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Roman solider in India
Hi,to all

                   Did Roman solider never came in India ?
                   hope you will be help of this question and thanks in advance.

 with best regards-sajid
Hello Sajid.

There's no evidence of a Roman military presence in India. However Roman merchants frequented the ancient Indian kingdom of Cherala (Serica, they called it) to trade for silk, pepper, cotton, saffron, and other merchandise.
Although there is no evidence of Roman troops in India there may have been Roman mercenaries employed by the Pandian kings as high profile guards and posted on the city gates of the capital Madurai. The Silappatikaram supposedly dated to the Christian era describes how people entering Madurai would take care not to alarm the suspicions of the 'Yavanas' who scrutinised passers-by with their 'stern' gaze and 'murderous' swords. Another earlier work the Mullaippattu mentions how the Pandian king when on campaign had  as his personal bodyguard, Yavanas wearing loose-fitting tunics and belted at the waist as bodyguards to protect his inner tent.

 Yavanas originally meant Ionians earlier on around the 3rd century BC and the word came into Indian language about this time but later generally broadened to meaning Westerners or Romans. Of course they may have been slaves taken as prisoners of war and sold by Roman merchants to Indian rulers and not out of work Roman soldiers. Republican Roman playwright Plautius mentions in one of his plays about a Roman mercenary campaign in India but his timeframe seems a bit early for Roman trade and interraction with India. The bodyguards mentioned could be descendants of defeated Macedonian troops or former troops fleeing Bactria in the wake of the Yuezhi invasion and takeover but without evidence it is only conjectiure. Smile

Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
Western (?) soldiers depicted on the "Amaravati Stupa" reliefs, 3rd century AC (from "British Library").
Note the crested and the conical helmets, the long sleeved tunics, baldrics, sword and spear.
Yavanas ? Ionians ? ...Romans ?


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Reminds me of Macedonians.
There's one soldier of the early fourth century who claims to have been in "India," but I think it's generally assumed he is misusing the designation.  It's AE 1981.777 if you're interested:

Aurelius Gaius Jr., who enlisted in legio I Italica stationed in Moesia, was selected to serve in legio VIII Augusta stationed in Germania, then in Iovia Scythica in the provinces of Scythica and Pannonia; served as a tyro, apprentice cavalryman, then optio, optio triarius, optio ordinatus, optio princeps, then optio in the mobile forces of the empreror with legio I Iovia Scythica; toured the provinces of Asia, Caria, […], Lydia, Lycaonia, Cilica, […], Phoenica, Syria, Arabia, Palestinia, Egypt, Alexandria, India, […], Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, […], Galatia, Bithynia, Thracia, Moesai, Karpia, […], Sarmatia, four times, Viminacium, the land of the Goths twice, Germania, […], Dardania, Dalmatia, Pannonia, […], Gallia, Hispania, Mauritania; then was promoted, and after having suffered many hardships he came home to his native Pessinus, taking up his residence in the village of Kotiaion. Together with his daughter Macedonia he set up this stele on the tomb of Juli his son and Areskusa his most sweet wife, at his own expense, for the sake of memory, until the resurrection. Farewell to all.
Chris Zeichmann - New Testament Ph.D.
It may mean South Arabia, Axum, or the Horn of Africa, possibly.
(09-08-2017, 10:31 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: It may mean South Arabia, Axum, or the Horn of Africa, possibly.

The reference to India in the Aurelius Gaius inscription is usually taken to mean the south-eastern coastal district of Egypt, and particularly the port of Berenike on the Red Sea, which was the entrepot for the sea trade to India and was perhaps known by that name. Galerius possibly campaigned in that region around AD293-4 after crushing the revolt at Koptos, which would fit with the pattern of Gaius's other travels.

Although J. Albert Morales, in 'The Curious Career of Aurelius Gaius' (Ancient Warfare VI,5) suggests that this soldier did actually go to India! Not a common view, I'd say...
Nathan Ross
I was close. Wink

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