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Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 14:32 UK
Roman tombstone in Cirencester featured in BBC project

Genialis' tombstone was one of the Corinium Museum's earliest acquisitions

A Roman tombstone in Cirencester has caught the attention of those involved with the BBC's A History of the World project.

It is one of only 50 such tombstones from the whole of the Roman Empire and one of 10 or so in this country.

Genialis' tombstone was carved from local limestone in the first century and features a relief of a Roman cavalryman.

Many details of the soldier's dress and armour have been included by the sculptor.

"The Tombstone is displayed in our early Roman gallery and stands just behind the reconstructed Roman cavalryman, based on Genialis," said Dr John Paddock, head of Cultural Services at Cotswold District Council.

"Both the figure and the tombstone immediately attract our visitors providing a real wow factor."


The inscription reads: Sextus Valerius Genialis, trooper of the (first) cavalry regiment of Thracians, a Frisian tribesman, in the troop of Genialis, aged 40, of 20 years service, lies buried here. His heir had this set up.

It dates from the very beginning of the Roman conquest of this island and tells us about the origins, social position and beliefs of the soldiers of the Roman army.

Genialis was a Frisian (from Holland) in a unit of Thracians (modern Bulgaria) which shows just how cosmopolitan the Roman army had become.

The tombstone was found in Watermoor, Cirencester, in 1836 and was one of the Corinium Museum's earliest acquisitions.

Gloucestershire boasts two important Roman cities (Gloucester and Cirencester) and a remarkable collection of well appointed villas and a host of other settlements, including Chedworth, Great Witcombe and Woodchester.

The great Roman road The Fosse Way runs the length of the county and significant stretches of other Roman roads pass through Gloucestershire.

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