7

The later Roman city (c. AD 250-350)

Temples and the riverside wall

Two inscribed altars of Lincolnshire limestone reused in late third- or fourth-century foundations in the south-west corner of the city provide further information on the temples of the later city (Hassall 1980, 195-8). According to translations proposed by Mark Hassall one of the altars reads ‘Aquilinus the emperor’s freedman and Mercator and Audax and Graecus restored this temple which had fallen down through old age for (or to) Jupiter best and greatest’, although the dedication to Jupiter is not certain. The other announced that ‘In honour of the divine (i.e. imperial) house, Marcus Martiannius Pulcher, deputy imperial propraetorian legate of two emperors ordered the temple of Isis…which had fallen down through old age, to be restored’ (Fig. 47). Pulcher, probably an acting governor of the province, is nowhere else recorded but the information given in the inscription, notably the reference to two emperors, suggests a date of 251-53 or 253-59 (Hassall 1980). These inscriptions might concern building work within the religious complex supposed to have occupied this part of the city. It is notable that a temple was in disrepair here by the middle of the third century; the programmes of rebuilding at the start of the century may have been followed by a period of comparative neglect. Whilst on the subject of temple repair it is perhaps also worth mentioning an inscription found in Budge Row which apparently records the restoration of a temple or shrine dedicated to the Mother Goddesses (RIB 2).

The other main building project of the mid third century was the construction of a riverside wall. It is probable that the city wall of c. AD 200 had not been taken along the waterfront and this omission seems to have been made good later in the third century. The existence of the Roman riverside wall, previously a matter of some uncertainty, was conclusively established by excavations at Baynard’s Castle, in Upper Thames Street, where a tile-coursed stone wall about 2.2m wide had been built over a chalk foundation raft set over timber piles (Hill et al. 1980, 57-64). This was the western end of the wall; the marshier ground by the confluence of

-106-

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