Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lost Roman Legion

The Lost Roman Legion
The Roman Legion – Subject of Great Interest

A Roman legion operated from the first century BC till the mid-2nd century AD and fought in several provinces of the late Roman Republic as well as early Roman Empire. It was based in Britain following the invasion of the Roman in 43 AD.

Thereafter the legion disappeared from the Roman records towards the first half of the second century and there are no details of what happened to it. For 1900 years, the mystery of Rome’s missing ninth legion is puzzling and its ultimate fate is debated by several generations of historians.

It is said that it was the first in a chain reaction of disasters, where the Roman were forced to halt expansion and create the only two massive frontier walls that were ever built in the Roman Empire.

There are written evidence and a raft of new archaeology which portrays how and where the ninth met its end in the tribal bad lands of northern Britain.The fate of the legion has been the subject of great interest and research and it was recorded in 108 in York.

One theory states that it was destroyed in action around 120 in northern Britain during a rising of northern tribes and this view became popular by the 1954 novel – The Eagle of the Ninth, wherein the legion is considered to have marched into Caledonia in Scotland and thereafter was never heard of again.

The Lost Roman Legion 1
Tile Stamps - Nijmegen

The theory seemed to be discredited till tile stamps found later in Nijmegen portrayed that the legion was based there between 121 and 130 though this evidence became disputed. There came up other possibilities that it could have had an end in the Bar Kokhba revolt or in Armenia in 161.

The Ninth does not seem to appear in a list of legions compiles in 165, in any event. Archaeologists reveal how Hadrian built a huge innovative timber rampart in order to protect Roman forces before his monumental stone wall and later sent one of his best generals which include the infamous Julius Severus who was a ruthless soldier, engaged in devastating new tactics against the insurgents. Beyond the frontier, there were tribes with powerful new alliance and harried Roman military in a guerrilla war of attrition.

 Fifteen wars were fought and the three Roman generals together with an estimate of over 20,000 troops lost their lives while fighting the hostile tribes. Huge resources were put into trying to maintain the frontier system.

Ninth Legion - Historical/Science Fiction, Fantasy

The mysterious disappearance of the legion from the records was noted first by John Horsley, a scholar in the 18th century in his book `Britannia Romana and by late 19th century, there were evidence that the disappearance of the legion coincided with unrest in the north of Britain.

Bartolomeo Borghese an Italian scholar found an inscription about the life of one Lucious Ligarianus suggesting that he served with the legion around 116. Conclusion was drawn with the combination of this together with the evidence which was sent by Legion VI Victrix to Britain, that ninth was destroyed during an invasion or rebellion where no details had been preserved. The mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Legion has become a popular subject for historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy.

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