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Roman Altar to Jupiter at Maryport (RIB 817)


This is one of two altars dedicated to the Roman patron deity Jupiter, found together at Maryport on the northwest coast of Cumbria in England. Located at the mouth of the River Ellen, and named Alauna in Roman times, the maritime site at Maryport was the headquarters of the coastal patrol and Legionary signal corps. These maintained a series of coastal signal stations along the east end of Hadrian's Wall, using light for sending messages. The fort at Alauna, built about AD 122, was occupied for the next three hundred years. Today the fort's remains include a square array of earthen bulwarks alongside the Senhouse Museum.

Both this altar and the similar RIB 818 were dedicated to Jupiter by C. Caballius Priscus, a commander of the 1st Cohort of Spaniards at Alauna. Along the top is a pair of rope-like bands, surmounted by two corner rosettes and a small face in the center.

The text reads (with typical abbreviations): "To Jupiter, Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Spaniards, which is commanded by Gaius Caballius Priscus, tribune (set this up)."

[Fig.1: Roman inscription from Maryport (RIB 817; Senhouse National Museum , Maryport).]

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