Legio XII Fulminata

Legio XII Fulminata

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Legio duodecima Fulminata (Twelfth Legion, armed with lightning), also known as Paterna, Victrix, Antiqua, Certa Constans, and Galliena, was a Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

, levied by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 58 BC and which accompanied him during the Gallic wars
Gallic Wars
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. They lasted from 58 BC to 51 BC. The Gallic Wars culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the...

 until 49 BC. The unit was still guarding the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 River crossing near Melitene at the beginning of the 5th century. The legion's emblem was a thunderbolt
Thunderbolt
A thunderbolt is a discharge of lightning accompanied by a loud thunderclap or its symbolic representation. In its original usage the word may also have been a description of meteors, or, as Plato suggested in Timaeus, of the consequences of a close approach between two planetary cosmic bodies,...

 (fulmen). In later centuries it came to be called commonly, but incorrectly, the Legio Fulminatrix, the Thundering Legion.

Under Caesar


The Twelfth legion, as it is perhaps better known, fought in the Battle against the Nervians, and probably also in the Siege of Alesia. The Twelfth fought at the Battle of Pharsalus
Battle of Pharsalus
The Battle of Pharsalus was a decisive battle of Caesar's Civil War. On 9 August 48 BC at Pharsalus in central Greece, Gaius Julius Caesar and his allies formed up opposite the army of the republic under the command of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus...

 (48 BC), when Caesar defeated Pompey. After Caesar won the civil war, the legion was named Victrix, and enlisted in 43 BC by Lepidus and Mark Anthony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

. Mark Anthony led the Twelfth, renamed XII Antiqua ("of consolidated quality") during his campaign against the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

.

During the latest part of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

' principality, XII Fulminata served in Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

, camping at Raphana
Raphana
Raphana, in present-day north of Jordan, was a city of the Decapolis. It is thought to lie north of Umm Qais in the Abilene plain.The city was the base camp of the Roman legions Legio III Gallica and of Legio XII Fulminata.-References:*...

.

Against the Parthians



In the East, King Vologeses I had invaded Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 (58), a client kingdom of Rome. Emperor Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 ordered Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo was a Roman general and a brother-in-law of the emperor Caligula.-Descent:Corbulo was born in Italy into a senatorial family...

, the new legatus
Legatus
A legatus was a general in the Roman army, equivalent to a modern general officer. Being of senatorial rank, his immediate superior was the dux, and he outranked all military tribunes...

 of Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, to manage the matter, and Corbulo brought the IIII Scythica from Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, and with III Gallica
Legio III Gallica
Legio tertia Gallica was a Roman legion levied by Julius Caesar around 49 BC, for his civil war against the conservative republicans led by Pompey. The cognomen Gallica suggests that recruits were originally from the Gallic Roman provinces. The legion was still active in Egypt in the early 4th...

 and VI Ferrata
Legio VI Ferrata
Legio sexta Ferrata , was a Roman Legion formed in 65 BC, and in existence up to at least 3rd century. A Legio VI fought in the Roman Republican civil wars of the 40s and 30s BC...

 defeated the Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

ns, restoring Tigranes VI
Tigranes VI of Armenia
Tigranes VI, also known as Tigran VI or by his Roman name Gaius Julius Tigranes was a Herodian Prince and served as a Roman Client King of Armenia in the 1st century....

 to the Armenian throne. In 62, IIII Scythica and XII Fulminata, commanded by the new legate of Cappadocia, Lucius Caesennius Paetus
Lucius Caesennius Paetus
Lucius Junius Caesennius Paetus was a Roman aristocrat, member of the Caesennian gens and the Junian gens, who lived in the second half of the 1st century during the Roman Empire. He was Consul Ordinarius for the year 61, and enjoyed several high provincial commands in the East.He was the son of...

, were defeated by the Parthians and Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 at the battle of Rhandeia and forced to surrender. The legions were shamed and removed from the war theatre.

Great Jewish Revolt


In 66, after a Zealot revolt had destroyed the Roman garrison in Jerusalem, the XII Fulminata, with vexillatio
Vexillatio
A vexillatio was a detachment of a Roman legion formed as a temporary task force created by the Roman Army of the Principate. It was named from the standards carried by legionary detachments, vexillum , which bore the emblem and name of the parent legion...

nes of IV Scythica and VI Ferrata, was sent to retaliate, but it was sent back by Gaius Cestius Gallus, legatus of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

, when he saw that the legion was weak. On its way back, XII Fulminata was ambushed and defeated by Eleazar ben Simon
Eleazar ben Simon
Eleazar ben Simon was a Zealot leader during the First Jewish-Roman War who fought against the armies of Cestius Gallus, Vespasian, and Titus Flavius...

 at Beit-Horon, and lost its aquila
Aquila (Roman)
The Aquila was the eagle standard of a Roman legion, carried by a special grade legionary known as an Aquilifer. One eagle standard was carried by each legion.-History:...

. However, XII Fulminata fought well in the last part of the war, and supported its commander T. Flavius Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 in his successful bid for the imperial throne. At the end of the war, XII Fulminata and XVI Flavia Firma
Legio XVI Flavia Firma
Legio sexta decima Flavia Firma was a Roman legion. The legion was created by Emperor Vespasian in 70, with the remains of the XVI Gallica , and still existed in the 4th century, when it guarded the Euphrates border camped in Sura . The emblem of the legion was a lion....

 were sent to guard the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 border, camping at Melitene.

Defending the Eastern frontier


In 75 AD, XII Fulminata was in Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, where Emperor Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 had sent the legion to support the allied kingdoms of Iberia and Albania. Indeed in Azerbaijan, an inscription has been found which reads:
Some historians argue that the actual settlement of Ramana
Ramana
* Ramana, place in Pakistan.* Chintapalli Ramana, Telugu film writer.* Ramana, Azerbaijan is an urban-type settlement and municipality in Azerbaijan.* Ramana Maharshi, Hindu spiritual figure.* Ramana Reddy, famous Telugu film actor....

 near Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 was possibly founded by the Roman troops of Lucius Julius Maximus from Legio XII Fulminata in circa 84-96 AD and derives its name from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 Romana. Among the facts that strengthen this hypothesis are the military-topoghraphical map of Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 published in 1903 by Russian Administration which spells name of town as "Romana"; various Roman artefacts found in Absheron
Absheron
The Absheron peninsula, is a region in Azerbaijan. It is host to Baku, the biggest and the most populous city of the country, and also the Baku metropolitan area, with its satellite cities Sumgayit and Khyrdalan....

 region and also old inhabitants' referring to the town as Romani.

The legion was probably in Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 during Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

's campaign of 114 AD, that ended with the annexation of the Kingdom of Armenia.

In 134, the threat of the Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 was subdued by the governor of Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

, who defeated the invaders with the aid of XII Fulminata and XV Apollinaris
Legio XV Apollinaris
Legio quinta decima Apollinaris was a Roman legion. It was recruited by Octavian in 41/40 BC. The emblem of this legion was probably a picture of Apollo, or of one of his holy animals....

.

The Twelfth probably fought in the Parthian
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

 campaign of Emperor Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus , was Roman co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, from 161 until his death.-Early life and career:Lucius Verus was the first born son to Avidia Plautia and Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, the first adopted son and heir of Roman Emperor Hadrian . He was born and raised in Rome...

, in 162-166, if a mixed unit of XII and XV controlled for some time the newly conquered Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

n capital Artaxata. Emperor Marcus Aurelius commanded the XII Fulminata in his campaign against the Quadi
Quadi
The Quadi were a smaller Germanic tribe, about which little is definitively known. We only know the Germanic tribe the Romans called the 'Quadi' through reports of the Romans themselves...

, a people inhabiting an area now known as Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 in modern day Slovak Republic, and an episode of a miraculous rain saving a Twelfth subunit from defeat is reported by the sources. At this time, most of the Twelfth was composed chiefly of Christians. There was a belief that this had led to the emperor issuing a decree forbidding the persecution of the Christians, but this seems to have been based on a forgery.

In 175, the legion was in Melitene, when Avidius Cassius
Avidius Cassius
Gaius Avidius Cassius was a Roman general and usurper who briefly ruled Egypt and Syria in 175.-Origins:He was the son of Gaius Avidius Heliodorus, a noted orator who was Prefect of Egypt from 137 to 142 under Hadrian, and wife Junia Cassia Alexandra...

 revolted; the Twelfth, having been loyal to the Emperor, obtained the cognomen Certa Constans, "surely constant".

After the death of Emperor Pertinax
Pertinax
Pertinax , was Roman Emperor for three months in 193. He is known as the first emperor of the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. A high ranking military and Senatorial figure, he tried to restore discipline in the Praetorian Guards, whereupon they rebelled and killed him...

, 193, XII Fulminata supported the governor of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

, Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger
Pescennius Niger was a Roman usurper from 193 to 194 during the Year of the Five Emperors. He claimed the imperial throne in response to the murder of Pertinax and the elevation of Didius Julianus, but was defeated by a rival claimant, Septimius Severus and killed while attempting to flee from...

, who was in the end defeated by Emperor Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

. When the Eastern frontier of the Empire was moved from the Euphrates to the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

, the Twelfth stayed in the reserve, possibly as a punishment for its support of Severus' rival.

The region around Melitene was one of the first in which Christian faith spread. Polyeuctes is a martyr under Valerian
Valerian (emperor)
Valerian , also known as Valerian the Elder, was Roman Emperor from 253 to 260. He was taken captive by Persian king Shapur I after the Battle of Edessa, becoming the only Roman Emperor who was captured as a prisoner of war, resulting in wide-ranging instability across the Empire.-Origins and rise...

 who was a soldier of the Twelfth.

The Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 was a major threat to the Roman power in the East. King Shapur II
Shapur II
Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379 and son of Hormizd II. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I...

 conquered the base of the XV Apollinaris, Satala
Satala
Located in Turkey, the city of Satala , according to the ancient geographers, was situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, a little north of the Euphrates, where the road from Trapezus to Samosata crossed the boundary of the Roman Empire...

 (256), and sacked Trapezus
Trapezus
Trapezus, Trapezounta, and Trapezounta can refer to:*Trabzon, an ancient settlement on the Black Sea in Turkey.*Trapezus, a city in the province Arcadia in Greece...

 (258). Emperor Valerian moved against Shapur, but was defeated and captured. The defeat caused the partial collapse of the Empire, with the secessionistic Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
The Gallic Empire is the modern name for a breakaway realm that existed from 260 to 274. It originated during the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century....

 in the West and Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
The Palmyrene Empire was a splinter empire, that broke off of the Roman Empire during the Crisis of the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor....

 in the East. It is known that the XII Fulminata was under the command of Odaenathus
Odaenathus
Lucius Septimius Odaenathus, Odenathus or Odenatus , the Latinized form of the Syriac Odainath, was a ruler of Palmyra, Syria and later of the short lived Palmyrene Empire, in the second half of the 3rd century, who succeeded in recovering the Roman East from the Persians and restoring it to the...

, ruler of the Palmyrene Empire, but also that Emperor Gallienus
Gallienus
Gallienus was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 253 to 260, and alone from 260 to 268. He took control of the Empire at a time when it was undergoing great crisis...

 awarded the legion with the cognomen Galliena.

After these episodes, the records of the Fulminata are scarce. The Palmyrene Empire was reconquered by Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

; Emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 defeated the Sassanids and moved the frontier to Northern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. The Twelfth, which probably took part to these campaigns, is recorded guarding the frontier of the Euphrates in Melitene, at the beginning of the 5th century (Notitia Dignitatum
Notitia Dignitatum
The Notitia Dignitatum is a unique document of the Roman imperial chanceries. One of the very few surviving documents of Roman government, it details the administrative organisation of the eastern and western empires, listing several thousand offices from the imperial court down to the provincial...

).

Modern references


In Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan
Richard Russell "Rick" Riordan, Jr. is an American author best known for writing the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He also wrote the Tres Navarre mystery series for adults and helped to edit Demigods and Monsters, a collection of essays on the topic of his Percy Jackson series...

's book, The Son of Neptune
The Son of Neptune
The Son of Neptune is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series written by Rick Riordan. It was released on October 4, 2011.-Development:...

, the Twelfth Legion went to America after the fall of Rome following the Roman gods as they move Mt. Olympus to Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

. The Legion stayed at San Francisco where they founded the Roman Demigod camp, Camp Jupiter.

See also

  • Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
    Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
    The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste or the Holy Forty were a group of Roman soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata whose martyrdom in 320 for the Christian faith is recounted in traditional martyrologies.They were killed near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, victims of the persecutions of Licinius,...

    , a group of Roman soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata who became martyrs for their Christian faith in 320.
  • List of Roman legions

Secondary sources


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External links