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
Legio I Adiutrix
Legio prima adiutrix, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in AD 68 by Galba when he rebelled against emperor Nero. The last record mentioning the Adiutrix is in 344, when it was stationed at Brigetio, in the Roman province of Pannonia; the emblem of the legion was a capricorn, used along with the winged horse Pegasus, on the helmets the symbol used by I Adiutrix legionaries was a dolphin. The legion originated from the I Classica, a legion levied by Nero among the marines of the Classis Misenensis, but was completed by Galba; the legion was stationed near Rome. In the confusing Year of the Four Emperors, the legion fought in Otho's army in the Battle of Bedriacum, where this emperor was defeated by Vitellius The victorious Vitellius ordered the legion transferred to Spain, but by the year 70 it was fighting in the Batavian rebellion; the city of Moguntiacum is the legion's first known base camp, shared with Legio XIV Gemina, where they attended building activities. In 83, they fought the Germanic wars against the Chatti, a German tribe living across the Rhine, under the command of Emperor Domitian.
After that they were transferred to the Danubian army stationed in the Roman province of Pannonia, to fight the Dacians. Following the murder of Domitian in 96, the Adiutrix, along with the Danubian army, played an important role in Roman politics, forcing Nerva to adopt Trajan as his successor; when Trajan became emperor, he gave the legion the cognomen Pia Fidelis to acknowledge their support. Between 101 and 106, under the new emperor's command, I Adiutrix, along with IV Flavia Felix and XIII Gemina, conquered Dacia and occupied the newly formed province. Trajan used his Pia Fidelis in the campaign against Parthia, but they were sent back to Pannonia by his successor emperor Hadrian, with base in Brigetio. During the next decades, I Adiutrix remained in the Danube frontier. Under Marcus Aurelius, I Adiutrix fought the war against Marcomanni commanded by Marcus Valerius Maximianus. Between 171 and 175, the commander was Pertinax, emperor for a brief period in 193; when Septimius Severus became emperor, I Adiutrix was among his supporters, following him in the march for Rome.
In the next decades, the main base was again Pannonia, but they played a part in several Parthian wars, namely the campaigns of 195 and 197–198 of Septimius Severus, 215–217 led by Caracalla and 244 by Gordian III. It took part in the battle of Mediolanum; the legion received Constans, sometime in the 3rd century. Gabara was a three-meter tall Arabian giant that, according to the historian Pliny the Elder, served in the Adiutrix legion under the Roman emperor Claudius. According to the story, Gabara was so admired by his fellow soldiers that some worshipped him like a god. List of Roman legions Tacitus, Histories. J. B. Campbell, art. Legio, in NP 7, klm. 7-22. L. J. F. Keppie, The Origins and Early History of the Second Augustan Legion, in L. J. F. Keppie and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000, Stuttgart, 2000, pp. 123–160. Livius.org account for I Adiutrix
Imperial Roman army
The Imperial Roman army are the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Roman Empire from about 30 BC to 476 AD. This period is sometimes split into the Dominate periods. Under Augustus, the army consisted of legions auxilia and numeri. Legions were formations numbering about 5,000 heavy infantry recruited from the ranks of Roman citizens only, transformed from earlier mixed conscript and volunteer soldiers serving an average of 10 years, to all-volunteer units of long-term professionals serving a standard 25-year term. Auxilia were organised into regiments of about 500 strong under Augustus, a tenth the size of legions, recruited from the peregrini or non-citizen inhabitants of the empire who constituted 90 percent of the Empire's population in the 1st century AD; the auxilia provided all the army's cavalry, light infantry and other specialists, in addition to heavy infantry equipped in a similar manner to legionaries. Numeri were allied native units from outside the Empire who fought alongside the regular forces on a mercenary basis.
These were equipped in traditional fashion. Numbers fluctuated according to circumstances and are unknown; as all-citizen formations, symbolic protectors of the dominance of the Italian "master-nation", legions enjoyed greater social prestige than the auxilia for much of the Principate. This was reflected in benefits. In addition, legionaries were equipped with more expensive and protective armour than auxiliaries, notably the lorica segmentata, or laminated-strip armour. However, in 212, the Emperor Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to nearly all the Empire's freeborn inhabitants. At this point, the distinction between legions and auxilia became moot, the latter becoming all-citizen units also; the change was reflected in the disappearance, during the 3rd century, of legionaries' special equipment, the progressive break-up of legions into cohort-sized units like the auxilia. By the end of Augustus' reign, the imperial army numbered some 250,000 men split between 25 legions and 250 units of auxiliaries.
The numbers grew to a peak of about 450,000 in 33 legions and about 400 auxiliary units. By auxiliaries outnumbered legionaries substantially. From this peak, numbers underwent a steep decline by 270 due to plague and losses during multiple major barbarian invasions. Numbers were restored to their early 2nd-century level of c. 400,000 under Diocletian. After the Empire's borders became settled by AD 68 all military units were stationed on or near the borders, in 17 of the 42 provinces of the empire in the reign of Hadrian; the military chain of command was flat. In each province, the deployed legions' legati reported to the legatus Augusti pro praetore, who headed the civil administration; the governor in turn reported directly to the Emperor in Rome. There was no general staff in Rome, but the leading praefectus praetorio acted as the Emperor's de facto military chief-of-staff. Compared to the subsistence-level peasant families from which they originated, legionary rankers enjoyed considerable disposable income, enhanced by periodical cash bonuses on special occasions such as the accession of a new emperor.
In addition, on completion of their term of service, they were given a generous discharge bonus equivalent to 13 years' salary. Auxiliaries were paid much less in the early 1st century, but by 100 AD, the differential had disappeared. In the earlier period, auxiliaries appear not to have received cash and discharge bonuses, but did so from the reign of Hadrian onwards. Junior officers, the equivalent of non-commissioned officers in modern armies, could expect to earn up to twice basic pay. Legionary centurions, the equivalent of senior warrant officers, were organised in an elaborate hierarchy. Promoted from the ranks, they commanded the legion's tactical sub-units of centuriae and cohorts, they were paid several multiples of basic pay. The most senior centurion, the primus pilus, was automatically elevated to equestrian rank on completion of his single-year term of office; the senior officers of the army, the legati legionis, tribuni militum and the praefecti were all of at least equestrian rank.
In the 1st and early 2nd centuries, they were Italian aristocrats performing the military component of their cursus honorum. Provincial career officers became predominant. Senior officers were paid multiples of at least 50 times a soldier's basic pay. Soldiers spent only a fraction of their lives on campaign. Most of their time was spent on routine military duties such as training and maintenance of equipment. Soldiers played an important role outside the military sphere, they performed the function of a provincial governor's police force. As a large and skilled force of fit men, they played a crucial role in the construction of a province's military and civil infrastructure. In addition to constructing forts and fortified defences such as Hadrian's Wall, they built roads, ports, public buildings and entire new cities, cleared forests and drained marshes to expand a province's available arable land
Otho was Roman emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the Four Emperors. A member of a noble Etruscan family, Otho was a friend and courtier of the young emperor Nero until he was banished to the governorship of the remote province of Lusitania in 58 following his wife Poppaea Sabina's affair with Nero. After a period of moderate rule in the province, he allied himself with Galba, the governor of neighbouring Hispania Tarraconensis, during the revolts of 68, he accompanied Galba on his march to Rome, but revolted and murdered Galba at the start of the next year. Inheriting the problem of the rebellion of Vitellius, commander of the army in Germania Inferior, Otho led a sizeable force which met Vitellius' army at the Battle of Bedriacum. After initial fighting resulted in 40,000 casualties, a retreat of his forces, Otho committed suicide rather than fight on and Vitellius was proclaimed emperor. Otho was born on 28 April 32, his grandfather had been a senator, Claudius granted Otho's father patrician status.
Greenhalgh writes that "he was addicted to luxury and pleasure to a degree remarkable in a Roman". An aged freedwoman brought him into the company of the emperor Nero. Otho married the emperor's mistress Poppaea Sabina, he exiled Otho to the province Lusitania in 58 or 59 by appointing him to be its governor, an office in which he proved to be capable. Yet, he never forgave Nero for marrying Poppaea, he allied himself with Galba, governor of neighboring Hispania Tarraconensis, in the latter's rebellion against Nero in 68. Nero committed suicide that year and Galba was proclaimed emperor by the Senate. Otho accompanied the new emperor to Rome in October 68. Before they entered the city, Galba's army fought against a legion. On 1 January 69, the day Galba took the office of consul alongside Titus Vinius, the fourth and twenty-second legions of Upper Germany refused to swear loyalty to the emperor, they demanded that a new emperor be chosen. On the following day, the soldiers of Lower Germany refused to swear their loyalty and proclaimed the governor of the province, Aulus Vitellius, as emperor.
Galba tried to ensure his authority as emperor was recognized by adopting the nobleman Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus as his successor, an action that gained resentment from Otho. Galba was killed by the Praetorians on 15 January, followed shortly by Piso, their heads were placed on poles and Otho was proclaimed emperor. He accepted, or appeared to accept, the cognomen of Nero conferred upon him by the shouts of the populace, whom his comparative youth and the effeminacy of his appearance reminded of their lost favourite. Nero's statues were again set up, his freedmen and household officers reinstalled, the intended completion of the Golden House announced. At the same time the fears of the more sober and respectable citizens were allayed by Otho's liberal professions of his intention to govern equitably, by his judicious clemency towards Aulus Marius Celsus, consul-designate, a devoted adherent of Galba. Otho soon realized that it was much easier to overthrow an emperor than rule as one: according to Suetonius Otho once remarked that "Playing the Long Pipes is hardly my trade".
Any further development of Otho's policy was checked once Otho had read through Galba's private correspondence and realized the extent of the revolution in Germany, where several legions had declared for Vitellius, the commander of the legions on the lower Rhine River, were advancing upon Italy. After a vain attempt to conciliate Vitellius by the offer of a share in the Empire, with unexpected vigor, prepared for war. From the much more remote provinces, which had acquiesced in his accession, little help was to be expected, but the legions of Dalmatia and Moesia were eager in his cause, the Praetorian cohorts were in themselves a formidable force and an efficient fleet gave him the mastery of the Italian seas; the fleet was at once dispatched to secure Liguria, on 14 March Otho, undismayed by omens and prophecies, started northwards at the head of his troops in the hopes of preventing the entry of Vitellius' troops into Italy. But for this he was too late, all that could be done was to throw troops into Placentia and hold the line of the Po.
Otho's advanced guard defended Placentia against Aulus Caecina Alienus, compelled that general to fall back on Cremona, but the arrival of Fabius Valens altered the aspect of affairs. Vitellius' commanders now resolved to bring on a decisive battle, the Battle of Bedriacum, their designs were assisted by the divided and irresolute counsels which prevailed in Otho's camp; the more experienced officers urged the importance of avoiding a battle until at least the legions from Dalmatia had arrived. However, the rashness of the emperor's brother Titianus and of Proculus, prefect of the Praetorian Guards, added to Otho's feverish impatience, overruled all opposition, an immediate advance was decided upon. Otho remained behind with a considerable reserve force at Brixellum on the southern bank of the Po; when this decision was taken, Otho's army had crossed the Po and were encamped at Bedriacum, a small village on the Via Postumia, on the route by which the legions from Dalmatia would arrive. Leaving a strong detachment to hold the camp at Bedriacum, the Othonian forces advanced along the Via Postumia in t
A Roman legion was a large unit of the Roman army. In the early Roman Kingdom "legion" may have meant the entire Roman army but sources on this period are few and unreliable; the subsequent organization of legions varied over time but legions were composed of around five thousand soldiers. During much of the republican era, a legion was divided into three lines of ten maniples. In the late republic and much of the imperial period, a legion was divided into ten cohorts, each of six centuries. Legions included a small ala, or cavalry, unit. By the third century AD, the legion was a much smaller unit of about 1,000 to 1,500 men, there were more of them. In the fourth century AD, East Roman border guard legions may have become smaller. In terms of organisation and function, the republican era legion may have been influenced by the ancient Greek and Macedonian phalanx. For most of the Roman Imperial period, the legions formed the Roman army's elite heavy infantry, recruited from Roman citizens, while the remainder of the army consisted of auxiliaries, who provided additional infantry and the vast majority of the Roman army's cavalry.
The Roman army, for most of the Imperial period, consisted of auxiliaries rather than legions. Many of the legions founded before 40 BC were still active until at least the fifth century, notably Legio V Macedonica, founded by Augustus in 43 BC and was in Egypt in the seventh century during the Islamic conquest of Egypt; because legions were not permanent units until the Marian reforms, were instead created and disbanded again, several hundred legions were named and numbered throughout Roman history. To date, about 50 have been identified; the republican legions were composed of levied men that paid for their own equipment and thus the structure of the Roman army at this time reflected the society, at any time there would be four consular legions and in time of war extra legions could be levied. Toward the end of the 2nd century BC, Rome started to experience manpower shortages brought about by property and financial qualifications to join the army; this prompted consul Gaius Marius to remove property qualifications and decree that all citizens, regardless of their wealth or social class, were made eligible for service in the Roman army with equipment and rewards for fulfilling years of service provided by the state.
The Roman army became a volunteer and standing army which extended service beyond Roman citizens but to non-citizens that could sign on as auxillia and were rewarded Roman citizenship upon completion of service and all the rights and privileges that entailed. In the time of Augustus, there were nearly 50 upon his succession but this was reduced to about 25–35 permanent standing legions and this remained the figure for most of the empire's history; the legion evolved from 3,000 men in the Roman Republic to over 5,200 men in the Roman Empire, consisting of centuries as the basic units. Until the middle of the first century, ten cohorts made up a Roman legion; this was changed to nine cohorts of standard size with the first cohort being of double strength. By the fourth century AD, the legion was a much smaller unit of about 1,000 to 1,500 men, there were more of them; this had come about as the large formation legion and auxiliary unit, 10,000 men, was broken down into smaller units - temporary detachments - to cover more territory.
In the fourth century AD, East Roman border guard legions may have become smaller. In terms of organisation and function, the Republican era legion may have been influenced by the ancient Greek and Macedonian phalanx. A legion consisted of several cohorts of heavy infantry known as legionaries, it was always accompanied by one or more attached units of auxiliaries, who were not Roman citizens and provided cavalry, ranged troops and skirmishers to complement the legion's heavy infantry. The recruitment of non-citizens appears to have occurred in times of great need. A Legion consisted of a Contubernium, consisted of 8 Legionaries; these Legionaries Were accompanied by 2 slaves. The Legionaries would select a man amongst their ranks to become a Decanus this was more of an election than a decision by one person; the size of a typical legion varied throughout the history of ancient Rome, with complements of 4,200 legionaries and 300 equites in the republican period of Rome, to 5,200 men plus 120 auxiliaries in the imperial period.
In the period before the raising of the legio and the early years of the Roman Kingdom and the Republic, forces are described as being organized into centuries of one hundred men. These centuries were grouped together as required and answered to the leader who had hired or raised them; such independent organization persisted until the 2nd century BC amongst light infantry and cavalry, but was discarded in periods with the supporting role taken instead by allied troops. The roles of century leader, secon
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle
The Cantabrian Wars, sometimes referred to as the Cantabrian and Asturian Wars, were the final stage of the two-century long Roman conquest of Hispania, in what today are the provinces of Cantabria, Asturias and León, in northwestern Spain. Under the reign of Augustus, Rome waged a bloody conflict against the last independent Celtic nations of Hispania: the Cantabri and the Astures; these warlike peoples presented fierce resistance to Roman domination: ten years of war and eight legions with their auxiliary troops—more than 50,000 soldiers in total—were needed to subdue the region. The Emperor himself moved to Segisama; the major fighting was completed in 19 BC, although there were minor rebellions until 16 BC and the Romans had to station two legions there for seventy more years. Sub occasu pacata erat fere omnis Hispania, nisi quam Pyrenaei desinentis scopulis inhaerentem citerior adluebat Oceanus. Hic duae validissimae gentes, Cantabri et Astures, inmunes imperii agitabant; the Cantabri first appear in history in earlier wars in Iberia, where they served as mercenaries on various sides.
In this way, in the years preceding the wars in Cantabria and Asturias, the Roman military became familiar with the warlike characteristics of the peoples of northern Hispania. There are accounts, for instance, of Cantabrians in the army of Hannibal during the Second Punic War. Additionally, there is evidence that they fought alongside the Vaccaei in 151 BC, helped break the Roman siege of Numantia, it is believed that there were Cantabrian troops present in the Sertorian Wars. According to Julius Caesar's testimony, there were Cantabrians at the battle of Ilerda in 49 BC. With all these antecedents, the Cantabrians began to be known throughout the Roman Empire. Roman troops lost one of their standards to them, something inexplicable and humiliating in those days; such were the disasters and the embarrassments that, although the Roman historians justified the campaigns as retribution for Cantabrian incursions in the Roman-controlled Meseta Central, there must have been a certain lust after Asturian gold and Cantabrian iron as well.
In 26 BC, the Emperor himself, Caesar Augustus, went to Hispania, establishing his base in Segisama. The Astures entered the historical record in the late 3rd century BC, being listed among the Iberian mercenaries of Hasdrubal Barca’s army at the battle of Metaurus River in 207 BC. After the 2nd Punic War, their history is less clear. Mentioned in the sources regarding the Lusitanian, Celtiberian or Roman Civil Wars of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, they re-emerged from a relative obscurity just prior to the outbreak of the first Astur-Cantabrian war in the late 1st century BC. According to the Roman historian Dio Cassius, the tactics of the Cantabri were of guerrilla warfare, avoiding direct attacks on the Roman forces because of their inferior numbers, their better knowledge of the difficult and mountainous terrain allowed them to conduct quick surprise strikes with ranged weapons, with ambushes followed by quick retreats, causing great damage to the Roman columns and supply lines. According to what remains from representations on coins and Cantabrian stelae, the Cantabri were skilled in light arms.
Lucan referred to this when he wrote, Cantaber exiguis et longis Teutonus armis. They went equipped with small swords, small spears or javelins, round or oval shields of wood, leather chest protection, they used the bipennis, a type of double-headed axe peculiar to the peoples of Northern Hispania. There is no proof of their use of archery or slings, although it is quite probable that they knew and used them; the Cantabrian were able at the time to ride horses, as reflected in the fact that some of their cavalry tactics would be adopted by the Roman army. Examples include the'circulus cantabricus', a semicircular formation, the'cantabricus impetus', a massive frontal attack against enemy lines with the goal of breaching them, as described by Flavius Arrianus; the quality of the Cantabrian enemy was such that Augustus was obliged to deploy eight legions in the conflict: Legio I Augusta II Augusta IIII Macedonica V Alaudae VI Victrix IX Hispana X Gemina XX Valeria Victrixto which he added various auxiliary troops: Ala II Gallorum, Cohors II Gallorum, Ala II Thracum Victrix Civium Romanorum, Cohors IV Thracum Aequitata, Ala Parthorum Ala AugustaThese legions with their auxiliaries added up to around 50.000 soldiers.
The Roman navy was sent to the Cantabrian coast from Gallia Aquitania. It was an important factor in the conflict's resolution, since it completed the encirclement of the Cantabri begun by the ground forces, it is calculated that, in total, the Roman Army deployed 70,000 men, although these calculations vary amongst authors, because they used a 5,000 men per legion base. In reality, the figure should surpass 80,000 men counting auxiliaries since, through the reforms of Gaius Marius, the legion had about 6,000 soldiers. However, in Augustus' time, although a legion was composed of 6,200 men, for various reasons, the number oscillated between 5,000 and 8,000; the Astures joined the Cantabri in a common defense. In spring 25 BC, there were three Roman legions established near t