- Museum number
Silver votive plaque inscribed with dedication to Mars Toutatis by Tiberius Claudius Primus. Description: This is by far the largest known votive plaque, not only from Britain, but from anywhere in the Empire, and it is relatively well preserved. It assumes the shape of a broad leaf, tapering towards a point which culminates in a triple finial, the central point being lozenge-shaped and the surrounding two curving outwards. The right hand extension is damaged. A thick, central vein runs the length of the plaque with incised veins radiating from it at oblique angles. It bears no figure decoration but towards the lower end is a reserved ansate panel which bears the inscription, written in uneven, perforated letters. The plaque has been broken in half, about two-thirds along its length, and an attempt at repair has been made by boring four holes along each edge of the break, presumably in order to attach both halves to a backing. However, since the break is not shown in the early illustrations of the piece it must have presumably been sustained after discovery.
- Production date
Height: 529 millimetres
Weight: 286.20 grammes
Width: 261.50 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This temple hoard was found about 1743. The temple was probably dedicated to Mars, the Roman god of war, who is often mentioned and depicted on the objects in the hoard.
The very large silver votive leaf is inscribed with a dedication to Mars Toutatis by a man called Tiberius Claudius Primus. Toutatis was a native deity, and the combination of Latin and Celtic god-names is a recurring feature of religion in Roman Britain.
T.W. Potter, Roman Britain, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1997), p. 76, fig. 68
Plaques dedicated to Mars
Five plaques show or name Mars. The largest has a dedicatory inscription to Mars Toutatis by Tiberius Claudius Primus, freedman of Attius. The gilded plaque, with an image of Mars before a temple, has an inscription to Mars Alator, by Censorinus, son of Gemellus. Toutatis and Alator were native gods. Combining Latin and Celtic god-names is a common feature of Romano-British religion.
PY 1817, 0308. 2-6
- On display (G49/dc20)
- Exhibition history
2016 11 Mar- 25 Sep, Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, Celts.
2015-2016 24 Sep-31 Jan, London, BM, G30, 'Celts: Art and Identity'
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number