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XXI

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Caligula - Inscribed Wine Barrel c. 40 A.D.

By Joe Geranio

Inscription from a wine barrel, mentioning G[aius] Cae[sar]  Aug[ustus] Ger[manicus] (from  H. Sarfatij et al., In discussion with the past, 1999). Used Under Livius Guidelines- from livius.org, with permission.


Caligula Lead Pipe photo from Caligula 's ship at Lake Nemi - see note 2 below

Legio XV Primigenia: one of the Roman legions. The surname Primigenia is one of the titles of the goddess Fortuna.

This legion was founded by the emperor Caligula in 39, who needed extra forces for his campaign in Germany


Non coinage objects with Gaius Caligula 's nomen are very rare,  I know of a lead pipe at the Nemi Museum. Photo 2. (Lead Pipe from Caligula 's Nemi Ship)  In 40, the emperor Caligula visited Fectio when he was travelling to Lugdunum. The remains of a wine barrel from his personal vinyard have been found. Some thirty years later, the fortress was destroyed during the Batavian revolt and rebuilt as base of a cavalry squadron. The river Rhine had already started to silt up, and was later to change its course. Pottery from the kilns of the Twenty-second legion Primigenia at Xanten belongs to this period. [i]livius.org under guidelines.[/i]


In my research for Julio Claudian lead pipes with dates from Tiberius to Nero I ran across this wonderful item.  It is a panel from a wine barrel with Caligulan epigraphy!!   Photo 1. Under Livius.org for photos as -    "from Livius.Org, with permission".  A little more about the region and the Tweny-second legion Primigenia at Xanten belongs to this period.  

Legio XXII Primigenia: one of the Roman legions. The surname Primigenia is one of the titles of the goddess Fortuna.
This legion (and its twin XV Primigenia) was founded by the emperor Caligula in 39, who needed extra forces for his campaigns in Germania. The numbers are perhaps a bit odd. Why fifteen and twenty-two? A possible explanation is that XV Primigenia was to support the Fourteenth legion Gemina in Germania Superior, and that XXII Primigenia was to support XXI Rapax at Xanten in Germania Inferior. Some sort of confirmation of this hypothesis is to be found in the fact that Caligula was indeed interested in Germania Inferior. He visited the Lower Rhine area in 40, where he fortified several towns (e.g., Praetorium Agrippinae, Flevum, Fectio) and visited the beach of Lugdunum with many soldiers. What happened next, is told by his biographer Suetonius:   Finally, as if resolved to make war in earnest, he drew up a line of battle on the shore of the ocean, placed his ballistas and other artillery, and, no one knowing or able to imagine what he was going to do, he all of a sudden commanded they gather sea shells and fill their helmets and pockets with them [...]. As a monument of this victory, he erected a lofty tower, from which lights were to shine at night to guide the course of ships, as from the lighthouse of Alexandria.
[Suetonius, Life of Caligula 46; 
tr. J. Gavorse]


Finally, as if resolved to make war in earnest, he drew up a line of battle on the shore of the ocean, placed his ballistas and other artillery, and, no one knowing or able to imagine what he was going to do, he all of a sudden commanded they gather sea shells and fill their helmets and pockets with them [...]. As a monument of this victory, he erected a lofty tower, from which lights were to shine at night to guide the course of ships, as from the lighthouse of Alexandria.
[Suetonius, Life of Caligula 46; 
tr. J. Gavorse]


After the emperor had returned to Rome, there was a lot of fighting in the Rhineland. The governor of Germania Inferior, Aulus Gabinius Secundus, overcame the Chauci and recovered one of the eagle standards that had remained in the hands of the enemies after the battle in the Teutoburg Forest. At the same time, Servius Sulpicius Galba (the future emperor) overcame the Chatti, who lived near Mainz. XXII Primigenia must have been involved in one of or even both campaigns, which are dated to the winter of 40/41.
However, the soldiers (almost all Italians) had already seen their first action before, in the neighborhood of Wiesbaden, in 39. According to our sources, Caligula 's campaigns on the east bank of the Rhine were not really important, but archaeological finds suggest that this is not true.

On returning from the Lower Rhine area (assuming that the new legion did indeed make the trip to the north) in 43, the Twenty-second was stationed at Mainz in Germania Superior, where it was to share the fortress with IIII Macedonica, which arrived from Hispania. As XXII Primigenia was the younger unit, it occupied the less honorable left-hand side in the fortress, whereas the Fourth was living on the right-hand side. The two legions also shared a production center for tiles and pottery at Rheinzabern in the Palatinate.  For full history of Primigenia see- http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/xxii_primigenia.html


This can not be excavated because the Rhine has changed its course and has destroyed the castle. However, sometimes, ancient objects are found in the river. The presence of a large cemetery and a sanctuary of Hludana are ascertained. The products of the legion 's nearby kilns have been found in Cologne, Dormagen, Neuss, the civil town of Xanten, Rindern, Nijmegen, and Vechten.

In 40, the emperor Caligula visited Fectio when he was travelling to Lugdunum. The remains of a wine barrel from his personal vinyard have been found. Some thirty years later, the fortress was destroyed during the Batavian revolt and rebuilt as base of a cavalry squadron. The nearby Rhine had already started to silt up, and was later to change its course. Pottery from the kilns of the Tweny-second legion Primigenia at Xanten belongs to this period.  

For more on the Batavian Revolt by  Jona Lendering  see:  http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/286/

Joe Geranio
Julio Claudian Iconographic Association


NOTES AND DESCRIPTIONS

1.  livius.org, with permission photo and descrpitions

2.  Caligula Lead Pipe photo from Caligula 's ship at Lake Nemi and notes on pipe

The Romans produced suction force pumps in all types for all sea and land necessities. One of the archeological discoveries which most contributed to on/ knowledge of Roman metallurgy was the recovery of two ships of lake Nemi... These ships contained lead pipe (in the ship plumbing system), valves, pieces of equipment including a rotating table on ball bearings and several metallic objects made from various alloys of iron, copper and bronze which vary according to their intended use. The lead pipe conforms to the dimensions and norms set in Frontinus ' text... The inscriptions on the lead pipe found on the Nemi ships have done more to date the ships than the masonry trademarks... But the precise dating of the Nemi Ships based on the name of Caligula (37 to 41 A.D.) has been established by the for fstulae found three inside the first ship and the fourth nearby with their seal G. CAESARIS AVG GERMANIC all stamped with the same die (evidenced by the imperfect impression of the C on the various pieces of pipe)... The valve found on board is according to the standards a vicenaria in perfect working condition... The rotating platform found on the Nemi ship establishes that the Romans were acquainted with and used ball-bearings. Bronze bearings fixed in place by pins were positioned around the circumference of the platform at regular intervals to permit the rotary movement scythe load.  Photo and text used with permission from (by Nacleben)





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