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The stone from the old road

The Plaque
In the film, when Alison (Sheila Sim) is waiting for her room in The Hand of Glory she and Woodcock talk about the stone on the wall.

Woodcock tells Alison that it was found on "the old road" (the Pilgrim's Way) and we have a very brief view of it.

So we wondered what the writing on it was.

PaPAS member Sabrina Punis from Trieste, Italy supplied a translation of the majority of it. She said ...

It seems to be, very appropriately, the epitaph of a soldier - a Roman veteran named M(arcus) Herennius Tolemaeus, born in Egypt - nat(us) Aegy(pti) t(e)r(ra), who was in the army for 25 years - mil(itavit) an(nos) XXV. The inscription proceeds to record how many years he lived - vix(it) an(nos) - but I can't make out the following number. The gravestone paying homage to the deserving deceased was paid for by his heir - her(es) b(ene) m(erenti) f(ecit).

His rank and the name of his legion are probably also mentioned, but I'm really lost in the maze of abbreviations used in Roman epigraphs. An expert could decipher the inscription at a glance and place it chronologically just by looking at the shape of the carved letters (although I wonder what he would do if faced with acronyms such as AMOLAD, ACT or IKWIG...).

Well done Sabrina, another mystery solved. Now we can just wonder how they managed to find the stone. Maybe Emeric found it in the British Museum, he was fond of exploring there.

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