Trajan, legio XI and Caius Iulius Quadratus Bassus – the last legatus legionis of Vindonissa (Windisch/Switzerland)
The roman legionary camp of Vindonissa (modern-day: Windisch, Canton Aargau, Switzerland) has seen a lot of large rescue excavations during the last years. Inside the camp, several indications show that the legionary fortress was abandoned around 101 AD by legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis in a systematic way. In the settlements outside the fort, the quantity of structures and small finds declines considerably with the beginning of the 2nd century AD.
Our contribution aims to link these and other local archaeological features with a well-known historical event and two persons involved: The withdrawal of legio XI from Vindonissa to Brigetio and, later on, to Durostorum, the Dacian wars, the emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus and one of his comrades, Caius Iulius Quadratus Bassus.
Moreover, it is proposed that there was a sort of ranking of roman legions in the two Germanies, a thesis already suggested by Maria Szilágyi at Limeskongress 1983.
Die Denkmäler der Legio XI in der Provinz Dalmatien
Die Legio XI muss neben der Legio VII aus mehreren Gründen als eine der zwei bedeutendsten römischen Militäreinheiten in der Provinz Dalmatien bezeichnet werden. Es handelt sich die Legion mit der längsten Stationie-rungsdauer in Dalmatien bzw. im Legionslager Burnum. Wahrscheinlich wurde sie während des bellum Batonianum von 6 bis 9 nach Christus nach Illyricum versetzt, und sie ist bis zum Ende der 60-er Jahre des 1. Jh. n. Chr. in der Provinz Dalmatien bestätigt. Keine der in Dalmatien bestätigten römischen Militäreinheiten ist mit so zahlreichen Denkmälern vertreten wie die Legio XI.
Anhand der erhaltenen Innschrift können über 100 Steindenkmäler der Legio XI zugewiesen werden. Den Steindenkmälern müssen noch gestem-pelte Ziegel zugeordnet werden, die von der Legion in Dalmatien herge-stellt wurden. Die ikonographische und epigraphische Analyse der Denk-mäler der Legio XI zeugt von ihrer Rolle beim Ausbau der Provinz Dalma-tien. – Angefangen vom Ausbau des Straßennetzes in Dalmatien und der Beteiligung an anderen Bauunternehmen, bis zu den Grenzziehungen zwi-schen lokalen Gemeinden, die von Angehörigen der Legion im Namen des Stadthalters vollzogen wurden, und zu anderen Tätigkeiten im Dienst des Stadthalters.
Die wirtschaftliche Tätigkeit der Legion spiegelt sich auch den Darstellun-gen auf den Grabstelen ihrer Angehörigen wieder.
The Cestius Gallus And The XII Roman Legion Campaign to Jerusalem in 66 A.D. and its historical-strategic consequence
The military campaign led by Gaius Cestius Gallus at 66 A.D. (below: Gallus) the roman commander in chief and the governor of Syria, from Antioch to Jerusalem attempting to take control and over-run the riots and revolt activities initiated by the Jews in the whole province of Judea.
“the Cestius Gallus War Journey episode”, is a military-historical event that for most, is not mention and recognize in the appropriate level of importance it deserve, by its high significance, Influence and historical-strategic dimension and aspects to the national-military conflict between the Rome and Judea.
Nevertheless, studies and analysis of the ‘Cestius Gallus War Journey episode’, by its military-strategic aspects, are very few.
For must, this episode is being mention as a brief historical event and the research references deals with the ‘bottom line’ outcome of the Gallus campaign. that is – the military outcome. This outcome, often presented as a roman military failure in achieving the journey military goals. By political aspect, bringing to a fast expansion of the Jewish revolt, to higher level (a wide spread war), while posing a great threat on strategic level to the interest and self-existence of roman role in the province of Judea.
In this paper, my purpose is to contribute for deepening our knowledge by a geographical-historical and military-political analysis with conclusions of the ‘Cestius Gallus War Journey episode, aspiring to enlighten the major research question; what were the reasons for the journey failure, and the actual state and political outcomes of that failure.
We can already suggest and point out one reason; the ‘winter factor’.
On the strategic aspect, it seemed as if the romans basic strategy in this journey campaign was to get to Jerusalem as fast as possible and to take back the control; over the city, knowing that’s where most of the Jewish moral and military power is consecrated.
We know from Josephus account, that it took Gallus a relatively long time to obtain full understanding of the severity and full scale of the Jewish uprising in the province of Judea.
This led to a late-linger start (some will say, Delayed Reaction) of Gallus’s journey in the month of October 66 A.D. At the beginning of winter. Yet It is known that the romans, whenever they could chose the timing of a military action, preferred not to fight in winter conditions. in other words, in front of us is an unusual case, of a roman war campaign in winter condition that strongly influenced roman’s decision making, by creating stressful timing factor, trying to complete romans military actions before the arrival of full winter. It is probable that when the romans Encountered strong Jewish military resistant while approaching Jerusalem area, they decided to redrew thinking they will not complete their mission in the short time they had and due to much stronger then expected Jewish military resistant.
This could be further explained by a set of political pressures over cestius gallus’s head originated by the menacing, bad-tempered emperor Nero, that posed great fear by his Notoriously known unexpected reactions to his subordinate Governors while dealing with such conditions.
The only historical source to Gallus journey is the well-known Jewish-roman historian, Josephus flavius in his book, ‘the Jewish war’. In spite common criticism among many researchers as for Josephus problematic credibility in general, on this specific case, we can find some reassurance that his account could be seen reliable, based on the given fact – reflected through his written accounts, that during the events of Gallus journey, Josephus lived in the city of Jerusalem (as we learn from his other autobiography book) and probably experienced the events he describes (possibly by first hand in very realistic manner).
Josephus gave a pretty good geographical description of the battle ground of the Beit-Horon pass (assent) and Jerusalem area. This could indicate he had a personal knowledge and experience with the topography of the different battle areas he mentioned.
Another interesting important facts and information provided by Josephus, is the rare detailed description of the roman armies in their journeys and in battle tactic. From this account it appeared that the big roman army led by cestus Gallus and its counterparts; auxiliary units and eastern national ‘client-kings’ armies, given its enormous size and complexity, travel very quickly by todays standard to Jerusalem. However at same time we can identified as we read between Josephus’s discerption lines, the miss-coordinate actions and remarks that can be intrepid as some of the reasons for the downfall of the journey.
In this paper we will also attempt to create an updated (up to date geographical changing conditions ) identification geographical-historical aspect of Josephus account of Gallus journey.
In addition we would like to present a slight different geographical-historical and tactical interpretation of the course and sequence of the “Gabo – battle” (Gibo’on). We assume that in front of us, is an exceptional one-time Jewish military achievement, of stopping (for some time) and confronting a roman army that included the glorified XII legion and many other auxiliaries accompanied armies. All this in open set battle ground condition, that usually consider to be in favor and at the stronger advantage of the roman side.
Barbarians on the Edge of Empire – Colouring in the Antonine Wall Distance Stones
It is easy to imagine Roman Britain in monochrome since much of the material culture that survives for display in our museums derives from stone and metalwork devoid of colour. This is particularly evident on the Empire’s northwestern Frontier, the Antonine Wall, where Distance Stones were important media for promoting Roman propaganda through epigraphy and iconography.
This paper challenges the perception of these iconic sculptures as static objects devoid of vibrant colours common in other contexts of Roman life. Results from recent non-destructive analysis has identified and recreated authentic colours of pigments that would originally have brought these sculptures to life. The sculptures contain depictions in relief of ‘barbarians’ as bound captives or being decapitated in the midst of battle as they are being run down by Roman cavalrymen on horseback and the evidence confirms the presence of variations of red to depict blood from the captive warriors and other colours in different contexts.