Greek means ‘Mother Earth’, the abundant soil, also the resting-place of the dead, who were known to the Greeks as ‘Demeter’s People’. Her most important festival at Rome was the Cereales Ludi, ‘The Games of Ceres’, instigated by the aedile Memmius and celebrated each year for 8 days culminating on April 19th; the equivalent festivals in Greece were known as the Thesmophoria, founded by Orpheus and staged at the same time, with special ceremonies performed at her cult-centre at Eleusis, south of Athens on the 11th, 14th and 16th of April. Her other guises are Rhea, Tellus, Cybele, Bona Dea, also Berecynthia of the Phyrgians, Isis of the Egyptians, Atergatis of the Syrians, Hera of the Arcadians, and others. She was also known as the ‘Syrian Goddess’ or the Suriae. A pregnant sow was the favoured sacrifice to the goddess, as this animal was known to eat and thus destroy anything which grows in the earth.


A major cult centre of this Hunter god in Britain was at Bewcastle in Cumbria, known in Roman times as Fanum Cocidi or ‘The Temple of Cocidius‘. His name is often conflated with the war-god Mars, with whom he obviously shares some attributes.


Concordia was the Roman goddess of conciliation and harmony. It is interesting to note that the only examples of altars to this goddess occur where there were vexillations from more than one Roman legion posted together in the same place. There was a certain amount of rivalry between legionary units which evidently caused some minor scuffles, prompting the erection of these two stones.


Coventina was a native water deity associated with the spring lying just to the west of the Carrawburgh fort on Hadrian’s Wall. She is not mentioned anywhere else in the Empire.

Deo Qui Vias Et Semitas Commentus Est

‘The God who Invented Roads and Pathways’ is mentioned on a single altarstone in Britain. An interesting case.

  • Catterick (725 [191AD; dedicated by a Beneficiarius Consularis]).


Diana was the sister of the Sun god Apollo and is the Roman goddess of hunting, her badges of office being a hunting bow and quiver, she is often depicted with dogs. She was also worshipped as a Lunar deity, named Phoebe by the Romans, who named her brother Phoebus; she is mentioned alongside her brother on a single altarstone in Scotland and appears alone on five other altars in Britain.


The name of the god Digenis appears on two altarstones in Britain, both from the militarized north of the province within the territories of the Brigantes tribe. The name digenis is Greek in form and means ‘the product of two genitors’, or loosely, in this instance, perhaps ‘the son of a mixed marriage’.


Disciplinae is mentioned on seven altarstones in the militarised North of Britain, two of which were found just to the rear of Hadrian’s Wall at Corbridge. The majority of these altarstones are dedicated to ‘The Discipline of the Emperor(s)’.

Corbridge (1127 & 1128 [Disciplinae Aug]) Chesters (1497c [Disciplinae Imp]) Great Chesters (1723) Castlesteads (1978 [209-17AD; Discipulinae Auggg]) Birrens (2092) Bertha, Perth (2213c; Discipulinae Augusti)

Dis Deabusque/Omnibus Dibus

York (649 [et IOM]) Watercrook (752) Maryport (810, 811 [Dis et Deabus Omnibus]) Old Penrith (926 [Omnibus Dibus]) Carlisle (964b [213-22AD; IOM, Iuno Regina, Minerva Augusta, Mars Pater, Victoria Ceteris et Dis Deabus Omnibus]) Jarrow (1051 [119-38AD; Divorum Omnium]) South Shields (1054 [211-12AD; Dis Conservatoribus]) Housesteads (1579 [Diis Deabusque]) Birrens (2109 [dib deabusque omnibus])


Carvoran (1777)

Fata Bona

Maryport (812 [et Genio Loci, Fortuna Reduci, Roma Aetern, Fato Bono])


For the Goddess Fimmilena see the Alaisiagae.


Chester (460 [et Nymphis])


Caerleon (317, 318 [et Bono Eventui]) Chester (445 [Fortuna Reduci et Aesculapius]) Manchester (575 [Fortuna Conservatrix]) Slack, Outlane (624) York (642a [et Bono Eventui], 644, 645) Bowes (730 [197-202AD]) Kirkby Thore (760 [Fortuna Servatricis], 764 [Fortuna Balneae]) Maryport (812 [Fortuna Reduci et Genio Loci, Roma Aetern & Fato Bono], 840 [Roma Aeternae et Fortuna Reduci]) Netherby (968 [Fortuna Conservatrix]) Binchester (1029) Lanchester (1073) Risingham (1210, 1211) Halton Chesters (1423) Chesters (1449 [Fortuna Conservatrici]) Carrawburgh (1536, 1537) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1684) Great Chesters (1724) Carvoran (1778 [136-8AD; Fortunae Aug], 1779) Birdoswald (1873) Birrens (2093, 2094, 2095) Castlecary (2146) Balmuildy (2189) Location Unknown (2217 [Fortunae et Numinibus Augustorum])


For the Goddess Friagabis see the Alaisiagae.


Lanchester (1074 [et Num Aug])

Genius/Genius Loci/Genius Collegia/Genius Legionis/Genius Cohortis/Genius Centurionis

The Genii or ‘guardian spirits’ were thought to inhabit and protect certain locations, objects or organisations.

Chichester (90) Cirencester (101, 102) Gloucester (119) Daglingworth (130 [et Matribus]) Bath (139) Lincoln (246) Tilston, Grafton (444a) Chester (446, 447, 448, 449, 450 [et Sal Domin], 451) Overborough (611 [et Num Aug]) York (646, 647, 657 [Num Aug et Gen Ebor], 662 [in Greek], 706d, 706e [with Neptune et Num Aug]) Malton (712) Clifton (792 [et IOM]) Maryport (812 [Genio Loci et Fortuna Reduci, Roma Aetern & Fato Bono]) Carlisle (944 [Genio Centuriae], 945 [G. Loci]) Binchester (1032 [Matribus Olloto Cartoval et Mars Vetto et Genio Loci]) Lanchester (1075 [Genio Praetori], 1083 [175-8AD; Num Aug et Gen Coh]) Ebchester (1099) High Rochester (1268 [Minerva et Genio Collegi]) Benwell (1334 [238AD; Matribus Campestribus et Genio Alae]) Carrawburgh (1538, 1547, 1563a [Nymphis et Genio Loci]) Housesteads (1577 [Cocidius et Genio Praesidi]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1685 [Genio Praetori], 1686 [IOM et Gen Praetor], 1687 [IOM et Genio], 1722d [Mogunti et Genio Loci]) Castlesteads (1984 [IOM et Genio Loci]) Auchendavy (2175 [genio terrae Britannicae])


Overborough (610)


Birrens (2096)


Silchester (67) Brancaster (214b) Brough-on-Noe (283a) York (648) Haile, Cumbria (796 [et Silvanus]) Old Carlisle (892) Carlisle (946 [180-92AD]) Corbridge (1129 [in Greek]) Whitley Castle (1199, 1200 [Minerva et Hercules Victorius]) Risingham (1212, 1213, 1214, 1215 [Hercules Invictus]) High Rochester (1264) Housesteads (1580) Burgh-by-Sands (2040 [Hercules et Num Aug]) Mumrills (2139 [Herculi Magusan])


Huiteris/Hueteris is another name for the god Veterus.


Overborough (609 [et Asclepius])


Lancaster (600)


London (39b)


York (656 [et Num Aug])


Carlisle (964b [213-22AD; IOM, Iuno Regina, Minerva Augusta, Mars Pater, Victoria Ceteris et Dis Deabus Omnibus])


London (39a) Chichester (89) Cirencester (103 [296-315AD]) Godmanstone (190a) Stony Stratford (215 [et Volcanus]) Dorchester (235 [et Num Aug]) Caerleon (319, 320 [et Mars Dolichenus], 395b [et Num Aug; 177-80AD]) Chester (452 [IOM Tanatus; 154AD], 453) Ilkley (634) York (649 [et Dis Deabusque]) Aldborough (708 [et Matribus]) Kirkby Thore (761, 762 [Jove Serapis]) Brougham (778) Clifton (792 [et Genio Loci]) Moresby (797) Maryport (813-835 inclusive; 814/5 & 824/5 to IOM et Num Aug) Old Carlisle (893-899 inclusive; 895 to IOM Dolichenus; 897 dated 242AD; 899 dated 238-244AD to IOM et Vlk) Cardewlees (913 [et Genii Dominorum Nostrorum]) Old Penrith (915 [et Genius Domini Nostri], 916 [IOM D], 917 [178AD]) Carlisle (964b [213-22AD; IOM, Iuno Regina, Minerva Augusta, Mars Pater, Victoria Ceteris et Dis Deabus Omnibus]) Netherby (969) Bewcastle (991, 992 [IOM Dolicheno]) Cumberland Quarries (1017 [IOM et Mars Toutatis]) Piercebridge (1021, 1022 [217AD; IOM Dolycheno], 1027a [IOM Dolicheno]) Binchester (1030 [IOM et Matribus Ollototis Transmarinis], 1040b) Lanchester (1076 [IOM Ordinati], 1098a [IOM?]) Corbridge (1130, 1131 [Iovi Aeterno Dolicheno et Celestial Brigantia]) Risingham (1216, 1217, 1218, 1219 & 1220 [IOM Dolichenus]) Wallsend (1299, 1300) Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1316, 1317 [et Numinibus]) Benwell (1330 [139-61AD; IOM Dolichenus et Num Aug]) HW – Benwell to Rudchester (1366) Chesters (1450, 1451, 1452 [IOM Dol et Salut Aug]) Housesteads (1581, 1582, 1583 [IOM et Cocidius], 1584-1588 [IOM et Num Aug], 1589 [258AD]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1686 [IOM et Gen Praetor], 1687 [IOM et Genio], 1688, 1689, 1690) Great Chesters (1725 [127-150AD?; IOM Doliceno], 1726 [IOM D], 1727) Carvoran (1782, 1783) Birdoswald (1874-1896 inclusive: 1875 [237AD], 1882 [et num Aug], 1883 [258-68AD], 1885 [270-3AD; et Cocidius], 1886 [258-68AD], 1892 [212-22AD?], 1893 [238-44AD], 1896 [235-8AD; IOM D], 1929a [235-8AD; IOM D], 1929b [276-82AD]) Castlesteads (1979-1985 inclusive; 1983 [241AD; IOM et Num Aug], 1984 [IOM et Genio Loci]) Burgh-by-Sands (2041, 2042 [253-8AD; IOM et Num Aug], ) Bowness-on-Solway (2056 [251-3AD; IOM et Domini Nostri]) Hadrian’s Wall (2062) Birrens (2097, 2098, 2099 [IOM Dolicheno]) Cappuck (2117) Newstead (2123) Cramond (2134) Croy Hill (2158 [IOM Dolichenus]) Auchendavy (2176 [IOM et Victoria]) Balmuildy (2201) Old Kilpatrick (2213b)


Birdoswald (1897 [dei Lati]) Burgh-by-Sands (2043 [deo Lati])

Locum Religiosum

Bath (152)


Maponus is a Germanic god often conflated with Apollo, and thus thought to share some of this Roman sun god’s attributes. He is noted on only two inscriptions from Britain, although, based on place-name etymology, he may have had a center of worship somewhere in south-west Scotland, perhaps near Ladyward in Dumfries and Galloway.

Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1722b) Hadrian’s Wall (2063 [Maponus et Num Aug])


Gloucester (120) Chedworth (126 [Mars Lenus]) Custom Scrubs (131 [Mars Olludius]) Bath (140 [Mars Loucetius]) West Coker (187 [Mars Rigisamus]) Colchester (191 [222-35AD; Mars Medocius]) Martlesham (213 [Mars Coriotacus]) Stony Stratford (216, 217) Barkway (218 [Mars Alatoridum], 219 [Mars Toutatiti]) Nettleham, nr. Lincoln (245b [Mars Rigonemetis et Num Aug]) Lincoln (248) Foss Dike (274 [et Num Aug]) Bakewell (278 [Mars Braciacae]) Brough-on-Noe (282) Caerwent (309 [23 Aug 152AD; Mars Lenus sive Ocelus Vellaunus], 310 [Mars Ocelus]) Chester (454 [Mars Conservator]) Ribchester (584 [Mars Paciferus], 585 [et Victory]) Lancaster (601, 602 [Mars Cocidius]) Cockersand Moss (616 [Mars Donotus]) Staincross Common (622) York (650, 651) Malton (711 [Mars Riga]) Bowes (731 [Mars Condatus]) Greta Bridge (742 [Mars Enemnogenus], 743) Brougham (779 [Mars et Victoria], 780, 783 [Mars Aug]) Maryport (837 & 838 [Mars Militaris]) Old Carlisle (891 [Mars Aur], 900) Old Penrith (918 [Mars Belatucader et Num Aug]) Carlisle (948 [Marti Belatucadro], 949 [Marti Ocelo], 950 [Marti Victoriae]) Netherby (970 [Mars Belatucader]) Bewcastle (993 & 997a [Mars Cocid]) Cumberland Quarries (1017 [IOM et Mars Toutatis]) Piercebridge (1024 [Mars Condatus]) Binchester (1032 [Matribus Olloto Cartoval et Mars Vetto et Genio Loci]) Chester-le-Street (1045 [Mars Condatus]) South Shields (1055) Lanchester (1077, 1078, 1079, 1080, 1081, 1082 [Mars Cocidius?]) Ebchester (1100 [Mars et Num Aug]) Risingham (1221 & 1222 [Mars Victor], 1223?) Wallsend (1303 [Mars? Sigil]) Benwell (1332 [Mars Lenus], 1333 [Mars Victor]) Carrawburgh (1539 [Mars Dolichenus?]) Housesteads (1590-1597 inclusive; 1593 [Mars Thincsus et Alaisagis et Fimmilene et Num Aug], 1594 [Mars et Alaisiagis et Num Aug], 1595 [Mars et Victoria], 1596 [Mars et Victoria et Num Aug], 1597 [Mars Calve…]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1691 [Mars Victor]) Carvoran (1784 [Mars Belatucairo], 1786? [Deo M… et Num Aug], 1787? [D M…] – last two may be Mercury) Birdoswald (1898, 1899 [Mars et Victoria], 1900 [Mars Augustus], 1901 [Mars Patrus]) Castlesteads (1986 [Mars Sanguinus], 1987 [Mars S et Num Aug]) HW – Castlesteads to Stanwix (2015 [Mars Cocidius], 2024 [Mars Coc]) Burgh-by-Sands (2044 [Mars Belatucader]) Birrens (2100 [Mars et Victoria], 2101 [Ma[rs] Sa[nctus]/S[anguinus]?]) Cramond (2137a [Mars Condatus]) Croy Hill (2159) Bar Hill, Dunbarton (2166 [Mars Camulos]) Balmuildy (2190)


London (2) Chichester (96a [Matribus Domest]) Dover (65b [Matribus Italicis]) Winchester (88 [Matribus Italis Germanis Gal et Brit]) Daglingworth (130 [et Genio Loci]) Colchester (192 [Matribus Sulevis]) Chester (455, 456) Heronbridge (574 [Matribus Ollototae]) Ribchester (586) Doncaster (618) Adel (629) York (652 [Matribus Domesticis], 653 [Mat Af Ita Ga], 654) Aldborough (708 [et IOM]) Catterick (729a [Matribus Domesti]) Skinburness (881) Old Carlisle (901 [222-35AD]) Old Penrith (919 [Matribus Tramarinis; 222-35AD], 920 [Matribus Tramari]) Carlisle (951 [Matrib Par], 964b [213-22AD; IOM, Iuno Regina, Minerva Augusta, Mars Pater, Victoria Ceteris et Dis Deabus Omnibus]) Binchester (1030 [IOM et Matribus Ollototis Transmarinis], 1031 [Matribus Ollototis], 1032 [Matribus Olloto Cartoval et Mars Vetto et Genio Loci], 1033, 1034) Risingham (1224 [Matribus Tramarinis]) Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1318 [Matribus Tramarinis], 1322a) Benwell (1334 [238AD; Matribus Campestribus et Genio Alae]) HW – Rudchester to Halton Chesters (1421) Halton Chesters (1424) Chesters (1453 [Matribus Commun]) Carrawburgh (1540, 1541 [Matribus Commun]) Housesteads (1598) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1692 [Matribus et Num Domini Nostri], 1722a) Carvoran (1785) Birdoswald (1902) Castlesteads (1988 [Matribus Omnium], 1989 [Matribus Tramarinis]) Stanwix (2025) HW – Burgh-by-Sands to Drumburgh (2050 [Matri Dom]) HW – Drumburgh to Bowness-on-Solway (2055 [Matribus suis]) Bowness-on-Solway (2059) Hadrian’s Wall (2064 [Matribus Germanis]) Cramond (2135 [Matribus Alateruis et Matribus Campestribus]) Mumrills (2141 [Sign Matribus]) Castlecary (2147)


High Rochester (1265 [213AD;])


Greek Hermes was numbered among the twelve Olympian gods, and was later identified by the Romans with their own god Mercury. He was a bastard son of Zeus/Jupiter and his mother was Maia, a daughter of Atlas. He was born during darkness in a cave on Mount Kyllene in Arcadia, on the fourth day of the month, which day was later named after him. Shortly after his birth the godlet Hermes for a joke stole the cattle of the god Apollo, who soon discovered his wrongdoing and brought charges against him before their father Zeus. The beguiling child immediately produced a lyre he had previously made from a tortoise shell and proceeded to play upon it, delighting both his father and his step-brother. He afterwards presented the lyre to Apollo the god of music, reserving for himself the Shepherd’s Pipes which he had invented also, whereupon his step-brother immediately forgave his jesting and thereafter the two became great allies. This story is often explained as clouds – the cattle of the sun god Apollo – being dissipated by precipitation during the night, caused by Hermes the god of rain.

The young, mischievious god often played jokes on his fellow deities, stealing, for example, the sceptre of Zeus, the girdle of Aphrodite, the trident of Poseidon, the sword of Ares, the iron-working tongs of Hephaestos, and the bow of Apollo, each time managing to extricate himself from trouble and ingratiate himself with the target of his japes by his ready wit and good humour. He accompanied Zeus through Phrygia in the story of Philemon and Baukis, and was often despatched on various errands by his father, frequently acting as messenger between the gods and mortal men. He was despatched by Zeus with the infant Bakchos (Bacchus, Dionysos) to the Nymphs of Nysa who protected the child from the wrath of Hera. Hermes was also charged by Zeus to release his lover Io from surveillance by Argos the Hundred-eyed, one of the sons of Oceanus, a task he must undertake without the use of force because the giant had been set to this task by suspicious Hera, who had discovered Io’s identity and wished to catch the lovers together. Hermes responded to his father’s command by entering the olive-grove in which Io had been tethered – she was disguised as a white-horned cow at the time – and proceeded to entertain the giant river-god with jokes and amusing stories, then, producing his Shepherd’s Pipes, he lulled his unuspecting patron into closing his hundred eyelids one-by-one until he slept, Hermes then despatched the dozing Argos and led the ruminating Io away. This story is often explained in the following manner: the hundred eyes of Argos represent the stars and Io the white-horned cow represents the moon, and when it rains at night, the first thing to disappear are the stars, followed by the moon led-away by the rainclouds sent by Hermes. In this story it is possible that Io may be one of the guises of Diana the moon goddess, Zeus’ own daughter, so it is no wonder that Hera was so upset at the incestual relationship between her husband and daughter.

Hermes was at first venerated as the god of flocks and herds, later the god of agricultural wealth, whence god of rain, which led to his becoming god of commerce; his playfulness and cunning also prompted thieves, robbers and conmen to hail him as their patron god, although this fact was never officially commemorated. As god of commerce it was Hermes’ duty to look after the roads which promoted the transport of goods between cities, and as a consequence he was worshipped throughout the Hellenistic world at each cross-roads, where upright pillars called Herms were erected. This phallic representation of the god was continued by the Romans, who often adapted the upright pillars to include the name of the emperor and/or the distance to the nearest towns; the Roman habit of constructing milestones then, may have started as veneration of the Greek god Hermes, known to the Latins as Mercury, and celebrated with a festival in his honour on 25th of May. Milestones apart, worship of the Roman deity is generally far less widespread than that of his Greek counterpart.

Charterhouse on Mendip (184 [D[eo] M[ercuris]?]) Old Harlow (190c) Caister-on-Sea (214a) Leicester (244) Lydney, Michaelchurch (305 [M[ercurio]? Nodontus], 307 [Nudens M[ercurius]?]) Caerleon (321) York (655) Carlisle (952; relief) Corbridge (1133) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1693) Carvoran (1786? [Deo M… et Num Aug], 1787? [D M…] – these two may be Mars) Birrens (2102, 2103 [Num Aug deo Merc]) Castlecary (2148)


Fishbourne, Chichester (91 [et Neptune]) Bath (141 & 150 [et Sulis]) Caernarfon (429) Chester (457) Carlisle (964b [213-22AD; IOM, Iuno Regina, Minerva Augusta, Mars Pater, Victoria Ceteris et Dis Deabus Omnibus]) Ebchester (1101 [13-22AD]) Corbridge (1134) Whitley Castle (1200 [Menerva et Hercules Victorius]) High Rochester (1266, 1267, 1268 [Minerva et Genio Collegi]) Benwell (1352a) Carrawburgh (1542, 1543) Carvoran (1788? [or Neptune]) Castlesteads (1976 [Belatugagro ar Minerv]) Birrens (2104)

Mithras/Sol Invictus/Sol

London (3, 4) Caerleon (322) Ilkley (639a?) Corbridge (1137 [162-8AD; Sol Invictus]) High Rochester (1272 [218-222AD; Sol Invictus]) Rudchester (1395 [Invicto Mytrae], 1396 [Sol Invictus], 1397 [Sol, Apollo, Anicetus, Mithras], 1398?) Carrawburgh (1544 [Inv M], 1545 [In M], 1546 [Invicto Mitrae]) Housesteads (1599 [Sol Invictus Mytrae], 1600 [252AD; Sol Invictus Mytrae], 1601 [Sol]) Castlesteads (1992 [Sol Invictus], 1993 [Sol Invictus Mithras], 1994 [Sol Mithras])


Old Penrith (921 [Mogti], 922 [Mounti]) Netherby (971 [Mogont Vitire]) Risingham (1225 [Mogonito], 1226 [Mouno]) High Rochester (1269 [Mountibus]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1722d [Mogunti et Genio Loci])


Caerleon (323) Chester (573b) Hadrian’s Wall (2065)


Lympne (66) Fishbourne, Chichester (91 [et Minerva]) York (706e [with Num Aug et Genio Loci]) Maryport (839) Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1319) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1694) Carvoran (1788? [or Minerva]) Birdoswald (1929d) Castlesteads (1990) Birrens (2105) Castlecary (2149)


Lydney, Michaelchurch (305 [Mercurio? Nodontus], 306 [Nodentus], 307 [Nudens Mercurius?])

Num Caes/Num Aug

London (5) Somerdale Keynsham (181 [155AD]) Old Harlow (190b) Colchester (193) Dorchester (235 [et IOM]) Nettleham (245b [et Mars Rigonemetis]) Lincoln (247 [et Parcae]) Foss Dike (274 [et Mars]) Caerleon (324, 326 [198-209AD], 327 [244AD], 395b [et IOM; 177-80AD]) Chester (458, 459) Overborough (611 [et Genio]) Slack, Outlane (623 [et Brigantia]) Greetland (627 [208AD; Victoria Brigantia et Num Aug]) Scarcroft (633a [et Apollo]) York (640 [et Arciacon], 656 [et Ioug…], 657 [et Gen Ebor], 706e [with Neptune et Genio Loci]) Aldborough (710a [Divo Antonino Magno]) Maryport (815 & 824/5 [to IOM et Num Aug]) Bollihope Common (1041 [Num Aug et Silvanus Invictus]) South Shields (1056 [… sancte et numinibus augg]) Lanchester (1074 [et Garmangabi], 1083 [175-8AD; Num Aug et Gen Coh]) Ebchester (1100 [Mars et Num Aug]) Risingham (1227) High Rochester (1262 [Genio Domini Nostri et Signorum Coh], 1263 [Genio et Signis Coh]) Benwell (1330 [139-61AD; IOM Dolichenus et Num Aug]) Halton Chesters (1425) Housesteads (1576 [Alaisiagis Boudihillia et Friagabis et Num Aug], 1584-1588 [IOM et Num Aug], 1593 [Mars Thincsus et Alaisagis et Fimmilene et Num Aug], 1594 [Mars et Alaisiagis et Num Aug], 1596 [Mars et Victoria et Num Aug]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1692 [Matribus et Num Domini Nostri], 1700 [Domu Divinae et Num Aug Volcano]) Birdoswald (1882 [IOM et num Aug], 1902 [Signis et Num Aug], 1911 [212-7AD; pro salute dominus noster]) Castlesteads (1983 [241AD; IOM et Num Aug], 1987 [Mars S et N G Aug], 1991 [N Aug deo Vanaunti]) Burgh-by-Sands (2040 [Hercules et Num Aug], 2042 [253-8AD; IOM et Num Aug]) Bowness-on-Solway (2056 [251-3AD; IOM et Domini Nostri], 2058 [251-3AD]) Hadrian’s Wall (2063 [Maponus et Num Aug]) Birrens (2103 [Num Aug deo Merc]) Location Unknown (2217 [Fortunae et Numinibus Augustorum])


Westwood (2157 [Nux])


Chester (460 [et Fontibus]) Castleford (628a) Greta Bridge (744) Carrawburgh (1547, 1563a [Nymphis et Genio Loci]) Carvoran (1789) Hadrian’s Wall (2066 [212-17AD; Nymphae Brig]) Croy Hill (2160)


York (663 [et Tethys; in Greek]) Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1320)


Carlisle (949 [Marti Ocelo])


Greta Bridge (745)

Pacis (Peace)

High Rochester (1271 [251-3AD; Victoria et Pacis])


Corbridge (1135) High Rochester (1271 [Silvanus Pantheus])


Lincoln (247 [et Num Aug]) Carlisle (953)


Birrens (2106)

quadruis caelestibus sacrum

Westerwood, Cumbernauld (2164a [Silvanis et quadruis caelestibus sacrum])


Birrens (2107 [Ricagumbedae])


Lemington (125) Lanchester (1084) Chesters (1448 [Bona Dea et Regina Caelesti]) Carvoran (1827 [Reginae Caelesti])


A common surname of Roma was Aeternae.

Maryport (812 [Roma Aetern et Genio Loci, Fortuna Reduci & Fato Bono], 840 [Roma Aeternae et Fortuna Reduci]) High Rochester (1270 [D R S])


Custom Scrubs (132)


Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1695)


Halton Chesters (1432 [Saturnn])


York (658) Kirkby Thore (762 [Jove Serapis])


High Rochester (1262 [Genio Domini Nostri et Signorum Coh], 1263 [Genio et Signis Coh]) Wallsend (1303 [Mars? Sigil]) Birdoswald (1902 [Signis et Num Aug]) Mumrills (2141 [Sign Matribus])


Cirencester (104) Colchester (194, 195) Hereford (303) York (659) Bowes (732 & 733a [Vinotonus Silvanus]) Kirkby Thore (763) Haile, Cumbria (796 [et Hercules]) Moresby (798) Old Penrith (923, 924) Netherby (972) Bollihope Common (1041 [Num Aug et Silvanus Invictus]) Eastgate, Durham (1042) Lanchester (1085) Corbridge (1136) Risingham (1207 [et Cocidius]) High Rochester (1271 [Silvanus Pantheus]) Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1321) Housesteads (1578 [Silvanus Cocidius]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1696) Carvoran (1790) Carvoran to Birdoswald (1870) Birdoswald (1905) Newstead (2124) Westerwood, Cumbernauld (2164a [Silvanis et quadruis caelestibus sacrum]) Bar Hill, Dunbarton (2167) Auchendavy (2178) Cadder, Kilsyth (2187)


Risingham (1228)


Chester (461 [in Greek])


Cirencester (105, 106) Bath (151) Colchester (192 [Matribus Sulevis])


Bath (141 [et Minerva], 143-147, 148 [Anicetus Suli], 149, 150 [et Minerva], 178a)


Catterick (726) Carvoran (1791 [Ceres Dea Syria], 1792 [163-6AD; Suriae])


Caerleon (325)


York (663 [et Oceanus; in Greek])


Cumberland Quarries (1017 [IOM et Mars Toutatis])


Michaelchurch (304)


Castlesteads (1991 [N Aug deo Vanaunti])


Ilkley (635)


Ebchester (1102 [Vernostono Cocidio])


Netherby (973 [Huetiri]) Carrawburgh (1549 [Huiteribus]) Housesteads (1602 [Hueteri], 1603 [Huitri]) Hadrian’s Wall (2096 [Huiteribus]) Catterick (727) Netherby (971 [Mogont Vitire]) Chester-le-Street (1046 [Vitiri], 1047 [Vitiribus], 1048 [Vitbus]) South Shields (1070c [Ansu Vitiri]) Lanchester (1087, 1088) Ebchester (1103 & 1104 [Vitiri]) Corbridge (1139 [Veteri], 1140 [Vitiri], 1141 [Vit]) Benwell (1335 [Vetri], 1336 [Vitirbus]) Chesters (1455 [Vitiri], 1456 [Veteribus], 1457 [Vitirbus], 1458 [Votris?]) Carrawburgh (1548 [Veteri]) Housesteads (1604 & 1605 & 1606 & 1607 [Veteribus]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1697 [Veteri], 1698 [Veteri], 1699 [Veteribus], 1722e & 1722f [Veteribus]) Great Chesters (1728 [Vetiri], 1729 & 1730 [Veteribus]) Carvoran (1793-5 [Veteri], 1796 [Vetiri], 1797 [Vetiriu], 1798 [Viterino], 1799-1801 [Vitiri], 1802/3 [Veteribus], 1804 [Viteribus], 1805 [Vitiribus]) Hadrian’s Wall (2068 [Veteri])


Tunshill Park (582) Ribchester (585 [et Mars], 590 [et Salve Imp]) Greetland (627 [208AD; Victoria Brigantia et Num Aug]) Castleford (628 [Victoria Brigantia]) Brougham (779 [with Mars?]) Maryport (842-844 [Victoria Augusta]) Carlisle (950 [Marti Victoriae], 964b [213-22AD; IOM, Iuno Regina, Minerva Augusta, Mars Pater, Victoria Ceteris et Dis Deabus Omnibus]) Lanchester (1086) Corbridge (1138) High Rochester (1271 [251-3AD; Victoria et Pacis]) Benwell (1337 [205-8AD; Victoria Aug]) Housesteads (1595 [Mars et Victoria], 1596 [Mars et Victoria et Num Aug]) Great Chesters (1731 [Victoria Aug]) Birdoswald (1899 [Mars et Victoria]) Castlesteads (1995 [Vict Aug]) Birrens (2100 [Mars et Victoria]) Rough Castle (2144) Auchendavy (2176 [IOM et Victoria], 2177) Balmuildy (2190 [139-61AD; relief of victory]) Old Kilpatrick (2208 [139-61AD; relief of victory])


Birrens (2108)


Bowes (732 & 733a [Vinotonus Silvanus], 733, 737) – also possibly 734-738


Ancaster (245a)


Maryport (845 [Virtutia Augusta])


Stony Stratford (215 [et Iovi]) Maryport (846 [Numini Volcani]) Old Carlisle (899 [dated 238-244AD; to IOM et Vlk?]) Chesterholm/Vindolanda (1700 [Domu Divinae et Num Aug Volcano?])

Bibliography and References

See: Classical Dictionary of John Lempriére (London 1850);
Classical Mythology by A.R. Hope Moncrieff (London 1907);
Greece and Rome – Myths and Legends by H.A. Guerber (London 1907);
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
The Gods of the Celts by Miranda Green (Sutton 1986);
Celtic – Myths and Legends by T.W. Rolleston (Senate reprint (1994);
Who’s Who in Mythology by Alexander S. Murray (Bracken reprint 1995);
The Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Mythology by Arthur Cotterell & Rachel Storm (Hermes 1999).