Of Hercules and Proserpina: classical mythology in Roman Lincolnshire

Let’s face it, the average person in Roman Britain wasn’t sat around in a toga in an expensively decorated villa reading the works of Virgil. The level of knowledge of classical literature and mythology in the province is a fascinating subject though, as we get occasional tantalising glimpses of a level of education and understanding that might be considered above average. Continue reading

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Aurelia Concessa – Branston’s virtuous girl

In 1964, an interesting Roman inscription was discovered during ploughing at Branston, four miles southeast of Lincoln. Of ‘ansate’ form (referencing the handle-like decorative elements either side of the inscription), the stone measures 92cm x 50cm and forms a monument for a girl named Aurelia Concessa. Continue reading

For the public good? Euergetism in Roman Lincolnshire

Towns in the Roman Empire did not develop primarily through centralised state support. Although certain actions, such as the construction of defensive walls, may have required specific imperial permission and in some cases received official support from the provincial government or army in the form of money or manpower, most public structures relied instead on the benevolence of prominent local citizens. This act of giving one’s own resources to improve the communal urban environment is known as ‘euergetism’. Continue reading

Slavery in Roman Lincolnshire

Slavery was an accepted part of the economy in the ancient world. Defeated peoples might expect to have been enslaved by their conquerors, and the desperation of poverty could lead to children being sold to slave traders to provide money for the family. In desperately sad situations, entering or being sold into slavery may have been the only chance to avoid starvation.  Continue reading

Mandacus and his whetstone – a new inscription from Roman Lincolnshire

The Portable Antiquities Scheme have recently recorded a new object from Lincolnshire with that most interesting of things – an inscribed personal name. The object in question is not actually a recent find, but has only recently come to light for recording – a perfect example not only of what important objects might still be lurking in private collections, but also the value of the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a vehicle for bringing such items to scholarly attention. Continue reading