Good Friday, Jesus and Pontius Pilatus

Today all of Christianity celebrates Good Friday. If you arePontius Pilate a believer in Christianity, or simply know the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus , then you are aware of the Empire’s part in what happened this day in 33 AD.

Today Rome Across Europe will be discussing the most interesting Roman in this entire story. We are going to focus on Pontius Pilatus and his connection to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.

There are ruins of a Roman house in the small village of Bisenti, a region of Central Italy, which is alleged to be the birthplace of Pontius Pilate. Little is known, however, of Pilate’s birth or early life. We do know that the Pontii Family was part of the ordo Equester.

Pontius Pilate was the 5th Praefectus of the Roman province of Iudaea from 26 – 36 AD under Emperor Tiberius. This can be confirmed from a block of limestone, the Pilate Stone, was found in 1961 at the Roman theatre at Caesarea Maritima, the capital of the province of Iudaea.

Pilate Stone

Bearing a damaged dedication by Pilate to Tiberius Caesar Augustus, the dedication states that he was […] ECTVS IUDA […] (usually read as Praefectus Iudaeae), Prefect of Judaea. The inscription has been dated to about 30 AD, plus or minus 5 years.

The primary functions of Pontius Pilate were military, but as a representative of the Empire, he was primarily responsible for the collection of imperial taxes. Most judicial functions and civil administration lay in the hands of local government: the municipal councils or ethnic governments such as the Sanhedrin and its High Priest. The power of appointment of the High Priest, however, resided in the Roman Legatus of Syria or the Praefectus Iudaeae.

Normally, Pilate resided in Caesarea but traveled throughout the province in the course of performing his duties, especially to Jerusalem. During the Jewish Passover, Pilate’s position would have required him to be in Jerusalem to keep order. Because of the Jewish people’s deep sensitivity to their status as a Provincia, Pilate would not ordinarily be visible to the throngs of worshippers.

As governor of Iudaea, Pilate would command a few Legios and have small Auxilia of locally recruited soldiers stationed regularly in Caesarea and Jerusalem, such as the Antonia Fortress. With 3,000 total soldiers at his disposal, Pilate could have a fairly strong, but temporary, force anywhere that might require a military presence.

According to the New Testament, Jesus was brought to Pilate by the Sanhedrin, who had arrested Jesus and questioned him themselves. The Sanhedrin had, according to the Gospels, only been given answers by Jesus that they considered blasphemous pursuant to Mosaic Law, which was unlikely to be deemed a capital offense by Pilate interpreting Roman law.

The Gospel of Luke records that members of the Sanhedrin then took Jesus before Pilate where they accused him of sedition against Rome by opposing the payment of taxes to Caesares and calling himself a king. Promoting the development of tax resistance was a capital offense. Pilate was responsible for Imperial tax collections in Judaea.

Jesus had asked the tax collector Levi in Capernaum to quit his post. Jesus also appears to have influenced chief tax collector Zacchaeus in Jericho, which is in Pilate’s tax jurisdiction, to resign. Pilate’s main question to Jesus was whether he considered himself to be the King of the Jews in an attempt to assess him as a potential political threat.

Christ before Pilate

Mark in the RSV translation states: “And Pilate asked him: Art thou the King of the Jews? But He answering, saith to him: Thou sayest it.” (Mark 15:2). Whatever degree of confirmation modern interpreters would derive from this answer of Jesus, according to the New Testament, it was not enough for Pilate to view Jesus as a real political threat.

The chief priests began hurling accusations toward Jesus, yet he remained silent. Pilate asked him why he did not respond to the many charges, and Jesus remained silent. Pilate was astonished by what can only be described today as nonchalantness of Jesus.

Pilate appears to have been reluctant to allow the crucifixion of Jesus, finding no fault with him. According to Matthew 27:19, even Pilate’s wife, Claudia Procula, spoke to him on Jesus’ behalf. Claudia was said to have had a strange dream about Christ which encouraged her to try to stop his crucifixion.

According to the gospels, it was the custom of the Roman Governor to release one prisoner at Passover. Pilate brought out Barabbas, identified by Matthew as a “notorious prisoner” and as a “murderer” by Mark, and told the crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas or Jesus as per the custom.

Ecce homo

This was in the hopes of getting the crowd to request the release of Jesus. However, the crowd demanded the release of Barabbas and said of Jesus, “Crucify him!” In Matthew, Pilate responds, “Why? What evil has he done?” The crowd continued shouting, “Crucify him!”

Pilate ordered a sign posted above Jesus on the cross stating “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews” to give public notice of the legal charge against him for his crucifixion. The chief priests protested that the public charge on the sign should read that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews.

Pilate refused to change the posted charge, saying “Quod scripsi, scripsi.” (What I have written, I have written.). This may have been to emphasize Rome’s supremacy in crucifying a Jewish King. What is more likely though is that Pilate was offended by the Jewish leaders using him as a pawn compelling him to sentence Jesus to death contrary to his own will.

INRI

The Gospel of Luke also reports that such questions were asked of Jesus. Here Luke states it was the priests that repeatedly accused Jesus causing Pilate to hand him over to the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, which was not part of Roman Judea.

Although initially excited with curiosity at meeting Jesus, Herod ended up mocking Jesus and sent him back to Pilate. This intermediate episode with Herod is not reported by the other Gospels, but can be read in Luke’s other book, Acts 4:24–28.

The Gospel of John gives more detail about the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate. According to John 18:37, Jesus tells Pilate, “Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” Pilate famously replied to this, “Quid est veritas?” (What is truth?).

Whatever it is that some modern critics want to deduce, the end result was the same for Jesus and Pilate. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke the conclusion Pilate made from this interrogation was: “I find in him no fault at all”.

Pilate agrees to condemn Jesus to crucifixion, after the Jewish leaders explained to him that Jesus presented a threat to Roman occupation through his claim to the throne of King David as King of Israel in the royal line of David. The crowd in Pilate’s courtyard, according to the Gospel of Mark, was incited by the chief priests to shout against Jesus.

In all gospel accounts, Pilate is reluctant to condemn Jesus, but is eventually forced to give in when the crowd becomes unruly and the Jewish leaders claim Jesus is a challenge to Roman rule and to Caesar. The Gospel of Matthew adds that before condemning Jesus to death, Pilate washes his hands with water in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see you to it.”

Pilate Washes His Hands (Pilate se lave les mains)

Justification of Pilate is in Matthew 27:24–25 where it states “And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children.

The fragmentary apocryphal Gospel of Peter exonerates Pilate of responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus, placing it instead on Herod and the Jews who refused to “wash their hands”. After the soldiers see three men and a cross miraculously walking out of the tomb they report to Pilate who reiterates his innocence: “I am pure from the blood of the Son of God”. He then commands the soldiers not to tell anyone what they have seen so that they would not “fall into the hands of the people of the Jews and be stoned”.

According to Romano-Jewish scholar Josephus, Pilate was ordered back to Rome after harshly suppressing a Samaritan uprising, arriving just after the death of Tiberius in March 37 AD. Pilate supposedly suffered misfortune in the reign of Caligula and was exiled to Gaul. It is said that Pilate eventually killed himself there in Vienne sometime around 37 AD.

What is Truth -Christ and Pilate

When all is said and done, it turns out that the man most closely associated with the death of Jesus acutally wanted nothing to do with his death. Pilate appears in all four Gospels, and in each he wants to let Jesus go free, with each Gospel claiming a heroic moment for Pilate.

Later in Christian history, Pontius Pilate came to be seen as an active agent advancing God’s work of salvation. Odd how the Roman most closely associated with the crucifixion can have a completely different view cast upon him.

Whether you believe or not is not the point of this article. Rome Across Europe simply wants to shed a new perspective on a familiar story. Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Top 15 Roman Commanders – #3: Marcus Vispanius Agrippa

Commanders

We carry on with another commander Rome Across Europe thought was among the best in Roman history. You can find the entire list here, along with biographies of #1 and #2. Without further adieu we bring to you…

3: Marcus Vispanius Agrippa (63 – 12 BC)3a

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was a Roman architect, statesman and one of Rome’s most distinguished generals. Military victories, such as the battle against the forces of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, would not have been won if it was not for Marcus Agrippa.

He was responsible for the construction of some of Rome’s most beautiful ancient buildings. Agrippa also played a role in renovating aqueducts giving all Romans, from all social classes, access to public services of the highest quality.

Agrippa lived during a time of great Roman generals, such as Julius Caesar and Pompey, and served as the highest ranking and most respected military leader under Rome’s greatest, and first, emperor: Augustus Caesar.

Agrippa was the one helped Octavian become the first Roman Emperor and get the title Augustus. Marcus Agrippa was hailed throughout Rome for crushing a Gallic rebellion, and became famous for refusing to have a triumphus.

In 36 BC, Agrippa won pivotal victories at Mylae and Naulochus destroying almost all of his enemy’s ships and compelling most of the forces to surrender. Agrippa received the unprecedented honor of a Corona Navalis decorated with the prows of ships. Roman historian Cassius Dio stated, this was “a decoration given to nobody before or since”.

In 35 and 34 BC, Agrippa participated in some smaller military campaigns before returning to Rome. Victories were achieved there as well.

When Agrippa won his most famous victory, the naval clash between the Egyptian forces of Marc Antony and Cleopatra VII, the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Octavian then seized control of the Roman Empire.

300px-Castro_Battle_of_Actium

With the fighting behind him, Agrippa began leading massive projects to beautify Rome. The large aqueduct, Aqua Marcia, was ordered to be renovated. The sewers were cleaned and the city’s plumbing systems were vastly improved. This later prompted his best friend Augustus to state that he had “found a city of brick and left it a city of marble.”

In 19 BC, Agrippa was employed in putting down a rising of the Cantabrians in Hispania. The effort by Marcus Agrippa in the Cantabrian Wars was the final stage of the two-century long Roman conquest of Hispania.

In 18 BC, Agrippa’s powers were even further increased to almost match those of Augustus as his Proconsular Imperium was extended. Agrippa was appointed governor of the eastern provinces a second time in 17 BC, where he restored effective Roman control over the Cimmerian Chersonnese during his governorship.

In his advanced years Agrippa charted geography and carried out surveys of the empire’s citizens, as Julius Caesar had dreamed. He helped to secure the new empire government system and added his own ideas to how it should be maintained.

Agrippa had built a tomb for himself, but upon his death Agrippa’s remains were ordered to be placed in Augustus’s own mausoleum. This was the perfect resting place for a great Soldier-Statesman of Rome.

That concludes this week’s commander. Come back next week to read more about the next of Rome Across Europe’s Top 15 Roman Commanders. Till then, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Legio Romanus – Senior Officers

Last week Rome Across Europe discussed the Backbone of Rome’s Power, which can be read here. Today we are going to continue discussing Rome’s Legions, specifically the Senior Officer positions.

Our lists begins with how the Legio Romanus was standardized in 104 BC with the Marian Reforms continuing until the military reforms of Diocletian around 290 AD. Just as with the modern military we will start from the top and work down.

Legatus Augusti pro praetore: This command is literally the Envoy of the Emperor, or acting Praetor. As commander of two or more legions this Imperial Legate also served as the Rector provinciae of the province in which he was stationed. This most senior of positions in the legion was appointed by the Augustus and command was held for 3-4 years.

Legatus Augusti pro praetore

Legatus legionis: Another position appointed by the Emperor with command for 3-4 years, this was the overall legion commander. The post was usually filled by a senator, a Legatus legionis was usually from a wealthy or important family. The Legion Legate also served as commander of the Auxilia attached to the legion though they were not formally a part of the legion’s command structure.

Legatus legionis

Tribunus laticlavius: Named for the broad striped tunic worn by men of senatorial rank, this tribune was appointed by either the Emperor or Senate. Because of his age and inexperience the Tribunus laticlavius was not the actual second in command in battle. If the Legate somehow died though he would take command of the legion. This Tribune was often a first step in a young man’s Cursus honorum.

Broad Stripe

Praefectus castrorum: The Camp Prefect was third in command of the legion, so the title makes sense that he was “put in charge”. Used as a senior officer in charge of training a legion this long serving veteran was typically from a lower social status than the Tribunii, whom he outranked. The Prefect would serve 25 years with the legions.

Praefectus castrorum

Tribuni angusticlavii: Each legion had five lower ranking Tribunes that wore narrow striped tunics to distinguish themselves from their broad striped superiors. These Officer Cadets were normally from the Ordo Equester and had military experience. They were allowed to sit on a court martial but they held no power in battle, so this was more of an administrative officer role.

Narrow Stripe

Next time we shall explore the Centurions, their roles and exactly what they did. Till then Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

A Year in Orléans, France

Welcome back to Rome Across Europe. We have started a new year by doing new things, creating new experiences. This edition of Where To? Wednesday is special. It is about seeing the world, and seeing it early. Enough so that it makes a lasting impact on one’s life.

Our guest this week is a man I have known for many years, backChris Hagan when I lived in Southern California. He was very close with my family. I probably saw him more than some of my cousins. Due to the amount of traveling he does, both personally and professionally, he was an obvious pick. RAE Nation, please welcome Mr. Chris Hagan.

Rome Across Europe: Hey buddy. It has been a while.

Chris Hagan: It sure has. How’s Texas?

RAE: Life is a joy. I guess life for me here in Texas would be comparable to how much you enjoy living in Hawaii.

CH: Life is good then.

RAE: Absolutely! So Mr. Hagan, where are you taking us today?

CH: Well. It’s been a while since I’ve been anywhere in Europe. I was in London a year ago.

RAE: This is about you and the most impactful experience you had ANYWHERE in Europe. If it was London, perfect. If it was somewhere else, then that is fine to. This is your show.

CH: I’ve been all over and the world really is your oyster. You want to talk about my year studying abroad in France when I was 18?

RAE: Wait. You studied abroad at 18? How come this never came up before?

CH: Not really sure.

RAE: No problem but this now our topic of discussion. Please tell us how this all started.

CH: Well, I graduated high school early. At 17. I turned 18 in July, then got on a plane for France in August.

RAE: That is quite the whirlwind of activity. How did you choose to study abroad?

CH: It started back when I was in 7th grade. My family hosted kid from Portugal. I never really thought about studying abroad till the day my parents asked if I would like to do it.

RAE: How did you decide on France then?

CH: At the time I didn’t even think about going to France. Just like now, I was really into surfing and wanted to go to Tahiti. My Mom knew I wanted to go to Tahiti just so I could surf. She wasn’t having any of that though.

RAE: Boy, do I understand that. At least they speak French in Tahiti, right?

CH: Yes they do. I got in contact with American Field Service (AFS-USA) and applied. They give you a list where you put your 3 countries of choice. I listed France, Spain and some other country I can’t remember.

RAE: I guess it does not really matter since you got France, right?

CH: AFS doesn’t guarantee you’ll get ANY of your 3 choice countries. I just got lucky and got my 1st choice.

RAE: Did you speak any French prior to moving there?

CH: Nope. I had to learn French on the fly. When I touched down I knew 2 phrases. The 1st was “Je ne sais pas.” [I don’t know.]. The 2nd was “Je suis un Américain.” [I’m an American.].

RAE: That is definitely going into print. That is really not a whole bunch to know. Did that help any?

CH: Thanks. Almost immediately I then learned “Je ne parle pas français.” [I don’t speak French.].

RAE: I think I would have had “I don’t speak French.” topping my list. Was it hard then to communicate with others?

CH: Not so much. The locals and I just found other ways to communicate. Being an American, and from Southern California, both opened doors and added to my mystique.

RAE: Where were you? Where did you call home while you were in France?

CH: I was in Orléans. Lycée Pothier was the high school I attended. I took mini trips throughout the year and at the end of the school year I went to the Southern Coast. This was truly an amazing experience that broadened my mind.

RAE: I am enthralled by an experience like this since I wanted to do Orléanssomething like this in college. We shall come back later to these jaunts from “Home Base”. Please share more about Orléans.

CH: Orléans is known for a city that was under siege by the British during the Hundred Year’s War. Joan of Arc helped liberate the city. Orléans helped pay a portion of herJoan of Arc - Orleans ransom, and has a statue erected of her.

RAE: Yes. She is known as “La Pucelle d’Orléans.” [The Maid of Orleans.]. Joan of Arc is also a Roman Catholic Saint.

Please share with us about your Host Family.

CH: My French Family consisted of a Dad, Mom, older Brother, and older Sister. The order of who spoke English from best to worst went Sister, Mom, Brother, and Dad. Amy was my French Sister. The year prior to my arrival she had studied abroad in Central California. Amy said she had a bad experience, but this didn’t stop her parents from hosting a student from California.

RAE: Wow. That was very considerate of both Amy and her family, especially to host a person specifically from California. How was the family?

CH: They were awesome! Since my French was super limited, we’d have “lessons” everyday. It was like we’d sit around having conversations in French, with broken English to help me learn the language. After a while it started getting lots easier.

RAE: Aside from your Host Family, were there any other people that you would talk to on a regular basis?

CH: Actually, yes. There was a French girl in my class that spoke English that I’d talk with. Her Dad taught English, so she was really very good. Probably the best person I’d communicate with.

RAE: I am sure you both were close at least due to sharing a common language. Were you in contact with your own family back in the states very often?

CH: There was no true internet access like there is now when I went to France. It was not even close as if a kid went today. I felt different, but American kids going today would be really sheltered. For me, this was a complete life changing/altering experience. It was truly character building.

RAE: So when you did want to contact your family or friends how did you do it?

CH: During the year I talked to my family about 3 or 4 times on the phone. Everything else was by letters. I wrote buckets full of letters Stars Stripes Libertyback to the states. Looking back it was a real kick in the pants. I decorated all the envelopes with Pro-American items since I was there during the 1st Gulf War. I’d put flags, stars and stripes, anything that other people would recognize as “American”. After a while my parents actually asked me to “tone it down” a bit on the decorations, but that’s how I felt. I felt so proud of America that I wanted to share it with others.

RAE: Was that hard for you, being like the only American there during a time of international conflict?

CH: It wasn’t so bad. There were a lot of Arabs where I was during the 1st Gulf War. Most of them just wanted to talk to me and ask me questions, like “Why is America attacking Saudi Arabia? Is it just for the oil?” My typical reply to this was “No. If Saddam Hussein and Saudi Arabia wouldn’t have bombed Kuwait none of this would be happening.” My goal was to defend the USA. So much so that I even considered joining the armed forces upon my return to America.

RAE: The support of America and its yearning for all people to be free is appreciated.

So how was daily life for you in Orléans?

CH: Well, my Host Family had a cellar for wine. Each night we had aWine Cellar bottle of Red Wine & a bottle of White Wine with the evening meal. No matter what.

RAE: That sounds very European. Did you enjoy the wine?

CH: That’s funny because I didn’t even drink. I didn’t like wine so I never had that.

RAE: That is funny indeed. Did anything else stand out for you?

CH: Actually, yes. I played American Football on a French team. While I was there American Football was sort of just being introduced. It was like being a celebrity. Since it was so new, and the French didn’t know anything about American Football other than what they saw on TV. It was as if only the “Crazies” played. My teammates were some of the most eccentric people I’ve ever meet. But they were also some of the coolest, most welcoming people ever.

RAE: Were you playing for your high school?

CH: No. Actually there are NO high school sports in France, just club sports. School there is just school, learning and nothing else. Sports, and any other social aspect, are done on your own time. There school is simply a learning experience. It’s really different than here in the states.

RAE: How was it playing football?

CH: We practiced 3 nights a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) and Orléans Chevaliershad games on the weekend. We’d practice from 8-11 PM. After practice we’d shower and then head off to dinner. Dinner was just around midnight. After we finished we’d head to the clubs, which we’d end up leaving about 2 AM when the closed down. Since I didn’t drink alcohol it was just about the experience. Being with friends and meeting people. It was rad. Sometimes I’d come home, change clothes, and then head back off to school.

RAE: Dang. I guess with no drinking there would not be any hangovers.

CH: Exactly.

RAE: Was it simply because you were “The American”, or even “The American Football Player”, that you had a popular night life?

CH: That could be it. My older Host Brother was actual a DJ and local Modeling Agent. Basically due to the combination of everything I’d walk to the door and get right in. It would be equated to being a very, very attractive woman in Hollywood right now. You just know the right people and get right in. No cover. No waiting.

RAE: With this study abroad experience, plus the rest of your life travels and incidents, I should get the rights to your biography. Maybe do a screen play or something?

CH: That sounds good. We’ll do that. Jump on it now though so Denzel can play me.Untitled Screenplay

RAE: (Laughter) I’ll do my best to hone my writing skills.

Since school was just about school, did you do anything else with other people your age? Or were most experiences on your own or with your Host Family?

CH: I made trips to Paris, Southern France and the coast when it was nice, and to the Alps for snowboarding. There were also gatherings with exchange students from other countries. We all got together to share our own cultures as a big group. It was like traveling all over without ever leaving Orléans. There is nothing like a trip where you are fully immersed in a culture like I was. I give props to kids now for traveling more on their own like I did. It’s a very unique, and special, experience.

RAE: Did you ever have any problems, like being seen as an “Ugly American”?

CH: I actually never had any problems. It may have been because I was the only American there. It was one American amongst lots of French people. Usually that stigma is given to tourists when there are just tons of American tourists bombarding a single, or at least just a few, locals. On a trip I think people need to be fully immersed in the local culture. That’s how you make a life altering experience.

RAE: I agree. Getting off the beaten path is always a great way to feel “Local”.

CH: When traveling anywhere you should “Be Local”. Go where the local people go. Eat where the local people eat. Just be weary of the local water.

RAE: Good call on the water. That can ruin a trip pretty fast. Tell us more about Orléans and your travels in France.

CH: I loved France. The food. The atmosphere. The lifestyle. It was Avenue of the Republic, Orleanshow life should be. There wasn’t a bunch of stress at all. They live life opposite of California, and especially Los Angles/Hollywood. The French are concerned about what’s happening locally. They care about those in their lives, and then it spreads from there. Here it seems Americans care more about celebrities than their own neighbors. It’s sad actually.

RAE: I actually agree. Focusing and taking care of your own life, family and friends first would help solve a lot of issues. That’s a talk for another time though.

So what happened when you got home to America and Orange County?

CH: The night I got home there was actually a party going on across the street from my family’s house. It wasn’t for me or anything, but after I got settled I headed on over. Everyone there was excited to see me. They all asked general questions and were genuinely happy I was home, but there was something lacking. As I attempted to share with them I noticed their lack of interest set in. Looking at it now it’s easy to see. Those kids my age didn’t want to talk about France, or my experiences, because they had no idea about what I was sharing. It was out of their realm. They didn’t feel smart, so they wanted to talk about something different. I get that nobody wants to feel dumb, but it starts with each individual to stop that. Each of us needs to expand ourselves. Learn something new.Leaving-Your-Comfort-Zone

RAE: So you think we should get “out of our bubbles” and “out of our comfort zones”?

CH: Exactly! Live life. When I went on this trip I didn’t know any French. After living in France and experiencing life, I started learning and speaking French. By the end of the year, heck, I was even dreaming in French.

RAE: That is super impressive. The screenplay seems to be writing itself.

CH: Awesome. Here’s an example of how important it was to get out of my comfort zone. For both work and pleasure, I’ve been to Bali easily more than a year. More time than I spent in France. You’d think I’d know how to speak Indonesian, but I don’t. The time there was spent doing what I wanted. It was just me living my life in a different place. I’d surf and do things that were comfortable or where people spoke English. I never got myself immersed into the culture and the local situation. So nothing about the culture in Indonesia ever really set in like it did when I was in France.

RAE: Wow. That was a wonderful share. I need to try something like that. Get out of my bubble.

Do you have any parting words for us?

CH: While traveling anywhere, walk. I’ve traveled to Paris quite a bit. Both when I studied abroad and afterwards. Each time I never France Jeanne D Arc Fleur - Orleanstook the subway. By walking I was able to see life happen. I’d walk for miles and miles. I guess I’d also make sure you have great shoes for walking. You don’t really need a map either. Since you’re walking you can follow the locals to where they go. This gets you to get a better experience, while avoiding the “Ugly American” tourist appearance. Throw your plans out the window, and do what you feel. Plans seem to end up making more problems.

RAE: As a guy that likes things organized, can you please explain how not planning is better?

CH: Plans are typically made before even going on the trip. Making plans before even setting foot in your destination sets you up for failure. You don’t know if, or when, jet lag will set in. If you had plansMagic-happens to do something immediately after check-in, then that just failed. It’s nice to have an idea of what you want to do or see, but don’t make it the only thing you do on your trip. Do what you feel is right. Do what you feel is something you wouldn’t normally do. Keep it legal, of course. But, I mean, you can save yourself a lot of money if you’re just going to do similar things that you’d do at home. Just stay there then.

RAE: Oh, I see what you mean. We are on the same page now.

CH: Perfect.

RAE: Chris it has been a pleasure to talk to you, my friend. You have provided a new perspective and new style of interview for Where To? Wednesday. That is exactly what we want, a new feel for 2015.

CH: Hey man, glad I could help.

RAE: We would love to have you back in the future to share some more of your European experiences. Plus I think I need some more for the screenplay.

CH: [Laughs] Ok buddy. Will do. Good to talk with you again. We’ll talk again soon. Cheers!

RAE: Take care, buddy. This was special.

Today was a good time interviewing a good friend from earlier days. We did not so much discuss tourist spots in Orléans, or even France, but how to get the most out of any experience. After today, hopefully we all get more from our traveling.

And with that we will say goodbye, or au revoir, to Mr. Chris Hagan. Thank you again for both your time and the wonderful interview. Thank you for your time and till next week, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

History: Before it was Orléans, it was a Gallic stronghold known as Caesar fighting in CenabumCenabum. That all changed with Julius Caesar. In the vision of Caesar, it was imperative to secure control of Cenabum as a strategic location on his way to conquering all of Gaul. In 52 BC Caesar, leading the Roman Empire, took over the area. Lucius Domitius Aurelianus Augustus as emperor rebuilt the city for himself. The city’s name became Aurelianum, or Aureliana Civitas, meaning “City of Aurelian”. This would then evolve into Orléans.

The Roman Dodecahedra

What is a Roman Dodecahedra?

2This small, hollow object has twelve flat pentagonal faces. Each face has a circular hole in the middle of it, and each hole is of a different diameter. All the holes connect to each other in the hollowed-out center of the object. Most have been found to have a series of knobs on the pentagons’ corner points. Typically ranging in size from 4 to 11 cm, the Roman Dodecahedra was usually made of bronze, but ones made of stone have also been found.

Roman Dodecahedra date from the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD, and researchers are no closer to understanding the origin and function of this mysterious object since their original discovery. To date, more than one hundred of these artifacts have been found in Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Wales.

How does it work?

Sadly, there have been neither pictures nor documentation of them in contemporary accounts. All we have today are hypotheses, theories and speculations. Over the centuries, speculations have included the following: dice and dice games, survey instruments, candlestick holders (wax was found inside two examples), a tool for accounting, a toy to throw and catch on a stick, gauges to calibrate water pipes or army standard bases, devices for determining the optimal sowing date for winter grain, surveying tool, tent pole joint, headpiece for a standard or staff, gaming device, finger ring-size gauges, weapon, or even a simple geometric sculpture.

The fact that the dodacahedrons were not standardized and come in many sizes, including the arrangements of their openings, can rule out their use as a common measuring instrument. Gallo-Roman sites have been the final resting place for some dodacahedrons suggesting it may have been religious artifact of some kind. No matter what the Roman Dodecahedra can be seen as valuable since several were found in coin caches and among other valuable items.

Speculations

3At the top of the list for most accepted theories is that the Roman Dodecahedra was used as a device for measuring range on the battlefield. The hypothesis is that dodecahedrons were used for calculating the trajectories of projectiles. John Ladd suggests that the dodecahedron was used as a quality control device on their military sites. The process would go something like this: a projectile would be lodged into the dodecahedron; fluid would then be poured into the dodecahedron tank to measure incremental displacement for all twelve angles, and based on the patterns of the holes, dictate the imaging resolution.

By inventing volume immersion techniques and the mathematics for interpreting the area and under the displacement curves of the ellipsoidal projectiles. It has been documented that wars were won or lost based upon the quality of sling ammo design. A similar theory involves the dodecahedra as a surveying and levelling device. However, neither of these theories has been supported by any proof4 and exactly how the dodecahedrons could be used for these purposes has not been fully explained.

According to G.M.C. Wagemans, “the dodecahedron was an astronomic measuring instrument with which the angle of the sunlight can be measured and thereby one specific date in springtime, and one date in the autumn can be determined with accuracy. The dates that can be measured were probably of importance for the agriculture”. Nevertheless, this is still only a speculation.

Another unproven theory claims that the Roman Dodecahedra was a religious relic, which seems to be synonymous with “we haven’t a clue” in the vocabulary of archaeologists. They are thought to once be used as sacred tools for the druids of Britannia and Caledonia. One was reportedly found in a woman’s burial ground leading more to this idea. Without a written account or archaeological evidence this view cannot be supported.

Plutarch, the famous Greek historian, reportedly identified the dodecahedron as a vital instrument for zodiac signs. The twelve sides represent the twelve animals in the circle of the zodiac, but even this theory comes under contest when the argument of the knobs as decoration is presented.

“My take is that it is yet another piece the use of which we shall never completely sort out even though we are 1fortunate to have Plutarch’s testimony,” said Andrea Galdy, who holds a PhD from the School of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Manchester and is currently teaching Art History in Florence, Italy.

Another discovery deepens the mystery about the function of these objects. Some time ago, Benno Artmann discovered a Roman Icosahedron, a polyhedron with twenty faces, misclassified as a dodecahedron from just a glance. It is also hollow, bronze, and about 8 cm in diameter.

This Roman Icosahedron ended up in a museum’s basement storage for over forty years before noticed it again. The discovery raises the question about whether there are many other geometric artifacts of different types such as, icosahedra, hexagons, and octagons yet to be found in the former Roman Empire.

Roman Systems EngineeringRSE

 

 

RSE is using what we believe to be the same technology that Romans used in ancient history, to essentially complete 3D scanning in today’s world. Using a computer and the ancient Roman Dodecahedra we can obtain the dimensions and shape of any object placed within the device. The Roman Dodecahedra has the perfect shape to allow multiple angles of measurement.

Unlike modern 3D scanners, this ancient technology could allow for mapping within the by utilizing modern low-viscosity cavity detection fluids that penetrate an opaque and porous medium. This is even more impressive when you find that most scanners on the market today are limited by line-of-sight.

Conclusion

The decorations of these items also vary from plain to having rings embossed concentrically around the holes, while others have small rings arranged in the corner spaces around the holes. Maybe these objects exist for the sole purpose of being difficult to make. Imagine a metalworker proving his capability in casting, finishing, soldering, etc. with a portable object like the Roman Dodecahedra.

InPLP-090402P064 - © - Clément Philippe archaeological sites throughout Northern Europe, at least one Roman Dodecahedra per site has been found. Sometimes they are broken or incomplete, but it’s a mystery why we have these devices spread across a wide region, with nobody knowing for sure what they do.

Maybe the answer is hiding in plain sight. The Romans were clever at keeping secrets from escaping their Empire in order for their foes to find and use. Right now everything about the Roman Dodecahedra is pure speculation. It appears this is another wonderful object the ancients have left us. Until we find an answer for what the Roman Dodecahedra was used for Don’t Stop Rome-ing

 

References

http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts-news-unexplained-phenomena/enigma-roman-dodecahedra-002371

http://www.romansystemsengineering.com/

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/10/dodecahedrons-purpose-remains-mystery/

http://www.georgehart.com/virtual-polyhedra/roman_dodecahedra.html

http://www.atomicshrimp.com/st/content/dodecahedron

A Soldier of Faith

As Easter draws near, we continue looking at the various people, artifacts, and locations associated with the Crucifixion of Jesus. Today Rome Across Europe takes a look at a legendary figure of Christian history. He was the Roman Centurion standing underneath Jesus while He was on the cross.

Longinus is the name of said Roman Centurion who pierced the side of Jesus while He was hanging on the Cross. Longinus was said to have stood transfixed at the foot of the Cross, watching and wondering, full of awe and amazement. Then all at once, something was born in him, a spark of faith causing a brand new beginning. Longinus’ life was changed forever.

Holy Lance of Longinus

It is said the name Longinus was given to this Centurion in medieval traditions because he pierced the side of Jesus with a lance. In the Latin Vulgate Bible, lancea is referred to as the “Holy Lance” or more recently as the “Spear of Destiny” in occult circles. The Roman figure is unnamed in the Gospels, but if a name was to be given to this character later then Longinus with his lancea is a solid choice.

Longinus belonged to the Roman Empire’s fighting elite. As a Centurion he was trained to value power and to believe in the suppression of any enemies of Rome. Longinus was unlikely to have either compassion for or interest in a wandering preacher who had stirred up the populace in an alarming way. He could watch without emotion as that preacher was put to death in the slow, incredibly painful way reserved for criminals who were not citizens of Rome.

Good Jesus of the Mount in Portugal

According to most sources, Longinus was the officer in command at the Lord’s crucifixion. It was his job to make sure that those on the crosses were definitely dead. Like in any other crucifixion Jesus was mocked, scourged, and ridiculed by the Roman soldiers.

That being said, it was claimed that Longinus was nearly blind. This blindness would then make sense as to why a Roman Centurion was stationed as commander of a crucifixion location all the way out in Jerusalem instead of leading troops into battle in Germania or Britannia.

Christian legend, specifically medieval folklore known as the Golden Legend, says when Longinus thrust his spear into Christ’s side causing a rush of blood and water to come from His wound. Some of Jesus’ blood fell upon Longinus’ eyes and he was healed. Upon this miracle Longinus exclaimed, “Indeed, this was the Son of God!” [Mark 15:39] [Matthew 27:54] and thus began his belief in Jesus.

Kneeling

Longinus is said to have ruined the plans of the same Jewish leaders that demanded Jesus’ crucifxion, however, by refusing to be bribed by them. He also insisted on telling the world the true story of how Christ’s body had risen into the glory of the Resurrection.

After learning that the Roman soldier wanted no part of their conspiracy or their money, the Jews decided to rely on their usual ploy: They would simply murder this truth-telling Centurion in cold blood.

Being a man of courage and integrity, as soon as Longinus heard about the plot against him, he took off his military garb, and underwent Baptism with several fellow-soldiers to become Christian. Taking instructions from the Apostles he then is said to have hurried off to Cappadocia and became a monk, where he spent many hours in prayerful devotion and rigorous fasting.

St Longinus the Centurion

Responding to the former Centurion’s compelling piety, many pagans in the region also converted to the Gospel and underwent Baptism as a result. Longinus lived and moved among them freely for a time, then eventually returned home to live on his father’s estate.

But the dishonest Jewish leaders were not finished with Longinus and they soon provoked Emperor Tiberius to issue a draconian order to his troops: Find this renegade and behead him immediately!

Once again the resourceful Longinus anticipated a plan against his life. Hurrying out to the roadway, he greeted his adversaries as friends. Without letting them know who he was, he invited them back to his own residence.

He fed them lavishly, and when they fell asleep, he prepared himself for his execution by praying throughout the night and then clothing himself in spotlessly white burial garb.

As dawn approached, he drew his loyal companions to his side and instructed them to bury him at the top of a nearby hill. Moving swiftly, the martyr approached the awakening soldiers and revealed his true identity; “I am Longinus, the man you seek!”

Saint

Amazed by their host’s honesty, the Roman soldiers were thrown for a loop. How could they behead a man of such noble character and who was one of their own?

But even as they protested against the execution, this greathearted soldier insisted that they should carry out their orders as issued. Even in the face of death Longinus was to show his strength as a former Roman soldier.

In the end, Longinus and the 2 fellow-soldiers who had stood with him at the foot of the cross were taken to Jerusalem and beheaded, and the Centurion’s destiny as a martyr for Jesus Christ was fulfilled.

Regretting already what they had done, the execution squad carried Longinus’ head to Governor Pontius Pilate, who immediately sent it on to the Jewish leaders he already detested because of his earlier confrontation with them about Jesus. They threw it on a dung heap outside Jerusalem.

Longinus was dead but the legends that would follow this valorous warrior had only just been born. The power of those legends can be seen in another story that has persisted down through the ages.

St Longinus

According to the narrative, a blind woman who was visiting Jerusalem in order to pray at its holy shrines experienced a mysterious dream in which Longinus appeared. He told her where to find his head and to bury it.

The blind woman obeyed instantly, and found a guide to locate Longinus’ head. The woman respectfully transported the head back to his native land of Cappadocia for burial.

The body of Longinus is said to have been lost twice, and that its 2nd recovery was at Mantua in 1304. His body was apparently buried together with the Holy Sponge stained with Christ’s blood. The Holy Sponge was used in cleansing Christ’s body when it was taken down from the cross by Longinus, thus extending Longinus’ role with Jesus.

Spear of DestinyThe spear Longinus used to pierce Jesus was revered at Jerusalem by the 6th Century figures in the legends of the Holy Grail. The relic of alleged blood taken from the Holy Lance enjoyed a revived cult again in late 13th Century Bologna under the combined impetus of the Grail romances.

Longinus is venerated, generally as a martyr, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the Roman Martyrology he is mentioned, without any indication of martyrdom, in the following terms: “At Jerusalem, commemoration of Saint Longinus, who is venerated as the soldier opening the side of the crucified Lord with a lance”. His Feast Day is 15 March for the Roman Catholic Church, while the Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates it on 22 October.

The Grail relics are said to have been divided and then distributed to Prague and elsewhere, with the body of Longinus taken to the Basilica of Sant’Agostino in Rome. However, official guides of the Basilica do not mention the presence of any tomb associated with Longinus.

The statue of Saint Longinus, 1 of 4 in the niches of the crossing in the St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, was sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The spear point fragment from the Holy Lance is conserved in the Basilica of St. Peter.

St Longinus in St Peter's Basilica

So much is to be said for this Roman soldier who is said to find himself again as he was cleansed with the blood of Jesus. Whether it is all true, or none of it is true, the fact still remains St. Longinus played a major role in the expansion of the growing Christianity. That is something that cannot be taken away.

We hope you enjoyed this tale and hope you will come back to Rome Across Europe again soon. Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

 

References:

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=11

http://dce.oca.org/assets/templates/bulletin.cfm?mode=html&id=47

http://almoutran.com/2011/10/4339

Calvary – Where the Crucifixion of Jesus Took Place

As we get closer to the end of the season of Lent, we here at Rome Across Europe are going to to do something new today. This article about Calvary will have 3 different videos to watch, and will also be supplemented with some data to read.

Most people are at least familiar with the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. After he was found guilty by the Jews and condemned under Pontius Pilate, Jesus was made to haul the cross on which he was to be crucified on through the streets of Jerusalem to a mount just outside the city walls.

The Way to Calvary

Calvary, also called Golgotha, was a site immediately outside Jerusalem’s walls and just north of Mount Zion according to the Gospels. Calvary as an English name for the place is derived from the Latin word for skull (calvaria or Calvariæ Locus), which is used in the Vulgate translation of “place of a skull”. This explanation is given in all four Gospels of the Aramaic word Gûlgaltâ which was the name of the place where Jesus was crucified.

Calvary

The text does not indicate why it was named Calvary or Golgotha, but there are 3 prominent theories. First is that as a place of public execution, Calvary may have been strewn with the skulls of abandoned victims. This would be contrary to Jewish burial traditions, but not the Romans. Second is that Calvary is named after a nearby cemetery which matches modern sites. Third is that the name was derived from the physical contour of its location meaning the mount appears to look like a skull.

(Crucifixion begins at 30:54)

The Gospels describe it as a place near enough to the city that those coming in and out could read the inscription Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The location itself is mentioned in all 4 Gospels:

Matthew: And when they came to a place called Gol’gotha (which means the place of a skull).

Mark: And they brought him to the place called Gol’gotha (which means the place of a skull).

Luke: And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.

John: So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha.

The traditional location of Golgotha derives from its identification by Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, in 325 AD. A few yards nearby, Helena also identified the location of the Tomb of Jesus and claimed to have discovered the True Cross. Constantine then built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre around the whole site. In 333 AD, the Pilgrim of Bordeaux wrote in the Itinerarium Burdigalense, entering from the east described the result:

“On the left hand is the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified. About a stone’s throw from thence is a vault [crypta] wherein his body was laid, and rose again on the third day. There, at present, by the command of the Emperor Constantine, has been built a basilica; that is to say, a church of wondrous beauty.”

Jerusalem is not in Europe so this may be passed our limits. There is a connection with the Roman Empire though, and Easter is almost upon us. We hope you will join us again here at Rome Across Europe for more fun and exploration. Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Calvary Hill

The Spear of Destiny

It has been called the Spear of Destiny, the Holy Lance, and the Lance of Longinus (Lancea Longini). Whatever name suits your fancy, according to the Gospel of John this is the lance that pierced the side of Jesus during his crucifixion.

Relax. Put your feet up. Enjoy the story about the Fatum Hastam.

We here at Rome Across Europe hope you gained some knowledge as we come closerer to Easter. Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Top 15 Roman Commanders – #2: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

Commanders

Rome Across Europe started this off with a list of Rome’s best commanders. Last week is we went more in depth with Choice #1. If you have time please check them out. We know you will enjoy them. Today we bring you…

2: Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (236 – 183 BC)2b

Also called Scipio Africanus, or Scipio the African, he saved Rome in her darkest days by defeating Hannibal at Zama. This feat is how he earned the agnomen of Africanus. A statesman in the Roman Republic, he was known more for his leadership as a general and as one of the finest commanders in all Roman military history. Despite his achievements in the Second Punic War, Scipio was unable to profit from his military talent and was eventually forced into exile by allegations against him.

Born Publius Cornelius Scipio, he came into the world via Caesarian section. His family had been a major Patrician family, and as the eldest son he was to carry on the trend. Coming of age as Rome struggled against Carthage in the Second Punic War Scipio was witness to the Carthaginian master Hannibal.

Scipio learned how to become a master tactician from his enemy. Vowing to his father that he would fight against Carthage for as long as he lived, Scipio took his contemporary, lackluster Roman peers and created a dominant fighting force.

Scipio joined the Roman army at an early age, serving with distinction at the Battles of Ticinus, Trebia, and Cannae. It is claimed that Scipio’s loyalty to achieving Roman victory was so strong he threatened the politicians at sword point to never surrender.

Scipio presented himself to be a candidate for the Quaestorship in 213 BC, but was rejected by the since he wasn’t 25 years old. Because of his patriotism and braveness Scipio was unanimously elected anyhow.

In 211 BC Scipio’s father and uncle died in battle fighting against Hannibal’s brother. Scipio asked for, and was given, command of a new army in 210 BC and was sent to Hispania.

Due to the region being adamantly under Carthaginian control this position was looked upon as a death sentence. Scipio, with a surprise attack, captured Carthago Nova, which became his base of operations.

Scipio’s conduct towards prisoners and captives portrayed Rome as more emancipators and less as subjugators. Livy states on one occasion Scipio was offered a beautiful woman as a prize of war and he returned her to her fiancé, a chieftain of the Celtiberian tribe named Allucius. As a sign of his gratitude Allucius reinforced Scipio’s forces with warriors from his own tribe.

350px-Poussinscipio

With new allies Scipio then fought the Battle of Baecula the Carthaginian army was outflanked and surrounded Scipio’s cavalry. Scipio’s decision not to pursue Hasdrubal’s fleeing army was looked down upon by his contemporaries and modern military historians. In 205 BC Scipio was given the title of Consul and returned to Africa to resume his campaign against the Carthaginians.

Arriving at Zama, Scipio had 34,000 infantry and about 8,700 cavalry to face Hannibal’s estimated 64,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry, and 80 war elephants. On 19 October 202 BC, Hannibal ordered his elephants forward to destroy the Roman lines and the battle was on.

Zama

Many of the elephants seemed to make no impact for Scipio had arranged his men in vertical columns with pathways in between. The elephants either continued through the openings of the Roman columns or returned to the Carthaginian soldiers due to blaring noise from Roman trumpeters. The returning war pachyderms actually caused confusion and destruction to Hannibal’s left flank.

Scipio’s cavalry then successfully routed the elite Numidian cavalry deployed by Hannibal. Upon the infantries engaging, Scipio had his lines drawn out long to match the numerical superiority of the Carthaginians. The battle collision was heavy, hard and horrible. When the Roman cavalry returned to make a rear charge Hannibal’s army was finally overwhelmed.

The humble Scipio did not sack Carthage like the Senate wanted him to, instead temperate regulations and taxes were levied upon the Carthaginians. Scipio was welcomed back to Rome like a modern-day rock star. Triumphus were awarded to Scipio as he was also given the title Africanus (aka The African).

The wave of popularity carried Scipio Africanus to be honored by the people of Rome wanting him to be Consul for Life and Dictator, to which he both refused. Instead, in 199 BC, he was elected Censor and then lived quietly outside of politics. He later guided his brother in defeating Antiochus the Great and the Seleucids in the Battle of Magnesia.

Political enemies of Scipio later accused him of bribery, but no conviction was ever levied. Instead Scipio retired to his estate in the country at Liternum on the coast.

Upon his death in 183 BC, Scipio won his final battle for it is said that on his tomb was written “Ingrata patria, ne ossa quidem habebis” (Ungrateful fatherland, you will not even have my bones). Coincidentally, Hannibal died the same year while he too was in exile.

Like Alexander the Great, Scipio Africanus never lost a battle or failed in a military endeavor. Also like Alexander, Scipio introduced the clean shaven face to his contemporaries and many thereafter. Scipio Africanus was the first Roman general to expand Roman territories outside the Italian mainland and islands.

He conceived the strategy that defeated Carthage and brought victory in that war. Scipio Africanus inspired his soldiers with confidence, the people of Rome with a charismatic leader, and history with a legend.

That concludes this week’s commander. Come back next week to read more about the next leader on Rome Across Europe’s Top 15 Roman Commanders. Till then Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The Backbone of Rome’s Power – Legio Romanus

When you think of Ancient Rome what do you think of? Land? Money? Power? Rome Across Europe would agree with any of those great responses. Our focus today, though, is how Rome achieved all of its land, money and power. Rome rose to such heights on the backs of its legions.

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Legio Romanus normally indicates the basic ancient Roman Army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. During the early Roman Kingdom the Legio meant the entire Roman Army. Rome grew through the Republic, and then into the Empire, so variation came to the legion. What stayed the same was that the Legio Romanus was always the elite heavy infantry of the known world.

The typical Republican Legion was composed of around 4,000 Legionarii plus 300 Ordo Equester, with the infantry then divided into 10 Cohortes of 4 Manipulus of 120 Legionarii. During the early Imperial era, it became 5,200 Legionarii plus 120 Auxillia split into 10 Cohortes (the 1st Cohors holding 800 men, then the remaining 9 Cohortes of 480 men each).

legionari-4

Cavalry in the early legion was small and only of citizens constituting the lower of the two aristocratic classes (Patricius then Ordo Equester). Slowly this too came to change and expand. By the 3rd Century AD, a legion became a much smaller unit, between 1,000 to 1,500 men, but there were more legions as a whole.

Legions still recruited exclusively from Roman citizens for most of the Imperial period. The remainder of the Army consisted of Auxillia. Auxillia is Latin for “It Helps” and they were not Roman citizens. They provided the vast majority of the Roman Army’s Cavalry, ranged troops and skirmishers to complement the legion’s heavy infantry.

The recruitment of non-citizens was rare but appears to have occurred in times of great need. The perfect example is Julius Caesar creating the Legio V Alaudae mostly from non-citizen Gauls.

Legio V Alaudae

Prior to the 2nd Century BC, Republican Legions were composed of property owning citizens that paid for their own equipment. Toward the end of the 2nd Century BC, Rome started to experience manpower shortages brought about by the property and financial qualifications to join the army. This lull in manpower caused the Roman Army to change into a volunteer, professional, standing force with equipment and rewards for fulfilling years of service provided by the state.

Non-citizens could sign on as Auxiliaries and were rewarded Roman citizenship upon completion of service with all the rights and privileges that entails. In the time of Augustus there were nearly 50 standing legions, but this was reduced to about 30 permanent standing legions or less after his reign and for the rest of the Empire’s history.

Auxilia under Augustus

Roman legions are sometimes regarded the most impressive military organizations of the ancient world. Until 107 BC, legions were not standing units. They typically were formed, used, and then disbanded again. Only about 50 of the several hundred of legions created have been identified.

Twelve of the legions founded before Christ were still active until at least the 5th Century AD. Most notable of them all was Legio V Macedonica, founded by Augustus in 43 BC and was in Egypt in the 7th Century AD during the Islamic conquest of Egypt.

Legio V Macedonia

Come back soon to find out lots more information about the Roman Legions. Rome Across Europe is super excited to share more with our audience. Till then Don’t Stop Rome-ing!