Inscriptions can be dated according to the use of specific formulas or phrases. Marie-Thérèse Raepsaet-Charlier, in a work entitled Diis Deabusque Sacrum, Formulaire votif et datation dans les Trois Gaules et les deux Germanies, has studied closely the various votive phrases and their possible dating. The use of the formulas Dea (‘Goddess’) /Deo (‘God’) and In h(onorem) d(omus) d(ivinae) (‘In honour of the Divine House’), which associates the Imperial House to private and public cults, were in use from the mid-2nd c. AD.43 Their association in the inscriptions dates from the first half of the 3rd c. AD.44 The term sanctus/sancta (‘sacred’), sometimes given to the deities, appeared in the mid-2nd c. AD and survived until the end of the 3rd c. AD.45 The formula pro salute (‘for the safety of’), generally followed by the genitive form of the person’s name or by the adjective suo/sua (‘his’,‘her’), indicates that the inscription dates from the end of the 2nd c. AD to around 250 AD.46 As for the terms sacrum (‘sacred’) and Augustus/Augusta (‘August’), associating the invoked deities to the Emperor, they cannot be used as chronological criterions, for they were used from the beginning of the 1st c. AD until the 3rd c. AD.47
Raepsaet-Charlier, 1993, pp. 9-17.
This formula was very common in the epigraphy of Belgica and the two Germanies. Raepsaet-Charlier, 1993, p. 18.
Raepsaet-Charlier, 1993, pp. 22-23.
Raepsaet-Charlier, 1993, pp. 26-27.
Raepsaet-Charlier, 1993, pp. 19-21, 24-25.