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from Birrens, Dumfriesshire

Postcard of Altar.
© National Museums Scotland


This stone altar was found at the site of the Roman fort at Birrens in Dumfriesshire. It was erected between 140 and 160 AD, dedicated to Fortuna, the goddess of Fortune.

The inscription translates as 'To Fortune, the 1st Nervan cohort of Germans, 1000 strong, with cavalry [set this up].' A cohort was a military division. This cohort was recruited primarily from men from Germany.

The Romans recognised many deities, heroes and supernatural beings not directly related to the main family of gods. On the frontier, some deities were particularly revered by the army including Fortune, Success, and the goddesses of the Parade Ground.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-037-662-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 4
Date: Between 140 and 160 AD
Material: Stone
Dimensions: 1230 mm H x 330 mm L x 490 mm W
Where: Scotland, Dumfriesshire, Middlebie, Birrens
Description: Altar dedicated to Fortuna by the 1st Nervian Cohort of Germans, from Birrens
  • Collingwood, R.G. & Wright, R.P. The Roman Inscriptions of Britain Vol. 1: Inscriptions on Stone. Oxford: University Press, 1965, no. 2093, pp 641-2. 
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