Shield boss of Junius Dubitatus

Roman Britain, early 2nd century AD
Found near the mouth of the River Tyne in 1867

This is the bronze centre panel from a wooden legionary shield of curved rectangular shape. It has been decorated with punched and incised designs that are enhanced by the application of a tinned surface to the background. The effect would have been of golden-coloured figures on a silver-coloured background.

The motifs include the four seasons (one in each corner); an eagle clutching an olive branch (on the central circular boss), with military standards at each side; Mars, god of war, above the boss; and a bull below. The bull was the emblem of the 8th legion Augusta. A detachment of that legion served in Britain under the emperor Hadrian (reigned AD 117-38). The inscription above the standards, LEG VIII AVG, shows that the shield belonged to a soldier in that legion. In fact, we know his name because he marked it on the left edge of the panel with a pointed tool: IVL MAGNI IVNI DVBITATI, which translates as 'the property of Junius Dubitatus, of Julius Magnus' century'.

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More information


T.W. Potter, Roman Britain-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)

M.C. Bishop and J.C.N. Coulston, Roman military equipment: from (London, Batsford, 1993)


Height: 30.000 cm
Width: 26.000 cm

Museum number

P&EE 1893 12-13 1



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