Ancient Stories: Oceanus Answer Key

Salve! (Hello!)

In our last post, we set you a challenge – decoding the message on the second Roman altar which was fished out of the River Tyne. Let’s see how you have fared with your first foray into reading Latin inscriptions!

This short video looks at who this altar was for, and why it was set up. You can also find an answer key for the worksheet below.

Some people think the altars were placed on the Roman bridge, others think they might have been dropped in the river deliberately – we’d love to hear what you think!

Let’s review the abbreviations we’ve encountered so far in our inscriptions:

LEG – legio

A legion: a group of soldiers in the Roman army, usually between 4,000 – 6,000 men! Each legion had its own number and name.

VI (with overline) – 6

The Roman numeral for the number six


The name of the sixth legion, and the Latin word for ‘Victorious!’

P – pia

An honorary title awarded to the sixth legion, meaning Loyal

F – fidelis

An honorary title awarded to the sixth legion, meaning Faithful

We also learned that Latin is an inflected language: endings of words will change depending on how they are being used in a sentence. We’ve seen this happen with the names on our altars: when the Romans wanted to say it was to or for a male god, they swap the usual masculine -us ending for -o

Neptuno – to Neptunus (we usually call him ‘Neptune’!)

Oceano – to Oceanus

Not all names ended in -us though, so let’s keep a close eye on the names in our next inscriptions to see if we can spot more endings for the dative case!


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