Military Diplomata

L' Année Épigraphique 1997.1001; Dated: 27th February 158AD

Three fragments of a bronze military diploma were found in 1995 on the foreshore near the Roman fort at Ravenglass fort in Cumbria. This document names 4 cavalry Wings (Alae) and 17 infantry (cohortes peditatae) and part-mounted (cohortes equitatae) regiments, in the army of the propraetor Gnaeus Julius Verus. This man was given the governorship of Britain by the emperor Antoninus Pius, who entrusted him to quell the uprising of the Brigantes in northern England around 155AD. The units mentioned on this diploma undoubtedly saw action in the war against this powerful iron-age nation, and discharge certificates such as this were likely issued soon after the truculent tribe had been subdued.

[IMPERATOR CAESAR DIVI HAD]RIANI F [DIVI TRAIANI PARTHICI NEPOS]
[DIVI N]ERVAE PRO[NEPOS T AELIVS HADRIANVS A]NTONINVS AVGVSTVS
PIVS PON[TIFEX MAXIMVS TRIBVNICIA POTESTATE X]XI
IMPERATOR II CONSVL IV PATER PATRIAE [EQVITIBVS ET]
[PEDITIBVS Q]V[I] MIL[I]TAVERVNT IN ALIS IV QVAE AP[PELLANTVR]
[AVGVSTA GALLORVM PRO]CVLEIANA ET I TVNGRORVM ET I HISPANORVM
A[STVRVM ET SEBOSIANA] GALLORVM ET COHORTIBVS XVII III
BRACARARORVM AVGVSTANORVM [ET V G]ALLORVM ET II LINGONVM ET
I AELIA [D]ACORVM ET I DELMATARVM ET I AELIA CLASSICA ET
I HAMIORVM ET II GALLORVM ET I CELTIBERORVM ET IV LINGONVM
ET I FR[IS]IAVONVM ET I AVGVSTA NERVIANA GERMANORVM MILLIARIA
ET [IV GA]LLORVM ET VII THRACVM ET I VANGIONVM ET
I VARDVL[LO]RVM MILLIARIA ET I THRACVM ET SVNT IN BRITANNIA SVB
IVLIO VERO LEGATO QVINIS ET VICENIS PLVRIBVSVE STIPENDIS
EMERITIS DIMISSIS HONESTA MISSIONE QVORVM NOMINA SVBSCRIPTA
SVNT CIVITATEM ROMANAM QVI EORVM NON HABERENT DEDIT ET
CONVBIVM [C]VM VXORIBVS QVAS TVNC HABVISSENT CVM E[S]T CIVITAS
IIS DATA AVT CV[M] QVAS POSTEA DVXISSENT DVMTAXAT SINGVLIS
ANTE DIEM III KALENDAS MARTIAS SEX SVLPICIO TERTVLLO Q TINEIO
SACERDOTE CONSVLIBVS [C]OHORTIS I AELIAE CLASSICAE CVI PRAEEST
[...] CAEDICIVS SEVERVS, EX EQVITE [...] CASSI F HELI[OPOLI]
[DESCRIPTVM ET] RECOGNITVM EX TABVLA [AEREA QVAE FIXA EST] ROMAE
IN MVRO POST TE[MPLVM DIVI A]VGVSTI AD MINERV[AM M SERVILI]
[GETAE L PVLLI] CH[RESIMI M SENTILI] I[ASI TI IVLI] FELIC[IS C BELLI]
VRBA[NI C POMPONI] STATI[ANI P OCILI PRISCI]
For Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, son of the Divine Hadrian, grandson of the Divine Trajan Parthicus, great-grandson of the Divine Nerva, High Priest, holder of the power of tribune twenty-one times, hailed Imperator twice, consul four times, Father of his Country. To the cavalrymen and foot-soldiers who have served in the four cavalry wings which are named:
Ala Augusta Gallorum Proculeiana
Ala Primae Tungrorum
Ala Primae Hispanorum Asturum
Ala Gallorum Sebosiana
and in the seventeen infantry cohorts:
Cohors III Bracaraugustanorum
Cohors V Gallorum
Cohors II Lingonum
Cohors I Aelia Dacorum
Cohors I Delmatarum
Cohors I Aelia Classica
Cohors I Hamiorum
Cohors II Gallorum
Cohors I Celtiberorum
Cohors IV Lingonum
Cohors I Frisiavonum
Cohors I Augusta Nerviana germanorum milliaria
Cohors IV Gallorum
Cohors VII Thracum
Cohors I Vangionum
Cohors I Vardullorum milliaria
Cohors I Thracum
which are in Britain under the legate Julius Verus. To those veteran soldiers who have served twenty-five years or more, and have received a honourable discharge and whose names are written below. Roman citizenhip is granted to those who are not already, also lawful marriage to the wives they have at the time they are assigned the citizenship, or, with only one woman who they marry thereafter.
Dated three days before the Calends of March in the consulship of Sextus Sulpicius Tertullus and Quintus Tineius Sacerdotos (27th February 158AD).
From the First Cohort of the Aelian Fleet under the command of [...]. To [...] Caedicius Severus, ex cavalryman [...] the son of Cassius from Heliopolis.
Copied and checked against the tablet of bronze which is set up in Rome on the wall behind the temple of the Divine Augustus and next to that of Minerva.

[Witnessed by]
Marcus Servilius Geta
Lucius Pullius Chresimus
Marcus Sentilius Jasus
Tiberius Julius Felix
Gaius Bellius Urbanus
Gaius Pomponius Statianus
Publius Ocilius Priscus

The Latin text of AE 1997.1001 was obtained from Gnomon Online (WebSite in German); see also Britannia xviii (1997), Monumentum, #27, pp.463/4, which, curiously, omits the list of witnesses. The English translation of the diploma, including any inherent mistakes, is my own. TOGO