Glasgow Archaeological Society   [Hrsg.]
The Antonine Wall report: being an account of excavations, etc., made under the direction of the Glasgow Archæological Society during 1890 - 93 — Glasgow, 1899

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Since the preceding notes and lists were put in type, an article by Prof
Alexander Riese has appeared in the Westdeutsche Zeitschrift (xviii. 1-40),
and it seems desirable here to notice one of his conclusions. In the course
of an investigation, into the gods worshipped in Roman Germany, Mr. Riese
attempts to show that dedications which prefix DEO or DEAE to the name
of the god are later than about a.d. 187 and belong principally to the third
century. There are several such dedications among the Roman inscriptions
of Scotland, six found at Birrens, one at Newstead, and five at forts along
the vallum—among these five, the new Barr Hill altar. Mi'. Riese would
date all of these after a.d. 187. This conclusion is not absolutely irreconcil-
able with the view taken above, that the Romans lost all their posts in
Scotland except Birrens before, or about a.d. 180. It would be possible
to argue that the loss occurred either at the end of Commodus' reign or in
the troubles which followed his death (193-198). But I do not like Mr.
Riese's conclusion, for its own sake. It is based on a list of the datable
dedications, in which deo or deae is prefixed to the name of the god venerated
by the dedication ; of these Mr. Riese makes out the earliest to date from
a.d. 187, while many belong to the third century. But (1) in the first place
the number of such datable dedications is too small to argue from. In
Britain upwards of 200 dedications have been found ; of these only 12 are
datable, and Mr. Riese disputes the dating of 2 out of the 12.1 It is hardly
safe to deduce a conclusion from five or six per cent, of one's examples. (2)
Secondly, a definite reason exists why datable instances should be commoner
after some such date as a.d. 187 than before it. This reason is that dating of
all sorts is commoner. Dating by consulships occurs far more often in the
reigns of Commodus and his successors than before his accession in a.d. 176.
In Germany, if one may take one's figures from Brambach's collection, only
5 dedications of any sort are dated by consulships before a.d. 176, but over
70 are dated between a.d. 178 and a.d. 250. Very much the same is the
case in Britain. Other methods of dating also become commoner with the
end of the second century. It is not usual in the second century for a
legion or an auxiliary regiment to take to itself an epithet derived from
the name of the reigning emperor. In the third century such epithets
abound and provide a fruitful supply of indications of date. (3) Further,
there are a few instances which can be plausibly assigned to the first or
second centuries. Thus in Britain one of the twelve examples is a York altar
of the first century, which is, indeed, imperfect, but which can hardly be com-
pleted otherwise than D\eo Sanctd] Silvano (Eph. vii. 30). Again, two altars
found at Benwell, on Hadrian's Wall near Newcastle (C.I.L., vii. 503, 504),
belong most probably to the years a.d. 161-169. Out of our 190 undated
dedications a fair proportion may belong to the reigns of Hadrian, Pius, and
Marcus. Dedications with DEO prefixed are specially common in Britain,
considerably commoner, for instance, than in Germany, and they occur
principally in the military posts of the north. Possibly the usage may have
developed earlier in our island than in Germany ; on our present knowledge
I am not inclined to admit that it began here so late as Mr.-Riese seems to
argue. But I understand that Mr. Riese's views are not accepted even
in Germany.

1 I omit cases like Dea Syria, where Dea is not mere prefix but noun, and also
the Mithraic monuments, where Deus is (in its simplest use) noun to invictus.
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