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miscellaneous : luggage-labels, pottery, lead, coins . . .
- who would have thought the Romans had luggage-labels ? (!)
When the army was on the move, soldiers needed to make sure their possessions did not go astray.
1. VIII > TITIANI
The centurion Titianus had 80 men in the Century under his command.
'>' is the symbol meaning Centurion or Century. His name ends in 'i' because this is the Latin version of 'Titianus's'.
The label tells us that his century was part of the 8th cohort.
2. LEG X X . IULI . CANDID
Julius Candidus was in the 20th Legion Valeria Victrix, as were the majority of soldiers stationed at Chester. (Others were members of the 2nd Legion Adiutrix Pia Fidelis)
3. COH I I > ATILII . MAIORI
Atilius Major's Century was part of the 2nd Cohort
The best quality Roman pottery - Samian - was imported from Gaul and can be recognised by its distinctive orange colour.
Unlike modern pottery, which tends to have a maker's stamp on the underside of the base, Samian ware can be identified by a stamp inside the pot.
The stamp often gives the information that the pot was made 'in someone's workshop'OFFICINA , or 'by someone's hand' MANU
ALBI MN by the hand of Albus
OF FELICIS in Felix's workshop
OF SABINI in Sabinus's workshop.
Local British pottery is less easy to identify. This is a food mixing-bowl or mortarium, and you can see the rough texture inside where grits are fired into the clay. The stamps on each side of the pouring lip identify its maker.
Large jars with a handle on each side were used to transport wine, olive oil and other liquids throughout the Roman Empire.
This is part of a handle with a maker's mark, but it could come from anywhere in the empire.
the uses of lead
The Romans organised the mining of lead in Britain and this ingot is stamped with various forms of identification.
DECEANGL on the side tells us that it was produced in the territory of the Deceangli, a tribe in North-Eastern Wales, and
IMP VESP AUG V T IMP III COS shows that it was when the Emperor Vespasian was Consul for the 5th time and his son Titus was consul for the 3rd time. Historians can therefore pinpoint the exact year : 74 AD.
Stamps were made of lead for a variety of purposes. This is one made to identify loaves of bread and you can see the impression it made on the right.
> CL AUG VIC The bread was made by Victor, in Claudius Augustanus's Century.
Oculists' lead stamps can be seen in museums in Cirencester and London - AD OMNES DOLORES 'for all pains' was the claim stamped on one doctor's ointment-sticks!
This lead water pipe, found in Chester, was made when Vespasian was consul for the 9th time, Titus consul for the 7th time and Gnaius Julius Agricola was the Imperial Governor (Legate of Augustus, as Pro Praetor) IE : 79 AD, which was the the same year as the eruption of Vesuvius.
Coins were a useful means of propaganda for the Roman Emperors. When Claudius conquered Britain he issued a coin with his head on one side and a triumphal arch with the legend DE BRITANNIS on the reverse.
The first coin is an as of Tiberius, DIVUS AUGUSTUS PATER showing that his father Augustus had been deified, and the second is the reverse of an as of Nero, with the picture of Apollo playing the lyre. (Nero was very proud of his own musical abiity)
PONTIF[ex] MAX[imus] TR[ibunicia] POT[estate] IMP[erator] P[ater] P[atriae] - a list of his honours : Chief Priest, holding Tribunician power, victorious general, father of the country.
The letters S C which are found on many coins, show that the coin was minted by a special decree of the Senate. (Senatus Consultu).