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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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#2
Write a paper on it!
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#3
He just did Wink
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#4
(09-21-2017, 05:15 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Write a paper on it!

(09-21-2017, 05:56 PM)Gunthamund Hasding Wrote: He just did Wink


It would be rather a short paper, I'm afraid! [Image: tongue.png]
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#5
You'd be amazed at how long academics can draw out even a simple topic like this...
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#6
(09-21-2017, 08:47 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: You'd be amazed at how long academics can draw out even a simple topic like this...

Yes, I've across quite a few papers like that!

Unfortunately there's not much more we can say about VI Parthica, which seems to have had little impact on history... However, the appearance of the caduceus (if that's what it is) is quite interesting - one of the very few survivals of overtly pagan imagery on the shield designs of the late 4th-5th century (the only other one, I think, being the classic 'winged victory' that appears a couple of times).
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#7
(09-22-2017, 11:47 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote: Yes, I've across quite a few papers like that!

Unfortunately there's not much more we can say about VI Parthica, which seems to have had little impact on history... However, the appearance of the caduceus (if that's what it is) is quite interesting - one of the very few survivals of overtly pagan imagery on the shield designs of the late 4th-5th century (the only other one, I think, being the classic 'winged victory' that appears a couple of times).

A learned friend of mine suggested a few days ago that the standard of Lepontius, the Strasbourg soldier, might be associated with Mercurius..

   
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Robert Vermaat
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#8
(09-23-2017, 10:48 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: the Strasbourg soldier, might be associated with Mercurius..

Aha yes, the cockerel does seem to be associated with Mercury!

And there's something a little 'pagan' looking about Lepontius's standard...
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