Matronae Veteranehae

matronae-veteranehae

Credit: RLMB

This is a fragment of an altar to the Matronae Veteranehae, the Matrons of Veterans. It comes from the area around Embken and Wollersheim, which are neighborhoods of modern-day Nideggen, Germany. Various inscriptions have been found in the area, probably all from the same sanctuary. It dates from 150-200 C.E.

This partial inscription reads:

MAT
VETER
L-SEV
TAC

Which probably is short for: Mat[ronis] / Veter[anehis] / L[ucius] Sev[erinus] / Tac[itus?] –/—-, “To the Matronae Veteranehae, Lucius Severinus Tacitus–/—-”

The end of the inscription may have been a formula such as VSLM (votum solvit libens merito, “fulfilled his vow willingly and deservedly” or DD (donum dedit, “gave this gift”).

In The Cult of the Matronae in the Roman Rhineland, Alex Garman writes:

“Veteranehae” derives from the Latin veterani which means retired soldiers. The name and the location of the site suggest that some of the surrounding farms were owned or managed by retired Roman soldiers. The inscriptions […] do not record any ranks or positions held. (55)

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4 responses to “Matronae Veteranehae

  • angela1313

    I find these historic bits fascinating. Thank you for posting.

  • lornasmithers

    Interesting… a town near me, Ribchester, was once called Bremetenacum Veteranorum and was associated with veteran soldiers. Interestingly the Mothers were worshipped there. However most of the soldiers were Samartian rather than Germanic.

    • Heathen Chinese

      Whoa, that is super interesting. Since soldiers were recruited from all across the Empire, and then resettled on frontiers, the temple to the Matronae Veteranehae in Germania doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those Matrons or Mothers were necessarily themselves Germanic in origin. The Alex Garman book actually has an amazing story of one of the inscriptions coming from a soldier giving thanks for surviving a campaign in Central Asia (possibly even near Sarmatia).

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