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Archaeology & History

What happened to the Roman Ninth Legion ?

By T.K. Randall
March 17, 2011 · Comment icon 15 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
Mystery surrounds the unexplained disappearance of 5000 Roman soldiers 2000 years ago.
The tale of the Ninth Legion has now become the subject of a big screen movie, but what exactly happened to them continues to puzzle historians. While some believe the disappearance happened in Scotland ( and could have even prompted the construction of Hadrian's Wall ) others are under the impression that the legion disappeared in a different country altogether.
The disappearance of Rome's Ninth Legion has long baffled historians, but could a brutal ambush have been the event that forged the England-Scotland border, asks archaeologist Dr Miles Russell, of Bournemouth University.


Source: BBC News | Comments (15)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Rhincewind 12 years ago
I thought the eagle of the ninth was just a story
Comment icon #7 Posted by southron_98 12 years ago
I thought the Ninth was in Teutoburg Forest, under P. Quinctilius Varus
Comment icon #8 Posted by Ashtarel 12 years ago
I thought the Ninth was in Teutoburg Forest, under P. Quinctilius Varus Ralph Graves' "The Lost Eagles" is probably not related, but it's the ancient Rome novel I always think of. I read it several times in mid-adolescence, including once out loud to my younger sister. I only reply because it sang so sweetly in my head full of memories, your mention of Quintilius Varus. I'm probably way off. Great book about tribune son Severus Varus, true tale or not. So sad, too. As an adult, I don't think I could take the sad parts anymore. "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!" So, older Varus must b... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by marcos anthony toledo 12 years ago
Astarel I think I know the book you mention I didn't read it but I know it was about the Teutoberg forrest and that battle took place in nine AD. The movie The Eagle is base on Mary Suttecliff Eagle of the Ninth book.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ashtarel 12 years ago
Astarel I think I know the book you mention I didn't read it but I know it was about the Teutoberg forrest and that battle took place in nine AD. The movie The Eagle is base on Mary Suttecliff Eagle of the Ninth book. Hey, thanks. Interesting it was written by a woman. I'm going to see about reading it before the movie gets to DVD. (On Severus Varus, that's NEPHEW, not son--before somebody reads what I wrote and spanks me.)
Comment icon #11 Posted by High Gravity 12 years ago
Marcos Anthony Toledo, you are correct! 17th, 18th and 19th Legions was annihilated in 9AD, was founded in 41BC. It was said that Augustus would wander the palace grounds crying out loud, "Quintilius Varus give me back my Legions!" It is also said that there were survivors of the massacre, though not many. I would imagine that they were incorporated into other Legions. Perhaps that could be what happened to the 9th, if indeed the were annihilated in Scotland?
Comment icon #12 Posted by jaguarsky 12 years ago
I always figured as thier time in Briton wore on and more and more of the 9th were killed in skirmish after skirmish , destabilizing the unit, it just sort of eventually dissolved, with survivors wandering away, maybe trying to get back to thier own people or simply going "native" and assimilating into the local society. That is not a scenario that would look good in the histories and would explain why we know nothing of thier ultimate fate. Just as the Spanish Armada left behind thier legacy in some darker skinned, dark eyed people in Wales, might not the Ninth have also left thier genetic fo... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by Oen Anderson 12 years ago
I think the 9th made good fertilizer, but maybe that's just my rye sense of humor!
Comment icon #14 Posted by Undercoversceptic 12 years ago
They survived and Took over a small tribe. In a quest to unite Germania, they started mining iron and coal to make steel walls and weapons. It then became the nation of Gothia.Or maybe thats my imagination.
Comment icon #15 Posted by retro brit 11 years ago
I once read that the Roman Ninth Legion was probably disbanded because some high ranking officers, known to be in the Hispania Ninth Legion, later get mentioned in other Legions in Germany and the Balkans. http://thelastdaysofthunderchild.blogspot.com/#en http://thelastdaysofthunderchild.blogspot.com/2011/04/boadicea-boudicca-british-warrior-queen.html#en


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