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The “hand of god” from Roman times was discovered in Vindolanda

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A bare bronze arm in the Roman camp of Vindolanda
Vindolanda Trust

A “hand of god” from Roman times was discovered – such sensational messages flow from the vicinity of Hadrian’s wall. The object is made of bronze, weighs about 2.3 kg and according to the researchers was probably a gift to the deity to support the Romans in the military expedition or to be a form of thanks for the care.

Scientists say this is about the invasion of Scotland dating back to 209-210 CE. From the information we know, it was an extremely bloody campaign involving around 50,000 Legionaries who reached modern Aberdeenshire. The whole expedition was personally commanded by Emperor Septimus Severus himself. According to Cassius Dion, the emperor was to personally instruct soldiers to bloody crack down on the tribes of Caledonia, without sparing even women and children. We do not know whether the emperor really had such a ruthless stance towards the barbarians of the north, but this bears witness to how embittered the Romans were embittered by the constant insurgency and attacks by the Caledonians on roman borders.

This bronze hand was probably dedicated to the deity Jupiter Dolichenus by the Roman commander. This god was the Syrian version of The Roman Jupiter, which was readily adopted in the Roman army. This type of hand was usually fixed on a tree and then used to bless the followers in the temple. The hand was found in a small swamp, which was less than 15 meters from the place where the temple was built. The place of worship was located inside the Vindolanda camp, which was rather unheard of and suggested that the soldiers were really closely associated with the deity. The regiment, which was stationed there, had Gallic origins and consisted of infantry and auxilia cavalry – the so-called . 4th Cohort of Galas.

A bare bronze arm in the Roman camp of Vindolanda

The commander of the unit was a certain Sulpicius Pudens, who personally funded two main altars inside the temple and one outside. Archaeologists clearly claim that the bronze hand found is proof that the war in Scotland was indeed extremely bloody and brutal. The sacrifice made in honour of the caring deity proves that the individual was grateful for the end of the victorious conflict and strongly religious.

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