Tombstone of Ammonius, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow

This evening, I am posting information on what may be the oldest tombstone in Scotland with a literate inscription.

The tombstone dates from around AD80-AD90 and was found at Ardoch Roman Fort, near Braco in Perthshire, central Scotland.

The inscription reads:

“To the spirits of the departed Ammonius, son of Damio, centurion of the First Cohort of Spaniards, of 27 years service. His heirs had this erected.”

The Ardoch fort pre-dates both Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall and formed part of the very early Gask Frontier (AD 79-87) established during the Flavian period ( Emperor Vespasian and his sons). In essence Gask would have been a very exposed and isolated line deep in enemy territory.

Particular points of note in regards to Ammonius:

  • Of Spanish origin. Roman army units were recruited from all parts of the Empire and as such a Spanish unit was not unusual.
  • He served 27 years compared to standard term of service of 25 years. Centurions had the right to extend their service.
  • He would have commanded a unit of 80 men.

Here is a video clip of the inscription.

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