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Caligula

Caligula ( / k ə ˈ l ɪ ɡ j ʊ l ə / 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus), was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 to 41. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus's granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Germanicus's uncle and adoptive father, Tiberius, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in AD 14. Although Gaius was named after Gaius Julius Caesar, he acquired the nickname "Caligula" (meaning "little [soldier's] boot") from his father's soldiers during their campaign in Germania. When Germanicus died at Antioch in 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius. The conflict eventually led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Untouched by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted an invitation in 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius, Caligula succeeded his adoptive grandfather as emperor in 37.

There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, though he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself, and initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province.

In early 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers. The conspirators' attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however. On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula's uncle, Claudius, the next Roman emperor. Although the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule the empire until the fall of his nephew Nero in 68, Caligula's death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line.


The historic context of these coins

The Antonius Denara was a coin struck as the official coinage of the soldiers in the service of Mark Anthony during his Rule of the Eastern Roman Empire. AR Denarius, mint moving with Mark Anthony, circa 32 - 31 BC.

These denarii exist ed for use by the Legions II - XXIII, as well as for special elite units such as the speculatores and the praetorian cohort. This series of coins were struck by Anthony for the use of his fleet and legions preparing for the struggle with Octavian. These denarii might be described as a "money of necessity". The coins image shows a Praetorian galley of Antony's naval fleet. Reverse: legion Number and - Legionary eagle between two standards

In the year 48 BCE Pompey is defeated by Caesar and Ptolemy XII of Egypt exiles Cleopatra VII and assumes sole leadership of Egypt. One year later Julius Ceasar came to the aide of his mistress, Cleopatra VII and has Ptolemy XII assassinated and declares Cleopatra the queen of Egypt. Cleopatra marries her eleven year old brother Ptolemy XIII before leaving for Rome with Julius Ceasar where she gives birth to a son, Caesarian (later Ptolemy XIV).


Image Cortesy of the MUSEO TECNICO NAVALE


In 44 BCE Mark Anthony shares consulship with Caesar and Octavian and becomes the regent of the Eastern Roman Empire. On march 15th 44 BCE Julius Caesar is assassinated . In Egypt Ptolemy XIII is poisoned and Cleopatra makes her son, Caesarian her coregent.

In January of 43 BCE Octavian forces the senate to award him the post of consul, and he changes his name to Gaius Julius Caesar. In November 43 BCE The Second Triumvirate is formed between Mark Anthony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (high priest), and Octavian whose power is solidified by eliminating powerful rivals. In the following year the Second Triumvirate crushes the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins, Cassius and Brutus. In the Roman empire Julius Caesar is recognized as a god and Octavian as the "son of god".


Antony, denarius, 32/1BC, Northern Greece: CHORTIS SPECULATORVM.
One of the special "Legionary" issues struck for the army and navy at Actium.

In 41BC the political intrigue increases in the Eastern Empire when Egyptian queen Cleopatra journeys to Tarsus to explain her refusal to fully support the Second Triumvirate and Mark Anthony and Cleopatra fall in love and create their romantic and tragic political alliance. Mark Anthony and Cleopatra return to Egypt where Cleopatra gives birth to twins.

This meeting in Tarsus would become part of the legacy and legend of the city with the story told for centuries afterward. Tarsus was strategically located to the primary trades routes to the Anatolian Plateau and therefore a key political center for the Eastern Roman Empire.


" Cleopatra" By J. W. Waterhouse painted in 1888

The Perusine War begins, between Octavian and Mark Anthony's brother Lucius Antonius, and Lucius's wife Fulvia. In Rome Octavian marries Sextus Pompeius's relative Scribonia, an attempt to make solidify his political alliance with Sextus.


Antony, denarius, ca. 32 BC, Northern Greece: : The typical "Legionary" issue, struck to pay the troops stationed at or near Actium. Image courtesy Classical Nuismatic Group

In 40 BCE The Second Triumvirate meet to divide and assign Rule over the various parts of Roman Empire. Mark Anthony returns to Rome and marries Octovian's sister Octavia. Then returns to Egypt and his lover, Cleopatra. In this same year the infamous Herod the Great is appointed King of Judea by the Romans.


Front: Cojoined heads of Mark Antony and Octavius facing Octavia.
Reverse: Three ships under sail minted in Atratinus Grteece 38 BCE.

The next ten years are marked by various military compagins throughout the Roman Empire Octavian's navy - lead by admiral Agrippa, defeats the fleet of Sextus Pompeius. Mark Anthony is defeated in a fight with the Parthians.

In 32 BCE Mark Anthony is married to Cleopatra, and she gives birth to another child.


Contemporary illustration of Roman Ships from the walls of Pompeii 70 AD

Antony strained relations between Octavian and himself by divorcing Octavian's sister, in favor of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Finally, in 31 B.C.E, war broke out between Octavian and the combined forces of Cleopatra and Antony. In 31 BC Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra's joint fleets were anchored in a harbor on the Dalmation Coast of the Adriatic Sea


Contemporary illustration of Roman Ships from the walls of Pompeii 70 AD

On 2 September 31 BC, Marcus Antonius' 220 heavily armed fleet of warships, complete with stone throwing catapults and including Cleopatra's 60 ships and her treasure ship with purple sails attacked Emperor Octavian's fleet of 260 ships.

Octavian enjoyed a strategic advantage in the naval battle having smaller and more maneuverable ships. Historians believe that Marcus Antonius was easily trapped by Octavians fleet. This is not surprising considering Marcus Antonius was a soldier and not a naval commander familiar with the strategies of Naval battles.

Octavian with the defeat of his foes at the naval battle of Actium became sole ruler of Rome. He returned to Rome in 29 B.C.E and celebrated his recent victories against Marcus Antonius.

The story ends tragically in 30 BCE when Oct a vius (Emperor Augustus) attacks Alexandria, where Mark Anthony and Cleopatra commit suicide. Oct a vian has Cleopatra's son Caesarion is put to death and Egypt is annexed under the rule of Emperor Augustus' representatives.

The history and human events of this dramatic story have become immortalized in the classic Shakespearian play " Antony and Cleopatra"

Octavian Fleet coinage

Octavian - AR denarius, 29-27 B.C.

But both the obverse and reverse of this coin feature types referring to Octavian's victory over Antony and Kleopatra. Victoria on a ship's prow on the obverse refers to naval victory, specifically Octavian's defeat of Antony's fleet in the Battle of Actium. But the depiction of Octavian in a triumphal quadriga on the reverse indicates that the coin actually dates from his triple triumph (for his victories in Illyricum and Egypt, as well as in the battle of Actium) in Rome in 29 B.C., when the Senate conferred numerous honors upon him.


1st Century BC Roman Galleon as depicted on a Roman Coin


Contents

Most of the warships of the era were distinguished by their names, which were compounds of a number and a suffix. Thus the English term quinquereme derives from Latin quīnquerēmis code: lat promoted to code: la and has the Greek equivalent πεντήρης (pentḗrēs). Both are compounds featuring a prefix meaning "five": Latin quīnque code: lat promoted to code: la , ancient Greek πέντε (pénte). The Roman suffix is from rēmus code: lat promoted to code: la , "oar": [1] hence "five-oar". As the vessel cannot have had only five oars, the word must be a figure of speech meaning something else. There are a number of possibilities. The -ηρης occurs only in suffix form, deriving from ἐρέσσω (eréssō), "(I) row". [2] As "rower" is ἐρέτης (erétēs) and "oar" is ἐρετμόν (eretmón), -ērēs does not mean either of those but, being based on the verb, must mean "rowing". This meaning is no clearer than the Latin. Whatever the "five-oar" or the "five-row" originally meant was lost with knowledge of the construction, and is, from the 5th century on, a hotly debated issue. For the history of the interpretation efforts and current scholarly consensus, see below.

In the great wars of the 5th century BC, such as the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War, the trireme was the heaviest type of warship used by the Mediterranean navies. [3] [4] The trireme (Greek: τρῐήρης (triḗrēs), "three-oared") was propelled by three banks of oars, with one oarsman each. During the early 4th century BC, however, variants of the trireme design began to appear: invention of the quinquereme (Gk.: πεντήρης (pentḗrēs), "five-oared") and the hexareme (Gk. hexērēs, "six-oared") is credited by the historian Diodorus Siculus to the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, while the quadrireme (Gk. tetrērēs, "four-oared") was credited by Aristotle to the Carthaginians. [5] [6] [7]

Oar system Edit

Far less is known with certainty about the construction and appearance of these ships than about the trireme. Literary evidence is fragmentary and highly selective, and pictorial evidence unclear. The fact that the trireme had three levels of oars (trikrotos naus) led medieval historians, long after the specifics of their construction had been lost, to speculate that the design of the "four", the "five" and the other later ships would proceed logically, i.e. that the quadrireme would have four rows of oars, the quinquereme five, etc. [8] However, the eventual appearance of bigger polyremes ("sixes" and later "sevens", "eights", "nines", "tens", and even a massive "forty"), made this theory implausible. Consequently, during the Renaissance and until the 19th century, it came to be believed that the rowing system of the trireme and its descendants was similar to the alla sensile system of the contemporary galleys, comprising multiple oars on each level, rowed by one oarsman each. [9] 20th-century scholarship disproved that theory, and established that the ancient warships were rowed at different levels, with three providing the maximum practical limit. The higher numbers of the "fours", "fives", etc. were therefore interpreted as reflecting the number of files of oarsmen on each side of the ship, and not an increased number of rows of oars. [10]

The most common theory on the arrangement of oarsmen in the new ship types is that of "double-banking", i.e., that the quadrireme was derived from a bireme (warship with two rows of oars) by placing two oarsmen on each oar, the quinquereme from a trireme by placing two oarsmen on the two uppermost levels (the thranitai and zygitai, according to Greek terminology), and the later hexareme by placing two rowers on every level. [11] Other interpretations of the quinquereme include a bireme warship with three and two oarsmen on the upper and lower oar banks, or even a monoreme (warship with a single level of oars) with five oarsmen. [12] The "double-banking" theory is supported by the fact that the 4th-century quinqueremes were housed in the same ship sheds as the triremes, and must therefore have had similar width (c. 16 feet (4.9 m) ), which fits with the idea of an evolutionary progression from the one type to the other. [13]

The reasons for the evolution of the polyremes are not very clear. The most often forwarded argument is one of lack of skilled manpower: the trireme was essentially a ship built for ramming, and successful ramming tactics depended chiefly on the constant maintenance of a highly trained oar crew, [14] something which few states aside from Athens with its radical democracy had the funds or the social structure to do. [15] Using multiple oarsmen reduced the number of such highly trained men needed in each crew: only the rower at the tip of the oar had to be sufficiently trained, and he could then lead the others, who simply provided additional motive power. [16] This system was also in use in Renaissance galleys, but jars with the evidence of ancient crews continuing to be thoroughly trained by their commanders. [17] The increased number of oarsmen also required a broader hull, which on the one hand reduced the ships' speed, but on the other offered several advantages: larger vessels could be strengthened to better withstand ramming, while the wider hull increased their carrying capacity, allowing more marines, and eventually catapults, to be carried along. The decks of these ships were also higher above the waterline, while their increased beam afforded them extra stability, making them superior missile platforms. [18] This was an important fact in an age where naval engagements were increasingly decided not by ramming but by less technically demanding boarding actions. [15] It has even been suggested by Lionel Casson that the quinqueremes used by the Romans in the Punic Wars of the 3rd century were of the monoreme design (i.e., with one level and five rowers on each oar), being thus able to carry the large contingent of 120 marines attested for the Battle of Ecnomus. [17] [19]

Alternative explanations for the switch to larger ships is provided by Murray: Initially larger ships were considered desirable, because they were able to survive a bow-on-bow ramming engagement, which allowed for increased tactical flexibility over the older, smaller ships which were limited to broad-side ramming. Once bigger ships had become common, they proved their usefulness in siege operations against coastal cities, such as the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great, as well as numerous siege operations carried out by his successors, such as the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes. [20]

Construction Edit

There were two chief design traditions in the Mediterranean, the Greek and the Punic (Phoenician/Carthaginian) one, which was later copied by the Romans. As exemplified in the trireme, the Greeks used to project the upper level of oars through an outrigger (parexeiresia), while the later Punic tradition heightened the ship, and had all three tiers of oars projecting directly from the side hull. [21]

Based on iconographic evidence from coins, Morrison and Coates have determined that the Punic triremes in the 5th and early 4th centuries BC were largely similar to their Greek counterparts, most likely including an outrigger. [22] From the mid-4th century, however, at about the time the quinquereme was introduced in Phoenicia, there is evidence of ships without outriggers. This would have necessitated a different oar arrangement, with the middle level placed more inwards, as well as a different construction of the hull, with side-decks attached to it. From the middle of the 3rd century BC onwards, Carthaginian "fives" display a separate "oar box" that contained the rowers and that was attached to the main hull. This development of the earlier model entailed further modifications, meaning that the rowers would be located above deck, and essentially on the same level. [23] [24] This would allow the hull to be strengthened, and have increased carrying capacity in consumable supplies, as well as improve the ventilation conditions of the rowers, an especially important factor in maintaining their stamina, and thereby improving the ship's maintainable speed. [25] It is unclear however whether this design was applied to heavier warships, and although the Romans copied the Punic model for their quinqueremes, there is ample iconographic evidence of outrigger-equipped warships used until the late imperial period.

In the Athenian Sicilian Expedition of 415–413 BC, it became apparent that the topmost tier of rowers, the thranitai, of the "aphract" (un-decked and unarmoured) Athenian triremes were vulnerable to attack by arrows and catapults. Given the prominence of close-quarters boarding actions in later years, [14] vessels were built as "cataphract" ships, with a closed hull to protect the rowers, and a full deck able to carry marines and catapults. [6] [26]

Quadrireme Edit

Pliny the Elder reports that Aristotle ascribed the invention of the quadrireme (Latin: quadriremis Greek: τετρήρης , tetrērēs) to the Carthaginians. [27] Although the exact date is unknown, it is most likely the type was developed in the latter half of the 4th century BC. [28] Their first attested appearance is at the Siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, [29] and a few years later, they appear in the surviving naval lists of Athens. [6] [30] In the period after Alexander's death (323 BC), the quadrireme proved very popular: the Athenians made plans to build 200 of these ships, and 90 out of 240 ships of the fleet of Antigonus I Monophthalmus (r. 306–301 BC) were "fours". Subsequently, the quadrireme was favoured as the main warship of the Rhodian navy, the sole professional naval force in the Eastern Mediterranean. [31] In the Battle of Naulochus in 36 BC, "fours" were the most common ship type fielded by the fleet of Sextus Pompeius, [32] and several ships of this kind are recorded in the two praetorian fleets of the Imperial Roman navy.

It is known from references from both the Second Punic War and the Battle of Mylae that the quadrireme had two levels of oarsmen, and was therefore lower than the quinquereme, [30] while being of about the same width (c. 5.6 m ). [33] Its displacement must have been around 60 tonnes, and its carrying capacity at c. 75 marines. [33] It was especially valued for its great speed and manoeuvrability, while its relatively shallow draught made it ideal for coastal operations. [30] The "four" was classed as a "major ship" (maioris formae) by the Romans, [30] but as a light craft, serving alongside triremes, in the navies of the major Hellenistic kingdoms like Egypt. [34]

Quinquereme Edit

Perhaps the most famous of the Hellenistic-era warships, because of its extensive use by the Carthaginians and Romans, the quinquereme (Latin: quīnquerēmis code: lat promoted to code: la Greek: πεντήρης , pentērēs) was invented by the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius I (r. 405–367 BC) in 399 BC, as part of a major naval armament program directed against the Carthaginians. [36] During most of the 4th century, the "fives" were the heaviest type of warship, and often used as flagships of fleets composed of triremes and quadriremes. [37] Sidon had them by 351, and Athens fielded some in 324. [6]

In the eastern Mediterranean, they were superseded as the heaviest ships by the massive polyremes that began appearing in the last two decades of the 4th century, [6] but in the West, they remained the mainstay of the Carthaginian navy. When the Roman Republic, which hitherto lacked a significant navy, was embroiled in the First Punic War with Carthage, the Roman Senate set out to construct a fleet of 100 quinqueremes and 20 triremes. [38] According to Polybius, the Romans seized a shipwrecked Carthaginian quinquereme and used it as a blueprint for their own ships, [39] but it is stated that the Roman copies were heavier than the Carthaginian vessels, which were better built. [37] The quinquereme provided the workhorse of the Roman and Carthaginian fleets throughout their conflicts, although "fours" and "threes" are also mentioned. Indeed, so ubiquitous was the type that Polybius uses it as a shorthand for "warship" in general. [40]

According to Polybius, at the Battle of Cape Ecnomus, the Roman quinqueremes carried a total crew of 420, 300 of whom were rowers, and the rest marines. [41] Leaving aside a deck crew of c. 20 men, and accepting the 2–2–1 pattern of oarsmen, the quinquereme would have 90 oars in each side, and 30-strong files of oarsmen. [37] The fully decked quinquereme could also carry a marine detachment of 70 to 120, giving a total complement of about 400. [14] A "five" would be c. 45 m long, displace around 100 tonnes, be some 5 m wide at water level, and have its deck standing c. 3 m above the sea. [14] Polybius said the quinquereme was superior to the old trireme, [42] which was retained in service in significant numbers by many smaller navies. Accounts by Livy and Diodorus Siculus also show that the "five", being heavier, performed better than the triremes in bad weather. [37]

Hexareme Edit

The hexareme or sexireme (Latin: hexēris Greek: ἑξήρης , hexērēs) is affirmed by the ancient historians Pliny the Elder and Aelian to have been invented in Syracuse. [43] "Sixes" were certainly present in the fleet of Dionysius II of Syracuse (r. 367–357 and 346–344 BC), but they may well have been invented in the last years of his father, Dionysius I. [28] "Sixes" were rarer than smaller vessels, and appear in the sources chiefly as flagships: at the Battle of Ecnomus, the two Roman consuls each had a hexareme, Ptolemy XII (r. 80–58 and 55–51 BC) had one as his personal flagship, as did Sextus Pompeius. [28] [33] At the Battle of Actium, hexaremes were present in both fleets, but with a notable difference: while in the fleet of Octavian they were the heaviest type of vessel, in the fleet of Mark Antony they were the second smallest, after the quinqueremes. [44] A single hexareme, the Ops, is later recorded as the heaviest ship serving in the praetorian Fleet of Misenum.

The exact arrangement of the hexareme's oars is unclear. If it evolved naturally from the earlier designs, it would be a trireme with two rowers per oar [45] the less likely alternative is that it had two levels with three oarsmen at each. [28] Reports about "sixes" used during the 1st-century BC Roman civil wars indicate that they were of a similar height to the quinqueremes, and record the presence of towers on the deck of a "six" serving as flagship to Marcus Junius Brutus. [28]

Septireme Edit

Pliny the Elder attributes the creation of the septireme (Latin: septiremis Greek: ἑπτήρης , heptērēs) to Alexander the Great. [46] Curtius corroborates this, and reports that the king gave orders for wood for 700 septiremes to be cut in Mount Lebanon, [47] to be used in his projected circumnavigations of the Arabian peninsula and Africa. At Salamis Demetrius Poliorcetes had seven such ships, built in Phoenicia, and later Ptolemy II (r. 283–246 BC) had 36 septiremes constructed. [48] Pyrrhus of Epirus (r. 306–302 and 297–272 BC) also apparently had at least one "seven", which was captured by the Carthaginians and eventually lost at Mylae. [49]

Presumably, the septireme was derived by adding a standing rower to the lower level of the hexareme. [48]

Octeres Edit

Very little is known about the octeres (Greek: ὀκτήρης , oktērēs). At least two of their type were in the fleet of Philip V of Macedon (r. 221–179 BC) at the Battle of Chios in 201 BC, where they were rammed in their prows. Their last appearance was at Actium, where Mark Antony is said by Plutarch to have had many "eights". [48] Based on the comments of Orosius that the larger ships in Antony's fleet were only as high as the quinqueremes (their deck standing at c. 3 m above water), it is presumed that "eights", as well as the "nines" and "tens", were rowed at two levels. [50]

An exceptionally large "eight", the Leontophoros, is recorded by Memnon of Heraclea to have been built by Lysimachus (r. 306–281 BC), one of the Diadochi. It was richly decorated, required 1,600 rowers (8 files of 100 per side) and could support 1,200 marines. Remarkably for a ship of its size, its performance at sea was reportedly very good. [48]

Enneres Edit

The enneres (Greek: ἐννήρης ) is first recorded in 315 BC, when three of their type were included in the fleet of Antigonus Monophthalmus. The presence of "nines" in Antony's fleet at Actium is recorded by Florus and Cassius Dio, although Plutarch makes explicit mention only of "eights" and "tens". The oaring system may have been a modification of the quadrireme, with two teams of five and four oarsmen. [51]

Deceres Edit

Like the septireme, the deceres (Greek: δεκήρης , dekērēs) is attributed by Pliny to Alexander the Great, [46] and they are present alongside "nines" in the fleet of Antigonus Monophthalmus in 315 BC. Indeed, it is most likely that the "ten" was derived from adding another oarsman to the "nine". A "ten" is mentioned as Philip V's flagship at Chios in 201 BC, and their last appearance was at Actium, where they constituted Antony's heaviest ships. [51]

Larger polyremes Edit

The tendency to build ever bigger ships that appeared in the last decades of the 4th century did not stop at the "ten". Demetrius Poliorcetes built "elevens", "thirteens", "fourteens", "fifteens" and "sixteens", and his son, Antigonus II Gonatas had an "eighteen", while Ptolemy II's navy fielded 14 "elevens", 2 "twelves", 4 "thirteens", and even one "twenty" and two "thirties". [10] [51] Eventually, Ptolemy IV built a "forty" (tessarakonteres) that was 130m long, required 4,000 rowers and 400 other crew, and could support a force of 2,850 marines on its decks. [52] However, "tens" seem to be the largest to have been used in battle. [53]

The larger polyremes were possibly double-hulled catamarans. [54] It has been suggested that, with the exception of the "forty", these ships must have been rowed at two levels. [51]

Several types of fast vessels were used during this period, the successors of the 6th and 5th-century BC triacontors (τριακόντοροι, triakontoroi, "thirty-oars") and pentecontors (πεντηκόντοροι, pentēkontoroi, "fifty-oars"). Their primary use was in piracy and scouting, but they also found their place in the battle line.

Lembos Edit

The term lembos (from Greek: λέμβος , "skiff", in Latin lembus) is used generically for boats or light vessels, and more specifically for a light warship, [57] most commonly associated with the vessels used by the Illyrian tribes, chiefly for piracy, in the area of Dalmatia. [58] This type of craft was also adopted by Philip V of Macedon, and soon after by the Seleucids, Rome, and even the Spartan king Nabis in his attempt to rebuild the Spartan navy. [59]

In contemporary writings, the name was associated with a class rather than a specific type of vessels, as considerable variation is evident in the sources: the number of oars ranged from 16 to 50, they could be one- or double-banked, and some types did not have a ram, presumably being used as couriers and fast cargo vessels. [60]

Hemiolia Edit

The hemiolia or hemiolos (Greek: ἡμιολία [ναῦς] or ἡμίολος [λέμβος] ) was a light and fast warship that appeared in the early 4th century BC. It was particularly favoured by pirates in the eastern Mediterranean, [61] but also used by Alexander the Great as far as the rivers Indus and Hydaspes, and by the Romans as a troop transport. [62] It is indeed very likely that the type was invented by pirates, probably in Caria. [63] Its name derives from the fact that it was manned by one and a half files of oarsmen on each side, with the additional half file placed amidships, where the hull was wide enough to accommodate them. Thus these ships gained motive power without significantly increasing the ship's weight. [62] Little is known of their characteristics, but Arrian, based on Ptolemy I (r. 323–283 BC), includes them amongst the triacontors. This possibly indicates that they had 15 oars on each side, with a full file of ten and a half file of five, the latter possibly double-manning the middle oars instead of rowing a separate set of oars. [64] Given their lighter hulls, greater length and generally slimmer profile, the hemiolia would have had an advantage in speed even over other light warships like the liburnian. [50]

Trihemiolia Edit

The trihemiolia (Greek: τριημιολία [ναῦς] ) first appears in accounts of the Siege of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes in 304 BC, where a squadron of trihemioliai was sent out as commerce raiders. [65] The type was one of the chief vessels of the Rhodian navy, and it is very likely that it was also invented there, as a counter to the pirates' swift hemioliai. [66] [67] So great was the attachment of the Rhodians to this type of vessel, that for a century after their navy was abolished by Gaius Cassius Longinus in 46 BC, they kept a few as ceremonial vessels. [68]

The type was classed with the trireme, and had two and a half files of oarsmen on each side. Judging from the Lindos relief and the famous Nike of Samothrace, both of which are thought to represent trihemioliai, [50] the two upper files would have been accommodated in an oarbox, with the half-file located beneath them in the classic thalamitai position of the trireme. [34] The Lindos relief also includes a list of the crews of two trihemioliai, allowing us to deduce that each was crewed by 144 men, 120 of whom were rowers (hence a full file numbered 24). [34] Reconstruction based on the above sculptures shows that the ship was relatively low, with a boxed-in superstructure, a displacement of c. 40 tonnes, and capable of reaching speeds comparable with those of a full trireme. [50] The trihemiolia was a very successful design, and was adopted by the navies of Ptolemaic Egypt and Athens among others. Despite being classed as lighter warships, they were sometimes employed in a first-line role, for instance at the Battle of Chios. [34]

Liburnians Edit

The liburnian (Latin: liburna, Greek: λιβυρνίς , libyrnis) was a variant of lembos invented by the tribe of the Liburnians. Initially used for piracy and scouting, this light and swift vessel was adopted by the Romans during the Illyrian Wars, and eventually became the mainstay of the fleets of the Roman Empire following Actium, displacing the heavier vessels. Especially the provincial Roman fleets were composed almost exclusively of liburnians. [69] Livy, Lucan and Appian all describe the liburnian as bireme they were fully decked (cataphract) ships, with a sharply pointed prow, providing a more streamlined shape designed for greater speed. [70] In terms of speed, the liburnian was probably considerably slower than a trireme, but on a par with a "five". [63]

A change in the technology of conflict had taken place to allow these juggernauts of the seas to be created, as the development of catapults had neutralised the power of the ram, and speed and maneuverability were no longer as important as they had been. It was easy to mount catapults on galleys Alexander the Great had used them to considerable effect when he besieged Tyre from the sea in 332 BC. The catapults did not aim to sink the enemy galleys, but rather to injure or kill the rowers (as a significant number of rowers out of place on either side would ruin the performance of the entire ship and prevent its ram from being effective). Now combat at sea returned to the boarding and fighting that it had been before the development of the ram, and larger galleys could carry more soldiers.

Some of the later galleys were monstrous in size, with oars as long as 17 metres each pulled by as many as eight banks of rowers. With so many rowers, if one of them was killed by a catapult shot, the rest could continue and not interrupt the stroke. The innermost oarsman on such a galley had to step forward and back a few paces with each stroke. [ citation needed ]


Contents

Agrippina was the first daughter and fourth living child of Agrippina the Elder and Germanicus. She had three elder brothers, Nero Caesar, Drusus Caesar, and the future emperor Caligula, and two younger sisters, Julia Drusilla and Julia Livilla. Agrippina's two eldest brothers and her mother were victims of the intrigues of the Praetorian Prefect Lucius Aelius Sejanus.

She was the namesake of her mother. Agrippina the Elder was remembered as a modest and heroic matron, who was the second daughter and fourth child of Julia the Elder and the statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The father of Julia the Elder was the emperor Augustus, and Julia was his only natural child from his second marriage to Scribonia, who had close blood relations with Pompey the Great and Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

Germanicus, Agrippina's father, was a very popular general and politician. His mother was Antonia Minor and his father was the general Nero Claudius Drusus. He was Antonia Minor's first child. Germanicus had two younger siblings a sister, named Livilla, and a brother, the future emperor Claudius. Claudius was Agrippina's paternal uncle and third husband.

Antonia Minor was a daughter to Octavia the Younger by her second marriage to triumvir Mark Antony, and Octavia was the second eldest sister and full-blooded sister of Augustus. Germanicus' father, Drusus the Elder, was the second son of the Empress Livia Drusilla by her first marriage to praetor Tiberius Nero, and was the emperor Tiberius's younger brother and Augustus's stepson. In the year 9, Augustus ordered and forced Tiberius to adopt Germanicus, who happened to be Tiberius's nephew, as his son and heir. Germanicus was a favourite of his great-uncle Augustus, who hoped that Germanicus would succeed his uncle Tiberius, who was Augustus's own adopted son and heir. This in turn meant that Tiberius was also Agrippina's adoptive grandfather in addition to her paternal great-uncle.

Agrippina was born on 6 November in AD 15, or possibly 14, at Oppidum Ubiorum, a Roman outpost on the Rhine River located in present-day Cologne, Germany. [2] A second sister Julia Drusilla was born on 16 September 16, also in Germany. [3] As a small child, Agrippina travelled with her parents throughout Germany (15–16) until she and her siblings (apart from Caligula) returned to Rome to live with and be raised by their maternal grandmother Antonia. Her parents departed for Syria in 18 to conduct official duties, and, according to Tacitus, the third and youngest sister was born en route on the island of Lesbos, namely Julia Livilla, probably on March 18. [4] In October of AD 19, Germanicus died suddenly in Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey).

Germanicus' death caused much public grief in Rome, and gave rise to rumours that he had been murdered by Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso and Munatia Plancina on the orders of Tiberius, as his widow Agrippina the Elder returned to Rome with his ashes. Agrippina the Younger was thereafter supervised by her mother, her paternal grandmother Antonia Minor, and her great-grandmother, Livia, all of them notable, influential, and powerful figures from whom she learnt how to survive. She lived on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Her great-uncle Tiberius had already become emperor and the head of the family after the death of Augustus in 14.

After her thirteenth birthday in 28, Tiberius arranged for Agrippina to marry her paternal first cousin once removed Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and ordered the marriage to be celebrated in Rome. [5] Domitius came from a distinguished family of consular rank. Through his mother Antonia Major, Domitius was a great nephew of Augustus, first cousin to Claudius, and first cousin once removed to Agrippina and Caligula. He had two sisters Domitia Lepida the Elder and Domitia Lepida the Younger. Domitia Lepida the Younger was the mother of the Empress Valeria Messalina.

Antonia Major was the elder sister to Antonia Minor, and the first daughter of Octavia Minor and Mark Antony. According to Suetonius, Domitius was a wealthy man with a despicable and dishonest character, who, according to Suetonius, was "a man who was in every aspect of his life detestable" and served as consul in 32. Agrippina and Domitius lived between Antium (modern Anzio and Nettuno [6] ) and Rome. Not much is known about the relationship between them.

Public role and political intrigues Edit

Tiberius died on March 16, AD 37, and Agrippina's only surviving brother, Caligula, became the new emperor. Being the emperor's sister gave Agrippina some influence.

Agrippina and her younger sisters Julia Drusilla and Julia Livilla received various honours from their brother, which included but were not limited to

  • receiving the rights of the Vestal Virgins, such as the freedom to view public games from the upper seats in the stadium
  • being honoured with a new type of coinage, depicting images of Caligula and his sisters on opposite faces
  • having their names added to motions, including loyalty oaths (e.g., "I will not value my life or that of my children less highly than I do the safety of the Emperor and his sisters") and consular motions (e.g., "Good fortune attend to the Emperor and his sisters)".

Around the time that Tiberius died, Agrippina had become pregnant. Domitius had acknowledged the paternity of the child. On December 15, AD 37, in the early morning, in Antium, Agrippina gave birth to a son. Agrippina and Domitius named their son Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, after Domitius' recently deceased father. This child would grow up to become the emperor Nero. Nero was Agrippina's only natural child. Suetonius states that Domitius was congratulated by friends on the birth of his son, whereupon he replied "I don't think anything produced by me and Agrippina could possibly be good for the state or the people".

Caligula and his sisters were accused of having incestuous relationships. On June 10, AD 38, Drusilla died, possibly of a fever, rampant in Rome at the time. He was particularly fond of Drusilla, claiming to treat her as he would his own wife, even though Drusilla had a husband. Following her death Caligula showed no special love or respect toward the surviving sisters and was said to have gone insane.

In 39, Agrippina and Livilla, with their maternal cousin, Drusilla's widower Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, were involved in a failed plot to murder Caligula, a plot known as the Plot of the Three Daggers, which was to make Lepidus the new emperor. Lepidus, Agrippina and Livilla were accused of being lovers. Not much is known concerning this plot and the reasons behind it. At the trial of Lepidus, Caligula felt no compunction about denouncing them as adulteresses, producing handwritten letters discussing how they were going to kill him. The three were found guilty as accessories to the crime. [7]

Exile Edit

Lepidus was executed. According to the fragmentary inscriptions of the Arval Brethren, Agrippina was forced to carry the urn of Lepidus' ashes back to Rome. [7] Agrippina and Livilla were exiled by their brother to the Pontine Islands. Caligula sold their furniture, jewellery, slaves and freedmen. In January of AD 40, Domitius died of edema (dropsy) at Pyrgi. Lucius had gone to live with his second paternal aunt Domitia Lepida the Younger after Caligula had taken his inheritance away from him.

Caligula, his wife Milonia Caesonia and their daughter Julia Drusilla were murdered on January 24, 41. Agrippina's paternal uncle, Claudius, brother of her father Germanicus, became the new Roman emperor.

Return from exile Edit

Claudius lifted the exiles of Agrippina and Livilla. Livilla returned to her husband, while Agrippina was reunited with her estranged son. After the death of her first husband, Agrippina tried to make shameless advances to the future emperor Galba, who showed no interest in her and was devoted to his wife Aemilia Lepida. On one occasion, Galba's mother-in-law gave Agrippina a public reprimand and a slap in the face before a whole bevy of married women. [8]

Claudius had Lucius' inheritance reinstated. Lucius became more wealthy despite his youth shortly after Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus divorced Lucius' aunt, Domitia Lepida the Elder (Lucius' first paternal aunt) so that Crispus could marry Agrippina. They married, and Crispus became a step-father to Lucius. Crispus was a prominent, influential, witty, wealthy and powerful man, who served twice as consul. He was the adopted grandson and biological great-great-nephew of the historian Sallust. Little is known on their relationship, but Crispus soon died and left his estate to Nero.

In the first years of Claudius' reign, Claudius was married to the infamous Empress Valeria Messalina. Although Agrippina was very influential, she kept a very low profile and stayed away from the imperial palace and the court of the emperor. Messalina was Agrippina's second paternal cousin. Among the victims of Messalina's intrigues were Agrippina's surviving sister Livilla, who was charged with having adultery with Seneca the Younger. Seneca was later called back from exile to be a tutor to Nero.

Messalina considered Agrippina's son a threat to her son's position and sent assassins to strangle Lucius during his siesta. The assassins left after they saw a snake beneath Lucius' pillow, considering it as bad omen. [9] It was, however, only a sloughed-off snake-skin in his bed, near his pillow. By Agrippina's order, the serpent's skin was enclosed in a bracelet that the young Nero wore on his right arm. [10]

In 47, Crispus died, and at his funeral, the rumour spread around that Agrippina poisoned Crispus to gain his estate. After being widowed a second time, Agrippina was left very wealthy. Later that year at the Secular Games, at the performance of the Troy Pageant, Messalina attended the event with her son Britannicus. Agrippina was also present with Lucius. Agrippina and Lucius received greater applause from the audience than Messalina and Britannicus did. Many people began to show pity and sympathy to Agrippina, due to the unfortunate circumstances in her life. Agrippina wrote a memoir that recorded the misfortunes of her family (casus suorum) and wrote an account of her mother's life.

Rise to power Edit

After Messalina was executed in 48 for conspiring with Gaius Silius to overthrow her husband, Claudius considered remarrying for the fourth time. Around this time, Agrippina became the mistress to one of Claudius' advisers, the Greek freedman, Marcus Antonius Pallas. At that time Claudius' advisers were discussing which noblewoman Claudius should marry. Claudius had a reputation that he was easily persuaded. In more recent times, it has been suggested that the Senate may have pushed for the marriage between Agrippina and Claudius to end the feud between the Julian and Claudian branches. [11] This feud dated back to Agrippina's mother's actions against Tiberius after the death of Germanicus, actions which Tiberius had gladly punished.

Claudius made references to her in his speeches: "my daughter and foster child, born and bred, in my lap, so to speak". When Claudius decided to marry her, he persuaded a group of senators that the marriage should be arranged in the public interest. In Roman society, an uncle (Claudius) marrying his niece (Agrippina) was considered incestuous and immoral.

Marriage to Claudius Edit

Agrippina and Claudius married on New Year's Day, 49. This marriage caused widespread disapproval. This may have been a part of Agrippina's plan to make her son Lucius the new emperor. Her marriage to Claudius was not based on love, but on power. She quickly eliminated her rival Lollia Paulina. Shortly after marrying Claudius, Agrippina persuaded the emperor to charge Paulina with black magic. Claudius stipulated that Paulina did not receive a hearing and her property was confiscated. She left Italy, but Agrippina was unsatisfied. Allegedly on Agrippina's orders, Paulina committed suicide.

In the months leading up to her marriage to Claudius, Agrippina's maternal second cousin, the praetor Lucius Junius Silanus Torquatus, was betrothed to Claudius' daughter Claudia Octavia. This betrothal was broken off in 48, when Agrippina, scheming with the consul Lucius Vitellius the Elder, the father of the future emperor Aulus Vitellius, falsely accused Silanus of incest with his sister Junia Calvina. Agrippina did this hoping to secure a marriage between Octavia and her son. Consequently, Claudius broke off the engagement and forced Silanus to resign from public office.

Silanus committed suicide on the day that Agrippina married her uncle, and Calvina was exiled from Italy in early 49. Calvina was called back from exile after the death of Agrippina. Towards the end of 54, Agrippina would order the murder of Silanus' eldest brother Marcus Junius Silanus Torquatus without Nero's knowledge, so that he would not seek revenge against her over his brother's death.

On the day that Agrippina married her uncle Claudius as her third husband/his fourth wife, she became empress. She also was a stepmother to Claudia Antonia, Claudius' daughter and only child from his second marriage to Aelia Paetina, and to the young Claudia Octavia and Britannicus, Claudius' children with Valeria Messalina. Agrippina removed or eliminated anyone from the palace or the imperial court who she thought was loyal and dedicated to the memory of the late Messalina. She also eliminated or removed anyone who she considered was a potential threat to her position and the future of her son, one of her victims being Lucius' second paternal aunt and Messalina's mother Domitia Lepida the Younger.

Griffin describes how Agrippina "had achieved this dominant position for her son and herself by a web of political alliances," which included Claudius chief secretary and bookkeeper Pallas, his doctor Xenophon, and Afranius Burrus, the head of the Praetorian Guard (the imperial bodyguard), who owed his promotion to Agrippina. Neither ancient nor modern historians of Rome have doubted that Agrippina had her eye on securing the throne for Nero from the very day of the marriage—if not earlier. Dio Cassius observation seems to bear that out: "As soon as Agrippina had come to live in the palace she gained complete control over Claudius."

In 49, Agrippina was seated on a dais at a parade of captives when their leader the Celtic King Caratacus bowed before her with the same homage and gratitude as he accorded the emperor. In 50, Agrippina was granted the honorific title of Augusta. She was only the third Roman woman (Livia Drusilla and Antonia Minor received this title) and only the second living Roman woman (the first being Livia) to receive this title.

In her capacity as Augusta, Agrippina quickly became a trusted advisor to Claudius, and by AD 54, she exerted a considerable influence over the decisions of the emperor. Statues of her were erected in many cities across the Empire, her face appeared on coins, and in the Senate, her followers were advanced with public offices and governorships. However this privileged position caused resentment among the senatorial class and the imperial family.

She went to a place outside the imperial court and listened to the Senate from behind the scenes, and even Claudius allowed her to be a separate court and decide on empire matters. Agrippina even signed government documents and officially dealt with foreign ambassadors. She also claimed auctoritas (power of commanding) and Autokrateira (self-ruler as empress) in front of the Senate, the people and the army.

Also that year, Claudius had founded a Roman colony and called the colony Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis or Agrippinensium, today known as Cologne, after Agrippina who was born there. This colony was the only Roman colony to be named after a Roman woman. In 51, she was given a carpentum which she used. A carpentum was a sort of ceremonial carriage usually reserved for priests, such as the Vestal Virgins, and sacred statues. That same year she appointed Sextus Afranius Burrus as the head of the Praetorian Guard, replacing the previous head of the Praetorian Guard, Rufrius Crispinus.

She assisted Claudius in administering the empire and became very wealthy and powerful. Ancient sources claim that Agrippina successfully influenced Claudius into adopting her son and making him his successor. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus was adopted by his great maternal uncle and stepfather in 50. Lucius' name was changed to Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus and he became Claudius's adopted son, heir and recognised successor. Agrippina and Claudius betrothed Nero to his step sister Claudia Octavia, and Agrippina arranged to have Seneca the Younger return from exile to tutor the future emperor. Claudius chose to adopt Nero because of his Julian and Claudian lineage. [12]

Agrippina deprived Britannicus of his heritage and further isolated him from his father and succession for the throne in every way possible. For instance, in 51, Agrippina ordered the execution of Britannicus' tutor Sosibius because he had confronted her and was outraged by Claudius' adoption of Nero and his choice of Nero as successor, instead of choosing his own son Britannicus. [13]

Nero and Octavia were married on June 9, 53. Claudius later repented of marrying Agrippina and adopting Nero, began to favour Britannicus, and started preparing him for the throne. His actions allegedly gave Agrippina a motive to eliminate Claudius. The ancient sources say she poisoned Claudius on October 13, 54 (a Sunday) with a plate of deadly mushrooms at a banquet, thus enabling Nero to quickly take the throne as emperor. Accounts vary wildly with regard to this private incident and according to more modern sources, it is possible that Claudius died of natural causes Claudius was 63 years old. In the aftermath of Claudius's death, Agrippina, who initially kept the death secret, tried to consolidate power, and immediately ordered that the palace and the capital be sealed. All the gates were blockaded and exit of the capital forbidden and she introduced Nero first to the soldiers and then to the senators as emperor. [1]

The beginning of the power struggle between mother and son Edit

Nero was raised to emperor and Agrippina was named a priestess of the cult of the deified Claudius. She now attempted to use her son's youth to participate in the rule of the Roman Empire. She enjoyed imperial prerogatives: holding court with the emperor by her side, being allowed to visit senate meetings from behind a curtain, and appearing as a partner to her son in the royal coins and statues. The historian Tacitus depicts her as attempting a diarchy with her son when she demanded that the Praetorian Guard pledge their loyalty to her. She was also said to have tried to participate in her son's meeting with Armenian ambassadors until Seneca and Burrus stopped her. [14]

In year one of Nero's reign, Agrippina guided her 17-year-old son in his rule but started losing influence over Nero when he began to have an affair with the freed woman Claudia Acte, which Agrippina strongly disapproved of and violently scolded him for. Agrippina began to support Britannicus in her possible attempt to make him emperor, or to threaten Nero. The panicking emperor decided on whether to eliminate his mother or his step-brother. Soon, Nero had Britannicus secretly poisoned during his own banquet in February 55. The power struggle between Agrippina and her son had begun. [15]

Agrippina between 56 and 58 became very watchful and had a critical eye over her son. In 56, Agrippina was forced out of the palace by her son to live in the imperial residence. However, some degree of Agrippina's influence over her son still lasted several more years, and they are considered the best years of Nero's reign. But their relationship grew more hostile and Nero gradually deprived his mother of honours and powers, and even removed her Roman and German bodyguards. Nero even threatened his mother that he would abdicate the throne and would go to live on the Greek Island of Rhodes, a place where Tiberius had lived after divorcing Julia the Elder. Pallas also was dismissed from the court. The fall of Pallas and the opposition of Burrus and Seneca to Agrippina contributed to her scaling down of authority. In mid-56, she was forced out of everyday and active participation in the governance of Rome. [16]

While Agrippina lived in her residence or when she went on short visits to Rome, Nero sent people to annoy her. Although living in Misenum, she was always hailed as Augusta and Agrippina and Nero would see each other on short visits. [17] In late 58, Agrippina and a group of soldiers and senators were accused of attempting to overthrow Nero, and it was said they planned to move with Gaius Rubellius Plautus. [18] In addition, she revealed Nero's relationship with Poppaea Sabina.

Death and aftermath Edit

The circumstances that surround Agrippina's death are uncertain due to historical contradictions and anti-Nero bias. All surviving stories of Agrippina's death contradict themselves and each other, and are generally fantastical.

Tacitus's account Edit

According to Tacitus, in 58, Nero became involved with the noble woman Poppaea Sabina. She taunted him for being a "mummy's boy." She also convinced him of the autonomy of any other emperor. With the reasoning that a divorce from Octavia and a marriage to Poppaea was not politically feasible with Agrippina alive. Nero decided to kill Agrippina. [19] Yet, Nero did not marry Poppaea until 62, calling into question this motive. [20] Additionally, Suetonius reveals that Poppaea's husband, Otho, was not sent away by Nero until after Agrippina's death in 59, making it highly unlikely that already married Poppaea would be pressing Nero. [21] Some modern historians theorise that Nero's decision to kill Agrippina was prompted by her plot to replace him with either Gaius Rubellius Plautus (Nero's maternal second cousin) or Britannicus (Claudius' biological son). [22]

Tacitus claims that Nero considered poisoning or stabbing her, but felt these methods were too difficult and suspicious, so he settled on – after the advice of his former tutor Anicetus – building a self-sinking boat. [23] Though aware of the plot, Agrippina embarked on this boat and was nearly crushed by a collapsing lead ceiling only to be saved by the side of a sofa breaking the ceiling's fall. [24] Though the collapsing ceiling missed Agrippina, it crushed her attendant who was outside by the helm. [24]

The boat failed to sink from the lead ceiling, so the crew then sank the boat, but Agrippina swam to shore. [24] Her friend, Acerronia Polla, was attacked by oarsmen while still in the water, and was either bludgeoned to death or drowned, since she was exclaiming that she was Agrippina, with the intention of being saved. She did not know, however, that this was an assassination attempt, not a mere accident. Agrippina was met at the shore by crowds of admirers. [25] News of Agrippina's survival reached Nero so he sent three assassins to kill her. [25]

Suetonius's account Edit

Suetonius says that Agrippina's "over-watchful" and "over-critical" eye that she kept over Nero drove him to murdering her. After months of attempting to humiliate her by depriving her of her power, honour, and bodyguards, he also expelled her from the Palatine, followed by the people he sent to "pester" her with lawsuits and "jeers and catcalls".

When he eventually turned to murder, he first tried poison, three times in fact. She prevented her death by taking the antidote in advance. Afterwards, he rigged up a machine in her room which would drop her ceiling tiles onto her as she slept, but she once again escaped her death after she received word of the plan. Nero's final plan was to get her in a boat which would collapse and sink.

He sent her a friendly letter asking to reconcile and inviting her to celebrate the Quinquatrus at Baiae with him. He arranged an "accidental" collision between her galley and one of his captains. When returning home, he offered her his collapsible boat, as opposed to her damaged galley.

The next day, Nero received word of her survival after the boat sank from her freedman Agermus. Panicking, Nero ordered a guard to "surreptitiously" drop a blade behind Agermus and Nero immediately had him arrested on account of attempted murder. Nero ordered the assassination of Agrippina. He made it look as if Agrippina had committed suicide after her plot to kill Nero had been uncovered.

Suetonius says that after Agrippina's death, Nero examined Agrippina's corpse and discussed her good and bad points. Nero also believed Agrippina to haunt him after her death. [26]

Cassius Dio's account Edit

The tale of Cassius Dio is also somewhat different. It starts again with Poppaea as the motive behind the murder. [27] Nero designed a ship that would open at the bottom while at sea. [28] Agrippina was put aboard and after the bottom of the ship opened up, she fell into the water. [28] Agrippina swam to shore so Nero sent an assassin to kill her. [29] Nero then claimed Agrippina had plotted to kill him and committed suicide. [30] Her reputed last words, uttered as the assassin was about to strike, were "Smite my womb", the implication here being she wished to be destroyed first in that part of her body that had given birth to so "abominable a son." [31]

Burial Edit

After Agrippina's death, Nero viewed her corpse and commented how beautiful she was, according to some. [32] Her body was cremated that night on a dining couch. At his mother's funeral, Nero was witless, speechless and rather scared. When the news spread that Agrippina had died, the Roman army, senate and various people sent him letters of congratulations that he had been saved from his mother's plots.

Aftermath Edit

During the remainder of Nero's reign, Agrippina's grave was not covered or enclosed. Her household later on gave her a modest tomb in Misenum. Nero would have his mother's death on his conscience. He felt so guilty he would sometimes have nightmares about his mother. He even saw his mother's ghost and got Persian magicians to scare her away. Years before she died, Agrippina had visited astrologers to ask about her son's future. The astrologers had rather accurately predicted that her son would become emperor and would kill her. She replied, "Let him kill me, provided he becomes emperor," according to Tacitus.

Agrippina's alleged victims Edit
  • 47
    • Passienus Crispus: Agrippina's 2nd husband, poisoned (Suet.).
    • Messalina: Because of the competition for the emperor's successor
    • Lollia Paulina: as she was a rival for Claudius' hand in marriage as proposed by the freedman Callistus (Tac. & Dio).
    • Lucius Silanus: betrothed to Octavia, Claudius' daughter before his marriage of Agrippina. He committed suicide on their wedding day.
    • Sosibius: Britannicus' tutor, executed for plotting against Nero.
    • Calpurnia: banished (Tac.) and/or executed (Dio) because Claudius had commented on her beauty.
    • Statilius Taurus: forced to commit suicide because Agrippina wanted his gardens (Tac.).
    • Claudius: her husband, poisoned (Tac., Sen., Juv., Suet., Dio).
    • Domitia Lepida: mother of Messalina, executed (Tac.).
    • Marcus Junius Silanus: potential rival to Nero, poisoned (Pliny, Tac., Dio).
    • Cadius Rufus: executed on the charge of extortion.
    • Tiberius Claudius Narcissus: Because of the competition with Agrippina.

    In music and literature Edit

    She is remembered in De Mulieribus Claris, a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio, composed in 1361–62. It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in western literature. [33]

    • Octavia, a Roman tragedy written during the Flavian period
    • Agrippina: Trauerspiel (1665), a German baroque tragedy by Daniel Casper von Lohenstein
    • G.F. Handel's 1709 opera Agrippina with a libretto by Vincenzo Grimani
    • Empress of Rome (1978), a novel by Robert DeMaria (Vineyard Press edition, 2001, ISBN1-930067-05-4)
    • Agrippina is considered to be the founder of Cologne and is still symbolised there today by the robe of the virgin of the Cologne triumvirate. In the sculpture programme of the Cologne town hall tower, a figure by Heribert Calleen was dedicated to Agrippina on the ground floor.

    In film, television, and radio Edit

    • The 1911 Italian film Agrippina
    • I, Claudius (1976) played by Barbara Young (here called Agrippinilla).
    • Caligula (1979) and also Messalina, Messalina (1977) played by Lori Wagner.
    • A.D. (1985 miniseries) played by Ava Gardner.
    • Boudica (2003) played by Frances Barber.
    • Imperium: Nero (2005) played by Laura Morante.
    • Ancients Behaving Badly (2009), History Channel documentary. Episode Nero.
    • Roman Empire (2016), Netflix, played by Teressa Liane.
    • Agrippina the Younger was portrayed by Betty Lou Gerson in the August 31, 1953, episode of the CBS radio program Crime Classics that was entitled "Your Loving Son, Nero." The episode chronicles the killing of Agrippina by her son Nero who was portrayed by William Conrad.
    • Mio Figlio Nerone (1956) played by Gloria Swanson

    Ancient Edit

    Most ancient Roman sources are quite critical of Agrippina the Younger. Tacitus considered her vicious and had a strong disposition against her. Other sources are Suetonius and Cassius Dio.


    Praetorian Galley - History

    When people think of the spread of the Roman empire, it is the armies that come to mind. Well organised, well trained, using efficient methods, they drove all before them (with a few exceptions, of course!). But just as important for a Mediterranean empire was sea power. It was the battle of Actium - a sea battle - that sealed the fate of Anthony and Cleopatra. Well built and well armed galleys, swift liburnians, these kept the seas open and kept down the numbers of pirates and massive cargo ships fed Rome with African grain.

    Naturally, galleys and other types of ship made an appearance on many coins. These two chunky bronze coins are from the Roman republic, an as on the left (169-157 BCE) and a semis on the right (135-125 BCE). The front of a galley in a rather skeletal or diagrammatic form was a standard design on Republican bronzes.

    Below left is a famous denarius, probably the best known Roman "galley" coin. It was made at Patrae in 32-31 BCE by Mark Antony for use by his troops in the east. There were a whole series of coins with this galley on the obverse, and legionary standards on the reverse. This one honours Legio VII Paterna. It is clear that the coins were appreciated by the legions, because although many remain, they are almost all very worn from 100 years of use, some right down to a plain silver disk.

    Of course, this also means that they were not of a high enough grade of silver to be worth hoarding!

    This galley has six rowers and nine oars, plus a steersman with an oar. At the prow is a standard, suggesting that it is carrying an important personage. This is a Praetorian galley, and on this coin it represents the whole navy of the Roman Republic. Antony's fleet did not do too well it was defeated in the Battle of Actium by Octavian's admiral, Agrippa.

    The stern has a fancy decoration known as an aplustre, which is even more elaborate on he denarius to its right, from Marcus Aurelius in 268-269 CE, almost 200 years later. Unlike most Roman imperial coins, this one does not show the emperor on its obverse. This is because it is a "restoration" of Mark Anthony's type. In those Imperatorial times, there was no emperor, and no custom of placing a ruler's head on the coinage though Mark Antony did show his name in the legend. On the original, it is abbreviated as ANT AVG, but in 168 CE, that abbreviation might cause confusion with the normal abbreviation for the title AVGVSTVS, and that would not be allowed! So the later coin spelled it out in full as ANTONIVS AVGVR.

    Like the coins it was made to resemble, this one names a specific legion on the reverse (click on the image to see the full coin). On that side you will also find the name of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and that of his co-emperor Lucius Verus. Legio VI Victrix was the only legion they honoured on this restoration.

    Heir Component Parts

    The leftmost of these two is a denarius of Hadrian. This galley is a little worn, but shows all the detail present in the original state. The bow with its ram the sloping square-rigged mast with a furled sail the cabin at the rear the curved stern post the row of oars and the large steering oar. On this coin, there seem to be no rowers or passengers.

    To its right is a denarius of Elagabalus. This very nicely detailed craft has seven rowers and a pilot. Six rowing oars and a steering oar can be seen. This sort of mismatch is common on coins, and we can't take the number of rowers or oars as an indication of literal fact.

    Between the rowers and the pilot is a round cabin, which would have contained the emperor. There is a central mast with a "crow's nest" which served as a lookout point and a vantage for throwing missiles if it came to a battle. The galley is travelling to the right.

    The high curving object on the stern is an acrostolium. This coin comes from an eastern mint. It is possible that the legend FELICITAS TEMP, "happiness of the times" might refer to Elagabalus becoming emperor, and his journey to Rome. There are more Felicitas coins on my "Happiness, Cheerfulness and Joy" page.

    On the left, an antoninianus of Postumus. Postumus was emperor of a breakaway "Roman" empire consisting of Britain and part of the mainland. This coin was struck in his capital city, Cologne (or Köln, or Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium as the Romans called it.) The galley is traveling to the left and you can see four rowers, six oars, and the steersman sheltered by the tall, curved acrostolium. No cabin for a VIP is shown (even though the captain might have had one), so this rather unrealistic image was probably intended as a warship. As Postumus' empire included the English Channel, sea power was important to him. The legend, LAETITIA AVG, means the rejoicing of the emperor.

    And on the right, the forepart of a galley is shown on this striking denarius of Vespasian, which uses a design seen earlier on a denarius of the Triumvir Mark Antony. It is somewhat stylised, but the cruel triple beak can be clearly seen.

    Heir Value as Propaganda

    All Roman coins had a secondary role as official propaganda, setting out a message which should shape the way the citizens thought about their emperors. Galley coins were no exception. Two common messages they sent were to inform the people about the travels of their rulers, and to make it clear where their power lay.

    On the near right is a denarius of Caracalla with some interesting detail. The legend is ADVENT AVGG &ndash the Arrival of the Emperors &ndash so we know from the start that this coin celebrates a safe voyage to Rome. There is a legionary flag at the prow, and legionary standards at the stern, so we can guess that this has been a military expedition. In fact, Caracalla's father, the emperor Septimius Severus, had undertaken long campaigns in the East after declaring himself emperor, and this coin celebrates his delayed arrival in Rome in the year 202 CE with his two sons Caracalla and Geta. These are the three figures shown a cabin just in front of the pilot, in the same position as the round cabin on the Elagabalus coin above (that one is moving right, and this one is moving to the left). Click on the picture to enlarge it if they are hard to make out. You can clearly see this galley's double-beaked ram, another sign of its military origin.

    The coin next to it is a copper as of Marcus Aurelius. Where the steersman would normally stand is Neptune, in a typical pose with one foot resting on something and a dolphin held in his outstretched hand. (That's easier to make out if you click through to the larger picture.) This coin was issued following the emperor's return from the east, a voyage on which he encountered a dangerous storm, and Neptune is being credited with safely guiding Marcus back to Rome.

    The coins on the left are both billon quinarii of Allectus from 293-296 CE. Postumus (whose coin is shown above) wasn't the only one to break the remote north-western edge of the empire away from central control. In 287, Carausius did the same thing, but his empire consisted only of Britain, and for part of the time the area around Bologne just across the channel. But he was defeated on the continent by Constantius Chlorus and lost control of Bologne, whereupon his chief minister and treasurer Allectus killed him (probably facts are thin on the ground) and took control of Britain. Control of the English Channel was critical for Allectus, so here are two of his galleys, on coins minted in London.

    The details vary from coin to coin, probably according to the skill and whim of the engraver. All show a central mast with stays rigged fore and aft, an array of rowing oars, and a steering oar and these galleys very clearly had some sort of criss-cross railing structure along the side. This would have been the parados, a structure that projected out sideways and served both to protect the oars and act as a fighting platform. Through this on one of these coins can be seen the heads of six people. I have been calling people in this position "oarsmen," but in this case at least, and possibly the others too, they are more likely to have been the fighting marines who crewed the galley. The oarsmen would have been hidden under the deck. The legend, VIRTVS AVG, relates to Allectus' strength and courage, which the galley embodies. There is more about this concept on my Virtus page.

    It is also worth mentioning that in real life none of these galleys would have been this high out of the water. On coins, they are almost invariably shown high up so that their rams can be depicted. It's pretty obvious that these rams would not have worked unless they were under the waterline.

    Heir Diminishment to a Mere Symbol

    The galleys on the coins so far have been full-scale, real ships, carrying real people and rowed by real seamen. But Roman imperial coins used symbolism a great deal, and galleys were not excluded from this. Many coins used galleys out of scale, to represent the full thing.

    These representations ranged from whole galleys to small, but recognisable, parts of them. In this section (which is not a chronological sequence, but arranged for effect) the galleys get smaller and smaller .

    On the right, a small bronze coin of Constantine the Great from 327-328 CE. The figure of Victory is shown very much enlarged, dominating the scene. But the galley is still very detailed, and in fact you can clearly see the rear cabin, the structure of the steering oar, and the decorative additions at bow and stern that look rather like lanterns, though they probably are not. The enlargement shows the stern of the galley.

    On the far left is a centenionalis of Constans from 348-350 CE. The coin is a little encrusted, but the details are still quite clear. Galleys, or parts of galleys, were often shown in an unrealistically small scale, so as to represent their presence but still allow important characters to occupy the largest part of the design.

    This time, the emperor stands proudly in the bow, and is much more important than Victory, who has been relegated to the role of steersperson. The structure of the galley is faithfully represented, with the ram, the ports for he oars, and the three-part rudder all clearly shown.

    Next to it, on the far right, is a centenionalis of Constantius Gallus from 351-354 CE with ostensibly the same design. The galley is still clearly delineated, and five rowing oars can be seen, but it is smaller, and more simplified and stylised than before.

    Below left is a denarius of Domitian from 92-93 CE. Minerva, goddess of wisdom and war, is shown in an aggressive posture standing, not directly on a galley, but on a rostral column which celebrates naval victory, with the prow of a galley to the left.

    Rostral columns were decorated with prows jutting out in all directions. She holds a shield and her snakey aegis hangs down her back, and she is in the act of throwing a thunderbolt. In front of her stands her companion owl. Domitian was much attached to Minerva and showed her on many of his coins.

    On the far right is an antoninianus of Philip I from 244-245 CE. This is about the smallest a galley can get on a coin. Laetitia, the personification of joy, is shown holding a rudder and a patera (used in sacrifices), and with one foot on a miniature prow. The intention is to show that joy, based on sea power and piety, is well founded. (More about this on my "Happiness, Cheerfulness and Joy" page.)

    The same sort of "foot on prow" image occurred frequently on coins showing Annona and Isis, both of whom were associated with the transport of grain from Egypt. So this might not even be a galley in the ordinary sense rather, a cargo boat.

    The denarius of Vespasian on the far left shows a ship fit to carry an emperor. It depicts a deity of quite specific good fortune, the Fortuna of a return journey, grasping a prow. This coin was struck in Lugdunum (modern Lyons) in 70 CE, the year that Vespasian returned to Rome from his successful campaign in Egypt. The trip had been delayed by bad weather, according to Tacitus, and news of its success was spread in the west by this coinage.

    The denarius of Nerva next to it, from 97 CE, shows a war galley. On this coin, the slightly insecure emperor Nerva is stating that he and the army (and navy) are in full agreement with each other. The message of the clasped hands is obvious. They are clasped around a legionary standard, and the standard rests on a galley's prow in miniature. The ram is clearly visible.

    You can see that the sequence of examples in the last section is not chronological, so it's not as though galleys on Roman coins were reduced in size over time. It's more a case of a constant need to put across messages that are sometimes quite complex in a very small space, so that although coins were sometimes quite representational, they also often used compressed symbols as a language. Which is what half of this web site is about!

    Heir Lasting Memory

    To show how well Roman coin designs resonate down through history, here is the reverse of a florin (two-shilling coin) of Edward VII of Britain, a design that was used from 1902 to 1910 CE. Britannia, with her trident and the flag of the United Kingdom on her shield, is posed in exactly the same way as those ancient Roman triumphal figures, standing on the prow of a galley that had hot been in use for two millennia. What's more, the coin is the same design in many other respects, even down to the use of Latin abbreviations and plurals on the obverse.


    Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters

    Without the multicultural demographic and ideological context, the holy warriors of the Caliphate would stand out like proverbial sore thumbs in the Western world. Currently, they enjoy a perfect environment. They will not let up until Dar al Islam dominates the world. Or at least they will keep trying. The West should oppose that.


    By Marek Jan Chodakiewicz | March 30, 2016

    In war, power relationships reflect selflessness and bravery, but also feed on greed and compulsion. The bellicose synergy of the Muslim overlords and their Christian dependents reflected tactical alliances, personal considerations, mercenary motives, and brazen slavery. A typical leftist newsmaker of Indian parentage, the son of a tenured UN bureaucrat and a liberal academic at New York University, Ishaan Tharoor disagrees. According to him, Muslims and Christians killed each other, but most often they killed others jointly. Throughout history Muslims fought in Christian armies and vice versa. To talk about the clash of civilizations or defense of Christendom from Islam is therefore nonsense. This is the essence of Ishaan Tharoor’s belief, or, to be more precise, his enthusiastic endorsement of Ian Almond’s deeply flawed relativist and multiculturalist argument in Two Faiths, One Banner: When Muslims Marched With Christians Across Europe’s Battlegrounds (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).

    Relativism vs. traditionalism

    The gist of the problem is naturally philosophical. To avoid clear cut conclusions, which tend to be absolutist, liberals tend to prefer obfuscation, which is relativist. The more nebulous their depiction of the past, the better it is for the cause of relativism. However, the exact opposite is true. The brighter a light we can shed on the bygone days, the clearer the contours of history emerge. That, in turn, allows us for increasingly lucid conclusions. In some cases, our findings prompt us toward the Rankean “wie es eigentlich gewesen,” or approximating the truth, even occasionally absolutism. Traditionalist Western historians assume that the truth is obtainable and that we can approximate it, although human failings guarantee that the Ideal Truth is only known to God. That knowledge should not deter one from pursing the ideal, if only because, otherwise, what is the objective of scientific inquiry if not finding out the truth?

    Such is also the case with the topic of post-modernist musings of Tharoor. He confuses tactical alliances, family loyalty, personal grudges, mercenary motives, and brazen slavery with morally relativistic brotherhood in arms of equal opportunity killers. It is true that colonial armies of Great Britain and France enlisted Muslims. In fact, they enlisted all natives. For example, India’s Great Mutiny of 1857 was suppressed mostly by local forces under British command. It is a golden rule for imperial powers to divide and conquer precisely by capitalizing on local rivalries, whether religious, ethnic, or tribal. That entails enlisting native collaborators against local opposition. Further, when mother countries are hard pressed, they routinely turn to colonial forces for relief. Hence, Senegal’s Muslim troops, drafted with the encouragement of their Sufi imams, fought for France in both First and Second World War, according to David Robinson. Likewise, as David Fromkin has shown, it was often Muslim soldiers of the India Raj that were deployed against the Ottoman forces in the Middle East from 1914-1918. That should not be a mystery and one should read neither syncretism nor multiculturalism into imperial power politics. That Tharoor props his ideological exhortations on such ahistorical “revelations” shows the journalist is woefully lost in this rather straightforward imperial universe.

    Imperial Islam

    Much more controversial is the story of the relationship between the Muslim overlords and their Christian underlings, even though it shares some of the imperialist substance with the British, French, Russian, and other experiences. There was a significant difference, however. In addition to personal, vassalage, and alliance ties, the Muslim-Christian relationship was also based on slavery. The former were the masters, and the latter the victims. In fact, in the Muslim imagination, no treaty with unbelievers could be considered as an arrangement between equal parties. That undergirded any diplomatic and political transactions with the Christians and others. When the Muslim side was a weaker party or stood to benefit from the “alliance,” pragmatism justified such moves as expedient for the benefit of the jihad and their true nature was concealed through dissimulation.

    Balance of power considerations dictated that certain European powers entered into permanent alliances with the Ottoman Empire, in particular from the 17th century. Specifically, Bourbon France wanted to check the Habsburgs with Turkish assistance. However, a weaker Christian entity concluded a treaty with the Muslims only at its own peril. Many found out belatedly that an alliance on Islamic terms meant subjugation plain and simple, for example Greek and Latin Christian held towns, most notably Galata, which professed neutrality and, thus, refrained from assisting Constantinople during its final siege by the Ottomans in 1453, according to historian Halil Inalcik. Since, according to Turkic and Muslim ways, they yielded peacefully, they were spared rape and pillage, but not slavery. These subjugated polities were customarily obligated to assist the Ottomans against their enemies, including Christians. And so were Bulgarians, Wallachians, Transylvanians, and many others. Each dependency was ordered to furnish troops for the Ottoman jihad. Admittedly, sometimes the enemies of the Ottomans were also the adversaries of their underlings. For example, the Hungarian Protestants of Slovakia and Transylvania, in league with the Bourbons, assisted the Sublime Porte in its final (and failed) offensive against the Catholic Habsburgs in 1683.

    Bodyguards and others

    Another reason the Christians would find themselves impressed in the Muslim ranks was family ties. Alliances with Muslim powers usually entailed giving hostages to the sultan or caliph. Sometimes the hostages were new Christian wives for the Islamic potentates. And the unwilling spouses would come with an additional bribe in the form of a dowry which sometimes included a bodyguard. In times of war the bodyguard would be reinforced by additional troops as stipulated in the treaty of submission. Thus, for example, at the battle of Ankara in 1402, after his own Muslim troops deserted him, Sultan Bayezid I found himself defended solely by his Christian wife’s Christian contingent. Far from being independent actors, the Christians were obviously fighting for their lives in a war not of their making and their loyalty was to their princess and not her Mohammedan consort.

    Next, certain Christians sought refuge with Muslim forces for personal reasons. This was rather frequent at certain stages of the conflict over Spain and Portugal, according to Hugh Kennedy, Joseph F. O’Callaghan, and Dario Fernandez-Morera. In fact, the initial Islamic invasion of Iberia occurred because a Visigothic king raped a noblewoman whose father, myopically, requested Muslim assistance to redress the outrage. Then, there were the mercenaries. They fought for whoever paid, for example the infamous Catalan Company who slaughtered the Turks for the Byzantines and vice versa in the 14th century. Two hundred years earlier, Reverta de La Guardia, a former viscount of Barcelona fell afoul of his Portuguese sovereign, turned mercenary, and fought on the Almoravid side against the Almohads. Further, Christian dissidents and renegades periodically defected to the Muslims, embraced Islam, and fought against other Christians, sometimes ascending to high positions in the Ottoman, Umayyad, Almovarid, or Almohad caliphates, including land and naval forces. They also fought against Muslim enemies of their Islamic overlord. Moreover, Christians could appear in Muslim ranks for a combination of the aforementioned reasons. There were a number of tactical alliances between the Berbers backed by Iberian Christians against the Umayyads during the Taifa kingdoms period in the 11th century in Spain, for example, during the struggle for Cordoba in 1010 and 1013. Similar tactical alliances reappeared in the 13th century with the Christian side covering the retreat of the Almohads in 1228, or accepting Ibn al-Ahmar’s soldier’s assistance during the Spanish assault on Muslim-controlled Seville in 1248. This practice continued into the 14th century, including the relationship between Mohammed IV and his superior, Christian King Pedro the Cruel of Castille (1350-1369).

    Slaves and “racism”

    Lastly, there were the ubiquitous slave soldiers. A practice of enslaving non-Muslim children and training them for war, although of ancient pedigree, continued under Islamic regimes with gusto. Central Asian boys were its first victims. But soon the inhuman practice extended to others, including Slavs, Franks, and Iberians (so-called saqualiba (Slavs), most of them castrated by their masters), who constituted the mainstay of the Umayyad armies in Al-Andalus. The Berbers also kidnapped, trained, and armed black animist Africans. The Serbs and other Balkan children were subject to the hated blood tax (devşirme – “collection”). Cyclically, as described by Peter S. Sugar, Douglas E. Streusand, Tamim Ansary, and others, the Ottoman officials descended on their villages and “collected” boys to be enrolled as the fearsome Janissaries, the Sultan’s Praetorian Guard. Sometimes the slave soldiers rebelled and seized power, reducing the Muslim ruler himself to a figure head and establishing their own states, most notably the “mounted slaves,” the Mamluks of Egypt. Should we count the ubiquitous Christian galley slaves in the Ottoman navies as a part of “the long history of Muslims and Christians killing people together”? According to relativist “logic,” had the Muslim admiral wanted to compete in a waterskiing contest, the galley slaves would have shared in the trophy. Let’s take it further: By extension, the saqualiba must have enjoyed the castration, and the Balkan Orthodox Christian boys being torn from their families. But such talk is obviously ahistorical. It is indeed absurd.

    Incidentally, Islam is inexorably connected to the question of slavery. Generally, slavery is not haram. As research of Ira Lapidus, Albert Hourani, and others shows, for at least 1,300 years some, if not most, Muslims have condoned and practiced slavery largely as a continuity of previous pre-Islamic systems. They refined it, though. Mohammed’s followers embraced this “peculiar institution” with gusto. The chief source of slaves has been Sub-Saharan Africa. Early forays from Arabia in the 7th century were a harbinger of a permanent slaving system that entrapped millions. Anywhere Islam appeared, slavery found a solid religious justification. Since Muslims could not be enslaved, Christians, animists, and others were snatched and sold. For instance, while they appeared in southern France as putative allies of the Bourbons in the 16th century, the Ottomans took to stealing people around Marseille, creating widespread panic among the “allied” Christians, according to Fernand Braudel. Howard M. Federspiel admits that the Islamic Iranum people consistently raided and stole droves of Christian Visayans in central Philippines well into the 19th century. The victims were “distributed across the Muslim Zone.”

    It was the same in Europe: the Mediterranean basin suffered the most: Italy, Spain, and, to a lesser extent, France. The Ottomans enslaved whom they pleased in the Balkans for half a millennium. Further, between the 16th and 18th centuries, practically year in and year out, Tatars and Turks kidnapped and enslaved people from the southern lands of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania and its environs: millions of individuals over more than 250 years, including women of course with attendant rape and other abominations. This horrific experience, meshing with the nightmares of Nazi and Communist persecutions, generated a lasting trauma – like any memory of slavery – in Poland and elsewhere, and has now manifested itself in a vigorous defense of Western Civilization, which Ishaan Tharoor predictably brands as “racism.” Reductio ad Hitlerum once again substitutes for a serious discussion of an extremist threat, where the perpetrators are coddled by liberals, and victims excoriated as alleged “racists.”

    Perhaps we should not pay too much attention to Tharoor. After all, he is a fellow who embraces a dubious study purporting to show that “there is no real link between migration and terrorism.” He should read Mao on the guerrilla as fish swimming in an ocean of people. Without the multicultural demographic and ideological context, the holy warriors of the Caliphate would stand out like proverbial sore thumbs in the Western world. Currently, they enjoy a perfect environment. They will not let up until Dar al Islam dominates the world. Or at least they will keep trying. The West should oppose that.

    Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is a Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, A Graduate School of National Security and International Affairs in Washington, DC, where he also holds the Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies. Professor Chodakiewicz is author of Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas and teaches a seminar on the history of the Muslim world at Patrick Henry College. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.


    Praetorian Galley - History

    To make a purchase, or for more information, CLICK HERE

    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with two obverse (front side) impressions from centenionalii of Constantius II (337-361 AD). His bust, inscription DN CONSTANTIVS PF AVG. Great detail! Nice earthed deposits. 29 mm (1 1/8") and thick! #90054: $199 SOLD


    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with two reverse (back side) impressions from centenionalii of Constantius II (337-361 AD). One side shows a reverse depicting the Emperor in military dress standing on galley steered by Victory, holding phoenix on globe and labarum. The other reverse is the type depicting a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman. Very interesting! Nice detail, two very distinct coins. Earthen deposits. 30x8 mm (1/8" x 1/4" thick). Better than photo! #90053: $199 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with an impression of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). The front bears his portrait and inscription, the back bears the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO". 30x8 mm (1/8" x 1/4" thick). Gorgeous piece! Excellent detail, fine contrast and relief, one of the best of the whole group. #90052: $275 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould for a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). His pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right, CONSTANTIVS PF AVG / Emperor in military dress standing on galley moving left, holding phoenix on globe and labarum, Victory sitting at the stern, steering the ship, FEL TEMP REPARATIO (loosely translated "Return of the Good Times"). 30 mm (1 1/8") and thick! #90055: $185 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould for a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). His pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right, CONSTANTIVS PF AVG / Emperor in military dress standing on galley moving left, holding phoenix on globe and labarum, Victory sitting at the stern, steering the ship, FEL TEMP REPARATIO (loosely translated "Return of the Good Times"). 29 mm (1 1/8"). Great detail. #AR2102: $250 SOLD


    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with an impression of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). The front bears his portrait and inscription, the back bears the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO". 30 mm dia, 8 mm thick! Much nicer than this awful photo. #AR2264: $150 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould, both sides with an impression of the reverse of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). It bears the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO" (loosely translated "Return of the Good Times"). 29 mm (1 1/8"). ex-Princeton Economics department collection, acquired by Martin Armstrong. #AR2133: $150 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with an impression of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). The front bears his portrait and inscription, the back bears the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO". 30x8 mm (1/8" x 1/4" thick). 29 mm (1 1/8"). Very nice! #AR2103: $225 SOLD Group: Fair to Fine. #cng2750470
    Ancient Rome. An excellent collection totaling 83 counterfeiter's / forger's moulds! Terracotta moulds with coin impressions.
    Used to reproduce both sides of centenionali of Constantius II, either emperor on galley type from Constantinople or soldier
    spearing a fallen barbarian horseman from Alexandria. ex-Princeton Economics department collection, acquired by Martin Armstrong.
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould. One side with an impression of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). His bust, inscription DN CONSTANTIVS PF AVG. Finely detailed, in an excellent state of preservation. Some earthen deposits in the crevices. 29x6 mm (1 1/8" x 1/4" thick). ex-Princeton Economics department collection, acquired by Martin Armstrong. Excellent! #90050: $199 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with an impression of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). The front bears his portrait and inscription, the back beard the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO". Excellent detail! A lot of earthen deposits but deep, nice detail underneath. 29x 7 mm (1 1/8" x 1/4" thick). Very nice, both sides. #90051: $199 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with an impression of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). The front bears his portrait and inscription, the back bears the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO". 30x8 mm (1/8" x 1/4" thick). 29 mm (1 1/8"). Excellent bust. #AR2104: $199 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould for a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). His pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right, CONSTANTIVS PF AVG / Emperor in military dress standing on galley moving left, holding phoenix on globe and labarum, Victory sitting at the stern, steering the ship, FEL TEMP REPARATIO (loosely translated "Return of the Good Times"). 30 mm (1 1/8"). Great detail! #AR2134: $250 SOLD
    Ancient Rome, c. 340 - 360 AD. Clay counterfeiter's mould with an impression of the reverse of a centenionalis of Constantius II (337-361 AD). It bears the image of a Roman soldier spearing a fallen barbarian horseman, with inscription around "FEL TEMP REPARATIO". Other side blank. 30x8 mm (1/8" x 1/4" thick). 29 mm (1 1/8"). #AR2105: $150 SOLD

    The Praetorian Guard – Second Century I

    The Praetorian Guard had played an enormously important part in the imperial politics of the first century AD. This also coincided with our richest body of written evidence for the Roman Empire. The second century is entirely different. A succession of strong and competent emperors contributed to a period of unprecedented stability for the Roman world. In this context, the praetorians had no opportunity or, it seems, wish to play any part in toppling or appointing emperors. The written canon of evidence also dramatically declines in quantity and quality, leaving us principally with only a series of much later biographies of the emperors, and the epitome of Cassius Dio. The picture that emerges is of a Praetorian Guard that took part in imperial campaigns, such as Trajan’s Dacian wars, and also continued to operate as a police force in Italy.

    Domitian’s unpopularity amongst the wider public meant that his assassination caused little or no disquiet. Only the army seems to have been bothered. His use of praetorians to help fight the Dacian war meant that their first response to news of his death was to demand his deification. The only factor that prevented an immediate military uprising in Rome was the lack of any obvious leader. In the event, that position was filled by the prefect Casperius Aelianus in a brief return to the days when the praetorians shaped the course of Roman history, but he took his time before acting.

    Marcus Cocceius Nerva’s accession as emperor was clearly a stopgap. In the summer of 96 Nerva was approaching his sixty-fifth birthday and he had no children. There was therefore no question of a new dynasty, though he did have relatives. The ageing new emperor reappointed Casperius Aelianus to the praetorian prefecture, probably to calm down the Guard and the rest of the army. It seems to have worked to begin with. Nerva issued coins in gold, silver and brass, showing two clasped hands grasping a legionary standard with the legend CONCORDIA EXERCITVVM, ‘Harmony of the Armies’.

    Nerva emptied the prisons of those accused of treason, condemned informers, returned property that had been appropriated by Domitian, and sought out sound advisers. Despite this, he was still the victim of plots, his age at accession being the main reason for unrest. The first was led by a senator called Calpurnius Crassus. An informer told Nerva what was happening, so Nerva outfaced the plotters by providing them with a chance to kill him, even handing them weapons. This was followed by another, led by Casperius Aelianus, who had whipped up the praetorians to demand the execution of his immediate predecessor, Titus Petronius Secundus, and Domitian’s freedman Parthenius. He next encouraged the praetorians to mutiny. Nerva’s considerable personal courage won out again, this time when he bared his neck and invited them to slit it. He survived, but at the expense of Petronius and Parthenius. Nerva knew he was vulnerable and came up with a solution. He selected a promising soldier, a Spaniard called Marcus Ulpius Traianus (known to us as Trajan), and adopted him as his heir. Trajan had a family connection through being the son of Marcia, sister-in-law of Titus.

    The behaviour of the praetorians during this time was strangely muted, despite Aelianus’ efforts. They never successfully avenged Domitian, for all their demands that he be deified. Given the time and effort Domitian had expended on massaging the sensibilities of the army, and the role the praetorians had played in acclaiming him in 81, their relative inertia is a little surprising. On the other hand, the crucial factor was perhaps the one Suetonius had observed: there was no obvious champion they could plant on the throne, like Claudius in 41. Moreover, the actions of Aelianus had made him a marked man along with the praetorian mutineers. Pliny the Younger, writing in his Panegyric of Trajan, referred to the mutiny with unequivocal horror: Nerva’s authority had been ‘snatched’, thanks to the breakdown of military discipline. Nevertheless, this does not explain why Aelianus remained in post. Nerva probably feared risking a further confrontation with the Guard by disposing of him, unless Aelianus was involved in the arrangements to appoint Trajan as Nerva’s heir. Indeed, the appointment of Trajan may have formed part of Aelianus’ demands.

    Nerva died on 25 January 98 after a reign of a few days over sixteen months. Trajan, who was still with the frontier armies in Germany, did not actually reach Rome until late 99, apparently preferring to consolidate his hold on the vital Rhine and Danube garrisons. Aelianus and the mutineers were summoned, on the pretext that Trajan had a job for them. This ruse not only removed them from Rome, but was also a trick. Aelianus’ only hope would have been to topple Nerva and replace him with his own choice of emperor. Since that had not happened, Trajan was confronted with a praetorian prefect of suspect loyalty, or at any rate someone associated with an emperor (Domitian) who was now being popularly demonized as part of the establishment of the new regime. Aelianus and the mutineers were ‘put out of the way’, an ambiguous term that might mean they were executed or simply cashiered and dispersed, regardless of whether or not Aelianus had helped facilitate Trajan’s adoption. Trajan replaced Aelianus with Sextus Attius Suburanus Aemilianus. He handed Suburanus his sword of office and told the new prefect to use it on his behalf if he ruled well, and use it to kill him if he ruled badly. Suburanus held the post until c. 101, when he was replaced with Tiberius Claudius Livianus who was sole prefect until possibly as late as c. 112.

    Trajan’s first public appearance in Rome in 99 was attended by an enormous crowd. According to Pliny, ‘the soldiers present’, who must have been praetorians given that this was in Rome, were dressed as civilians and consequently indistinguishable from everyone else. This may of course have been relatively normal for praetorians but the point being made by Pliny is surely that the praetorians represented no military threat or presence because there was no need to under an emperor who was completely in control. This of course reflects Pliny’s obsequious relationship with an emperor and benefactor he revered, but there was probably some truth in it. Interestingly, Trajan decided to pay only half the accession donative to the soldiers, whereas the amount promised to civilians was paid in full. The reason appears to have been to make a public gesture that Trajan was not seeking to bribe the soldiers into supporting him, whereas the civilians ‘who could more easily have been refused’ were therefore the more deserving.

    The question arises here of whether the equites singulares Augusti, the ‘imperial mounted bodyguard’, belong to this date and even whether Trajan brought them with him to Rome from the frontier. They served with the Praetorian Guard in the same way as mounted auxiliary units did with the legions, forming an elite mounted praetorian wing, and had a base on the Caelian Hill. This does not mean they necessarily got on with the ordinary praetorians. They certainly existed by 118 because an unprovenanced and fragmentary diploma refers to the unit with a consular date for this year, though no veteran soldiers’ names are preserved. It is possible that the unit existed even earlier, on the evidence that some attested soldiers’ names include Flavius, which would suggest a foundation under Domitian. What is not clear is whether the equites pushed the praetorians into a subordinate role or operated in a collaborative function, providing a fast mobile bodyguard for an emperor in the field and freeing up praetorians for fighting. The career of Ulpius Titus, although he lived in the late second or early third century, is of interest here. He was selected for the equites singulares Augusti after having served as a cavalryman in a Thracian auxiliary cavalry wing. Thracian cavalry had served in the Roman army’s auxiliary forces for centuries and provided some of the most experienced and important mounted troops in the whole Roman army.

    The praetorians themselves seem also to have increased in number by this time, if not already under Domitian or even as early as Vespasian. A diploma from Vindonissa (Windisch) in Germania Superior dated to the year 100 under Trajan clearly refers to the existence of the X praetorian cohort, which presumably had been added at some point between 76 and 100, most likely by Domitian. This makes it possible there were now ten praetorian cohorts from this date. However, a tenth cohort does not help us by confirming the total number of praetorians, or the size of individual cohorts, now or at any other time. Nevertheless, some authorities have assumed that it does, for example arguing that the Guard was made up of ten milliary cohorts thereafter.

    Indeed, the praetorians seem to have enjoyed Trajan’s favour. A fragmentary relief from Puteoli, stylistically attributable to the early second century and probably from an arch of Trajan, depicts two praetorians with shields embellished with scorpions associated with praetorians. This is a stylized representation of the Guard in a symbolic setting, and quite unlike the way praetorians are featured at war on several panels on Trajan’s Column in Rome. The reliefs represent the start of a period when artistic representations of praetorians become more frequent and an impression can be gained of how they might have appeared. Of course, the sculptures also tend to depict the praetorians on campaign. There must have been several reasons for this. Such images flattered the praetorians’ vanity, showing them as the emperor’s right-hand men in action. They also showed the praetorians as a military force, and in this capacity were a useful reminder that the emperor ruled with powerful military backing.

    The Trajan’s Column reliefs depict his Dacian wars against Decebalus and show the praetorians taking an active part in the campaigns. This was a trend that continued and become the norm during the second century. In the ‘first battle’, praetorians, identifiable from their wreathed standards, stand in the background behind legionaries. Later, a squad of praetorians accompanies Trajan as he is about to embark on a galley they are his only accompanying troops. Subsequently he reaches a military base with his praetorians in tow, where they are met by legionaries and auxiliaries. Although it is impossible to tell how many praetorians were involved (our principal source, Dio, provides only a brief account of Trajan’s campaigns), there are some attested examples of individuals. Lucius Aemilius Paternus had a distinguished career as a centurion, serving at one point in the IIII praetorian cohort when he was decorated for his service in Dacia. He went on to fight in Parthia for Trajan too. Gaius Arrius Clemens served as both an infantry and mounted praetorian in the VIIII cohort in the Dacian war. He was also decorated, receiving ‘necklaces, armbands and ornaments’. Clemens was later to rise to be an aide to the praetorian prefects, and subsequently a centurion in the VII cohort under Hadrian, when he was decorated again.

    During Trajan’s reign these men served under the prefect Tiberius Claudius Livianus who is attested in Dacia being sent by Trajan to negotiate with Decebalus. These men’s careers, and the depictions on Trajan’s Column, show that the Guard was functioning now really as part of the general Roman army rather than as a distinct and privileged separate unit based in Rome. By the late first century and thereafter, the Praetorian Guard was the only Rome-based military unit to participate alongside conventional troops in the field the urban cohorts and the vigiles routinely stayed in Rome where of course their services were essential for public order and safety.

    Since the purpose of the Guard was to protect the emperor’s person, it was only logical that they would participate in wars in which he was personally involved, but the way they were used does illustrate how the Guard was evolving into a part of the regular army. Lucius Laelius Fuscus expired at the age of sixty-five after forty-two years’ military service. From being an eques in the Praetorian Guard he had progressed through various positions to serve as centurion of the I cohort of the vigiles, centurion of the military police (statores), centurion of the XIIII urban cohort, centurion of the X praetorian cohort and, finally, holding the prestigious position of centurion trecenarius of the VII legion Claudia. The style of the inscription on his marble urn is late first or early second century as far as the reign of Hadrian. The VII legion Claudia participated in Trajan’s Dacian and Parthian wars, raising the possibility that Fuscus had been transferred from the Guard during one of those occasions, though there is nothing to substantiate this.

    From hereon there is little mention of the Guard in any other capacity until the reign of Commodus, under whom they seem to have degenerated into institutionalized indolence until they were cashiered by Septimius Severus in June 193. However, evidence from Marcus Aurelius’ reign half a century after Trajan shows the praetorian prefects operating as police in Italy, and it is quite possible that this role was already by then well established as the much earlier evidence from Pompeii before 79 suggests. The single most conspicuous problem with the Praetorian Guard after the reign of Trajan until the reign of Commodus is that it is rarely referred to in the extant sources. For this period we are mainly reliant on what remains of Cassius Dio, which for this era only exists in the form of a later epitome, and the biographies of the emperors known as the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, which were not composed until the fourth century. For the long period of the reigns of Hadrian (117–38) and Antoninus Pius (138–61), the Guard as an organization is virtually ignored. More is known about praetorian prefects, but otherwise the story can only be pieced together from fragments.

    Trajan died in Cilicia in 117, suffering from a sickness that was followed by a stroke that left him partly paralysed. His successor Hadrian was the grandson of Trajan’s aunt, Ulpia. Although his side of the family was originally Italian, they had settled in Italica in Spain, where Trajan was from. After his father died when he was ten, Hadrian was placed under the guardianship of Trajan. Hadrian pursued a successful senatorial military and administrative career and early in Trajan’s reign married the emperor’s great-niece, Sabina, becoming a particular favourite of Trajan’s wife Plotina. Hadrian went on to fight in Trajan’s Dacian campaign and proceeded through a number of other posts, including the tribunician power in 105 and then governor of Syria, the post he held when Trajan died. It was an extremely unusual situation. Although Hadrian’s position as heir looks obvious, at the time it was anything but. Other candidates were believed to be favoured by Trajan, such as the famous lawyer Lucius Neratius Priscus. In the end a rumour circulated that Plotina fabricated the claim that Hadrian had been adopted by Trajan on his deathbed. The letter that confirmed this was sent to Hadrian, arriving on 9 August 117, and he was promptly acclaimed emperor by the army in the province, just as Vespasian had been in 69. This equivocal situation made it all the more necessary that Hadrian assert his position extremely quickly. He requested from the senate the deification of Trajan and tactfully apologized on behalf of the troops for acting presumptuously in acclaiming him as emperor.

    Publius Acilius Attianus had been praetorian prefect for about five years by 117 and was with Trajan when he died. As far back as 86 Attianus had been the guardian of the ten-year-old Publius Aelius Hadrianus (Hadrian), along with Hadrian’s cousin, Trajan. He seems to have shared the prefecture since around 112 with Servius Sulpicius Similis, a modest man who had taken the post reluctantly after he had been prefect of Egypt earlier in his career he had risen to the heights of primus pilus. When he was still only a centurion Similis was once summoned by Trajan ahead of the prefects. The deferential Similis said ‘it was a shame’ for him to be called in while prefects waited outside. Sent ahead by Hadrian, Attianus returned to Rome with Trajan’s ashes, which were to be placed at the base of his column in the forum, accompanied by Plotina and her niece Matidia (the mother of Hadrian’s wife, Sabina). Attianus seems to have written to Hadrian with the advice that he should order the execution of Baebius Macer, prefect of Rome, on the grounds that there was reason to believe he might object to Hadrian being emperor. Perhaps Macer was known to prefer Neratius Maximus. Other potential objectors were cited by Attianus. Whatever the truth, the outcome is unknown, though Macer was probably at least removed from post.

    A senatorial plot to murder Hadrian soon after his accession was thwarted, but it resulted in the senate ordering the execution of four senators. Hadrian denied that he had wanted this, but it marred the beginning of his principate and had implications for the praetorian prefecture. Hadrian hurried to Rome, arriving there on 9 July 118, and offered a large handout to the people in order to offset the unpopularity the executions had caused, and made a number of other conciliatory gestures such as remitting private debt owed to the state. Attianus was awarded the honorific promotion to senatorial status of consular rank in 119. Hadrian appears to have had an ulterior motive. He allegedly believed that Attianus had been behind the execution of the four senators, and resented his power, which of course included the potential power of the praetorians themselves. Supposedly reluctant to be associated with any more executions and also wishing to transfer all the blame for the senatorial executions, Hadrian coerced Attianus into resigning. It is equally possible that Attianus was a loyalist who had carried out Hadrian’s secret wishes and been prepared to take the blame on the emperor’s behalf. If so, it would have made him a good example of how useful the position of praetorian prefect could be to an emperor in a way that had nothing to do with commanding the Guard. The position with Similis is harder to understand. Hadrian’s biographer implies that Similis was another victim of what is described as Hadrian’s plan to remove the men who had smoothed his path to power. Dio, however, suggests that this unassuming man had some trouble in persuading Hadrian to release him. Similis went on to enjoy seven years of retirement, regarding these as the only years he had enjoyed life all the years of his career he dismissed as being no more than merely existing. This was recorded on his tombstone.

    Attianus and Similis were replaced as prefects in or around 119 by Gaius Septicius Clarus and Quintus Marcius Turbo. Turbo, who had a very significant military reputation, seems to have had a longer personal association with Hadrian. As a young man Hadrian served as tribune of the II legion Adiutrix while it was stationed in the province of Pannonia Inferior. Turbo, at some point in his career, was a centurion with II Adiutrix since the tombstone found at Aquincum (within Budapest) of a soldier called Gaius Castricius Victor states that he was in Turbo’s century. There is no certainty that Turbo’s time in II Adiutrix coincided with Hadrian’s, or even that this is the same man. But they might have served with the legion simultaneously, and if so then they might have come into contact and the future emperor been impressed by Turbo, though a personal connection may have played a more important part in Hadrian’s decision.

    Turbo was to have a remarkable military career both before and after his appointment as praetorian prefect. He made some of the previous incumbents seem like dilettantes. By 114 Turbo was commanding the imperial fleet at Misenum. Next under Trajan he seems to have been sent to lead an assault on Jewish rebels in Egypt and Cyrene, leading a naval force and one of combined infantry and cavalry. The action was successful and involved the death of a large number of rebels. Soon after Trajan’s death, Hadrian sent Turbo to crush a rebellion in Mauretania. This was evidently also so successful that Hadrian, exceptionally, appointed Turbo temporarily to be an equestrian prefect governor of the important frontier garrison provinces of Pannonia and Dacia. This was so unusual that it must reflect Turbo’s remarkable skills. The only major governorship normally allocated to an equestrian prefect was Egypt, reflecting that province’s nature as the personal property of the emperor indeed, as governor of Dacia Turbo was considered to hold a rank equivalent in prestige to being prefect of Egypt. The appointment came rapidly after the execution of the four senators and will have involved Hadrian dismissing the consular governor, Lucius Minucius Natalis. The practical effect was to place his own man in charge of an important component of the army. Perhaps Hadrian had in mind Maecenas’ advice to Augustus around 150 years previously on the advantages of distributing patronage amongst the equestrians. Turbo rearranged Dacia into two provinces. Dacia Superior was demoted to the status of requiring only a governor of praetorian, not consular, rank, and Dacia Inferior was to be governed by an equestrian procurator.

    Turbo took his new post of praetorian prefect extremely seriously. He lived like an ordinary citizen and passed the day in the vicinity of the palace, even punctiliously checking up on everything late at night. He transferred his morning salutation (salutatio) to the late evening, greeting his friends and clients then, rather than during the day when he was far busier doing his job. Accordingly, the lawyer Cornelius Fronto dropped in to pay his respects after a dinner party, paradoxically greeting Turbo with the evening departure vale (‘farewell’), rather than the morning salve (‘good health’). Turbo was said to have operated on the principle that as prefect he ‘should die on his feet’.

    The prefect Gaius Septicius Clarus had been a friend and correspondent of Pliny the Younger. He also had a senator for a nephew. Clarus had urged Pliny to publish his letters and was rewarded by having the collection dedicated to him. Suetonius also dedicated part of his Lives of the Caesars to him. Although Clarus’ earlier career is completely unknown to us, he had probably served in some capacity as an equestrian commanding officer, perhaps commanding an auxiliary infantry unit. His personal tastes and interests were more literary. This probably formed the basis of Hadrian’s decision to appoint him to serve as a convivial and interesting companion rather than as a military official. Hadrian set out for the northern frontier in 121, accompanied by Clarus, presumably with part of the Guard too, as well as Suetonius, his imperial secretary.

    Hadrian was away until 125. During this time he paid particular attention to military discipline. While we have no specific information that this was applied to the Guard it must have done, especially with Turbo in charge of those left in Rome. The choice of Septicius Clarus and Suetonius as travelling companions seems to have backfired. Around 122 Hadrian visited Britain where he initiated construction of the wall that bears his name ‘to separate the barbarians from the Romans’. At this point in his biography we are told he dismissed both Septicius Clarus and Suetonius, along with several other unnamed people, for being too familiar with Sabina. He was even tempted to divorce Sabina but stopped himself on the basis of the dignity of his office. It is clear from the structure of the biography that this event is placed during Hadrian’s stay in Britain, but since the biographies of this period are notoriously confused in detail in some places, the actual sequence of events may have been different. Quite what had happened is unclear, but there was a suggestion of sexual impropriety, even if it amounted to no more than indiscreet flirting. Aurelius Victor includes a reference to Sabina’s claim that she had deliberately avoided becoming pregnant by Hadrian because she considered him so ‘inhuman’ that she wished to save the human race from any of his offspring. Hadrian had clearly found out about the carryings-on from his spies, the frumentarii, whom he used for all sorts of private investigations in his household and circle of friends. Septicius Clarus had been added to Attianus and others whom Hadrian had once trusted and now regarded as enemies.

    An occasional instance of a military career that included a spell in the Guard is available at around this time. Titus Pontius Sabinus was a career legionary who, as primus pilus of the III legion Augusta, was placed in charge of detachments of the VII Gemina, VIII Augusta and XXII Primigenia sent on ‘the British expedition’ around this time, perhaps accompanying Hadrian. The province had been in considerable difficulties since around the end of Trajan’s reign. After this foray into the wilds of Britain, Sabinus was promoted to be tribune of the III cohort of the vigiles, tribune of the XIIII urban cohort, and then tribune of the II praetorian cohort, before becoming primus pilus once again and finishing up as procurator of the province of Gallia Narbonensis. This shows how much experience was considered necessary for a man to hold the tribunate in the Praetorian Guard. His time as tribune of the II praetorian cohort probably occurred under the latter part of the reign of Hadrian. A praetorian denied the chance to accumulate any experience at all was Lucius Marius Vitalis. He joined the Guard when he was around sixteen or seventeen years old during the reign of Hadrian. He left Rome with the Guard, headed for some unknown destination, perhaps with Hadrian, but died aged seventeen years and fifty-five days. Marius Vitalis illustrates how the original Republican tradition of hiring praetorians from experienced soldiers had been at least partly replaced by recruiting very young men. Men of Pontius Sabinus’ calibre therefore found themselves knocking into shape youths with little or no experience at all of soldiering, and who would have taken some time to turn into praetorians with the right skills to serve the emperor either in Rome or in the field. This goes some way to explaining the rationale behind the decision over half a century later in 193 to cashier the Guard and replace it entirely with legionaries who had considerably more to offer in the way of experience.

    Meanwhile, the man who replaced Septicius Clarus and continued to command any members of the Guard in Hadrian’s retinue is unknown. That Turbo had remained in Rome is only likely, and not an attested fact. The most obvious choice to replace Clarus would have been the former prefect of Egypt (117–19), Quintus Rammius Martialis however, not only is there no information to that effect, but unless he was with Hadrian already there would have been something of a delay before he could either fill the post or join him. Hadrian was to remain abroad until 125, finishing up in Sicily by way of Greece before returning to Rome.

    For all his skills and experience, Turbo also fell foul of Hadrian’s capricious inclination to turn against those he had trusted, even though Turbo, like Similis, had been honoured with a statue. He was said, along with others, to have been ‘persecuted’, though what that means, or its consequences, is unknown to us. This may not have occurred until Hadrian returned to Rome in 134. The same applies to the Praetorian Guard at this time. We seem to know a remarkable amount about Turbo’s career before he became praetorian prefect and the manner in which he conducted himself in the post, but little or nothing about the praetorians themselves or how he led them. We can only assume that praetorians accompanied Hadrian on his journey between 121 and 125 because Clarus went with him. In 128 Hadrian visited North Africa, returned to Rome and then headed off to the eastern provinces, including Greece, Syria, Arabia and Egypt. We can do no more than speculate on how the praetorians regarded being removed from the privileged comforts of the Castra Praetoria in Rome. If Septicius Clarus had not been replaced, which is quite possible, then Turbo may have been out of Rome with Hadrian on some of his later travels serving as sole prefect equally, he may have remained in the city with the prefect of Rome, Annius Verus, with a tribune instead commanding a detachment of the Guard accompanying the emperor.


    Sierra Leone’s Pre-colonial and Colonial era military and security forces

    The study of armed forces in Africa tend focus on the contemporary peculiarities with little understanding of or regarding for the history of the nations, peoples and states. Consider the case of the war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002), often advanced as the sine quo non of 'greed' conflicts and brutal violence, assessments of the war rarely include a detailed historical account of the security and military structures of the region - and if they do, such assessment does not extend to the pre-colonial era. This paper presents an historical analysis of some of the key actors and groups which would go on to play important roles in the Civil War.

    Pre-Colonial era

    Along the river systems of Senegambia, "Land of the Sapes", thick forest vegetation and the abundance of rivers made cavalry tactic difficult, "there infantry armies shared the military culture with marine forces that could exploit the network of water routes for mobility and surprise." [1] By the mid sixteenth century the area was invaded by Mande-speaking armies, who were connected with the Mali empire further north. This highly skilled army swept across the region and destroyed the kingdoms of Sierra Leone, eventually they reached the area of the 'Rivers', where "they met their match at the hands of the Limbas and the Jalungas." [2] Across West Africa, most of the armed forces resembled militias, however, regular and standing armies were present at times and in a few states and kingdoms. [3]

    The arrival of Europeans meant first that the supply of firearms and horses could increase, along with the sale of slaves. Second, warring parties found a powerful ally. Although the Europeans were not particularly effective in battle, the powerful guns on their ships greatly assisted allies waging wars on the coast. [4]

    Many of the towns in Sierra Leone in the 1600s were fortified using a technique of living hedges and trees to support ramparts. These towns provided safe havens for people to flee to in times of need. A network of these towns and surrounding villages were referred to as "war towns" by the nineteenth century. [5] The political organisation of these kingdoms and towns had two discernible features. The first is that the king would decide on a war after meeting with a council of elders, who would then be appointed as captains of the armies. The armies of the small kingdoms or 'war towns' seem to have been locally recruited from their own subjects, resulting in small armies that were more akin to militias. [6] Across the region of West Africa, the available evidence suggests that nearly everywhere, "all free adult males capable of bearing arms were liable for military service in time of war." [7]

    The second feature is that of the political role of the Poro and other similar societies. The Poro was a religious organisation into which men from different classes and different towns were initiated. This was a society that helped to preserve order and peace. For instance, they could intervene if a war had gone on for too long, and they helped to re-establish order after a war ended. Whilst they had been know to use force at times, through mobilising their members, they tended to be seen as "more of a democratic than an authoritarian tradition." [8] The Poro oversaw a number of specialised hunter-guilds, of which, the Kamajoisia were one.

    The various armed militias that became known as the Kamajors can be traced back to the hunters, or kamajoisia, of local communities in Sierra Leone. [9] Kamajoi or kamasoi literally translates as "a past master at doing mysterious things." [10] The Kamajoisia [11] were widely believed to possess specialised knowledge and were tasked with using this knowledge in the protection of their communities against all dangers of the forest. These dangers could take the form of human, animal or the occult. In this sense, the kamajoisia were not just hunters but also warrior-protectors. [12]

    The Kamajoisia were traditionally recruited from within their own communities and the communities were expected to keep the young men supplied with the necessities to fulfil their duties. In effect, these young men served on behalf of their communities, representing their backers or patrons. Patron-client relationships were mostly formed around local chiefs, who were notable political actors especially in the context of community or local politics, and representative of the community. The legitimacy of client Kamajoisia was thus tied to their relationship with patron chiefs [13], and, therefore by extension, to their communities.

    A significant aspect of the Kamajoisia was the importance placed on initiation and the role of specialised knowledge. [14] Not just anyone could join or call themselves part of the kamajoisia. The initiation rites were a salient factor in the recruitment of members. Information about rites and rituals was considered "specialised knowledge" and related directly to spiritual belief processes, and included, importantly for the later development of the CDF, the notion of invincibility in battle. [15] Belief about invincibility was predicated on individual members observing certain rules and prohibitions on behaviour. Violating these norms would nullify an individual's invincibility. Strict observation of them also acquired increasing importance as the civil war developed, arguably because the stakes (survival, obedience to command structures and loyalty) took on increased importance as the conflict progressed. Many of the rules related to respecting private property and the treatment of those not involved in the conflict, especially women.

    The Kamajoisia had no relationship to the state. Although they did have a relationship with local authority figures in the form of chiefs, these were more as representatives of the community rather than of the state. Local chiefs were connected to the central state authority. However, they were not representatives of the state and even if they were, hunter societies were in no way part of any state policy. The primary relationship of the kamajoisia was with the community: they were members of the same community and constituted by the community they were tasked with protecting the community against threats and this relationship was ensured by a set of norms that governed the members behaviour.

    Colonial Forces

    The colony that was to become Sierra Leone was first settled by colonists in 1787. [16] The major settlement, Freetown, was used by the British to repatriate slaves following the abolition of the slave trade. Former slaves from the Americas who had fought for British in the American War of Independence were eventually also settled in Freetown, after having been temporarily sent to Nova Scotia. [17] The new arrivals were not necessarily welcomed by the local Temne inhabitants, there was a series of initial conflicts, including the destruction of the settlement at one point. [18] The Sierra Leone Company subsequently raised a militia from the inhabitants of the settlement to provide some degree of defence. The British had raised local militias from the earliest days of all their West African missions. [19]

    The Nova Scotians formed the core of the new defence force as they were the most experienced soldiers among the settlers, although there were some Europeans who served in the militia as well. Almost immediately, however, difficulties arose in supporting the cost of a local armed force. The Nova Scotians were reluctant to pay any taxes towards this as they had been promised no taxes as part of their deal to relocate to Freetown. [20] After a series of rebellions and attacks from the Temne, a detachment of European forces from the Royal African Corps was sent to garrison the town. However, the difficult climate and malaria soon took its toll and their number diminished. Under a new governor and a new charter, a more effective militia was formed. Recruitment for this new force was aided by the ending of the Slave Trade and the resettlement of freed slaves in the town. [21] From its earliest days then, the colonial forces in Sierra Leone were used to maintain internal security and prevent attacks from local groups hostile to the colonial presence.

    The tensions present in colonial forces, as being distinct from the societies over which they had authority, were dramatically present in Sierra Leone. Not only were there the various groups of local inhabitants, such as the Mende and Temne, and the European colonists, but also groups of freed slaves from the Americas and others resettled from captured ships following the abolishment of the slave trade. During the course of the nineteenth century, the bulk of the colonial force was composed of liberated slaves who originated from across the East Coast of Africa. These numbers began to dwindle as the number of seized ships slowed and the benefits of military service diminished. [22]

    The colonial task of internal policing and pacifying the outlying regions was clearly evident by 1890 when two distinct arms of the force were established: the Civil Police based in Freetown and the Sierra Leone Frontier Police, which operated as a paramilitary force to patrol the hinterland. [23] This trend continued even after World War II, when the latterly formed Sierra Leone Regiment was often called upon to quell civil unrest and strikes. [24] The various paramilitary forces and militias across British West African territories were later coalesced into the wider regional Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF). [25]

    The primary roles of the colonial forces as constabulary and paramilitary forces working in support of the alien authorities is not to say that all was content within the colonial armed forces, as there were instances of mutinies, beyond that of the initial rebellion of the Nova Scotians. For example, in January 1939 there was the "gunners' mutiny" where part of the Sierra Leone Battalion went on strike as the economic conditions in the Protectorate worsened and the lucrative incentives to help recruit the men seemed to vanish. [26] There were also persistent concerns about White officers' arrogance, British paternalism, and institutional racism in the apparent value between white "flesh" and black "flesh". [27] An example of the banality of the institutional racism experienced by the soldiers was that they were often not allotted boots as part of their uniforms as European officers argued vehemently that African soldiers performed better without them or would sell them at the first opportunity. [28]

    During World War II, the British viewed the port at Freetown as of the utmost importance to ensure the flow of supplies to maintaining naval superiority. [29] Once the safety of the port had been secured through operations against the Vichy regime governments in Dakar and Cameroon, troops from the RWAFF were sent to Burma in 1942 to counter the Japanese threat to British controlled India. The Sierra Leone Battalion in the RWAFF fought a number of counter-insurgency campaigns against the Japanese and overall served with distinction. [30]

    Despite their outstanding service during World War II, many returning servicemen found it difficult to pursue military careers or to train as officers. [31] In part, this was due to colonial and white supremacist mentalities of the time, as expressed by a former Governor of Sierra Leone: that there was "no gentleman class in Sierra Leone from which men of a high sense of honour and duty could be found." [32] Courses at Sandhurst and Eaton Hall in Britain only admitted a handful of Sierra Leoneans. The social mobility of Africans in the military was thus greatly hampered, which stood in contrast to the civil service. For the Creole elite in Freetown, the good pay and ease of promotion for someone with a good education in the civil service provided a much better alternative. Military life was seen with a degree of contempt, as a career for those who were not good enough for the civil service. [33] This was not an impression shared by all, as the military did offer a degree of mobility for those who were comparatively less well-off in Sierra Leonean society following World War II. For many, the military offered training, especially improving literacy, and were then able to become chiefs or successfully assume other forms of traditional authority outside of urban society. [34]

    Post-Colonial Army and growth of Praetorianism

    The Sierra Leone Regiment of the RWAFF officially became the Royal Sierra Leone Military Force [35] on 2 August 1960, and Sierra Leone became independent of Britain a few months later on 27 April 1961. On the day of Sierra Leone's Independence, Lieutenant-Colonel LGS Sanderson, Officer Commanding the 1st Battalion, issued a statement about the role the new army would have in the new state:

    "Unity and Peace are essential for Sierra Leone to continue its orderly progress and prosper as an independent nation, but history, however, shows that freedom rarely lasts unless a nation is prepared to work and fight to defend its freedom: and as in the past the responsibility for security in times of crisis will rest with the army." [36]

    This view of the army as the final arbiter of security was to prove persistent through the post-colonial history of Sierra Leone. Within six years, Sierra Leone experienced its first coup d'état.

    The precise details and dynamics of the coups d'état of the late 1960s are not of principal importance to this thesis, however, a few aspects are worth mentioning. In the early days of Independence, Sierra Leone had a seemingly stable multiparty electoral system and did not appear to have a politically active military. The military had been peripheral during the negotiations and process towards independence and was a relatively small entity of only a few thousand men, meaning it was largely ignored by elites. [37] The Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), had formed close ties with the senior officers of the RSLMF, sometimes deploying them internally to quell domestic strife, and sometimes with the support of the paramount chiefs. [38] However, fractures between elites began to cut across the civil-military divide, as well as across class and regional divides. In March 1967, the SLPP lost a closely contested election to the All People's Congress (APC). In order to prevent a change in leadership, senior officers with close ties to the incumbent regime, staged a coup d'état and instituted a military regime. [39]

    The military regime only lasted 13 months before the rank-and-file and some junior officers staged a counter-coup d'état to instate Siaka Stevens as President and end the military rule, realising their own coercive power to install a regime more in their interests. [40] In the subsequent years, President Stevens set about instituting one-party rule, especially after an attempted coup d'état in 1971. These events in the early years of Sierra Leone's independence were "a result of the internal power struggles which were so characteristic of the Sierra Leone army from 1965 to 1967", where disputes among civilian actors were played out, and ultimately where "the seeds of military praetorianism were planted." [41]

    Once one-party rule under Stevens had been established, the military was fairly removed from political affairs. Nonetheless, the early actions of the RSLMF demonstrate a clear history of praetorian tendencies for the military to intervene in politics for their own interests, as well as fractured hierarchies such that the interests of senior officers were not necessarily the same as junior officers or the rank-and-file.

    [1] Thornton, John K, Warfare in Atlantic Africa 1500-1800, London: UCL Press, 1999., p 41. ↵

    [3] Smith, Robert Sydney. Warfare and Diplomacy in Pre-Colonial West Africa. London: Methuen, 1976, p 80. ↵

    [4] Thornton, Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1999, p 48. ↵

    [7] Smith, Warfare and Diplomacy, p 61. ↵

    [8] Thornton, Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1999, p 52-53. ↵

    [9] Muana, Patrick K. "The Kamajoi Militia: Civil War, Internal Displacement and the Politics of Counter-Insurgency." Africa Development 22, 3, 1997: 77 - 100. p 78. ↵

    [11] For the sake of clarity, Kamajoisia is used to refer to the pre-civil war hunter society groups, while Kamajor is used in reference to the later militia forces. ↵

    [12] Hoffman, Daniel. The war machines: young men and violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Durham: Duke University Press. 2011, p 63. ↵

    [13] Wlodarczyk, Nathalie. Magic and warfare: appearance and reality in contemporary African conflict and beyond. New York City: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. p 73. ↵

    [14] This is knowledge relating to the initiation rituals and to knowledge of the forest and hunting. The exact content of the knowledge is not important, only that such knowledge was a barrier to entry for the kamajoisia. ↵

    [15] Ibid. See also Muana, "The Kamajoi Militia". ↵

    [16] Cubitt, Christine. Local and Global Dynamics of Peacebuilding: Postconflict Reconstruction in Sierra Leone. Oxford: Routledge, 2013, p 9. ↵

    [18] Turay, Edward Dominic Amadu, and Arthur Abraham. The Sierra Leone Army: a century of history. London: Macmillan, 1987, p 2. ↵

    [19] Reid, Richard J. Warfare in African History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, p 148. ↵

    [20] Turay and Abraham, The Sierra Leone Army, p 3. ↵

    [25] Reid, Warfare in African History, p 148. ↵

    [26] Cole, Festus. “Defining the ‘flesh’ of the Black Soldier in Colonial Sierra Leone: Background to the Gunners’ Mutiny of 1939.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines 4, 2, 2014: 275–95., p 280. ↵

    [27] Quoting Gunner Cole in ibid, p 288. ↵

    [28] Killingray, David, and Martin Plaut. Fighting for Britain: African Soldiers in the Second World War. Woodbridge, Suffolk: James Currey, 2010, p 94. ↵

    [29] Turay and Abraham, The Sierra Leone Army, pp 70-72. ↵

    [31] Cox, Thomas S. Civil-Military Relations in Sierra Leone: A Case Study of African Soldiers in Politics. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1976, p 6. ↵

    [32] As quoted in First, Ruth. The Barrel of a Gun: Political Power in Africa and the Coup D'état. London: Allen Lane, 1970, p 76. ↵

    [33] Turay and Abraham, The Sierra Leone Army, p 87. ↵

    [35] In 1971, Sierra Leone declared itself a Republic, whereupon the military changed its name to the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Force (RSLMF). ↵


    Watch the video: Shed - The Praetorian (November 2021).