Sextus Calpurnius Agricola – Governor of Britannia by 163/4AD to c.166
Having acquired the imperial power, … There was at this time also a Parthian war, … There was too a threat of a British war, … Calpurnius Agricola was sent against the Britons, …
Julius Capitolinus The Augustan History Marcus Aurelius VIII.6-7
According to Peter Salway the governor Calpurnius Agricola took up office “not later than 163-4”, during the early years of emperor Marcus Aurelius’ reign. He is known to have instigated repair-work at forts on Hadrian’s Wall and the Stanegate, also in the hinterland. It appears that the Antonine Wall between the Forth and Clyde in Scotland was finally abandoned during his governorship, following many years of periodic and erratic occupation. He was recalled c.166.
It should be noted that part of the above information is re-stated in another passage of the Augustan History (op. cit. XXII), which is very likely a mistake on the part of the original author.
Calpurnius Agricola – Epigraphic Evidence
- RIB 589 Ribchester, Lancashire
- RIB 793 Hardknott, Cumbria
- RIB 1137/1149 Corbridge, Northumberland
- RIB 1703 Chesterholm/Vindolanda, Northumberland
- RIB 1792/1809 Carvoran, Northumberland
Ribchester, Lancashire RIB 589 (dated: c.163-9) IMP CAES M AVREL ANTONINO …ET IMP CAES L AVREL VERO … AVG VEX EQ PROVINCIAE GERMANIAE SVP SEX CALPVRN AGRICOLA COS “Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus […] and Imperator Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus […] Augustus, a detachment of cavalry from the German provinces, under Sextus Calpurnius Agricola, the consular (governor).”
Hardknott, Cumbria RIB 793 [undated] AGRICOLA COII “Assemble with Agricola.”; possibly refers to the first century governor Agricola .
Corbridge, Northumberland RIB 1137 (date: 162-8) SOLI INVICTO VEXILLATIO LEG VI VIC P F F SVB CVRA SEX CALPVRNI AGRICO LAE LEG AVG PR PR “To the Invincible Sun-god, a detachment of the Sixth Legion, Victorious, Loyal and Faithful (set this up) under the command of Sextus Calpurnius Agricola, Legate of the Augustus with pro-praetorian power.”
Also from Corbridge RIB 1149 (restored inscription; date: 161-9) IMPERATORIBVS CAESARIBVS M AVRELIO ANTONINO AVG TRIBVNICIAE POTESTATIS … COS … ET L AVRELIO VERO AVG ARMENIACO TRIBVNICIAE POTESTATIS I.. COS .II VEXILLATIO LEG XX V V FECIT SVB CVRA SEXTI CALPVRNI AGRICOLAE LEGATI AVGVSTORVM PR PR “For the emperor Caesars Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus in the seventeenth year of his holding Tribunician Power [163AD], three times Consul, and Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus, conqueror of Armenia, in the third year of his holding Tribunician Power, twice Consul, a detachment of the Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix built this under Sextus Calpurnius Agricola, Legate of the Augusti with pro-praetorian power.”
Chesterholm, Northumberland RIB 1703 (date: 163-6) … SVB SEXTO CALPVRNIO AGRICOLA LEG AVG PR PR “[…] under Sextus Calpurnius Agricola, pro-praetorian legate of the emperor.”
Carvoran, Northumberland RIB 1792 (altarstone; date: 163-6) DEAE SVRIAE SVB CALPVRNIO AGRICOLA LEG AVG PR PR LICINIVS CLEMENS PRAEF COH I HAMIORVM “To the Syrian goddess, under Calpurnius Agricola, Legate of the Augustus with pro-praetorian power, Licinius Clemens, Prefect of the First Cohort of Hamians (set this up).”
Also at Carvoran RIB 1809 (altarstone; date: 163-6) …SVB CALPVRNIO AGRICOLA COS LICINIVS CLEMENS PRAEF “[…] under Calpurnius Agricola the Consular [governor], Licinius Clemens, Prefect [of the First Cohort of Hamians set this up.]”