The Danube legions of the Late Roman Empire (I Italica and V Macedonica) during the second half and middle of the fourth c. a. d.: on the ways of interaction between the frontier and expeditionary armies

Author(s):  E.A. Mekhamadiev, candidate of Sciences, no, Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia,

Issue:  Volume 46, № 4

Rubric:  Topical issues of world history

Annotation:  Since 325 A. D., when the Emperor Constantine the Great established a self-sufficient and single expeditionary army of the Roman Empire (previously, before 353, it constantly had stood in Thrace, but then it was split in some smaller military groups), military units of this army have interacted to units of frontier armies during many military campaigns. But epigraphic data fr om the Lower Danube regions (the provinces of Lower Moesia and Dacia Ripensis (River)) give a chance to trace one another way of interaction, which was an absolutely disregarded before. The author means a food supply of frontier units fr om the provinces wh ere the expeditionary troops (or imperial bodyguards) had their service. The inscriptions covered by this paper contain evidence about two important Danube frontier legions, that are I Italica (Lower Moesia) and V Macedonica (Dacia Ripensis (River)), which received a food from the Roman Near East provinces (the author means Hellespontus at the North-West of the Asia Minor and Syria Foenice and Syria Palestina just at the Persian frontier), but not from the Danube regions. As the author supposes, the reason of such a way of supply was that some military units (vexillations) detached from the staff of the Danube frontier legions served within the Near East Roman provinces, these vexillations moved at the Near East during the time of the Tetrarchy (293–324) or the sole reign of Constantine the Great (324–337). After their relocation to the Near East, vexillations of the Danube frontier legions have never returned in their home Danube provinces, in contrast, they were parts of the Near East expeditionary armies. But, as a matter of award for diminishing of their staff, the Danube frontier («maternal») legions received a food from the provinces, wh ere their «child» vexillations located and served.

Keywords:  inscriptions, the Danube frontier, an expeditionary army, the primipilarii, a food supply, Constantine the Great, the Tetrarchy, vexillations.

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DOI:  10.18413/2075-4458-2019-46-4-608-619

Reference to article:  Mekhamadiev Е.А. 2019. The danube legions of the late roman empire (I Italica and V Macedonica) during the second half and middle of the IV c. a.d.: on the ways of interaction between the frontier and expeditionary armies. Belgorod State University Scientific Bulletin. History. Political Science, 46(4): 608–619 (in Russian). DOI 10.18413/2075-4458-2019-46-4-608-619