ROMAN ARCHAEOLOGY IN THE SHIRE. Instapundit called my attention to this site, which gives a wonderful picture of what it’s like to be an archaeologist. I looked at it first for its photos of places where hobbits might be seen, but I was also happy with the photos of the Roman ruins that are being excavated. I was familiar with the abbreviation SPQR (the Senate and the people of Rome), but this post shows how pervasive and how formulaic Roman religion seems to have been. In this place in Northumbria, a prefect set up a shrine in thanks to Jupiter. The post comments on the abbreviations. The abbreviations in this religious offering which required a great effort show how routine the offering was—so formulaic that abbreviations were used. “I.O.M.” stands for “jovi optimo maximo” (Jupiter best and greatest). V.S.L.M. stands for “Votum Solvit Libens Merito” (“kept his promise freely to [the god who] deserved it.”) as explained here.

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