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 standard carried by legionary detachments, the vexillum, which bore the emblem and name of the parent legion. Although associated with legions, it is that vexillationes included auxiliaries; the term is found in the singular, referring to a single detachment, but is used in the plural to refer to an army made up of picked detachments. Vexillationes were assembled ad hoc to meet a crisis on Rome's extensive frontiers, to fight in a civil war, or to undertake an offensive against Rome's neighbours, they varied in size and composition, but consisted of about 1000 infantry and/or 500 cavalry. Because the Roman Army was not large enough to garrison the vast size of the empire, most of it was stationed along the frontiers; this placed the empire in a precarious position when serious threats arose in the interior or along a remote frontier. There was no central reserve and it was possible to take a full legion, or a major portion of one, to a troubled area without leaving a dangerous gap in the frontier defences.
The only logical solution was to take detachments from different legions and form temporary task forces to deal with the threat. As soon as it was taken care of, these vexillationes were dissolved, the detachments returned to their parent legions; the Roman emperors from the time of Augustus had at their disposal units in Italy and in the city of Rome. Over time these units would increase. Augustus created the praetorians who at the time of Domitianus constituted a force of ten cohorts, each of 1000 men strength on paper and who supplied a disputed number of horsemen. Traianus created the Imperial horseguards, the Equites Singulares Augusti, formed from his proconsular horseguard he had when he was the legate of Germania Inferior of about 1000 horsemen. Septimius made many changes in the Roman military, he doubled the number of the horseguards to 2000 horsemen. He filled the ranks of the Praetorians with provincial soldiers, he levied a new legion, Legio II Parthica, for the first time in Roman history stationed it on the outskirts of Rome, making it more clear that the Roman emperor was a military dictator.
Whenever the emperor went on campaign these guards units stationed in the city of Rome would accompany him. Added to these came the vexillationes of the border legions; the vexillatio system worked due to the mobility provided by the empire's excellent roads and to the high levels of discipline and esprit de corps of these units and the legions from which they came. But during the Crisis of the Third Century vexillationes were shifted so from one area to another that units became hopelessly mixed up and became independent. Legions that would proclaim a commander as emperor could have a vexillatio in the real emperor's field army or garrisoned on the frontier; this was a major cause of disorganization in the Roman Army which resulted in sweeping military reforms under Diocletian and Constantine I where the basic army unit became the size of one or two cohorts instead of the 5000-man legion. Under the Dominate, vexillatio refers to a cavalry unit of the Roman army. From the time of Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, as early as the reign of Gallienus, vexillationes were the usual cavalry units found on campaign though the ala still remained.
In the 4th century the Vexillationes palatinae and Vexilationes comitatenses of the Roman field armies are thought to have been either 300 or 600 men strong. The Notitia Dignitatum lists 88 vexillationes. Other units, such as infantry cohortes and centuriae, cavalry alae and turmae, may have had their own vexilla. In addition, vexillationes with their own vexilla would have designated units of special troops outside the usual military structure, such as vexillarii, who may have served separately from the cohorts of their ordinary comrades. R. E. Dupuy and T. N. Dupuy, The Encyclopedia Of Military History: From 3500 B. C. To The Present. Pp 147-148. Pat Southern and Karen Dixon, The Late Roman Army, chapter 2. ISBN 0-415-22296-6
The Menapii were a Belgic tribe of northern Gaul in pre-Roman and Roman times. According to descriptions in such authors as Strabo, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy their territory had stretched northwards to the mouth of the Rhine in the north, but more lastingly it stretched along the west of the Scheldt river. In geographical terms this territory corresponds to the modern Belgian coast, the Belgian provinces of East and West Flanders, it extended into neighbouring France and the river deltas of the Southern Netherlands. Their civitas, or administrative capital, under the Roman empire was Cassel, this was moved nearer to a river in Tournai. Both of these are near Thérouanne, the civitas of the neighbouring Morini tribe, indeed in the Middle Ages Cassel became part of the Diocese of Thérouanne. Cassel was therefore in the southern extreme of the Menapii lands. A pattern of placing Roman tribal capitals in the south is found in the neighbouring Belgian tribal states, of the Nervii and Tungri; the positions of such Roman tribal capitals didn't correspond to the centre of a tribe's territory in pre-Roman political geography.
In those neighbouring regions, the centre of Roman civilization was moved further south, on to a major river, in late Roman times, after the area was threatened by Frankish tribes from outside the empire. To the north and east of the Menapii lay the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta. In the time of Caesar, the Menapii had settlements throughout this region and over the Rhine into Germany. During Roman times these islands were under the frontier province of Germania Inferior, inhabited by various groups of people who had moved there under Roman rule. Pliny the elder lists the people in these "Gallic Islands" as Batavi and Canninefates on the largest island and the Chauci whose main lands were to the north of the deltas, the Frisiavones and Marsacii. Of these last three, the Marsaci appear to be mentioned in another place by Pliny as having a presence on the coast south of the delta, neighbouring the Menapii, within Gaul itself; the Frisiavones are mentioned within the listing for Belgian Gaul, but therefore lived in the part of the delta south of the Batavi, northeast of the Menapii.
In one inscription, from Bulla Regia, the Tungri and Frisiavones are grouped together confirming that the Frisiavones lived inland. It is suggested that the Marsaci and the Sturii could be "pagi" belonging to the civitas of either the Frisiavones or the Menapii. South of the delta, east of the river Scheldt from the Menapii, therefore south of the Frisiavones, Pliny mentions the Toxandri, in a position on the northern edge of Gaul, it is known that the Toxandri were associated with the civitates of both the Nervii and the Tungri, so they had a presence in both. While in Pliny the Menapii do not stretch beyond the Scheldt, in Strabo's 1st-century Geographica, they are situated further away than the Nervii and on both sides of the Rhine near its outlets to the sea not far from the Germanic Sigambri. Following Caesar he said that they "dwell amongst marshes and forests, not lofty, but consisting of dense and thorny wood", they are referred to in Ptolemy's 2nd century Geographia, situated "above" the Nervii, near the Meuse river.
While these authors make it clear that the Menapii still lay north of the Nervii in Roman times, it is not clear if they still bordered directly upon the former territory of the Eburones, as they had been in Caesar's time, which in imperial times was within the Civitas Tungrorum, or civitas of the Tungri. In any case as mentioned above they bordered in Roman times upon the Toxandrians, who lived in the north of the lands of the Nervii and Tungri. South of the Menapii were the Atrebates in Artois, south-west along the coast were the Morini; the boundary with the Morini in classical times appears to have been the River Aa. In the Roman empire, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites reports that "Cassel was superseded as capital of the Menapii by Tournai after Gaul was reorganized under Diocletian and Constantine the Great; the civitas Menapiorum became the civitas Turnencensium." By medieval times, when these Roman districts evolved into medieval Roman Catholic dioceses, Cassel had in fact become part of the diocese of Thérouanne, the civitas of the Morini.
The Menapii were persistent opponents of Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul, resisting until 54 BC. They were part of the Belgic confederacy defeated by Caesar in 57 BC; the following year they sided with the Veneti against Caesar. Caesar was again victorious, but the Menapii and the Morini refused to make peace and continued to fight against him, they conducted a hit-and-run campaign. Caesar responded by cutting down the forests, seizing their cattle and burning their settlements, but this was interrupted by heavy rain and the onset of winter, the Menapii and Morini withdrew further into the forests. In 55 BC the Menapii were defeated; that year, while Caesar made his first expedition to Britain, he sent two of his legates and the majority of his army to the territories of the Menapii and Morini to keep them under control. Once again, they retired to the woods, the Romans burned their crops and settlements; the Menapii joined the revolt led by Ambiorix in 54 BC. Caesar says that they, alone of all the tribes of Gaul, had never sent ambassadors to him to discuss terms of peace, had ties of hospitality with Ambiorix.
For that reason he decided to le
Marcus Antonius known in English as Mark Antony or Anthony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an oligarchy into the autocratic Roman Empire. Antony was a supporter of Julius Caesar, served as one of his generals during the conquest of Gaul and the Civil War. Antony was appointed administrator of Italy while Caesar eliminated political opponents in Greece, North Africa, Spain. After Caesar's death in 44 BC, Antony joined forces with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, another of Caesar's generals, Octavian, Caesar's great-nephew and adopted son, forming a three-man dictatorship known to historians as the Second Triumvirate; the Triumvirs defeated Caesar's murderers, the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, divided the government of the Republic between themselves. Antony was assigned Rome's eastern provinces, including the client kingdom of Egypt ruled by Cleopatra VII Philopator, was given the command in Rome's war against Parthia.
Relations among the triumvirs were strained. Civil war between Antony and Octavian was averted in 40 BC, when Antony married Octavian's sister, Octavia. Despite this marriage, Antony carried on a love affair with Cleopatra, who bore him three children, further straining Antony's relations with Octavian. Lepidus was expelled from the association in 36 BC, in 33 BC disagreements between Antony and Octavian caused a split between the remaining Triumvirs, their ongoing hostility erupted into civil war in 31 BC, as the Roman Senate, at Octavian's direction, declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. That year, Antony was defeated by Octavian's forces at the Battle of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt. With Antony dead, Octavian became the undisputed master of the Roman world. In 27 BC, Octavian was granted the title of Augustus, marking the final stage in the transformation of the Roman Republic into an empire, with himself as the first Roman emperor. A member of the plebeian Antonia gens, Antony was born in Rome on 14 January 83 BC.
His father and namesake was Marcus Antonius Creticus, son of the noted orator by the same name, murdered during the Marian Terror of the winter of 87–86 BC. His mother was a distant cousin of Julius Caesar. Antony was an infant at the time of Lucius Cornelius Sulla's march on Rome in 82 BC. According to the Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, Antony's father was incompetent and corrupt, was only given power because he was incapable of using or abusing it effectively. In 74 BC he was given military command to defeat the pirates of the Mediterranean, but he died in Crete in 71 BC without making any significant progress; the elder Antony's death left Antony and his brothers and Gaius, in the care of their mother, who married Publius Cornelius Lentulus Sura, an eminent member of the old Patrician nobility. Lentulus, despite exploiting his political success for financial gain, was in debt due to the extravagance of his lifestyle, he was a major figure in the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy and was summarily executed on the orders of the Consul Cicero in 63 BC for his involvement.
Antony's early life was characterized by a lack of proper parental guidance. According to the historian Plutarch, he spent his teenage years wandering through Rome with his brothers and friends gambling and becoming involved in scandalous love affairs. Antony's contemporary and enemy, claimed he had a homosexual relationship with Gaius Scribonius Curio. There is little reliable information on his political activity as a young man, although it is known that he was an associate of Publius Clodius Pulcher and his street gang, he may have been involved in the Lupercal cult as he was referred to as a priest of this order in life. By age twenty, Antony had amassed an enormous debt. Hoping to escape his creditors, Antony fled to Greece in 58 BC, where he studied philosophy and rhetoric at Athens. In 57 BC, Antony joined the military staff of Aulus Gabinius, the Proconsul of Syria, as chief of the cavalry; this appointment marks the beginning of his military career. As Consul the previous year, Gabinius had consented to the exile of Cicero by Antony's mentor, Publius Clodius Pulcher.
Hyrcanus II, the Roman-supported Hasmonean High Priest of Judea, fled Jerusalem to Gabinius to seek protection against his rival and son-in-law Alexander. Years earlier in 63 BC, the Roman general Pompey had captured him and his father, King Aristobulus II, during his war against the remnant of the Seleucid Empire. Pompey had deposed Aristobulus and installed Hyrcanus as Rome's client ruler over Judea. Antony achieved his first military distinctions after securing important victories at Alexandrium and Machaerus. With the rebellion defeated by 56 BC, Gabinius restored Hyrcanus to his position as High Priest in Judea; the following year, in 55 BC, Gabinius intervened in the political affairs of Ptolemaic Egypt. Pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes had been deposed in a rebellion led by his daughter Berenice IV in 58 BC, forcing him to seek asylum in Rome. During Pompey's conquests years earlier, Ptolemy had received the support of Pompey, who named him an ally of Rome. Gabinius' invasion sought to restore Ptolemy to his throne.
This was done against the orders of the Senate but with the approval of Pompey Rome's leading politician, only after the deposed king provided a 10,000 talent bribe. The Greek historian Plutarch records it was Antony who convinced Gabinius to act. After defeating the frontier forces of the Egyptian kingdom, Gabinius's army proceeded to attack the palace guards but they surrendered before a battle commenced
Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War, in which the Roman army captured the city of Jerusalem and destroyed both the city and its Temple. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command and conquered the city of Jerusalem, controlled by Judean rebel factions since 66 CE, following the Jerusalem riots of 66, when the Judean provisional government was formed in Jerusalem; the siege of the city began on 14 April 70 CE, three days before the beginning of Passover that year. The siege lasted for over four months, with the battle for the city lasting for close to another week after that; the siege ended on 30 August 70 CE, with the burning and destruction of the Second Temple, the Romans entered and sacked the Lower City. The destruction of both the First and Second Temples is still mourned annually during the Jewish fast on Tisha B'Av; the Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome.
The conquest of the city was complete on 8 September 70 CE. Despite early successes in repelling the Roman sieges, the Zealots fought amongst themselves, they lacked proper leadership, resulting in poor discipline and preparation for the battles that were to follow. At one point they destroyed the food stocks in the city, a drastic measure thought to have been undertaken in order to enlist a merciful God's intervention on behalf of the besieged Jews, or as a stratagem to make the defenders more desperate, supposing, necessary in order to repel the Roman army. Titus began his siege a few days before Passover, on 14 April, surrounding the city with three legions on the western side and a fourth on the Mount of Olives, to the east. If the reference in his Jewish War at 6:421 is to Titus' siege, though difficulties exist with its interpretation at the time, according to Josephus, Jerusalem was thronged with many people who had come to celebrate Passover; the thrust of the siege began in the west at the Third Wall, north of the Jaffa Gate.
By May, this was breached and the Second Wall was taken shortly afterwards, leaving the defenders in possession of the Temple and the upper and lower city. The Jewish defenders were split into factions: John of Gischala's group murdered another faction leader, Eleazar ben Simon, whose men were entrenched in the forecourts of the Temple; the enmities between John of Gischala and Simon bar Giora were papered over only when the Roman siege engineers began to erect ramparts. Titus had a wall built to girdle the city in order to starve out the population more effectively. After several failed attempts to breach or scale the walls of the Fortress of Antonia, the Romans launched a secret attack, overwhelming the sleeping Zealots and taking the fortress by late July. After Jewish allies killed a number of Roman soldiers, Titus sent Josephus, the Jewish historian, to negotiate with the defenders. Titus was captured during this sudden attack, but escaped. Overlooking the Temple compound, the fortress provided a perfect point from which to attack the Temple itself.
Battering rams made little progress, but the fighting itself set the walls on fire. Destroying the Temple was not among Titus' goals due in large part to the massive expansions done by Herod the Great mere decades earlier. Titus had wanted to seize it and transform it into a temple dedicated to the Roman Emperor and the Roman pantheon. However, the fire spread and was soon out of control; the Temple was captured and destroyed on 9/10 Tisha B'Av, at the end of August, the flames spread into the residential sections of the city. Josephus described the scene: As the legions charged in, neither persuasion nor threat could check their impetuosity: passion alone was in command. Crowded together around the entrances many were trampled by their friends, many fell among the still hot and smoking ruins of the colonnades and died as miserably as the defeated; as they neared the Sanctuary they pretended not to hear Caesar's commands and urged the men in front to throw in more firebrands. The partisans were no longer in a position to help.
Most of the victims were peaceful citizens and unarmed, butchered wherever they were caught. Round the Altar the heaps of corpses grew higher and higher, while down the Sanctuary steps poured a river of blood and the bodies of those killed at the top slithered to the bottom. Josephus's account absolves Titus of any culpability for the destruction of the Temple, but this may reflect his desire to procure favor with the Flavian dynasty; the Roman legions crushed the remaining Jewish resistance. Some of the remaining Jews escaped through hidden underground tunnels and sewers, while others made a final stand in the Upper City; this defense halted the Roman advance as they had to construct siege towers to assail the remaining Jews. Herod's Palace fell on 7 September, the city was under Roman control by 8 September; the Romans continued to pursue those. The account of Josephus described Titus as moderate in his approach and, after conferring with others, ordering that the 500-year-old Temple be spared.
According to Josephus, it was the Jews who first used fire in the Northwest approach to the Temple to try and stop Roman advances. Only did Roman soldiers set fire to an apartment adjacent to the Temple, a conflagration which the Jews subsequently made worse. Josephus had acted as a mediator for the Romans a
Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is a popular tourist destination. Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 332 BC by Alexander the Great, king of Macedon and leader of the Greek League of Corinth, during his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire. Alexandria became an important center of Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for 1,000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat. Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexandria was at one time the second most powerful city of the ancient Mediterranean region, after Rome.
Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, during the Ptolemaic dynasty. From the late 18th century, Alexandria became a major center of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton. Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. Although it has long been believed only a small village there, recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination show significant human activity at the location for two millennia preceding Alexandria's founding.
Alexandria was the cultural center of the ancient world for some time. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks and Syrians; the city was plundered and lost its significance. In the early Christian Church, the city was the center of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, one of the major centers of early Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the modern world, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria both lay claim to this ancient heritage. Just east of Alexandria, there was in ancient times marshland and several islands; as early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Heracleion. The latter was rediscovered under water. An Egyptian city, Rhakotis existed on the shore and gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language, it continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander never returned to his city. After Alexander's departure, his viceroy, continued the expansion.
Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy Lagides succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria, though it was lost after being separated from its burial site there. Although Cleomenes was in charge of overseeing Alexandria's continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and, for some centuries more, was second only to Rome, it became Egypt's main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds. Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world; the Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic center of learning, but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population's three largest ethnicities: Greek and Egyptian.
By the time of Augustus, the city walls encompassed an area of 5.34 km2, the total population in Roman times was around 500-600,000. According to Philo of Alexandria, in the year 38 of the Common era, disturbances erupted between Jews and Greek citizens of Alexandria during a visit paid by the Jewish king Agrippa I to Alexandria, principally over the respect paid by the Jewish nation to the Roman emperor, which escalated to open affronts and violence between the two ethnic groups and the desecration of Alexandrian synagogues; the violence was quelled after Caligula intervened and had the Roman governor, removed from the city. In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215, the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July
Year of the Four Emperors
The Year of the Four Emperors, 69 AD, was a year in the history of the Roman Empire in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho and Vespasian. The suicide of the emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69 Galba and Vitellius successively rose and fell, the latter overlapping with the July 69 accession of Vespasian, who founded the Flavian dynasty; the social and political upheavals of the period had Empire-wide repercussions, which included the outbreak of the Revolt of the Batavi. In 65, the Pisonian conspiracy failed. A number of executions followed. In late 67 or early 68, Gaius Julius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero's tax policy. "...the inhabitants of Britain and of Gaul, oppressed by the taxes, were becoming more vexed and inflamed than ever'", in the words of Roman statesman and historian Cassius Dio. Vindex intended to substitute governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, for Nero.
Vindex's revolt in Gaul was unsuccessful. The legions stationed at the border to Germania marched to meet Vindex and to confront him as a traitor. Led by Lucius Verginius Rufus, the Rhine army defeated Vindex in battle and Vindex killed himself shortly thereafter. Galba was at first declared a public enemy by the Senate. In June 68, the Praetorian Guard prefect, Nymphidius Sabinus, as part of a plot to become emperor himself, incited his men to transfer their loyalty from Nero to Galba. On June 9, 68 AD, Nero discovered he was condemned to death as a public enemy, he met death at his own hand. This marked a definitive end to the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Galba was thereafter exalted into emperorship and welcomed into the city at the head of a single legion, VII Galbiana known as VII Gemina; this turn of events did not give the German legions the reward for loyalty that they had expected, but rather accusations of having obstructed Galba's path to the throne. Their commander, was replaced by the new emperor, Aulus Vitellius was appointed governor of Germania Inferior.
The loss of political confidence in Germania's loyalty resulted in the dismissal of the Imperial Batavian Bodyguards, Germania’s rebellion. Galba did not remain popular for long. On his march to Rome, he either destroyed or imposed enormous fines on towns that did not accept him immediately. In Rome, Galba cancelled all the reforms of Nero, including benefits for many important people. Like his predecessor, Galba had a fear of conspirators and executed many senators and equites without trial; the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard were not happy either. After his safe arrival in Rome, Galba refused to pay them the rewards that the prefect Nymphidius had promised them in the new emperor's name. Moreover, at the beginning of the civil year of 69 on January 1, the legions of Germania Inferior refused to swear allegiance and obedience to Galba. On the following day, the legions acclaimed their governor Vitellius as emperor. Hearing the news of the loss of the Rhine legions, Galba panicked, he adopted Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus, as his successor.
By doing this, he offended many, above all Marcus Salvius Otho, an influential and ambitious nobleman who desired the honor for himself. Otho bribed the Praetorian Guard very unhappy with the emperor, winning them to his side; when Galba heard about the coup d'état, he went to the streets in an attempt to stabilize the situation. It proved a mistake. Shortly afterwards, the Praetorian Guard killed him in the Forum along with Lucius. Otho's legions: XIII Gemina and I Adiutrix The Senate recognized Otho as emperor that same day, they saluted the new emperor with relief. Although ambitious and greedy, Otho did not have a record for tyranny or cruelty and was expected to be a fair emperor. However, Otho's initial efforts to restore peace and stability were soon checked by the revelation that Vitellius had declared himself Imperator in Germania and had dispatched half of his army to march on Italy. Backing Vitellius were the finest legions of the empire, composed of veterans of the Germanic Wars, such as I Germanica and XXI Rapax.
These would prove to be the best arguments for his bid for power. Otho was not keen to begin another civil war and sent emissaries to propose a peace and convey his offer to marry Vitellius' daughter, it was too late to reason. After a series of minor victories, Otho suffered defeat in the Battle of Bedriacum. Rather than flee and attempt a counter-attack, Otho decided to put an end to the anarchy and committed suicide, he had been emperor for a little more than three months. Vitellius' legions: I Germanica, V Alaudae, I Italica, XV Primigenia, I Macriana liberatrix, III Augusta, XXI Rapax Otho's legions: I Adiutrix On the news of Otho's suicide, the Senate recognized Vitellius as emperor. With this recognition, Vitellius set out for Rome; the city remained skeptical when Vitellius chose the anniversary of the Battle of the Allia, a day of bad auspices according to Roman superstition, to accede to the office of Pontifex Maximus. Events seemed to prove the omens right. With the throne secured, Vitellius engaged in a series of banquets and triumphal parades that drove the imperial treasury close to bankruptcy.
Debts accrued, money-lenders
Mesopotamia (Roman province)
Mesopotamia was the name of two distinct Roman provinces, the one a short-lived creation of the Roman Emperor Trajan in 116–117 and the other established by Emperor Septimius Severus in ca. 198, which ranged between the Roman and the Sassanid empires, until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. In 113, Emperor Trajan launched a war against the Parthian Empire. In 114, he conquered Armenia, made into a province, by the end of 115, he had conquered northern Mesopotamia; this too was organized as a province in early 116. In the same year, Trajan marched into central and southern Mesopotamia and across the river Tigris to Adiabene, which he annexed into another Roman province, Assyria, but he did not stop there. In the last months of 116, he captured the great Persian city of Susa, he deposed the Parthian king Osroes I and put his own puppet ruler Parthamaspates on the Parthian throne. Never again would the Roman Empire advance so far to the east; as soon as Trajan died, his successor Hadrian relinquished his conquests east of the Euphrates river, which became again the Roman Empire's eastern boundary.
Northern Mesopotamia, including Osroene, came again under Roman control in the expedition of Lucius Verus in 161–166, but were not formally organized into provinces. This control was threatened in 195, during the civil war between Septimius Severus and the usurper Pescennius Niger, when rebellions broke out in the area, Nisibis was besieged. Severus restored order and organized Osroene as a full province. Next Severus embarked on a war against Parthia, which he concluded with the sack of the Parthian capital Ctesiphon. In emulation of Trajan, he re-established a province of Mesopotamia in 198, with Nisibis, elevated to the status of a full colonia, as its capital. Unlike Trajan's province, which encompassed the whole of Roman-occupied Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the new province was limited between the province of Osroene to the south, the Euphrates and Tigris to the north, the river Chaboras to the east. For the remainder of its existence, the new province would remain a bone of contention between the Romans and their eastern neighbors, suffering in the recurrent Roman–Persian Wars.
In the turmoil that followed the Year of the Six Emperors, in 239–243, Ardashir I, the founder of the new Sassanid Empire which replaced the moribund Parthians and overran the area, but it was recovered by Timesitheus before his death in 243. In the 250s, the Persian shah Shapur I attacked Mesopotamia, fought with the Roman emperor Valerian, whom he captured at Edessa in 260. In the next year, Shapur was defeated by Odaenathus of Palmyra and driven out of Mesopotamia. Under the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine I, it became part of the Diocese of the East, which in turn was subordinated to the praetorian prefecture of the East. Nisibis and Singara, along with the territory in Adiabene conquered by Diocletian were lost after the debacle of Julian's Persian expedition in 363, the capital was transferred to Amida, while the seat of the military commander, the dux Mesopotamiae, was located at Constantina. Other cities included Kephas. After the troubles Roman forces faced in the Anastasian War of 502–506, the East Roman emperor Anastasius I built the fortress of Dara as a counter to Nisibis and as the new base of the dux Mesopotamiae.
During the reforms of Justinian I, the province was split up: the northern districts with Martyropolis went to the new province of Armenia IV, while the remainder was divided into two civil and ecclesiastical districts, one with capital at Amida and the other with capital at Dara. The province suffered during the near-constant wars with Persia in the 6th century. In 573, the Persians took Dara, although the East Romans recovered it under the peace of 591, they lost it again to the Persians in the great war of 602–628, regained it afterwards only to lose the entire region permanently to the Muslim conquests in 633–640. History of Mesopotamia Bennett, Julian. Trajan: Optimus Princeps. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16524-5. Kazhdan, Alexander, ed.. Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6. Mommsen, Theodor; the provinces of the Roman Empire: from Caesar to Diocletian, Vol. II. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 978-1-59333-026-2. Southern, Pat; the Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine.
Routledge. ISBN 978-0-203-45159-5