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The Roman Army In Caerleon King Arthur Parish Records Directories History Index Home

Roman Altar found in Caerwent

To The God Mars Ocelus
Aelius Augustinus Optio Paid His Vow...

              

This altar was found during excavations in Caerwent. It stood by the south wall of a house within the Roman City.

It is very likely that Aelius Augustinus had been an optio in the legion based in Caerleon. He would have erected the altar to 'pay back' a vow granted by the god - maybe for success in battle or recovery from an illness.

Mars was of course a Roman god - but here we have Mars Ocelus a fusion of Roman and British gods. Religion in Roman Britain was a mixture of British deities (usually associated with the powers of nature) and Roman gods such as Mars, Minerva, Jupiter and Venus.

The inscription reads:

DEO MARTI OCELO
AEL AGUSTINUS
OP V S L M

God Mars Ocelus
Ael(ius) Agustinus
Op(tio) Paid His Vow

(VSLM stood for Votum Soluit Libens Merito)


Follow this link for a reproduction of an altar erected in Scotland by a centurion in Caerleon's Legion.