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Parthica Legion - Caduceus emblem?
#1
The shield emblem for the Sexta Parthica legion in the Notitia Dignitatum appears (to me at least) to show a caduceus - minus the little wings, but I'm sure you can see what I mean:

   

Legions IV-VI Parthica are usually presumed to have been raised by Diocletian, as part of his reorganisation of the eastern frontier. The caduceus is the symbol of Hermes/Mercury - is there any connection between Diocletian or the other tetrarchic emperors and Mercury?

Looking though various lists of coin issues, it doesn't seem that the tetrarchs were too interested in Mercury - although there are a couple of images of Felicitas holding the caduceus (like this one, of Maximian).

Hermes/caduceus images do appear very frequently on coins from the mid 3rd century through - particularly Gordian III through to Gallienus.

So - could the legion series IV-VI Parthica have been raised earlier in the century, perhaps by Gordian as part of his preparations for the invasion of Persia in AD243? Or is there some additional evidence for a tetrarchic foundation?
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Parthica Legion - Caduceus emblem? - by Nathan Ross - 09-21-2017, 01:22 PM

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