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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?
Nathan Ross
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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]
Nathan Ross
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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).
Nathan Ross
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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..

   
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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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...
Nathan Ross
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#9
I'm looking closer at Lepontius, and I'm no longer convinced that this is a standard.. in fact the bird looks way too lively to me and might be a mascot or a suymbol for something, but no battle standard.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#10
(04-24-2018, 08:06 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: I'm looking closer at Lepontius, and I'm no longer convinced that this is a standard.. in fact the bird looks way too lively to me and might be a mascot or a suymbol for something, but no battle standard.

Based on our knowledge and the survived material there are many possibilities besides the assumed standard theory. The original tombe stone were destroyed during the Prussian besiege of Straßburg in 1870. There is one good copy at the Romano-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz.
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#11
(04-27-2018, 08:30 PM)Marcus Asprenas Fidelus Wrote: Based on our knowledge and the survived material there are many possibilities besides the assumed standard theory. The original tombe stone were destroyed during the Prussian siege of Straßburg in 1870. 
What more possibilities are you thinking of?

Actually I'm thinking it's not a tombstone at all, but perhaps a decorative stele, maybe for the camp gate. The stele from Linz (Austria) has a similar soldier, and because it's a mirror image it's assumed there were two of them, probably facing each other. I don't think there was a second Lepontius but I do think it was perhaps decorative rather than a funerary monument.

(04-27-2018, 08:30 PM)Marcus Asprenas Fidelus Wrote: There is one good copy at the Romano-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz.


Actually I have only seen photos taken of the copy from Palais Rohan in Strassbourg. I know there were supposedly three casts made fromt he original.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#12
What I meant was our knowledge about late roman army standarts is quite miserabel. Thies focus on the draco-standart based only on our material (depictions and a one artefact from Niederbieber) as you may know. 

I don´t believe on gate-pilasters for the Lepontius stone. Please correct me but all 6 or 7 late roman tombe stones looking all quite familiar. We have a similar style, the same armament beside little differences. 

There is a little late roman decorative stele from Aquileia without a inscription but with a depiction of a solider (armed with shield and spear). I would suppose for this object could be a possibility for a gate-pillaster of a entrance. 
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#13
(04-28-2018, 03:12 PM)Marcus Asprenas Fidelus Wrote: What I meant was our knowledge about late roman army standarts is quite miserabel. Thies focus on the draco-standart based only on our material (depictions and a one artefact from Niederbieber) as you may know. 

I don´t believe on gate-pilasters for the Lepontius stone. Please correct me but all 6 or 7 late roman tombe stones looking all quite familiar. We have a similar style, the same armament beside little differences. 

There is a little late roman decorative stele from Aquileia without a inscription but with a depiction of a solider (armed with shield and spear). I would suppose for this object could be a possibility for a gate-pillaster of a entrance. 


I agree about what we have in metal and stone, but there are a number of written sources discussing draconarii, vexellarii and even a 6th aquilifer. On those grounds alone I would not exclude a cockerel functioning as a military standard, but the likelyhood of it is small. So far, the identification has been made as 'an animal on a stick next to a soldier - ergo a military standard'.

There are a number of late Roman funerary monuments, but I'm not aware they all look the same? There's one with a guy holding a horse next to him (Flavius Augustales?), there's one riding a horse carrying an axe (Gamzigrad)..
You can of course dismiss the option of Lepontius being some sort of gate decoration (or something of that nature), but - again - the identification so far has been a but haphazard.
'It's a soldier on a stone with a name above it - ergo a tombstone'. I am keeping my options open for this one.

I'm not sure which Aquileia stone you're referring to, but this is the one from Lentia/Linz (Austria) (attached).

   

PS - remember to add your real name. Either as username or in your signature - it's a forum rule!
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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