Fragment of Legio IX Hispana Tablet

Fragment of Legio IX Hispana Tablet

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Legio VI Victrix

As governor of Illyricum and the Gallic provinces in 58 BC, a Legio VI was one of the garrison units Julius Caesar had at his disposal. Raised in Cisalpine Gaul in 52 BC, Caesar's Sixth Legion served with him during his entire career as Consul and Dictator, and was withdrawn to Hispania in 49 BC. Caesar took Legio VI to Alexandria to settle the dispute in Egypt between Cleopatra and Ptolemy. Alexandria was under siege and the Legion was almost wiped out, losing almost two thirds of its entire manpower. Caesar eventually triumphed when reinforcements arrived and during this campaign the 6th Legion seems to have earned the name "Ferrata" (Ironclad).

The legion was apparently disbanded in 45 BC establishing a colony at Arelate (Arles), but was re-formed by Lepidus the following year and given over to Marcus Antonius the year after that. Following the defeat of the Republican generals Cassius and Brutus in successive battles at Philippi in 42 BC a colony was again formed from retired veterans of the 6th, at Beneventum. In 41 BC, however, some remaining members of Legio VI Ferrata seem to have been taken by Antonius to the East.

Another Legio VI that was originally stationed in Hispania evidently saw action at Perusia, in central Italia, also in 41 BC. This in itself is difficult to explain since veterans of the 6th were supposed to have been either retired or sent east with Antonius. It seems that Octavian had no reservations about using duplicate legionary numerals already in use by Antonius. Antonius had serving with him V Alaudae, VI Ferrata and X Equestris, but Octavian's army included a V (the later Macedonica), VI Hispaniensis (the later Victrix) and X (Fretensis). Of Octavian's legions, V and X, and less certainly VI, used the bull-emblem on their legionary standard, which would normally indicate a foundation by Caesar but the true Caesarian legions with these numerals (Alaudae, Ferrata and Equestris) were apparently with Antony. It seems safe to say that Octavian used some of the retired veterans of Caesars Sixth Legion at Beneventum to form the core of his own Sixth Legion used at Perusia. It is very possible then that both Legio VI Hispaniensis (Victrix) and VI Ferrata originated from Caesar's Sixth Legion.

At the battle of Actium in 31 BC, Antonius' VI Ferrata was severely defeated by Octavian's forces, including his version of the 6th. Following Actium, another colony of veterans seems to have been created at Byllis, probably together with soldiers from other legions, and the remainder of VI Ferrata was moved to Syria where it was to remain. At this point Legio VI Victrix, still called Hispaniensis, seems to have been returned to Hispania.

The mysterious end of Rome’s glorious Ninth Legion

Photo: Men in Roman military uniforms. Photo: Mykola Korolkov/Dreamstime

The Roman army is legendary: whether you think of Caesar’s Republican days or the greatness of the Empire, its strength, prowess, organization are not only known among classicists and military historians, but also among common people, used to the centurions and legionaries pictured in Hollywood movies.

One of the most recent cinematic portrayals of Rome’s fearless soldiers is Kevin MacDonald’s The Eagle, released in 2011, where the mysterious end of one of Rome’s most trusted legions, the Legio IX Hispanaor, to say it in English, the Ninth, is told. The movie supports one of the theories behind its sudden disappearance from history’s annals: it was entirely annihilated by Queen Boudicca’s revolutionary warriors, or was left so weakened by their aggression to being eventually incorporated into another legion, the Legio VI Victrix, the Victorious Sixth, created by Octavian — soon to be Emperor Augustus. Truth is, the Ninth went from being the strongest, most courageous of all legions, to disappearance and, what seems even more strange, to being almost forgotten by the Romans.

But what do we know, historically, about the Ninth? Its first inception, the Legio IX Triumphalis Macedonica, fought with Caesar in Gaul in a series of crucial battles, including that of Alesia, where the fierce Gaulish people were finally subdued. Later, during the civil war, it was sent by Caesar to the Spanish peninsula, then called to fight in Macedonia, not before returning to Italy, revolting, being disbanded and reformed by Caesar himself. In Macedonia, the Ninth helped Caesar defeating Pompey at Pharsalus. It was then moved to Africa and, upon the coming of a lengthy period of peace, its members where finally allowed to retire. Once a soldier, always a soldier they say, and that must have been true for the former members of the Ninth, who couldn’t adapt to civilian life an asked to Octavian (or Anthony: history gets hazy there), in 44 BC, to reconstitute the legion, which got then the name of Legio IX Hispana.

We don’t really know exactly what happened to the Legio IX Hispana. Photo: Mykola Korolkov/Dreamstime

After a number of years fighting around Europe, the Ninth was sent to Britain in 43 AD, where it took part to the Roman conquest under the rule of Emperor Claudius. Here, history tells us, the legion suffered deadly losses against Boudicca’s rebels in 60-61 AD. After that, little about it is known: some say it may have been reformed with soldiers coming from other legions and remained in Britain, others think it was moved somewhere else. Last official records of the legion date to the early 2nd century, around 108.

And that’s where the mystery begins.

Now, there are a number of theories about the Legio IX’s demise, more or less historically founded. Let’s begin with the one we partly mentioned, the one that inspired MacDonald’s 2011 movie The Eagle. In truth, he wasn’t the first one to propose the Ninth was annihilated by Britain’s rebels, he was inspired by a very popular 1954 novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth, where a fictional protagonist, Roman soldier Marcus Aquila, travels to the Adrian Wall to find out the truth about his own father’s, a member of the Ninth, disappearance.

Sutcliff based her work on a theory that goes as follow: the Ninth, who had remained in Britain after being defeated by Boudicca, was called to sedate a revolt in Caledonia, in 117 AD. Here, they were annihilated by local warriors and erased from the memory of time. Sutcliff continues stating the theory is supported by archaeological findings, namely, a headless Roman eagle found in the mid-20th century near Silchester. However, this seems a pretty flimsy piece of evidence, as the eagle was a symbol of all legions, not only of the Ninth. This doesn’t mean that the Ninth wasn’t in Scotland, though, as it seems, on the basis of epigraphical fragments found around the Adrian Wall, that it participated to the construction of a stone building there during the 12th year of Emperor Trajan’s rule, that is, between December 107 and December 108 AD. While this epigraph could prove the legion was in Britain after the Boudicca debacle, it doesn’t support in any way the idea it was destroyed by a group of Scottish rebels, as Sutcliff maintains.

However, sources coeval to the supposed last years of the Ninth, including historian Marcus Cornelius Fronto, do note that a large number of Roman soldiers were killed by British rebels in the 2nd century AD. The later (3rd century) Historia Augusta confirms it, noting that the people of Britain were hard to control and rebelled often. Epigraphical evidence found near Frosinone, Lazio, proves that fresh troops were sent to England in those years, in an attempt to control revolts, including a new legion, the Sixth, which was sent to York. It isn’t so difficult to imagine, then, that an already weakened Ninth legion could have ended its days fighting rebellions in the northern-most lands of Rome’s British possessions or, as other historians maintain, that it may have been incorporated into the new Sixth legion.

While the “British hypothesis” is the one that attracted popular attention the most, historians are far from agreeing on it. There are, in fact, a series of other ideas we should take into account: some say the Ninth was strategically moved from Britain to the Middle East, where it was eventually and finally defeated by the Persians around 160 AD. Another theory wants it transferred to modern day Germany, along the lower Rhine river, a fact supported by a number of archaeological findings, while another still talks about a transfer to Cappadocia (modern Turkey) and wants the end of the Ninth taking place in 161 AD in Armenia, during an ambush.

The legendary Ninth disappeared after centuries of loyal and courageous service, but its myth, symbolized by the interest its fate still rises today, remains strong.

A history mystery: Legio IX Hispana

Often times, I see requests in here for mysteries that aren’t related to foul play and possible murders. Well, I decided to do a write-up on one of my favorite historical mysteries: the fate of the Legio IX Hispana. Sorry that it isn’t my best writing, there’s a lot if information I tried to condense. Also, sorry for the shit formatting. Reddit mobile is a whole new world. :)

By the time of the Roman Invasion of Britain, the IX was already an old and decorated legion. Historian Stephen Dando-Collins proposes the legion was raised by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in 65 BCE, and was inherited by Julius Caeser to fight in his Gallic Wars. The Legion was disbanded for a while after Caesars African campaign, but was revived and remained with Emperor Octavian, staying in service from the campaign against the Cantabrians (25-13 BE), through the Roman Invasion of Britain.

In CE 43, the legion participated in the Roman Invasion of Britain, under Emperor Claudius and General Aulus Plautius. They constructed a stone fort in Lincoln, called Lindum Colonia, in about 50 CE. A few years after, the legion subdued the first rebellion of Venutius, King of the Brigantes, around what is now Yorkshire. They suffered a rather horrible loss to Boudica at the infamous Battle of Camulodunum, where most of the foot soldiers were killed. This left the Legion with mostly cavalry, until legionaries from the Germania provinces reinforced their number.

In 71-72 CE, the Ninth participated in a largely more successful campaign, again against the Brigantes, and at this point they built a stone fortress at Eboracum, now called York. After some time spent fighting in Caledonia (Scotland), the legion returns to this fortress to work on rebuilding it, in the year 108 CE. Here, on a stone tablet, is the last known activity of the entire Legio IX Hispana. For many years, there was no evidence found about the legion, at all. Then, in 2015, tile stamps containing the names of several ranked officers of the Ninth, along with a pendant inscribed with “LEG HISP IX”, were discovered at the site of a legionary fortress at Nijmegen (Netherlands). These artifacts have been dated from any time between 104 and 120 CE.

So, what happened? How did roughly 5,200 men disappear from all historical record, seemingly without a trace? There are a few theories. The most popular seems to be that the legion encountered some sort of resistance, either in York or coming from Scotland, and was wiped out. Marcus Cornelius Fronto, a contemporary Roman historian, had warned Marcus Aurelius not to repeat Hadrian’s past mistakes in Britain, where he alludes to a great and tragic Roman loss upon the island. In 122 CE, Hadrian himself paid a visit to the islands, and some historians speculate this may have been in response to a great military tragedy, also spurring him to build his famous wall. There are various tombstones in Northumberland alluding to a great conflict between Romans and the local populace that seems to have ended badly. Are these artifacts evidence of a great Roman defeat in the North of Britain?

If the inscriptions at Nijmegen really do date to after 108 CE, then they exist as evidence that the Legion had made it out of Britain and back into the mainland. Some historians argue that there are two likely battles that may have led to the subsequent destruction of the Legion: the Second Jewish Revolt in Judea, and the Parthian War of Marcus Aurelius. The latter is particularly intriguing. Historian Cassius Dio claimed that a Parthian army surrounded and annihilated a Roman legion in what is now Armenia. However, there were only two legions in the area at the time and neither was destroyed by the Parthians. Could this mystery unit have been the Legio IX Hispana? Many argue that there is no evidence of the legion ever making it to the east—no records, artifacts, nothing. There is a common belief that the evidence found at Nijmegen actually dates to the 80’s CE, when the legion was recorded in the area fighting Germanic tribes. Historians caution to be careful with the evidence on the name tiles, as many Romans had the same name.

Currently, many still favor the theory that the legion met their end in Britain, and that perhaps someday artifacts will be unearthed attesting to this (such as a mass grave or the like). Until then, we can only speculate. What do you think happened to the legion? Is there a theory you favor, or one I didn’t list?

Таємниця IX Іспанського: Хто стер легіон з історії?

У римській армії все було чітко. Імператор в столиці і намісники в провінціях збирали гори паперів: штатні розклади, списки втрат, повідомлення про призначення, звіти про витрати. Але вся ця бюрократія втратила 5000 легіонерів. Їхня доля туманна.

i Джерело: Музей галло-римської цивілізації


Легіонери озброювалися короткими мечами, метальними списами пілумами та кинджалами. Інше спорядження — щит, панцир, взуття, казанок і т.д. — вони купували самостійно. Після підвищення до декана або центуріона боєць мав купити поножі для захисту ніг, плащ і шолом з гребенем.

Витрати на все це могли перевищувати зарплату легіонера за 7–8 місяців. Тому бідніші громадяни йшли у допоміжні війська і підрозділи велітів, які боролися пращами та дротиками в одних туніках.

Поряд з фалангою македонців і карфагенських гоплітів, римські легіони були найдосконалішою військовою машиною стародавнього світу. У різний час легіон нараховував від 3 до 9 тисяч солдатів, розділених на когорти, допоміжні частини ауксиларії та невеликий загін кавалерії. Легіоном командував легат. Нерідко він також керував провінцією, де був розквартирований його загін. Офіцерським складом легіону можна вважати 5 трибунів, 59 центуріонів і префекта табору старшинами — прапороносців вексиляріїв та аквіліферів, помічників центуріона — опціонів, командирів відділень — деканів і декуріонів, скарбників, хірургів медичної служби валетудинарія.

Кожен легіон отримував унікальне ім’я на честь пам’ятних перемог, подвигів або місця служби: «Той, що охороняє протоку», «Переможний», «Стійкий», «Первородний», «Жайворонки». Кожен отримував від держави штандарт, значок з імперським орлом і прапори з номером. Втрата орла була страшною ганьбою, після якої легіонерів піддавали децимації (страчували кожного 10-го), а частину розформовували.

Багато легіонів згадуються в десятках і сотнях документів протягом 400 років. Можна чітко простежити їхнє створення, бойовий шлях і фінал. Однак існують і кілька підрозділів, доля яких невідома. Наприклад, Дев’ятий Іспанський легіон. Він зник з усіх історичних джерел після 120 року нашої ери, і причина цього досі викликає суперечки.

Шлях до чорного бика

Дев’ятий легіон (Legio IX) був сформований полководцем Гнеєм Помпеєм Великим в 1 сторіччі до нашої ери в Іспанії. Через кілька років він уже прикривав Італію від набігів іллірійців і під командуванням Юлія Цезаря воював з гельветами в Галлії. За іронією долі в громадянській війні за владу над Римом легіон брав участь на боці Цезаря проти свого засновника — Помпея.

Після перемоги в 46 році до нашої ери Цезар розпускає «IX» і дає солдатам землю на Адріатичному узбережжі Італії. Відпочинок від битв тривав лише п’ять років. Після вбивства Цезаря його названий син Октавіан Август збирає ветеранів і веде воювати проти сина Гнея Помпея, Секста Помпея.

З 25 року до нашої ери легіон бере участь у багаторічній кампанії Октавіана проти іспанських племен. Маючи лише легке озброєння, астури та кантабри розгорнули партизанську війну. Тактика засідок і кавалерійських наскоків була такою вдалою, що проти союзу племен римляни кинули 8 легіонів, численні допоміжні війська і флот.

«IX» довелося зачищати незнайому місцевість, перечікувати за щитами атаки кінних лучників, штурмувати селища та осаджувати гору Лас-Медулас — римляни обнесли її ровом і валом довжиною 24 кілометри. Саме в боях з хоробрими астурами, які вважали самогубство кращим за полон, частина оформилась в бойову одиницю з традиціями. Саме тоді Дев’ятий легіон отримав найменування «Іспанський» і знак — чорного бика .

Fragment of Legio IX Hispana Tablet - History

Another great success! The Legion fielded a total of 12 soldiers and 5 civilians over the weekend, plus George Metz of Legio XXIV, Darren Nunez and David Fontaine of Legio III Gallica, Steve Greeley of Legio XIIII GMV, the cooks Merlinia and Fiona of Settmour Swamp, Cassius and Patricia of Imperium Ancient Arts (Nova Roma), John Kolb with his wargames, and my sisters Katy Amt Hanna and Emilie Amt with the Merchant Adventurers booth. I want to thank Emilie in particular for the amazing amount of work she did creating the educational displays: a timeline, writing displays and activities, mosaic-making for the kids, and more. She roped her friends Steven, SJ, and little Giles (as well as several other people) into being models in a wonderful fashion show. Mark Hanna made a fabulous plywood Celt for the "Bean the Barbarian" game. Emilie suckered our father into making cardboard shields for our first attempt at a Kids' Cohort, in which we taught the youngsters a little drill and gave them a certificate for successful completion. They all seemed to enjoy it. Thanks, Pater, and Thanks to Cassius for supplying the certificates.
This year we moved the whole show up onto the lawn between the house and the parking lot, except for roped-off marching area, in order to take advantage of the shade. The temperature was in the 90s both days, so we spent a little less time in armor than usual and kept the marching demos short. But the skies were clear! The only negative thing was the low public attendance, about 100 visitors on Saturday and only 70 or so on Sunday. Those who did come, however, were very appreciative. We even managed to keep pretty much to the published schedule! The Olympics Sunday morning were fun, and Ron made wreaths for the victors. Later we did a display of the evolution of the Roman soldier, ranging from my Greek gear to Steve Greeley in his 3rd century AD outfit--very spiffy! JJ Moskey brought her runestones to read fortunes, and John and Lisa Macek came to try out the first century (having done others).
I can't thank everyone enough for all their help, and for just turning out and being Roman. Special thanks go to Susan Wolfe and her husband and staff at Marietta for their help in organizing the facilities, pavilions, etc. Now it's time to start planning for next year!

There has been a sudden flurry of new Roman groups. First is Legio V Alaudae, founded by Paul Fitsik of Fort Bragg, NC. He has a preliminary website, There have been a lot of inquiries about groups in the southeast US, so this new unit should grow quickly! There are also some noises about a group starting in Atlanta, Georgia, and I'll pass info on that along when it happens.
Legio XII Fulminata has been founded in Orlando, Florida. They will probably focus mainly on SCA combat while pooling their living history efforts with Cohors I Praetoria, which has been in Orlando for several years. The contact for Legio XII is V. Nick Starnes, 4474 Harmony Lane, Orlando, FL 32812, 407---
Out in the west is Cohors V Praetoria, just starting up. In New Mexico contact Ralph Izard, 505--- in Arizona, Phil Holmes, 623---. Someone else in Colorado is considering starting a unit there, too.
Finally, a unit is being founded in Western Canada by Quintus Sertorius of Nova Roma. I'll get more details on these, and they'll all be listed on our Legion's Links page, of course.

Been a while since I've run a "Stuff" article. Just before Roman Days I whipped up a natty scabbard for my new Mainz gladius (an imperfect but good-looking prototype that I got from Albion), red leather with a simple brass frame. The openwork throat came from a handy porch lamp! I also wore the caligae that I finally got a chance to make, and promptly blew out one of the heels. Talk about mad! There must be a design flaw with my patterns, so I'm going to do a little research and re-engineer them. In the meantime, if you're using my patterns, it might be a good idea not to cut out the large rectangular holes at the sides of the heel.
Tom Kolb was sporting his new Republican pectoral at Roman Days, that dinky little square breastplate common to less wealthy legionaries around the Punic War era. His is the "el cheapo" model with simple leather straps, much smarter than the elaborately hinged-together ones that Mike Cope and I have made. Tom was decidedly cooler than those of us in Imperial armor, and made sure that we didn't forget it. Hopefully the whole darn unit won't flee the Empire for a cooler, lighter era.
Several of us were sporting new helmets from Albion Armorers, including Italic type D (Greg Fabic), Gallic type I (Mark Hanna and Owen Hutchins), Coolus E (me), and Coolus C (Roger Moskey). Roger and Greg got their hamatae done, and Roger had a new scutum, which he had browbeaten his wife JJ into painting (nice job, too!). Actually, it was Mike who got Roger's hamata done, a month or so ago. Ron was wearing his new balteus, though the manufacturer (me) still has to make the apron for it.
Oh, and George Metz has a signum for his Legio XXIV, and an eagle! It was part of a lamp that the lucky dog found in a flea market--not metal, but it looks perfect!

Agent Silva (Derek Forrest, UK) sent me a fascinating article by leatherworker Chris Taylor of the Saddler's Den, about his experiments with different types of water flasks. He tried several methods of using an animal bladder, always with the same result: it became very brittle and fragile, and was easily torn or broken. Leather, however, proved to work very well, and is still used in some parts of the world for this purpose, of course. He apparently treats it with tallow to make it waterproof.
A leather water flask could still be hung in the mysterious net bag seen on Trajan's Column. Now all we need is some idea of what shape the thing might have been.

Brian Crawford sent notice of a book for sale from Fragments of Time, Massachusetts: Military Diplomas 1954-1977 by Margaret M. Roxan (University of London Institute of Archaeology, 1978). Detailed publication, including transcription, find spot, present whereabouts and explanation of text from 78 different military diplomas from museums and private collections throughout the world. Softcover with 118 pages. List price: $55. Our price: $40.00 plus $3.20 U.S. postage.
Bill Van Dyne tells of another new book: Caesar's Legions, the Roman Soldier 753bc to 117ad, by Sekunda, Northwood, and Simkins, published by Osprey Publishing, 2000. He says "It is filled with great illustrations, museum photos and a number of photos of one of the author's own reproductions of various helms and swords."
Another new one: Roman Fortresses and their Legions, edited by Richard Brewer. Authors include: Mike Fulford, Mark Hassall, W H Manning, Lawrence Keppie, JJ Wilkes, S Thomas Parker, T F C Blagg, Dietwulf Blaatz, R S O Tomlin and Siegmar von Schnurbein. 187 pages, black and white plates, ISBN 0854312749, $50.00. Available directly from David Brown Book Co.,

Sean Richards of Legio IX Hispana in San Diego asked me to spread the word on these events, being put on together with Legio X Fretensis:
June 17-18, History Timeline at the Grand National Irish Fair, Pasadena CA
June 24-25, San Diego Highland Games, Vista CA
July 1-3, SCA War, Eureka CA. also with Legio II Augusta of Oregon.
July 8-9, Old Fort MacArthur Days, military reenactments from Rome to WWII, San Pedro, CA

Bar Kokhba revolt

The Bar Kokhba revolt (Hebrew: מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא ‎ Mered Bar Kokhba) was a rebellion of the Jews of the Roman province of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba, against the Roman Empire. Fought circa 132–136 CE, [5] it was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars, so it is also known as The Third Jewish–Roman War or The Third Jewish Revolt. Some historians also refer to it as the Second Revolt [6] of Judea, not counting the Kitos War (115–117 CE), which had only marginally been fought in Judea.

The revolt erupted as a result of religious and political tensions in Judea following on the failed First Revolt in 66–73 CE. These tensions were related to the establishment of a large Roman military presence in Judea, changes in administrative life and the economy, together with the outbreak and suppression of Jewish revolts from Mesopotamia to Libya and Cyrenaica. [7] The proximate reasons seem to be the construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins of Jerusalem and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount. [8] The Church Fathers and rabbinic literature emphasize the role of Rufus, governor of Judea, in provoking the revolt. [9]

In 132, the revolt led by Bar Kokhba quickly spread from central Judea across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem). [10] Quintus Tineius Rufus, the provincial governor at the time of the erupting uprising, was attributed with the failure to subdue its early phase. Rufus is last recorded in 132, the first year of the rebellion whether he died or was replaced is uncertain. Despite arrival of significant Roman reinforcements from Syria, Egypt, and Arabia, initial rebel victories over the Romans established an independent state over most parts of Judea Province for over two years, as Simon bar Kokhba took the title of Nasi ("prince"). As well as leading the revolt, he was regarded by many Jews as the Messiah, who would restore their national independence. [11] This setback, however, caused Emperor Hadrian to assemble a large-scale Roman force from across the Empire, which invaded Judea in 134 under the command of General Sextus Julius Severus. The Roman army was made up of six full legions with auxiliaries and elements from up to six additional legions, which finally managed to crush the revolt. [12]

The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of Judean communities, more so than during the First Jewish–Roman War of 70 CE. [13] According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews perished in the war and many more died of hunger and disease. In addition, many Judean war captives were sold into slavery. [14] Dio claims that 985 villages were destroyed (probably somewhat exaggerated). [15] The Jewish communities of Judea were devastated to an extent which some scholars describe as a genocide. [13] [16] However, the Jewish population remained strong in other parts of Palestine, thriving in Galilee, Golan, Bet Shean Valley, and the eastern, southern, and western edges of Judea. [17] Roman casualties were also considered heavy – XXII Deiotariana was disbanded after serious losses. [18] [19] In addition, some historians argue that Legio IX Hispana's disbandment in the mid-2nd century could have been a result of this war. [1] In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, Emperor Hadrian wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina. [20] [21] [22] However, there is only circumstantial evidence linking Hadrian with the name change and the precise date is not certain. [23] The common view that the name change was intended to "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed. [24]

The Bar Kokhba revolt greatly influenced the course of Jewish history and the philosophy of the Jewish religion. Despite easing the persecution of Jews following Hadrian's death in 138 CE, the Romans barred Jews from Jerusalem, except for attendance in Tisha B'Av. Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar Kokhba as "Ben-Kusiba", a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. It was also among the key events to differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. [25] Although Jewish Christians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, [26] they were barred from Jerusalem along with the other Jews. [27]


After the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), the Roman authorities took measures to suppress the rebellious province of Roman Judea. Instead of a procurator, they installed a praetor as a governor and stationed an entire legion, the X Fretensis, in the area. Tensions continued to build up in the wake of the Kitos War, the second large-scale Jewish insurrection in the Eastern Mediterranean during 115–117, the final stages of which saw fighting in Judea. Mismanagement of the province during the early 2nd century might well have led to the proximate causes of the revolt, largely bringing governors with clear anti-Jewish sentiments to run the province. Gargilius Antiques may have preceded Rufus during the 120s. [28] The Church Fathers and rabbinic literature emphasize the role of Rufus in provoking the revolt. [9]

Historians have suggested multiple reasons for the sparking of the Bar Kokhba revolt, long-term and proximate. Several elements are believed to have contributed to the rebellion changes in administrative law, the diffuse presence of Romans, alterations in agricultural practice with a shift from landowning to sharecropping, the impact of a possible period of economic decline, and an upsurge of nationalism, the latter influenced by similar revolts among the Jewish communities in Egypt, Cyrenaica and Mesopotamia during the reign of Trajan in the Kitos War. [8] The proximate reasons seem to centre around the construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins of Jerusalem and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple mount. [8] One interpretation involves the visit in 130 CE of Hadrian to the ruins of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. At first sympathetic towards the Jews, Hadrian promised to rebuild the Temple, but the Jews felt betrayed when they found out that he intended to build a temple dedicated to Jupiter upon the ruins of the Second Temple. [3] A rabbinic version of this story claims that Hadrian planned on rebuilding the Temple, but that a malevolent Samaritan convinced him not to. The reference to a malevolent Samaritan is, however, a familiar device of Jewish literature. [29]

What Really Happened To The Roman Ninth Legion?

The legendary Ninth Legion – Legio IX Hispana (The “Spanish Legion”) – was one of the oldest and most feared units in the Roman army by the early 2nd century AD. Raised by Pompey in 65 BC, it had fought victorious campaigns across the Empire, from Gaul to Africa, Sicily to and Spain and Germania to Britain.

No one knows for sure why, but sometime after 108/9 AD, the legion all but disappeared from the records. The popular version of events – propagated by numerous books, television programmes and films – is that the Ninth, at the time numbering some 4,000 men, was sent to vanquish the Picts of modern day Scotland, and mysteriously never returned.

The real explanation is very likely much more mundane – the unit was probably either simply disbanded, or continued to serve elsewhere, before finally being destroyed at another battle some years later. The myth, as is so often the case, tends to overshadow the truth.

Rome’s Most Fearsome Fighting Machine

Legio IX Hispana was put together in Spain alongside the Sixth, Seventh and Eight Legions in 65 BC, and first came under the command of Julius Caesar, then the Governor of Further Spain, in 61 BC. Expert at inspiring loyalty in his troops, he found one of his most devoted veteran armies in the Ninth. Although no record of the legion’s emblem exists, we can deduce that it was probably a bull, like all of Caesar’s faithful legions.

It served in Gaul throughout the Gallic Wars from 58-51 BC, and during Caesar’s Civil War against Pompey and the Senate from 49-48 BC. Victory at Pharsalus was decisive in ensuring Caesar’s ultimate grip on the Republic, and the Ninth played a key role. He repaid its service by – after his African campaign of 46 BC, and ultimate triumph at the Battle of Thapsus – disbanding the legion, and settling its veterans at Picenum and Histria.

The Ninth’s service didn’t end there, however. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, it was recalled by his adopted son Octavian, and sent into battle against the rebellious Sextus Pompeius in Siciliy. Victory took until 36 BC the legion was then stationed in Macedonia, before promptly being launched into another campaign, the Final War of The Roman Republic, as Octavian faced off against Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, eventually defeating them at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

A legionnaire’s work never done, the Ninth was next posted in Spain, where it fought with distinction in the long battle against the Cantabrians from 25-13 BC, which eventually ensured Roman dominance in the region. This was probably the campaign that earned the all-conquering Ninth its title “Hispana”.

After Spain, the Legio IX Hispana was likely pitched into the imperial army stationed in the Rhine area, to battle against Germanic tribes, then relocated to Pannonia (an area lying roughly within the boundaries of modern Hungary) for a relatively long period sometime after 9 AD. It wasn’t until 43 AD that the legion was on the move again, joining with other Roman forces, under Emperor Claudius and general Aulus Plautius, in invading Britain, where it was eventually stationed at two camps at Longthorpe and Newton-on-Trent.

The Ninth suffered terribly in the revolt led by Boudicca in 60 BC, suffering as much as 50-80% casualties (the battle was recorded by Tacitus as the Massacre of the Ninth). The unit’s pride evidently remained intact, however, because the legion’s commander Quintas Petillius Cerialis wasn’t removed from his post. Restored to strength with reinforcements and regrouped at Lincoln in 65 AD, the legion was next sent to guard the northern fringes of the Empire in York, where it helped build the imperial fortress Eboracum, in its last recorded and datable action on the basis of legionary stamps.

Legend has it that the Ninth later embarked on its fateful march against the Picts, a confederation of tribes located in modern day eastern and northern Scotland, and was annihilated, prompting Emperor Hadrian to cut his losses in the north of Britain and build his famous wall from coast to coast. This appears to be the point where myth overtakes reality however – numerous scraps of evidence suggest the Legio IX Hispana met a different fate.

Certainly its true that Roman historians could be very reticent in recording the facts about legions that had been disgraced, and officials weren’t adverse to covering up as best as possible the fate of vanquished armies, for purposes of preserving public morale. The Legio IX Hispana may have even been crushed so completely and so mercilessly that Hadrian deemed that telling the true story of its fate should be constitutionally banned. But more likely, the Ninth was just moved on again, as it had been so many times before.

At least a detachment of the Ninth is known to have served in the Germania Inferior province of the Roman Empire – near modern Nijmegen, Holland – around 121 AD (possibly trading places with the legion VI Victrix, which arrived in Britain from Germania Inferior around the same time). The main force wasn’t present though, and since detachments had fought separately in Germania before – for instance near Mainz against the Chatti in 83 AD – this arguably could have been the same detachment.

Yet, several high-ranking officers, who could only have served after 117 AD, are well known to us from their later actions – such as Lucius Aemilius Karus, governor of Arabia in 142/143 AD. We can safely assume that the core of the unit was still operating in the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD). Some voices even speculate that the Ninth may even have assisted in building segments of Hadrian’s Wall, although this seems fanciful.

The one certainty is that Legio IX Hispana had been disbanded or wiped out altogether by the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180), because a listing of active legions by that Emperor makes no mention of the Ninth. Probably it was annihilated in Iudaea Province during the Bar Kochba Revolt, or at some stage in the long-running battle between Rome and the Parthian Empire.

he Ninth Legion in Popular Culture

No good storyteller would let something trivial like the facts get in the way of a good yarn, of course, and the legend of Legio IX Hispana’s mysterious destruction at the hands of Scots savages is certainly a gripping tale. Little surprise, then, that it’s continues to be retold in novels and on the big and small screen.

Red Shift by Alan Garner, Engine City by Ken MacLeod, Warriors of Alavna by N. M. Browne, Legion From the Shadows by Karl Edward Wagner and La IX Legione by Giorgio Cafasso are just a few of the many books that touch on the legendary destruction of the Ninth in some way. The most famous novel to deal with the legion’s story – The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, published in 1954 – is one of the most celebrated children’s books of the 20th century, and has sold over a million copies worldwide. A BBC TV serial of the book was aired in 1977.

A film called The Eagle of the Ninth, based on Sutcliff's book, directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Channing Tatum and Donald Sutherland is due to shoot in Scotland in autumn 2009. Another movie about the Ninth, Centurion – directed by Neil Marshall and starring Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko – has coincidentally also been filmed in Scotland recently, and is slated for release in late 2009. Whatever the true story is about the demise of the Legio IX Hispana, popular fascination with its perceived mysterious and macabre fate will probably never be usurped.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology , visit archaeology excavations .

Research history

Roman remains at Carlisle are mentioned by Beda Venerabilis (7th century), William of Malmesbury (11th century), John Leland and William Camden (16th and 17th centuries). Despite this long tradition of preoccupation with the Roman Carlisle, additional information about the origin, type and extent of Roman settlement in the city has only come to light in recent years. The theory that the hill occupied by Carlisle Castle was the site of a Roman fortress had been held since the mid-nineteenth century. An analysis of ceramic shards from the city also indicated an early Flavian military presence. Collar urns from the Bronze Age were found in 1861 on the site of Garlands Hospital. During the excavation at The Lanes, east of Scotch Street, a paved road and plow tracks were observed that are believed to be of prehistoric origin and that show an agricultural activity at the time. Isolated finds, including barbed arrowheads, are also evidence of prehistoric activities within the Carlisle area. The first archaeological evidence of a Roman fort in the urban area comes from the year 1892. From the early 19th century, a large number of urns and inscription stones from the 5th century came to light.

During the redesign of the city center in the 20th and 21st centuries, parts of the civil town and the southern part of the fort were repeatedly uncovered. Golden Fleece's temporary marching camp was discovered in aerial photographs taken between 1945 and 1949. At Tullie House, in 1954 and 1955 (Dorothy Charlesworth), remains of the foundations of a turf brick and wooden structure that belonged to the Agricolan fortress were found. It was eventually recognized as the foundation of the north wall. Judging by the findings, the former military site was evacuated by the army at the beginning of the 2nd century - possibly due to the construction of the Stanwix fort - and initially left to civilians. In 1978 excavations of the Carlisle Archaeological Unit took place further north on Annetwell Street. The south gate of Fort II, which had already been discovered in 1973, came to light. The finds in Annetwell Street also include the remains of wooden writing boards, comparable to that of Vindolanda , a fragment of an unlabeled altar made of red sandstone, a relief fragment made of the same material, and two statue heads with wall crowns, interpreted as guardian spirits ( Genii) .

In the mid-1970s, the Carlisle City Council decided to redevelop the old town streets (the Lanes), a densely built-up area in the northeast corner of the historic city center. The earlier archaeological digs had confirmed traces of complex Roman and medieval layers of finds in this part of the city, most of which would be destroyed by the modern development. Between 1978 and 1982, therefore, further archaeological investigations and related Analyzes and publication of project results carried out (Carlisle City Council, Historic England, Manpower Services Commission, Marc Fitch Fund and Society of Antiquaries of London). To this day, this project represents one of the largest and most important urban and archaeological projects carried out in the north of England. The results of these investigations were published in 2000. The early Roman settlement of the northern streets could be proven by the construction of the military camp and some large wooden buildings, possibly mansiones . Also the expansion of civil settlement in this area in the middle of the late second century AD could be based on the appearance of a certain pattern of building plots. The good conservation of water-soaked organic materials was a prominent feature of the early Roman Straten, which provided a wealth of environmental information and many artifacts made of wood and leather. Further investigations in the west of the city revealed indications of an intensive use of the area by the Roman civil population, which lasted into the early Middle Ages. It is also likely that the Flavian settlement activity was limited to the western and higher part of today's city center. Excavations near the city castle have uncovered parts of the southern and western defenses of the fort. Limited excavations in Abbey Street and Castle Street uncovered the remains of the defensive walls of the stone fort, just south of the former wall. Over the years remains of the Roman civil city have been observed again and again, including rooms that can be heated with hypocausts , presumably bathing facilities. Cemetery fields were uncovered along the main roads in the east, south and west of the city area.

The Millennium Project of the city of Carlisle between 1998 and 2001 has also considerably expanded our understanding of the processes surrounding the development of the Roman fortress. The excavations (Carlisle Archeology Ltd. and University of Bradford) focused on the southern part of the fort area, including the presumed Praetentura and a small area of ​​the Latera Praetorii . More than 100,000 individual finds were recovered. A total of five excavation zones were examined prior to the construction of the pedestrian bridge over Castle Way (Irish Gate), the Millennium Gallery and the underpass. It was the largest archaeological dig in Carlisle since the early 19th century.

A Roman burial ground full of “extraordinary” cremation urns from the late 1st and early 2nd centuries, which was divided into several burial grounds and later used as workshop grounds, was discovered by archaeologists in 2015 at Botchergate (William Street car park). A completely preserved copper needle, possibly of Roman origin, was found in Paternoster Row. Only the tip was slightly bent.

Nowadays only a few Roman remains can be seen in place. Many of the finds recovered from Carlisle are on display in the Tullie House Museum, which is a division of the city's public library and art gallery. The exhibits include finds from everyday life in Roman Britain, such as B. Tools, ornaments, shoes, glass and pottery. It has the largest collection of finds at the western end of Hadrian's Wall and complements the collection in the Newcastle Museum in the eastern half of the Wallzone.


Figure 1: Londinium in the second century AD 2

A report by Alexander Cattrysse, geophysical surveyor

In their hunger to bring the rest of the world also under their influence, for enjoying their "civilization, peace and prosperity" the Romans decided that now it was the turn of that big island in the Septentrionalis Oceanus 3 , that should be called Britannia. Well, this was not just an altruistic idea, the island was rich in mineral resources such as lead, tin 4 , gold and silver, and had large fertile fields where corn could be grown, a cereal that in ever larger quantities was necessary to feed the population of the Roman empire and its capital.

Figure 2: Tribes and settlements

In the year 43 AD it happened. The emperor Claudius invaded Britannia and founded Londinium in the border area of various indigenous tribes: to the north of the city the Catuvellauni and the Trinovantes and in the south the Atrebates and the Cantii. These peoples were hostile to each other. It is only with the conquest of the region by the Emperor Claudius that stability was restored. Although traces of occupation dating from the late iron age have been found within the territory of the Roman Londinium, one cannot speak of an earlier city on that place. Londinium may therefore be regarded as an original Roman city.

Peace for only a short time
Claudius certainly brought tranquility in the region. He made peace with the tribes. Unfortunately a peace that lasted not very long. The various tribes were vassals of Rome and had their own local king, for example the Iceni, a tribe in present-day East Anglia. Their king Prasutagus, who was married with queen Boudica, ruled as a nominal independent ally of Rome, and left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and to the Roman emperor in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored, the kingdom annexed and his property taken by the Romans. According to the Roman senator and historian Tacitus, Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped 5 .

Figure 3: Statue of Boudica at the Westminster Pier in London 6

In AD 60 or 61, during the reign of Nero, when the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning in another part of Britannia, Boudica led the Iceni, the Trinovantes, and others in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), the former capital of the Trinovantes, but at that time a colonia (a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers) and the site of a temple dedicated to the former Emperor Claudius. Upon hearing of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium, because the 20-year-old commercial settlement was the rebels' next target. Suetonius lacked sufficient troops to defend the settlement and evacuated and abandoned Londinium.
Boudica indeed led an army big enough to defeat the detachment of Legio IX Hispana, and burned and destroyed Londinium and Verulamium (modern St. Albans, north of Londinium) completely. An estimated 70,000 – 80,000 Romans and British citizens were killed in the three cities by the army of Boudica, many by torture 7 . Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces, possibly in the West Midlands and, despite being heavily outnumbered, he decisively defeated the Britons. The crisis caused Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius' victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province. Boudica is today considered a British folk hero 8 .

The resurrection of a city
After their victory the Romans decided to rebuild Londinium. Within ten years the city was resurrected and grew steadily until it reached its peak in terms of population around 140 AD. With its 45,000 inhabitants Londinium was one of the largest cities outside Italy. During the 2nd and 3rd century the city evolved further and was an important residential and commercial centre. Many public buildings made of brick were erected, such as the largest forum north of the Alps, a praetorium (military headoffice), bathhouses, an amphitheatre and large horrea (warehouses). Londinium took over the function of capital of Brittania from Camulodunum and also the administration. Around 100 AD the Romans started with the enlargement of what was left of the first harbour, which had been destroyed by Boudica.

Figure 4: Londinium at the beginning of the second century

A Roman port on the North Sea
The port of Londinium has a long history. For the last 2000 years the port was almost continuously in use. Consequently the archaeological history of this place is represented by an almost continuous succession of archaeological layers that stretch over two kilometres, with a width of 125 meters and a depth of almost ten metres. However, in this article we will only look at the harbour during the Roman period, so from the foundation up to the year 500, when the city was given up by the Romans 9 .
The site Londinium was chosen by the Romans for a good reason. The Thames was a tidal river. The water level in the river stood at low tide ca. 1 meter below the average sea level, and almost 1.5 metres above sea level at high tide. Consequently at high tide the river had a width of almost 1 km.

Figure 5: The bridge over the river Thames 10

Near the modern district of Southwork were two islands in the river. Here, at low tide, the river width was only up to 300 meters. Consequently this location was considered to be the ideal location for bridging the mouth of the Thames. An extra advantage was the fact that this was also the place of an intersection of roads, to the west in the direction of Verulamium (modern St. Albans), to the east to Camulodunum (modern Colchester), and to the south towards Rutupiae (modern Richborough) (see figure 2).
It is not a coincidence that in the vicinity of this narrowing also traces of a first 'port' have been found. Traces of a zone reinforced with flint and lime along the banks pointed to the landing area of a ferry around 50 AD. In the neighbourhood of Regis House traces have been found dating to the year 52. Here a bank reinforcement was found in conjunction with indications of a yard and various wooden buildings. This first settlement was destroyed during the rebellion of Boudica. The first real port development happened in the second half of the first century. Reinforcements and traces of wooden buildings belonging to this new port-bank, from the years 60-70 AD, have been found around Regis House. The buildings were identified as glassware workshops and as spaces for trans-shipping goods.

Figure 6: Quay constructions according to Gustav Milne 11

The harbour was extended with a quay. The construction consisted of a framework of heavy beams (see figure 6). A two-meter-high quay wall was further inland anchored to a pole that was struck into the ground. The resulting framework was filled with flint, limestone and broken tiles. In this way a paved surface was created. Some of the timbers from that quay had clearly been taken from military stock piles, since the end-grain has been branded with stamps, one of which may have read TRAECAVG, perhaps attesting to the presence of a Thracian unit. Thus it can be surmised that London’s first major harbour facility was built by the state, rather than by private merchants. In addition to the traces of wooden buildings traces of brick houses, dating from the first half of the first century, were found. From this period, however, any trace of a Roman bridge is missing. In all likelihood transport across the river happened via a ferry. Also traces of a 57-meter-long pier were found.

Figure 7: Harbour of Londinium at low tide. Notice the foundation of the quay 12 Figure 8: Wooden beam from the quay construction 13

The bridge
The first traces of the Roman bridge are dating from the end of the first century. The first wooden bridge was probably built somewhere between the years 80 and 100 AD. At the same time new buildings were erected along the entire quay. We are talking about warehouses and commercial offices with wooden floors, supported by foundations of wooden poles. On the portside they were open, but could probably (as we see in other Roman cities) be closed with wooden partitions. The roof construction too was supported by wooden pillars. Around the year 90 the first quay, described above, was replaced by a new one, this time with a walkway consisting of pebbles. How was this Roman bridge built? The entire bridge was made up of individual caissons. These were placed on the bottom during low tide. According to some, at the places where the water wasn’t drying up the caissons were submerged. According to others on those places poles were driven into the soil. Method 1 results in a firmer construction, but it is more difficult to immerse the caissons at the correct position. Method 2 would solve that problem.

Further developments
The port as described above had a further development at the beginning of the second century. A land elevation was made whereby a new bank was created, this time reinforced by a simple system of planks and poles. On this new quay brick and limestone buildings were erected. The old warehouses were converted into commercial offices. This expansion of the port, however, was short-lived. The Hadrianic fire 14 , somewhere between 120 and 130 AD, destroyed a large amount of buildings around the Roman bridgehead. The remains of the buildings were removed and reused for a new reconstruction. The bank reinforcements found at Custom House, New Fresh Warf, Magnus House and Baynard's Castle date from the middle of the second century.

Figure 9: Wooden beam construction of a Roman building 15

In the late second century we see an expansion of the harbour. Probably this extension was related to the construction of a defensive wall on the landward side of the city. One needed a larger dock for the import of construction materials. Along the waterfront fire resistant brick buildings were built. Starting from the second half of the third century we see that parts of the quay walls fell into disuse, partly because a regression of the sea took place, whereby parts of the quay were removed from the water. Only limited parts of the port remained in use till the fifth century, and by the year 500 the port was abandoned.

Figure 10: Unloading a ship in the harbour of Londinium 16

The economic peak of Londinium fell between 50 and 130 AD. From this period artefacts have been found from Italy, Greece, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, North Africa and southern Gaul. This trade from the areas around the Mediterranean is closely linked to the presence of Roman legions and officials in and around the city. These persons wished to preserve their lifestyle and thus the import of several Mediterranean goods. As the local population romanised more, the demand increased and consequently the import.
About 150 AD a decline in trade could be observed. The decline is probably connected with a drastic drop in population in the city. Although the Hadrianic fire was part of the cause, it is assumed that this relapse was due to the outbreak of an epidemic. Such an outbreak is not alien to an international port. The decline in trade is among others recognizable by the relapse of imported pottery, consistent with an increase in locally produced pottery.

The port of Londinium tells the story of the Roman Empire on an area of only 25 hectares. The port and consequently the city have been able to benefit from the growing prosperity of the Roman Empire and the Pax Romana during the first and second century. However, from the middle of the third century the port begins to suffer from the political malaise within the Roman Empire. The trade in the city reoriented itself away from the old central point, the Mediterranean Sea, to central and northern Europe. Eventually the economic activity shrinks continuously as the Roman Empire becomes further under pressure, until finally the port installations fall into disuse and the city was taken over by the Saxons.

Watch the video: LEGIO IX HISPANA - SPQR II - Epic Roman Empire Music


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