Roman Officer’s tombstone, Elson Church, England

This evening, I am indulging in my passion for the Roman period (in Britain).

Recently, I came across the weathered tombstone of a Roman Officer inside St Cuthbert’s Church, Elsdon, Northumberland, England.,The Church has a history dating back to the late 11th century. The officer would appear to have died in the 3rd century and why the tombstone has found its way to Elsdon is open to speculation. As mentioned below, the officer was stationed at Bremenium, a northern outpost of Hadrian’s Wall, about eight miles north of Elsdon.

This particular tombstone is of interest because it provides the only known record of a Roman officer’s career in Britain and illustrates how an officer was moved around the Empire, viz:

  • First two military appointments as military prefect in charge of cohorts in Egypt and Mauritania.
  • Two posts in the civil service in Italy as sub-curator of the Flaminian Way and Corn Doles
  • Sub-contractor of public works in Rome.
  • Died whilst a Tribune of 1 Vardullorum Cohort at Bremenium Fort (Rochester, Northumberland) at age 48 years and 6 months. This was an advanced age for front-line military personnel of the day.

Stone commissioned by wife, Julia Lucilla

Lettering badly weathered at top. From 5th line down reads:

PRAEfecto COHortis 1 AUGustae PRaetoriae

LUSITANORum ITEM COhortis II

BREUCORUM SUBCURatori VIAE

FLAMINIAE ET ALIMENTorum

SUBCURatori OPERUM PUBlicorum

JULIA LUCILIA Clarissima Femina MARITO

Bene Merenti VIXit ANnis XLVIII

Mensibus VI DieBus XXV

St Cuthbert’s Church, Elsdon, England

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