Tombstone of Marcus Caelius
Marcus Caelius was a centurion of the Legio XVIII Augusta. This well-known gravestone from the 1st century A.D. was found in Castra Vetera, today's Xanten and proves the death of the Roman soldier Marcus Caelius in the Varus Battle in the 9th century A.D. The stone is the only archaeological, written source about the much discussed 'Battle of the Teutoburg Forest'.
- Dimensions of the Caelius replica 25x19cm
- Original since 1820 in the Landesmuseum Bonn
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(ilius)
Lem(onia tribu) frater fecit
The translation of the inscription reads:
'To Marcus Caelius, son of Titus, from the electoral district of Lemonia, from Bononia (Bologna), centurion 1st order of the 18th Legion, 53.5 years old. He died in the Varus war. The bones of the freedmen may be buried here. His brother Publius Caelius, son of Titus, from the constituency of Lemonia, made (the tombstone).'
It can be assumed that after the demise of the legion, his brother Publius commissioned a memorial stone. From the inscription on the Caelius stone, some statements can be made about his life: Titus' sons - Marcus and Publius - were from Bononia, now Bologna in Italy. Marcus Caelius was 53.5 years old in the year of his death. He held the rank of centurio primi ordinis in the 18th legion. He held Roman citizenship by virtue of being registered in the municipal district of Lemonia.
The Mark Caelius relief shows him highly decorated with the 'jewelry' of his military and rank insignia. Above his breastplate, made of braided leather straps, are so-called phalerae (military decorations). On his wrists he wears armillae (also a military decoration). On the shoulders the torques turned in on themselves. In his right hand he holds the vitis, a vine that was used as a baton in case of misbehavior of the soldiers. The two men on the left and right behind him, are the freedmen of Marcus Caelius, who after their death were allowed to find their final resting place in his tomb.
The original is 1.37 meters high and 1.08 meters wide.
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