Inscription to Hecules

Inscription to the god Hercules, showing the name for York, Eboracum. Yorkshire Museum, York.

Carved into one of the foundation stones of the wall of  Waterstones bookshop on High Ousegate is a copy of an inscribed stone found during the building’s construction in 1843. 

The original is in the collection of the Yorkshire Museum.  It describes the restoration of a temple dedicated to one of the many Roman gods, Hercules, by Perpetuninus and Aeternus, and possibly others.  References to the Roman name for York are rare in the city's archaeology and this is the only object in the museum’s collection that records the word 'Eboracum'. 

The inscription gives the settlement its official designation as a Colonia, the highest form of self-governing city in the Roman Empire.  It was found with two other inscriptions each recording restoration works and suggests that a fire may have swept through an area of the settlement comprising at least one temple and a shrine, just outside the fortress itself.


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