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found at Birrens, Dumfrieshire

Postcard of Altar.
© National Museums Scotland


This altar was found at the site of the Roman fort at Birrens in Dumfriesshire. It is dedicated to 'Mars and the Emperor's Victory' by members of a Roman army unit which had been raised in Belgium.

The Latin inscription reads: 'To Mars and the Emperor's Victory, the Raetian tribesmen serving in the Second Cohort of Tungrians under the command of Gaius Silvius Auspex, the prefect, willingly and deservedly fulfilled their vow.'

The soldiers who erected this altar were recruited to the Roman army while it was serving in Raetia in the eastern Alps. They came to Britain with their unit in the AD 150s and took up residence at Birrens in AD 158.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-037-660-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FV 2
Date: Between 150 and 180 AD
Material: Stone
Dimensions: 1400 mm H x 400 mm L x 620 mm W
Where: Scotland, Dumfriesshire, Middlebie, Birrens
Description: Roman stone altar by the Rhaetians in the 2nd Cohort of the Tungrians, dedicated to Mars and the Emperor's Victory, from Birrens
  • Clarke, D.V., Breeze, D.J., and Mackay, Ghillean. The Romans in Scotland. An introduction to the collections of the National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, 1980, p 74. 
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