Altar (detail)

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from Birrens, Dumfriesshire

Postcard of Altar (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Altar (detail)

This is a detail of the inscription on a stone altar found at the site of the Roman fort at Birrens in Dumfriesshire. It was used in religious rites between 120 and 180 AD.

The altar is dedicated to the the Emperor. There was a state religion throughout the Roman empire, where the emperor himself was worshipped, as were the three major state gods of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

In the ranks of the Roman army there were specialist stonemasons. They did various work, mainly building and producing monumental sculpture. They also made items of religious importance such as this altar.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-654-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FP 2
Date: Between 120 and 180 AD
Material: Stone
Dimensions: 990 mm H x 500 mm L x 590 mm W
What: Altar
Where: Scotland, Dumfriesshire, Middlebie, Birrens
Description: Roman stone altar dedicated to the Discipline of the Emperor, with a sacrificial axe and knife in relief on the right hand side and a patera with ram's head handle on the left, from Birrens
  • Collingwood, R.G. & Wright, R.P. The Roman Inscriptions of Britain Vol. 1: Inscriptions on Stone. Oxford: University Press (no. 2092), 1965. 
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