Ala Primae Tungrorum

The Tungri were a tribe inhabiting the western Ardennes in central Europe. It would seem that during the Principate the Tungri provided the Roman army with especially valued soldiers. No less than three alae and four coholtes were named after this tribe: the ala I Tungrorun, the ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana, the ala I Asturum et Tungrorum, the cohors I Tungt’orum milliaria, the cohors II Tungrorum nilliaria equitata, the cohors III Tungrorum and finally the cohors IV Tungrorum milliaria.

There is evidence for the presence of this unit in Britain is an undated altar to Hercules unearthed at Mumrills on the The Antonine Wall, where they were probably the first garrison.

This regiment’s service in Britain are also foundon military diplomata from Chester and York. Another ala Tungrorum suffixed Frontoniana is known to have been stationed on the Danube.

The Vindolanda Tablet shows that from AD 90 at the latest the cohors I Tungrorum was stationed in the fort at Vindolanda. The unit remained there, with only a brief interruption, most likely until 122 or possibly even until AD 140.
The following RIB was found at Housesteads (Vercovicium).

RIB 1579 - Dedication by instruction of Clarian Apollo

To the gods and goddesses according to the interpretation of the oracle of Clarian Apollo the First Cohort of Tungrians (set this up).

  • The oracle of Clarian Apollo was based 100 km north of the oracle of Delphi. This inscription has also been found at Housesteads,  Corinium in Dalmatia (CIL III 2880) and on the border between Numidia and Mauretania Caesariensis (CIL VIII 8351)
  • Birley assigns this British text to Septimius Severus. Birley Chiron 4 (1974), 511-3 = Mavors iv, 365-7, who suggests a date of A.D. 213.
  • It was in the Black Gate and transferred to the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne. Now (2009) in the Great North Museum: Hancock.

Evidence for the presence of Ala Primae Tungrorum in Britain

  1. Cil Vii.1194 privilegia militvm; dated: late? AD105.
  2. Burn 100; CIL XVI.65 military diploma dated: July 17th AD122.
  3. L’Année Épigraphique 1997.1001 diploma dated 27th February AD158.
  4. Mumrills (Central; RIB 2140),
  5. ?Deva (Chester, Cheshire; RIB 2401.2; diploma; AD105).
  6. ?Eburacum (York, North Yorkshire; RIB 2401.6 et 2401.8; AD124 / AD135).