The IX Legion

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by RP578, Mar 16, 2011.

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  1. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Like many people, I read Rosemary Sutcliff's "Eagle of the Ninth" as a child and have wondered about how true the legend of the Legion's fate was. Apparently a film about that very subject is now in the offing: BBC News - The Roman Ninth Legion's mysterious loss

  2. RP, there is another film which touches on the subject - Centurion. Ok, maybe a piece of fanciful fiction, but uses the Ninth as it's basis and the end could be the answer that you seek.
  3. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    But, Although the history of the Ninth is a bit sketchy , the history of some of it's officers is not, lucius Norius Crispinus Satninius, is well recorded, but why did it take him over 25 years to get promoted,was he one of the mounted officers that did a runner when the 9th got slaughtered and thus screwed up his career
  4. I was in Siluria at the time, with the 2nd Agusta at Isca but some member of our Legion did work on the Wall at that time, That Satininus was the Laticavius Tribune of the 9th and a right cnut woudn't put it beyond him to run away
  5. I think this bit of history is being given the Braveheart treatment by the Celtic myth industry, with the usual evil English being replaced by evil Romans....

    I tend to agree with the more conservative historical view, that the Legion - probably already very understrength when it went to York - gradually withered away over decades of peacetime neglect. When things kicked off and a fresh Roman army was sent to Britain, I imagine the remnants of the 9th were simply subsumed as BCRs and not reconstituted as a full legion.

    AFAIK, current archaeological consensus is that Hadrian's Wall represented an economic and political frontier - a trading & tax boundary - rather than a military edifice constantly under siege by vast hordes of northerners.
  6. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    (My bold) Which would be a contrast to Sutcliff's book. 'The Eagle of the Ninth" was very much pro-Roman in sentiment, or at least, pro-Legio IX.
  7. As I remember it , there were a number of other units went adrift at the same time,the Ala Agrippiane Miniata cavalry wing, and the 1st Nervonorium ,2nd Vasconum,4th Delmatarum and the 5th Raetorum Auxiliary light infantry Cohorts. And when the Emperor Hadrian arrived later that year 122 he started our boys on building the wall
  8. Sixty

    Sixty LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Cyclists and Triathletes

    Yep, it's out next week; I'm going to see it on Friday. I'll bang a quick review up after that in case anyone else fancies it.
  9. National Geographic channel is running several Roman type programmes at the mo.. IIRC there's also one on History Rome's Lost Legion on Thursday, March 17th, 2011, 10:00pm to 11:00pm.

    Found a link Being a Lincoln lad, I remember the Roman Well, from when the IX Legion was stationed there and built its Fortress, circa AD65 (Lindum). To be honest I'd read that Boudiccas curse saw off the spanish legion, she gave it a spanking in 60-61AD. Or that the IX Legion was just disbanded, rather than just disappearing hunting Picts in Scotland ?

    Pretty good reference material at this link.Ninth Legion
  10. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Wall Walt :)
  11. Do you remember the Antonine wall?
  12. I blame it all on the defence cuts myself, if they had not made so many Legionnaires redundant earlier that year, before they had finished the usual 25 years the 9th would not have been short handed and the Venicones,Caledoii, and the Vacomagi would never have tried it on
  13. We didn't get around to building that until 20 years after the 9th got stuffed but yes it was a right crap job, spent the summer at Velvniate, by the Gods what a dump. Mind you had a great time just down the road 1800 years later at Bathgate driving a Fire engine
  14. Pick one; there is no definitive evidence either way. It's certainly possible the IX were simply disbanded/amalgamated. It's also possible they were out-numbered and ambushed in territory where a Roman Legion's strengths - iron discipline and the ability to fight as a cohesive unit - were not applicable. This, after all, was what happend in the Tuetoburg Forest, where three whole Legions were massacred by the Germanic tribes.

    The Roman army at its peak was the most powerful military machine in the world. But they were not unbeatable. The Germanic Tribes, Spartacus, Hannibal and Atilla the Hun all gave the Romans epic shoeings before eventually being betrayed and defeated. And while the slaughter of the Ninth Legion may be a myth, the results of the final Roman attempt to fully conquer "Scotland" are a historical fact; 40,000 Roman soldiers invaded, commanded by the Emperor himself. Four years later he had lost 4,000 soldiers and spent a fortune without having won a single major battle. He was so desperate to find an exit strategy(sound familiar?)that he bribed some local chiefs into "submitting".

    The Emperor minted coins to spread the word of his "triumph" and returned to Northern England. As soon as he did so, the Picts started raiding the Border lands again. Sick and dying, he ordered his son to return to Scotland with the Legions in a punitive raid. His son, who had served with him in Scotland, thought, "Bugger that for a game of soldiers!" and went straight back to Rome as soon as his old man kicked the bucket.

    The Picts were past-masters of hit and run warfare, and far too smart to stand toe to toe with the most professional soldiers in the world at that time. They preferred to attack isolated units in places where they could not fight as a unit. The Picts were trained to fight as individuals and one on one were more than a match for a Roman Legionaire, who's training emphasized fighting as a team, often in a large shield wall.

    We will never know the truth. The Picts left no written record and the Romans, if they had lost an entire Legion in such a humiliating fashion, would have made sure that the whole incident was kept very quiet.
  15. See the film "Centurion". But, then Tropper's here to tell the tale, so all's not lost :)