Interesting facts

  • In 125 soldiers from the First Italian legion were sent by the emperor Hadrian to supervise some unknown building project in Delphi (Greece).
  • It is possible that between 139 and 142 during the reign of the same emperor a subunit of this legion was sent to Britain to built a part of the Antonine wall at Old Kilpatrick, between Edinburgh and Glasgow. This assumption is based on the text of the altar discovered at the site:


“For Jupiter Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Baetasii, Citizens of Rome, under the command of the prefect Publicius Maternus, and Aulus Julius Candidus, centurion of the First Italian Legion.” (translation based on

About the altar and its dating see Britannia 1970, 310, no. 20; Frere 1987, 152-153, n. 34.

  • It was suggested that some subunit of the legion served in Africa during the reign of Antoninus Pius and suppressed a revolt of the Mauri. This supposition was based on two finds of stamped bricks, one of them now lost (CIL VIII 10474, 13 and p. 911, Numidia, Constantine / Cirta; another of unknown provenance, kept in the Museum in St. Germain (France)). About the stamps see E. Ritterling, Legio, in: RE 1925, col. 1407-1417; R. Cagnat, L’armée romain d’Afrique, 108 n., vol. 2, 119. A certain woman from Novae, Antonia Optata was nick-named Maura, but still this can not be an argument for the African expedtion of the legion. For the inscription see IGLNov, p. 127, ad no. 92 and see here.
  • An auxiliary detachments combined of soldiers from Lower Moesian legions (I Italica and XI Claudia) were stationed in Crimea (present Ukraine). The soldiers build there a temple dedicated to Jupiter Dolichenus in Balaklava (called back then Symbolon Limen) a military post on the Kazatskaya hill and a fort on the Aj-Todor cape. The survey and excavations were conducted by prof. T. Sarnowski and are continued by dr R. Karasiewicz-SzczypiorskiFurther reading: T. Sarnowski, O.Ja. Savelja, Balaklava. Römische Militärstation und Heiligtum des Iupiter Dolichenus, Warszawa 2000 (Światowit. Supplement Series A: Antiquity, vol. V).

balaklawa2small balaklawa5small balaklawa6small

Balaklava: the view on the bay, remains of the temple and its reconstruction (by T. Sarnowski, J. Kaniszewski)

  • Vexillatio of the Moesian troops was stationed near Montana (western Bulgaria), as well. The soldiers stationed in the fort near Montana. At first, the cohors Sugambrorum veterana equitata was present there in the first quarter of the 2nd c. It was replaced by the detachments of the legio XI Claudia and some soldiers from the First Italian legion. The soldiers of the latter legion are attested during the reign of Gordian and in the first half of the 3rd c. It is possible that the soldiers controlled the regio Montanensium. The place was very important due to the mines explored by the Romans. In the neighbourhood of the town there were large Roman villae discovered. An inscription from Montana testifies the participation of the soldiers in imperial hunting (venatio Caesariana):
After: BS Thurner Hof (Wikipedia)

After: BS Thurner Hof (Wikipedia)

Dianae / Ti(berius) Claudius Ulpianu(s) / trib(unus) coh(ortis) I Cili(cum) cum vexilla/tionib(us) leg(ionum) I Ital(icae) XI Cl(audiae) class(is) / Fl(aviae) Mo(esicae) ob venationem / Caesarianam iniunc/tam a Cl(audio) Saturnino leg(ato) / Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore) ursis et vison/tibus prospere captis / aram consecra/vit Largo et Mes/sallino co(n)s(ulibus).

The monument dated to AD 147 refers to hunting for the animals, most probably on the occasion of the ludi saeculares held in AD 148, as a grand jubilee of Rome (900 years from foundation of the Urbs).

More: F. Bérard, ZPE 79, 1989, 129-138.


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