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:
OP V S L M
God Mars Ocelus
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.