Record number: CHEGM: 1999 6 36
Object name: inscribed tombstone
Description: Tombstone of Legion XX Valeria Victrix. Broken fragments of a tombstone, containing a sepulchral inscription on an ansate panel, much damaged; secondary dowel-holes have been cut on the top and at the right side. This badly damaged slab was set up to commemorate one of the highest ranked officers. He was the praefectus castrorum or camp prefect who was in charge of administration in the fortress. He was also acting commander of the legion in the absence of the legatus.
Period: Roman3rd century
Place found: North Wall (East), Chester
Dimensions: height 38 inches; width 22 inches
Inscription: D M / M AVRELIVS ALEXAND / PRAEF CAST LEG XX / NAT SYRVS OS / X AN LXXII C / YCES ET S
D(is) M(anibus) M(arcus) Aurelius Alexand(er) praef(ectus) cast(rorum) leg(ionis) XX [V(aleriae) V(ictricis)] nat(ione) Syrus Os[r(oenus) vi]x(it) an(nos) lxxii[...] c[...]yces et S[...
To the spirits of the departed: Marcus Aurelius Alexander, Prefect of the Camp of the Twentieth Legion, Valeria Victrix, by birth a Syrian of Osroene, lived 72 years...; ...yces and S...[his heirs, set this up]
Osroene was a district which is now in eastern Turkey. The few letters at the end of the inscription appear to be oriental personal names. These may have been Alexander’s heirs. The names M Aurelius seem to show that this Syrian could not have been given citizenship on enlistment before AD 161. If so, his death at the age of 72 cannot have occurred before Caracalla's reign. Natione is common third-century usage. The title praefectus castrorum gave place to praefectus legionis in the third century, and is here a survival. Latin