“Oclatius, son of Carvus, standard-bearer to the Ala Afrorum, of the tribe of the Tungri. His brother and heir erected this memorial.” (Latin inscription on the grave stele for a Roman soldier)
In the second half of the 1st century AD the Roman cavalry unit Ala Afrorum was stationed on the Lower Rhine and manned with Germanic soldiers from the region. Oclatius was a Tungrian, that is, he came from the area around Tongeren in today’s Belgium. On the grave stele the dead man holds a standard in his right hand. Like a banner it served as a rallying point for the soldiers on the field of battle. Only very reliable soldiers were chosen to be standard-bearers. In his left hand Oclatius carries a service book consisting of several small wax tablets that indicates his position as treasurer for the troop. Only his weapon belt and the sword show Oclatius to be a soldier. On the lower part of the stele is his groom. The slave is leading by the reins a horse fitted out with a parade blanket and a horned saddle. On his shoulder he is carrying what may be a bundle of spears.