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While researching something I stumbled across those 2 things:

Historia Augusta:

The HA reports in the Vita Severi 7.1 that, after Severus dismissed the Praetorians their standards were carried through the town by his legionaries upside down. The commentary adds that this was some kind of sign of disgrace. the standards wouldn't have been destroyed because they were sacred but they were carried with their tip pointing at the ground to show they were disgraced.

Does anyone know about this practice? Are there any other references? Any other reference would be very very helpful. was this known before? was it a practice which only became popular later? (might just be one of the many mistakes and anachronisms the author of the HA makes)


the 2nd one is a bit tricky because I don't know where it's taken from. It is a footnote in my edition of Cassius Dio but I couldn't find the abbreviation anywhere (maybe someone can help and tell me where this is taken from?)

it is something called:

Exc.Salm.

Severus is talking to the Praetorians:

"As men appointed for the guarding of the emperor, he said, you gird your swords, not on your left side, but on your right"

So does that mean Praetorians used to wear their swords on the right and all others on the left by that time?

this brings me back to my old topic:


Arch of Severus

Where I tried :wink: to discuss the different depictions of soldiers on this monument. Still I think the distribution of shields and swords and seg. vs hamata is very interesting. Look at the group on the low right side: the soldiers wear seg., oval scuta and swords on the right. So maybe they are Praetorians? while hamata, rectangular and sword on the left are legionaries and oval, hamata and left are auxilia?
Ave,

Awesome old reference. Today flying a flag upside down can be a sign of distress at sea but, even today it's usually a sign of disrespect; as in this example:
[url:e0iejl49]http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/NEWS/706150333[/url]

Quote:"As men appointed for the guarding of the emperor, he said, you gird your swords, not on your left side, but on your right"

So does that mean Praetorians used to wear their swords on the right and all others on the left by that time?

Very possible, it could also mean that most officers carried their swords on the left and perhaps the tradition was for the Praetorians to always carry theirs on the right, as all who fought for Caesar and Augustus did. In other words, "don't carry your sword the 'modern' way or the new 'cool' way... instead you are Praetorians, you will carry your swords in the finest Roman Tradition; on your right."

Or I could be so off base its not even funny! Big Grin
Quote:"As men appointed for the guarding of the emperor, he said, you gird your swords, not on your left side, but on your right"
Isn't that a reference to the Praetorians who wore togas to guard the emperor in Rome? Impossible to carry your sword on the left in that case.
I am not a historian but would assume that "Exc. Salm." is a reference to the Excerpta Salmasiana, a fragmentary history including excerpts from Dio which was ascribed to Johannes Antiochenus and which appears to date to the seventh century or later.

The citation on the swords may therefore reflect seventh century practice rather than 2nd/3rd century. It would, however, be very tempting to see it as literary evidence for the assumption that wearing the swords on the left indicates high status.
Quote:Isn't that a reference to the Praetorians who wore togas to guard the emperor in Rome? Impossible to carry your sword on the left in that case.
Good one. And to illustrate why:

[Image: funerarymonument2.jpg]
Quote:I am not a historian but would assume that "Exc. Salm." is a reference to the Excerpta Salmasiana, a fragmentary history including excerpts from Dio ...
Thank you, Jens! Smile I've been racking my brains for all the likely Excerpta, but couldn't think of a "Salm." Laus awarded!
Thank you all and laudes to Jens!

About the toga:

Yes I see your point but the sentence says much more than that. If everyone would wear their swords on the right at that time (like many believe was standard) there would have been no need to mention that they don't wear it on the left. The pictures of the Arch in the other thread I linked above shows that as well. many soldiers with swords on the left, while earlier depictions often show the majority with swords on the right.

Quote:Very possible, it could also mean that most officers carried their swords on the left and perhaps the tradition was for the Praetorians to always carry theirs on the right, as all who fought for Caesar and Augustus did. In other words, "don't carry your sword the 'modern' way or the new 'cool' way... instead you are Praetorians, you will carry your swords in the finest Roman Tradition; on your right."

I agree with that :wink:
Quote:If everyone would wear their swords on the right at that time (like many believe was standard) there would have been no need to mention that they don't wear it on the left.
By the end of the 2nd C or early 3rd was the sword not being primarily worn on the left?
http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/images/sto ... ianus1.jpg
http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/images/sto ... exisd1.jpg
http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/images/sto ... nbuld1.jpg
http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic. ... 295#107295

Ross Cowan

Quote:By the end of the 2nd C or early 3rd was the sword not being primarily worn on the left?

Yes. Also in the Imagebase, check the Severan praetorians Vitalis and Sept. Valerinus.

http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/component/ ... Itemid,94/


http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/component/ ... Itemid,94/

The latter may have been one the legionaries transferred into the new Guard in AD 193. I don't see why this stone should be dated as late as AD 260/70.

I wonder if the switch from right to left is connected with the privileges granted to the army following Severus' victory at Lugdunum, AD 197 (Herodian 3.8.4-5).

R

Ross Cowan

For lowered standards as a sign of submission/defection, check Zonaras 12.24 on the defeat of Marcianus at Serdica in AD 261.

Re. HA Sev. 7.1, are the praetorian standards being dragged along the ground rather than merely lowered?
Quote:For lowered standards as a sign of submission/defection, check Zonaras 12.24 on the defeat of Marcianus at Serdica in AD 261.

Re. HA Sev. 7.1, are the praetorian standards being dragged along the ground rather than merely lowered?

inde in Palatium eodem habitu perrexit, praelatis signis quae praetorianis ademerat supinis non erectis.

Ross Cowan

Quote:inde in Palatium eodem habitu perrexit, praelatis signis quae praetorianis ademerat supinis non erectis.

I'm not entirely convined that supinis simply means 'lowered'. Magie's LCL translation, "not raised erect but trailing on the ground", taking into account another meaning of supinus, is attractive. How sacred were the standards of a disgraced and disbanded unit? The praetorians had already tampered with them following the murder of Pertinax (Herodian 2.6.11).
Is there any other source besides Zonaras anyone knows of?

The reason for asking:

My theory is that this might be an invention by the author of the HA and he is describing a later custom which might have originated only during the later 3rd century or in the 4th.

My arguments for that:

1.
During the earlier civil wars, as well as Severus time and later until Galerius and Constantin the victorious emperors avoid celebrating victories over Roman troops (even if Severus wasn't even fighting a battle against them), especially in Rome itself. Dio reports how Severus entered the town but doesn't mention the standards. I guess it would have been seen as a pretty bad sign or even omen to carry sacred Roman standards in such a way, celebrating a "victory" over them.

2.Severus dismissed the Praetorians but filled them with his own troops. Therefore he would have used the same standards again imho, so even if the members were disgraced the standards shouldn't have been.

3. there are comparisons in Aurelius Victor, Eutropius and the HA between Severus and Constantinus whether taken from the same (lost) source or copied from one another (varries). Eutrop and Victor let Severus fight a battle at the Milvian bridge against the praetorians, strangely enough the HA does NOT do that but makes an even stranger thing by reporting first about the thing with the standards and then about an incident at Saxa Rubra(the place of Constantin's battle). The HA messed up sources and incidents here once again, probably on purpose.

So if anyone could help with another source I'd be really grateful.

thank you!
Quote:1.
During the earlier civil wars, as well as Severus time and later until Galerius and Constantin the victorious emperors avoid celebrating victories over Roman troops (even if Severus wasn't even fighting a battle against them), especially in Rome itself. Dio reports how Severus entered the town but doesn't mention the standards. I guess it would have been seen as a pretty bad sign or even omen to carry sacred Roman standards in such a way, celebrating a "victory" over them.
Regarding the character of Severus himself, he was both ruthless and an innovator, not unwilling to go against tradition and shocking decisions. I wouldn't dismiss the notion of disgracing the standards too readily.

Quote:2.Severus dismissed the Praetorians but filled them with his own troops. Therefore he would have used the same standards again imho, so even if the members were disgraced the standards shouldn't have been.
I can't imagine the new legionaries wanting the old standards to be anywhere near them, given their history, and certainly not holding the spirit of their legion. Very bad juju, IMHO.

Quote:3. there are comparisons in Aurelius Victor, Eutropius and the HA between Severus and Constantinus whether taken from the same (lost) source or copied from one another (varries)....
....The HA messed up sources and incidents here once again, probably on purpose.
Possibly on purpose. Maybe the HA does the opposite of what you suggest and corrects the record?
Quote:Regarding the character of Severus himself, he was both ruthless and an innovator, not unwilling to go against tradition and shocking decisions. I wouldn't dismiss the notion of disgracing the standards too readily.

Well you are right, on the other hand Severus was very religious or better superstitious and he tried toconnect to Antonine traditions as much as possible.

Quote:Possibly on purpose. Maybe the HA does the opposite of what you suggest and corrects the record?

Well, I think the HA used other sources here (Dio and Marius Maximus) and therefore does not include any battle with Julianus(while in other places it even copies errors from Victor). But thinking about the probable aims of the HA it wanted to keep the connections made in Victor and Eutrop with Constantin and therefore added the Saxa Rubra on purpose a bit later just to have it in there and link to Constantin.

He does that in a later part of the vita again when he addresses Diocletian and advises him that it's always bad to choose ones sons as successors if they are incapable. My opinion here is that he addresses Theodosius with this but off course he can't address him directly, neither could he use Constantin as the bad example because he is "the good one" in Theodosius eyes. Therefore he tries to make many connections between Severus and Constantin throughout the vita to make clear what he actually means.

but that's my theory ö,ö