Gilsland: Birdoswald Relief Carving


On display as part of an exhibition at Birdoswald Roman Fort is the above stone relief. Carved in local sandstone, the relief depicts Hercules (left) and Jupiter (right) and was found in 1821. Associated with valour, hardiness and endurance, Hercules was normally depicted holding a club. Symbolising the virtues of justice, good faith and honour, Jupiter became the protector of state and was the god of light and sky responsible for rain, hail, snow and thunder. Jupiter was also a warrior god whose aid was invoked before military undertaking and a portion of the spoils of war were always offered to him. The thunderbolt, which is missing, was raised in his hand to hurl and may have been made of iron or wood. He wears a clock which passes over his chest and hangs down by his left side.


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