Full Version: IX Hispania Disappearance Myth
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I know that very little of this is true if any but I like the story.

I'm trying to find a good account of the story of the Legio IX Hispania disappearing in Scotland.

I have been told a story of the Legio IX being sent from Hadrian's Wall to conquer the highlands of Scotland. They were subject to many small abushes as they marched north and this took its toll on the men. By the time they had reached the area around the Black Isle they had lost around 200 men.

They set up a temporary camp on the coast near Nigg and one day the Cheif of the Picts came to speak with their commander. He looked so fierce with his painted face that not a single Roman was prepared to stop him and as he marched into the camp accompanied only by his daughter of 12 years old. He went straight to the commander of the camp and made him an offer. He challenged him to single combat, if the leader of the Picts won then the Romans would leave their land and if the Romans won then the Picts would surrender.

The Roman accepted and appointed a champion to fight on his behalf. They fought and eventually the Pict managed to pin down his opponent with his spear against his enemy's throat. The leader of the Picts announced his victory and chose to spare the man's life. As he stood up and turned around to leave the champion brought down his sword cutting into the Pict's head and killing him instantly.

Enraged, the daughter picked up her father's spear and thrust it into the champion's abdomen. She was then grabbed by the Romans and brutally killed. But with her last breath she cursed the Romans and as the life left her body the cliffs below them opened up and demons with whips came out. The demons marched the Romans through the opening of the cliff and marched them into the underworld to be punished for eternity. The cliffs closed behind the last of the demons and took the shape of an Eagle to remember the Leio IX Hispania and the terrible thing they had done.

I have a photograph of the Eagle that I took earlier this year but I can't get it posted. I click add an attachment, select the file I want (jpg 100KB), enter a file comment and click add attachment but it doesn't work. What do I do?
Legion IX Hispana was destroyed in Judea under Hadrian (AD 132-135) or later under Marcus Aurelius in Armenia (AD 161?). Hispana disappeared from Britain, because legion have been transferred, first to Germany, and then to the East.
There is a good article in the magazine "Military Illustrated" about Legio IX that came out earlier this year. I can't remember the volume number off the top of my head, but it had a nice, long article on the mystery surrounding the Legion. It didn't give an actual account of what happened, but it gave various scenarios about what could have happened. The generally accepted version is that it was lost in the East because no records of its existence can be found after 126AD or 129AD, somewhere around there?

Hope it is of help, maybe they have a website or something where it lists articles, authors, and issue numbers.

Best of luck!
Author is easy, none other than RAT member Ross Cowan.

Another scenario was discussed by Eric Birley in "Britain After Agricola, and the End of the Ninth Legion" first published in the Durham University Journal, June 1948, 78-83.

I have the article in "Roman Britain and the Roman Army" Collected Papers by Eric Birley, published by Titus Wilson & Son Ltd. 1961.

He writes, "IX Hispana at Eboracum (York) was also busy building; that has been shown by Mr S. N. Miller's careful excavations, and is proved by an inscription (CIL VII 241) of 108 (or strictly speaking, 10 December 107 - 9 December 108); that inscription is the latest dated record of the legion, and it is widely believed that it came to a violent end a few years later, in the closing years of Trajan or the early years of Hadrian's reign. What may be termed the official view is that expressed by Haverfield (The Roman Occupation of Britain, 1924, p. 119): "The north rose and not in vain. The Ninth Legion, then stationed at York, was anihilated. The rising was, of course, crushed. Hadrian supplied another legion, the VI Victrix Pia Fidelis, and came over in person about A.D. 122"; Wilhelm Weber was even more confident (Cambridge Ancient History XI, 1936, p. 313): "next came the crushing of the rebellious Britons, who had destroyed the legion IX Hispana in the camp of Eburacum, and the expeditio Britannica which ended in 119 with the pacification of the country, and was followed, on his visit in 122, by the construction of Hadrian's Wall"; and it is not merely the general public, but also scholars of repute, who accept the disaster to IX Hispana at that juncture as a matter of common knowledge."

What do you think?


M. Spedius Corbulo
Well, I :wink: think that although Eric Birley was a great ancient military historian, his work has now been superseded, among other things by archeological finds in Nijmegen, which prove that at least part of the legion spent some time in the early 2nd century in Nijmegen, thoroughly messing up Birley's solution. For the whole story, do a search on this forum for the fate of the ninth. We have been over it a few times.
Ave Jasper,

This is what Wikipedia had to say;

"Legio IX Hispana
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Ninth Legion)

Legio IX Hispana was a Roman legion probably levied by Julius Caesar before 58 BC, for his Gallic wars. The legion disappeared during the reign of Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd century, probably destroyed. The legion's symbol is unknown, likely a bull, as other legions created by Caesar.

The Ninth Legion was present during the whole campaign of the Gallic wars. Later, they remained faithful to Caesar in the civil war against the conservative faction of the senate led by Pompey. They fought in the battles of Dyrrhachium and Pharsalus (48 BC) and in the African campaign of 46 BC. After his final victory, Caesar disbanded the legion and settled the veterans in the area of Picenum.

Following Caesar's assassination, Octavian recalled the veterans of the Ninth to fight against the rebellion of Sextus Pompeius in Sicily. After his defeat, they were sent to the province of Macedonia. The Ninth remained with Octavian in his war of 31 BC against Mark Antony and fought by his side in the battle of Actium. With Octavian as sole ruler of the Roman world, the legion was sent to Hispania to take part in the large scale campaign against the Cantabrians (25–13 BC). Their surname Hispana likely dates from this event and was probably earned for distinction in fighting.

After this, the legion was probably a member of the imperial army in the Rhine border that was campaigning against the Germanic tribes. Following the abandonment of the Eastern Rhine area (after the disaster of the battle of the Teutoburg Forest — AD 9), the Ninth was relocated in Pannonia.

In 43 they participated in the Roman invasion of Britain led by emperor Claudius and general Aulus Plautius. Under the command of Caesius Nasica they put down the first revolt of Venutius between 52 and 57. The Ninth suffered important losses under Quintus Petillius Cerialis in the rebellion of Boudica (61) and was later reinforced with legionaries from the Germania provinces. Their last record in Britain dates from the early 2nd century, when the legion built a fortress near York. Then, apparently they were moved to Germania Inferior.

From about 120 on, the legion disappears from the records. It was destroyed in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, either during the Bar Kokhba's revolt (130s) or in the Danube revolts (160s).

For a time it was believed, at least by some British historians, that the legion disappeared during its stay in Britain, presumably in conflict with the peoples of present-day Scotland. However this view is not now accepted, as there are records of it being based on the continent after its time in Britain. This idea was used in the novel The Eagle of the Ninth."


M. Spedius Corbulo
Since Marcus Aurelius founded new legions early in his reign (II & III Italica), it is usually assumed that this legion disappeared either in the reign of Hadrian or Antoninus Pius.
I would ( :twisted: ) have pointed to the article (old, but better) by Ritterling which can be seen on
Quote:Since Marcus Aurelius founded new legions early in his reign (II & III Italica), it is usually assumed that this legion disappeared either in the reign of Hadrian or Antoninus Pius.
I would ( :twisted: ) have pointed to the article (old, but better) by Ritterling which can be seen on

Ave Jasper,

Thank you for the link, excellent work BTW. I can dispute neither your or Ritterling's logic.

I instigated a search at using IX Hispana as my search parameters.

I only found one item.

Belegstelle: AE 1914, 00262 = AE 1922, 00079
Provinz: Galatia Ort: Yalvac / Antiochia Pisidiae
C(aio) Carist[a]/nio C(ai) f(ilio) Ser(gia) Fr[on]/toni trib(uno) mil(itum) pr[aef(ecto)] / eq(uitum) alae Bosp(oranorum) adl[e]/cto in senatu inter tribunic(ios) promoto in/ter praetorios leg(ato) pro / pr(aetore) Ponti et Bithyn(iae) leg(ato) Imp(eratoris) / divi Vespasian(i) Aug(usti) leg(ionis) / IX Hispanae in Britann(ia) / leg(ato) pro pr(aetore) Imp(eratoris) divi Titi / Caes(aris) Aug(usti) et Imp(eratoris) Domitiani / Caes(aris) Aug(usti) provinc(iae) Pam/phyliae et Lyciae patro/no col(oniae) // T(itus) Caristanius Cal/purnianus Rufus / ob merita eius h(onoris) c(ausa)

He was elected as a consul; this is an entry from my consuls list for Domitian, 25.May.90 - Q(uinto) Accaeo Rufo, C(aio) Caristanio Frontone, see CFA 58.

He has an interesting Cursus Honorum although it doesn't seem to be in chronological order? The mention of him being elected as a consul appears to be out of sequence?

What do you think?


M. Spedius Corbulo
Quote:I only found one item.
Try VIIII Hispan (leaving the changing letters out helps)

Seems like a normal cursus to me. What's wrong with the order/
Quote:I only found one item.
Try VIIII Hispan (leaving the changing letters out helps)
Seems like a normal cursus to me. What's wrong with the order/

Ave Jasper,

Once again, as always, you are "spot on" with helpful tips. Thank you.

This time I found nine.

CIL 05, 04329 (p 1079) = InscrIt-10-05, 00116 = D 00940
CIL 05, 07159
CIL 06, 01333 (p 3141, 3805, 4682, 4774) = CIL 06, 31633 = D 01077
CIL 06, 03639
CIL 08, 05355 = CIL 08, 17493 = ILAlg-01, 00282
CIL 11, 05670 = AE 1994, 00588
CIL 12, 00261 = ILN-01, 00019
CIL 12, 02601
CIL 13, 04030 = AE 1973, 00361

I searched again using IX Hispan, four more to add to our list.

AE 1914, 00262 = AE 1922, 00079
AE 1975, 00446
CIL 05, 07443 = SupIt-17-FF, 00004 = AE 1987, 00414 = AE 1999, 00651
CIL 06, 41280 = AE 1967, 00020
CIL 10, 06006 = D 01066 = ILMN-01, 00585

One further search using IX Hisp, some duplications this time.

AE 1914, 00262 = AE 1922, 00079
AE 1923, 00040
AE 1950, 00124
AE 1975, 00446
AE 1975, 00558a
AE 1975, 00558b
AE 1975, 00558c
CIL 05, 07443 = SupIt-17-FF, 00004 = AE 1987, 00414 = AE 1999, 00651
CIL 06, 03584 (p 3847) = D 02656
CIL 06, 41280 = AE 1967, 00020
CIL 10, 06006 = D 01066 = ILMN-01, 00585
RIB 00680

With regards to the cursus, if you have some time, could you possibly do a quick translation?


M. Spedius Corbulo
I spent two weeks with Prof. Eric Birley in 1978, and by that date, he had definitely changed his views on the fate of the XI Hispana. I noted the publication date of the book (1961) cited above.
He knew of subsequent evidence that pointed to the legion existing beyond its alleged end in Scotland. My recall isn't perfect, but I believe he said something about tombstones or monuments for a couple officers who had served in XI Hispana as part of their careers, but would have been too young to be serving at the time it was supposedly lost in Scotland late in Trajan's or early in Hadrian's reigns.
He said everything pointed to it being transferred out and possibly disappearing at some point in eastern campaigns.

Marcus Quintius Clavus
Quinton Johansen
Quote:I spent two weeks with Prof. Eric Birley in 1978, and by that date, he had definitely changed his views on the fate of the XI Hispana.
I read something like that as well. Birley, it seems, changed his mind soon after 1968:
Birley, E.B. (1971): The fate of the Ninth Legion, in: Butler, R.M. (ed.): Soldier and Civilian in Roman Yorkshire, pp. 71-80.

In that article he points to evidence presented by J.E. Bogaers from Noviomagus/Nijmegen, tiles with VEX BRIT, LEG VIIII, and even ()G VIIII HIS on them. The reference ('most accessibly, in German' so Birley wrote) is Bogaers (1967): Die Besatzungstruppen des Legionslagers von Nijmegen im 2. Jahrhundert nach Christus, in: Studien zu den Militärgrenzen Roms, pp. 54-76. Birley assumed (with Bogaers) that the Legion had sustained heavy casualties during the early 2nd century, before being brought to Germania Inferior for rest and refit.

Birley also pointed to an altar to Apollo found at Aquae Granni/Aachen (Germany), dedicated by a praefectus castrorum, formerly primus pilus of LEG IX Hispana, and by a reasonable inference (by Birley and prof. Nesselhauf) still serving with that Legion. He would then have been praefectus castrorum of Noviomagus/Nijmegen, visiting the spa of Aquae Granni/Aachen. Nesselhauf excluded the possibility that the man would have been from a mere vexillation due to his rank.

Nesselhauf also suggested that IX Hispana did not leave as early as 104 AD for the Danube (contra Ritterling - oops don't smite me Jasper! Big Grin ) but that it resided in Noviomagus/Nijmegen before being sent to Vindobona/Vienna as part of Trajan's preparation's of the Parthian War. While engaged there, the wars in Britain broke out again, but as IX Hispana would have been unavailable, VI Victrix was sent instead, as early as 119 AD.

Birley on the other hand thought this scenario too early. He liked the idea of VI Victrix coming to Britain with Nepos in 122 AD. Birley assumed that VI Victrix moved into Eboracum/York whereas IX Hispana was to build itself a new base at Luguvallum/Carlisle, where tiles with LEG VIIII HIS were found (the tiles of Eboracum/York all showing LEG IX HIS). Birley thought IX Hispana transferred to Noviomagus/Nijmegen c. 126 AD and then on to the East.

Next is a ref. to a soldier in a written record (and thus possibly not genuine) from Misenum (CIL X 1769). It commemorates one Aelius Asclepiades, recruited in Cilicia and dying after 8 year's service, implying that the legio served in an Eastern province. Birley assumed that it might have been destroyed in the Jewish War under Hadrian, or that it might have been 'the Legion' destroyed by the Parthians according to Cassius Dio (LXXX 2.1), because no other Legion can be found to fit the bill.

The career whom Quinton referred to is from a papyrus from a cave in Israel (or Palestine as Birley wrote). It was published, too: Israel Exploration Journal XII (1962), p. 259, and Syme, Ronald (1965): Historia xiv, pp. 35ff.
In this papyrus is the name of Aninius Sextius Florentinus as governor of the province of Arabia in 127 AD. Now this guy was know already from an inscription to his memory at Petra, where his career showed he was proconsul of Narbonensis and before that legate of IX Hispana. The time between this command and his governor ship showed (according to Birley) that a) he would have been legate after rather than before 120 AD and b) the Legion had not been disgraced then (else why would its commander have received such posts). He would have been consul soon, had he not died.
Birley then goes on to cite the careers of two officers from IX Hispana, L. Aemilius Carus and L. Novius Crispinus. Carus was governor of Arabia in 143 AD (and consul by 144 AD), so he might have been with IX Hispana before Trajan died (as Claudius Maxiumus, consul in 144 AD, had served with IIII Scythica during 114-7 AD). But Novius Crispinus became consul by 150 AD and can hardly be supposed to have been with IX Hispana more than 30 years before. Therefore, Birley assumed, his career with IX Hispana would have been nearer to 130 AD than to 120 AD.

Birley, therfore, saw IX Hispana in existence well after 120 AD, long after the British Wars, and in an Eastern province.
He then cited this lovely poem from an unnamed memeber of the 8th congress of Roman Frontier Studies (1969):

The fate of the Ninth still engages
The minds of both nitwits and sages;
But that problem, one fears
Will be with us for years
And for ages and ages and ages!

Whover wrote that, was right, as we all know.

Quote:possibly disappearing at some point in eastern campaigns.
I still think that this fate is even more sad that the Legion 'disappearing in the Scottish mist'.... Sad
Salvete Omnes

The last inscription of the legio VIIII Hispana is dated on 108/109 but It doesn´t clear thar the legio VIIII hispana was destroyed under the Brigantes: the officers which served at the nominal destruction of the legio at 122 AD continuing their carriers in the roman army and in the 122 AD and with the come of the legio VI Victrix to Eburacum the legio VIIII Hispana could be moved to Luguvallium. What is sure is in the army list of Marcus Aurelius (161 – 180) doesn´t appear the legio VIIII Hispana

This is the possibly history of the Legio VIIII Hispana after the rebellion of the Brigantes (122 AD).

123 AD: The imperial army list locates the legio VIIII Hispana at Noviomagus (Germania Inf) under the orders of Florentius (the same commander under the rebelion of the Brigantes). The establishment of the legio VIIII Hispana at Noviomagus seems to be older, at least a sub unit of the legio and a auxiliari unit (the alae Vocontorium) were setled at Noviomagus to replace the X Gemina transfered to the Danube.

132 - 135 AD: rebellion of the jews of Simon ben Kosiba under Adrianus. A unnamed legion was destroyed at 132 in this time (possibly the VIIII Hispana) but could came to Iadea with Sextus Iulius Severus which destroyed the rebellion

137 AD: Transferring of a legio to Elegia (could be the legio VIIII Hispana?) to solve the problems with the Alans.

161 AD: Destruction of a legio by the partians at Elegia (could be the definitive destruction of the legio VIIII Hispana?)

Salve atque Vale

T. Amatius Paulus
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