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Jupiter Dolichenus; A Brief Summary
Topic Started: Feb 28 2010, 12:29 PM (739 Views)
SacoHarry
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ericjacobson
Mar 2 2010, 07:27 AM
Badger,

Good questions! For my part, I'm curious (a rhetorical question) as to why the temple was placed where it was--apparently right on the intervallum.
You know what just occurred to me -- over at Great Chesters there's that altar still in situ right inside the eastern guard tower of the south gate. I'll try to dig around & see what's known about that altar. Maybe pure coincidence, but interesting that two forts next to each other both have evidence of ritual at or just inside a gate.

The book "Hadrian's Wall 1999-2009" that I mentioned elsewhere shows that there's lots of evidence for irregular troops -- and corresponding irregular plans -- at Wall forts in the later 3rd C. They think a lot of those "chalet" style barracks might also be 3rd C, and not 4th as thought before. Maybe Vindolanda had a band of irregulars that brought the cult as part of their agreement for service?

Whatever the case, it seems like forts were very fluid things, not nearly so rigid as people thought for so long.
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SacoHarry
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Badger
Mar 2 2010, 02:15 PM
Harry
Although the Chesters Dolichenus altar is currently free standing, I found a source that says it was incorporated into a wall when it was first discovered in the 1890s.
Tim Wolter
Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about the Dolichenus altar at Chesters. That cult got around, no?! The altar I'm thinking of is the one at the next Wall fort west of Vindolanda, Greatchesters ("Aesica"), just past Cawfields Quarry. It's uninscribed, and I'm not sure if anyone knows for sure who it's to, or if it's always been in the spot it's at now.
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SacoHarry
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Funny enough, turns out Dolichenus was at Greatchesters too. The old "Archaeologia Aelianas" list two Jupiter Dol altars found there -- both reused in later rebuilds. So there's the connection. If your fort had a "Chester," you had a Dolichenus. Issue solved. Good night!

(For what it's worth, the 1903 edition http://www.archive.org/stream/archaeologiaael20unkngoog#page/n56/mode/2up has a big write-up of the major early excavations, some really neat pics, especially of the totally walled-up west gate.)
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SacoHarry
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Ha! Classic. The moral: never trust an auxiliary unit.

And I don't doubt that the IV Gauls were there in the 3rd and well into the 4th C. I'm just wondering if they were augmented at some point by irregulars for some reason or other. Apparently there's evidence of this at Wallsend -- regular barracks and then, tucked in a corner, oddly shaped barracks that wouldn't suit an entire cohort. Back to that theme that, more & more, forts appear to be pretty messy places.
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SacoHarry
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A neat aside I just learned about -- has anyone else heard about the Crosby Garrett (Cumbria) Roman helmet discovered by a metal detectorist in May? This piece is astounding! And (according to Wikipedia anyway), the image appears to be that of "a beardless Jupiter Dolichenus." Apparently it didn't need to be declared treasure since it was non-precious metal. So Christie's is planning to auction it, and Tullie House in Carlisle is trying hard to raise enough money to buy & save it for the country.
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SacoHarry
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Andy
Sep 16 2010, 01:39 PM
Oh, and a last Jupiter Dolichenus thought,
The Vindolanda temple will be published in this years AA. So those who have access to it should get it before Christmas.
best,
Andy
Looks like I've got to get me an Arch Ael subscription! Thx for the heads-up.
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SacoHarry
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The Cumbrian helmet sold for 2.3 million pounds: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6962NK20101007?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews. No word on who the buyer was. But it's hard to picture a local heritage body being able to come up with that price to retain it.

Edit: This article shows that Tullie House had managed to stay in the running all the way up to 1.7 million pounds, a sign of how much the people wanted it to stay put! Will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
Edited by SacoHarry, Oct 7 2010, 11:10 AM.
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