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Viewing Single Post From: Jupiter Dolichenus
ericjacobson
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SacoHarry
Mar 2 2010, 07:52 PM
So there's the connection. If your fort had a "Chester," you had a Dolichenus. Issue solved. Good night!
My head aches! Personally, I opt for a decree mandating a 'fane to Dolichenus' in every fort. I believe it was Caracalla who ordered all garrisons, everywhere, to build a temple, and to place it on the intervallum. I strongly suspect that future discoveries will show such building as actually occupying gateways themselves, not just the spaces between walls and garrison buildings.

In fact, the recently discovered (yesterday) fort of the LIV (that's '54th', not 'LIVE') Batavians outside Leptis Magna (not much opportunity for 'swimming across rivers' in that location, eh?) shows all four gateways blocked up by rather large temples to Dolichenus. I speculate that, in an excess of zeal the garrison fulfilled Caracalla's orders four times over, and thus rendered it rather difficult to provision, much less garrison, the fort itself. Apparently the unit was sent off by an exasperated governor to 'explore the Sahara' soon afterwards, and never heard from again.

Okay, enough foolish humor. Back to reality:

Could Vindolanda have been garrisoned by 'irregulars' at some point in the early 3rd century? Perhaps. However, the Fourth Cohort of Gauls is definitely attested as the garrison in 223, shortly after the reconstruction of the fort. An inscription in the name of Claudius Xenophon, governor of the recently created province of Britannia Inferior, states:

"COH IIII GALLOR SEVERIANAE ALEXANDRIANAE DEVOTAE NUMINI EIUS PORTAM CUM TURRIBUS A FUNDAMENTIS RESTITUERUNT SUB CL XENOPHONTE LEG AVG N PR PR BR INF CURANTE...."

Translated: 'Severus Alexander's Own Fourth Cohort of Gauls, Dedicated to His Godhead, Restored from Its Foundations [or 'From Ground Level'] This Gate and Its Towers Under Claudius Xenophon, Pro-Praetorian Legate in Lesser Britain of the Augustus [ie, the 'Emperor'], Under the Direction....'

Since the Dolichenus cult fades quite rapidy following Alexander's death in 235, we'd expect that the temple was built by that date at latest, implying that it was in fact built by the IV Gallorum. Further, the cohort is still attested in residence in 282, and even later in the Notitia Dignitatum ('List of Official Posts') which is dated to c. 425 for the Western Empire.

I would offer that IV Gallorum was definitely at Vindolanda throughout the third century; the Not. Dig. is not as reliable (for various reasons) as actual inscriptions. This would imply, then, that the changes in the fort's fabric during the third century did definitely occur under the occupation of IV Gallorum.

Edited by ericjacobson, Mar 3 2010, 04:50 AM.
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