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Full Version: The Bull Standard
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I have several questions regarding the legionary bull standard. I know that legions that had the bull standard were founded under Augustus, but (1) how many of them were carried per legion? (2) legions with other symbols (i.e. the capricorn) carried different animals, or was the animal standard exclusive to Augustan legions only? Finally (3) I'm assuming that these were also carried by the signiferi? I greatly appreciate the help. 8-)


[attachment=5324]2135.jpg[/attachment]
To the best of my knowledge, the bull standards were used by the legions of Julius Caesar.
Beat me to it Jona! 8-)
Thanks guys! Does anyone have any insight to my questions? Cool
I understood originally when the 2 consuls raised the 4 legions,
Each carried a deprecate standard, I.e. bull, boar, etc!
I think this hanged to the eagle later, with the other animals reverting toys bola of different Legions
Makes me wonder if there was a link back to the four legions, with the elements from each
Being used as cores for the new legions, being the reasons you have several differen Legions with theBull, the boar, the Capricorn etc
Anyway, sorry cant elaborate more!
I just don't think that the bull standard was exclusive only to Augustan Legions.
I know the V Macedonica used a Bull as thier symbol originally.
I was reading Philip Matyszak's Legionary. In it, he stated that legions raised under Augustus carried the capricorn emblem because Augustus was born under that sign (Romans took zodiac signs very seriously). Legions fighting under the bull emblem were with Julius Caesar in Gaul. This is in relation to the Gaulic bull-god. Or, it could be in relation to the Taurus zodiac sign.
The conclusion that I have drawn, is that whoever raised a legion would give that legion his zodiac sign as, essentially, a mascot. Even though it was a personal symbol of the person who raised the legion, it was held sacred and was adopted into the cult of the standards. The only question that I still have, is how many were there per legion? One? One per cohort? per century? And who carried them?
To my understanding the Bull (and other animal) standards are the precursor of the later Aquilae. So, maybe they were carried by a special man, or just an normal signifer. Furthermore I would also say only one per legion.
Quote:legions that had the bull standard were founded under Augustus

Quote:the bull standards were used by the legions of Julius Caesar.

Where are you getting all this?

Didn't Marius replace the old bull etc standards with the eagle? Keppie suggests that legions kept an 'astrological' animal as a symbol, used on coins and reliefs - but I don't know if there's actual evidence to back up this theory.
Quote:Legions fighting under the bull emblem were with Julius Caesar in Gaul.
The legions definitely adopted emblems, which could perhaps be mounted on a standard -- there's certainly at least one example on Trajan's Column (Cichorius Taf. 35/Cast 48) -- but our usual sources do not breathe a word about this.

The bull emblem is supposedly associated with Caesarian legions. It appears (for example) on the shield boss belonging to a man of the Eighth Augusta, found in the River Tyne.
[attachment=5325]RiverTyne_shield-boss.jpg[/attachment]
Quote:The legions definitely adopted emblems, which could perhaps be mounted on a standard -- there's certainly at least one example on Trajan's Column (Cichorius Taf. 35/Cast 48)

I'd never noticed that before!

Is this the one you mean?:

[Image: 695px-035_Conrad_Cichorius%2C_Die_Relief..._01%29.jpg]

Looks like a wolf. But it appears that it's being carried with the eagle, ahead of the other standards - so presumably only one per legion?
Indeed. The afore-said book I read makes reference to different legions having zodiac signs as (for lack of a better word) "mascots".

COMPLETELY Off-Topic: If you look closely, the Aquilifer is bare-headed in that representation as well (not that Trajan's column is a highly accurate reference). :-o
Quote:legions having zodiac signs

But which sign of the zodiac does a wolf represent? (or a boar) ;-)

I wonder whether this idea that the 'totem' animal represents an astrological sign and can therefore be used to identify the founder might be a bit off... Surely it's more likely they relate to the traditional animal totems used by the legions pre-Marius?
As i mentioned, the 4 legions had an animal symbol each. I think it was related to tribal
symbols in early kingdom/Republican period.
I don't think it is Zodiac symbology. Was Caesar a Taurus?
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