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Roman relief centurion Marcus Caelius, Varus battle

Roman relief centurion Marcus Caelius, Varus battle

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Centurion Marcus Caelius, Varus battle - Caelius stone

Grave stone of Marcus Caelius   

Marcus Caelius was a centurion of the eighteenth legion Augusta. This known grave stone from the 1st Century AD was found in Castra Vetera today's Xanten and verifies the death of the Roman soldier Marcus Caelius in the Varus battle 9th AD. The stone is currently the only archaeological, written source about the much-discussed "Battle of the Teutoburg Forest."   

The Latin inscription reads:   

M (arco) Caelio T (iti) f (ilio) Lem (onia tribu) Bon (onia) 

[I] o (rdini) leg (ionis) XIIX ann (orum) LIII 

[Ce] cidit bello Variano ossa 

[Lib (ertorum) i] nferre licebit P (ublius) Caelius T (iti) f (Filius) 

Lem (onia tribu) frater fecit

The translation of the inscription reads:  

"The Marcus Caelius, son of Titus, of the constituency Lemonia from Bononia (Bologna), centurion 1st Order of the 18th Legion, 53.5 years old. He died in the war of Varus. The bones of the released may be buried here. His brother Publius Caelius, son of Titus, of the constituency Lemonia has made (the grave stone). "   

It is expected that after the demise of the Legion his brother Publius gave the order for a memorial stone. From the inscription of the Caelius-stone you can learn about his life: the sons of Titus - Marcus and Publius - come from Bononia, today in Bologna, Italy. Marcus Caelius died at age 53.5. He held the rank of centurion primi ordinis in the 18th Legion. He possessed Roman citizenship by registration in the municipality Lemonia.

The Markus Caelius relief shows him highly decorated with the "jewelry" of its military and rank insignia. Over his chest armor are braided leather straps, called phalerae (military awards) attached. On the wrists he wears armillae (also a military award). On his shoulders, are torques twisted in itself. In his right hand he holds the vitis a vine stock that was used as a baton for misconduct of soldiers. The two men left and right behind him, are the released men of Marcus Caelius, which after her death were found in his tomb, to share their final resting place.   

The original is 1.37 meters high and 1.08 meters wide.    


  • Dimensions of Caelius replica 25x19cm 


  • Original since 1820 in the Landesmuseum in Bonn 

  • Certificate of Description


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