||The Heroic Age, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 1999
Lucius Artorius Castus (Part 1)
Notes and Bibliography
- For previous discussions of Castus, see
Ashe 1985; Jackson 1959;
Littleton and Malcor 1994;
- Malone 1924-1925: 367-374. The
derivation of "Arthur" from "Artorius" was first proposed by
Zimmer 1890: 785 ff.
- The first inscription
(Mommsen 1873:no. 1919) was
found at Epetium (modern Stobrez) near Spalato in modern Croatia,
at the villa Lucius Artorius Castus probably occupied while he was
procurator. This is likely where the Castus inscription was originally
situated. As restored the inscription reads:
Dis L . Artorius Castus . Centurioni legionis Manibus
III Gallicae . item Centurioni legionis VI Ferra
tae . item 7 leg . II Adiutricis . item 7 leg V Ma
cedonicae . item primo pilo eiusdem praeposito
classis Misenatium praefecto legionis VI
Victricis . duci leg cohortium alarum Britanici
niarum adversus Armoricanos . Procuratori Cente
nario provinciae Liburniae iure gladi . Vi
vus ipse sibi et suis st
There is a gap that runs between "Artori-" and "-stus" down through "suis" and "-st" where a piece of the inscription is missing.
The second inscription (Mommsen 1873: no. 12791), reads:
Castus P P
Leg V Mc Pr
aefectus . Leg
The translation is:
Castus, primus pilus,
V legion Macedonica,
The inscription from the chapel is a memorial plaque, not a grave stele, and does not contain
"DM". See also Klebs (1897, 1: 155, no. 975) and Dessau (1892-1916, 1:548, no. 2770; correction 3:2, no. clxxx).
- See Collingwood and Wright (1965:232), no. 688, for "uiuus sibi et suis fecit", which would
give the translation, "in his lifetime made this for himself and his family." See p. 181,
no. 544, for "H.S.E." added after the completion of the initial inscription, and p. 166, no. 500
for "H(ic) s(itu) est" in the final position on an inscription with the "est" spelled out. It
is interesting to note that Castus himself and none of his heirs, as would normally be the
case, set up the stone. Pflaum (1960:535) suggests "ex testamento" ("from his last
will/testament") for the concluding words. I have been unable to find, however, any other
examples of "Vivus ipse sibi et suis" in conjunction with "ex testamento" nor any examples of
"sibi et suis with "ex testamento" in the terminal position. The inscriptions of the late
second century were highly formulaic, and I think it is more likely that Castus's inscription
concluded with stock phrases that are attested on other sarcophagi. For another opinion that
the truncated final word is "est", see Dessau 1892-1916, 1:no. 2770.
- Malone (1924-1925:270) came to
essentially this same conclusion since the epigraphic form of the main inscription dates to the
late second century.
- Herodian is a problematic source at best. In this instance, however,
Castus's inscription confirms that Herodian did have one thing straight about 185 C.E.:
A dux did lead an invasion into Armorica against an uprising by soldiers in the area.
While it is possible that the leader of the uprising was indeed called Maternus, the subsequent
tale of the uprising's commander journeying to Rome is more likely conflation of the British
embassy to Rome (Dio 73.9.2-10, Cary 1932:89-91) and tales of
Flavius Maternianus (commander of the city troops; executed 217 C.E.; Dio 79.4.2, 79.7.5,
79.15.3, Cary 1932:347, 355, 373), with some possible influence
form Domitian's execution of Maternus, a sophist (Dio 67.12.5, Cary 1925:345).
- No other dux inscription dates to the proper time period, particularly with the officer assigned to British cavalry.
- It is possible to track the development of the clan because of the
rarity of the gens nomen (Pflaum 1960:185;
For the Artorii as members of the Equestrian Order, see
Malone (1924-1925:372). Several of the Artorii
inscriptions show members of the gens holding ranks that could only be held by
equestrians and only officers of equestrian rank or higher could enter the army directly as a
centurion the way Castus did (Parker 1971:200-201, 204).
For a good summary of the duties and privileges of the Equestrian
Order, see Nagle (1979:366-368). Briefly, the Equestrian Order
was the second tier fo the Roman aristocracy, with the Senatorial Order forming the first tier.
There were two types of equestrians: those who lived on estates and those who worked for the
state either in the military or in a civilian role. During the Empire, the Equestrian Order
grew exponentially from what it was during the Republic. Equestrians wore togas with a narrow
purple stripe. They enjoyed special seating at public events, shared many of the same exemptions
that were granted to members of the senatorial class, and could be elected to the Senate. The
equestrians were in the process of replacing senators in less glamorous civil service posts
during Castus's time, and the majority of equestrians pursued careers in the civil service or the
military equivalent of such careers since only so many could actually own the estates that were
controlled by the class.
- See the Artorii listings in the Corpus Inscriptionem Latinarum
for the family distribution. Some Artorii show up in Egypt (possibly during the time of
Marc Antony since one of the women is Artoria Cleopatra), another branch in Narbonne and
elsewhere in Septimania (e.g., Hirschfield 1888), and a third branch established itself in North
Africa, near Carthage (most likely during the reign of Septimius Severus; 193-211 C.E.). Other
Artorii appear throughout the empire, carried to their locations by their military careers and
magisterial appointments. But Campania was the Artorii "homeland."
- Most gens had three favored praenomen. Marcus, Caius/Gaius and
Lucius were the three praenomen favored by the Artorii. E.g., Marcus Artorius
(Mommsen 1918:no. 1642); Marcus Artorius Rufus
(L'Année Epigraphique [AE] 1961:no. 257);
Marcus Artorius Stephanus (AE 1993:no. 193);
Caius Artorius (AE 1889:no. 170;
Mommsen 1918:no. 683); Caius Artorius son of Caius Artorius and
Papiria Celer (AE 1937:no. 34); Caius Artorius Bassus
(Wilmanns 1881:no. 26517); Lucius Artorius son of Lucius
Artorius and Papiria Celer Munatianus (AE 1937:no. 34);
Lucius Artorius Lucus (AE 1972:no. 120);
Lucius Artorius Pius Maximus (who dates to the time of Diocletian and may be named after
Castus; AE 1939:no. 58 and 195).
- Castus--a "Lucius"--was likely behind a Marcus and a Gaius/Caius,
given the naming practices for the Artorii.
- Since texts such as Homer and Vergil were used to teach Greek and
Latin (Nagel 1979:354), Castus had a working knowledge of the
classical mythology behind the religions of his day as well.
- The units under the command of a praefectus cohortis could be
either numeri or auxilia.
- The post of tribunus militum/tribunus legionis translated
to praepositus classis when the officer was assigned to a fleet rather than to a legion.
This is what happened to Castus.
- Such a man either made friends in high places, distinguished himself in
some manner or acquired enough wealth to convince a governor to allow him to enlist.
- At that point Castus became eligible to be promoted along the
- "Lucius" is not attested as a praenomen in the branch in Southern Gaul,
although "Caius" is. Most of the Artorii praenomen in Southern Gaul are not one of the three
favored by the family (e.g., "Titus"; Hirschfield 1888:no. 5204),
which suggests that the branch was founded by fourth and fifth sons, as well as sons even further
removed from the line of succession in the Italian homeland.
- Based on the main inscription, Castus had six tours with a few
anomolies. His first three tours were as centurion of the III legion Gallica, VI legion Ferrata
and II legion Adiutrix, respectively. He then stayed in the army, rather than discharging, and
served as centurion and, later, primus pilus of the V legion Macedonica. He then re-enlisted
for a typical equestrian cursus of three tours: praefectus cohortis (This rank is missing from
his inscription), praepositus (the navy equivalent of tribune), and praefectus ala.
- It was quite common for a soldier to get stuck in the army for twenty-six years
at this period because the army only discharged every other year (Parker 1971:214). A
pending discharge might well be part of the reason why Castus's name came to Commodus's
attention when a dux was needed for the Armorican invasion. Or perhaps Castus chose to
serve longer; epigraphic evidence throughout the empire shows that officers could and did serve
longer than the standard term, most likely due to the excellent pay offered to the senior
officers (Parker 1971:224).
- Pertinax also served in Syria as his first post
(Grant 1985:103), but since he was roughly fourteen years older
than Castus, he left before Castus arrived.
- The Syrian legions used a command structure that would later be
employed with the Sarmatians at the vicus adjacent to Bremetennacum in Britain.
The vicus existed from the early days of the fort, which was built in the early Flavian period.
All forts of any size or duration had such villages attached to them
Castus identifies himself as a "prefect" during his command in Britain, but the command title for
Bremetennacum becomes "praepositus numeri et regionari" in the third century
(Collingwood and Wright 1965:194-195, no. 583 and 196-199, no. 587.)
Bremetennacum is the only command of this type in Britain (the other two officers who bore the
title regionari in Britain did not oversee numeri; Burnham and Wacher 1990:34),
an issue that has puzzled classicists and archaeologists alike over the years (Salway 1965:29;
Contemporary with the Sarmatian settlement at Bremetennacum,
garrisons from the forts in the surrounding region were sent north to Hadrian's Wall to fight to
reclaim the Antonine Wall. The Sarmatians seem to have held the entire region where the forts
were abandoned. With the arrival of the Sarmatians in Britain, the following forts, south to
north, were or had already been abandoned: Manchester, Slack, Walton-le-Dale
(supply base/industrial site), Kirkham, Ilkley, Lancaster, Burrow in Lonsdale, Bainbridge,
Hardknott, Ambleside, Kirkby Thore, Old Penrith, Kirkbride, and Risingham. By the end of the
second century, possibly after Albinus's defeat in 197, the following forts were built or
regarrisoned: Manchester, Illdey, Bainbridge, Maiden Castle, Old Carlisle, Lanchester, and
Netherby. Walton-le-Dale, Kirkham, Lancaster and Burrow in Lonsdale in Lancashire stayed
abandoned, rendering Bremetennacum as the only functioning fort in the region for the time
period. Additional forts at the perimeter of Bremetennacum's territory were also regarrisoned,
pointing to a reduced number in the garrison at Bremetennacum, most likely due to the heavy
cavalry losses on the Continent. Still, Bremetennacum was functioning well enough to control a
considerable region, which belies suggestions that the Sarmatians were entirely destroyed during
Albinus's revolt. The subsequent tombstones that identify officers of cohortis Sarmatai and
numeris Sarmatae alarum also testify against the complete destruction of the enclave.
See Bellhouse 1989; Breeze and Dobson 1991;
Bruce 1978; Farrar 1979:220-221;
Frere et al. 1987; Garlick 1985; Higham and Jones 1985:60-62; Jones 1991:98-107;
Journal of Roman Studies 28, 1938:177-178;
St. Joseph 1958:86-87;
Shotter and White 1995;
Todd 1989:fig. 4. For more on rebuilding in the Pennines following
the war between Severus and Albinus, see Salway 1991:223 ff.
There are also no marching camps or training camps in evidence for the region (Welfare and Swan 1995:4),
which suggests that the region was being patrolled by a group that did not leave Roman-style
marching or training camps.
- A century contained 80 to 100 centurions, so 58 is the maximum possible
between the first and last rank at the time period
(Parker 1971:32-33). The primus pilus was the first
centurion of the first cohort. Each cohort had six centuries, and was led by a praefect. A
legion had ten cohorts plus a unit of 120 light cavalry--for protecting the legion's flanks as
well as serving as scouts and messengers. The praefect of the first cohort was essentially the
second in command of the legion behind the legate, with the primus pilus being third in
command (Parker 1971:197). Praefectus of the Camp was a
civilian post, and the officer was second in command of non-military matters
(Parker 1971:191-193). Primus pilus was the usual rank
for an equestrian who left the army after serving as centurion
(Parker 1971:204). The primus pilus could, after
discharge, become praefectus castrorum as a penultimate post, crowning a distinguished
military career (Parker 1971:191, 204).
- Judging by the number of ranks a typical soldier held during a typical
term of service, most officers advanced in rank and/or changed legions every three to four years.
- Whether Castus fought or not, he would have learned to use the infantry
square battle tactic that the Romans employed against the Parthians and with which he was
probably already acquainted from his studies.
- Military posts ringed the city of Jerusalem to bar Jews from entering
the city (Grant 1985:86).
- Comparable losses would have been experienced by the IV Scythica and
the XVI Flavia firma. Grant (1985:89) estimates that roughly two
legions' worth of soldiers--including their officers--were lost in this campaign.
- The Eastern legions were considered inferior to the European
legions (Parker 1971:167).
- Even though it was standard procedure for centurions to jump to
different centuries in order to get promotions, the timing of this particular move makes Castus
one of the luckiest men in history. He apparently transferred out just before Lucius Verus's
troops contracted plague. The Eastern legions brought the plague back into the empire with
them, and, during the next two decades, the disease would devastate much of the empire
- Pertinax was one of the senior centurions in a Pannonian legion at this
time (Dio 71.3, Cary 1932:11;
cf. Grant 1985:103). Even if the future emperor served in one of
the Danube legions other than the II Adiutrix, centurions were only permitted to socialize with
each other (Connolly 1991: 14), so the odds of Castus having
made Pertinax's acquaintance at this time is extremely high.
- The Iazyges were living and raiding along the Danube near the Tisza
re-entrant (Grant 1971:90). They sent several embassies to
Marcus Aurelius that are recorded (Dio 71.3, Cary 1932:11;
Dio 72.11; Cary 1932:13-15), and they probably sent many more
that are not detailed in Xiphilanius's summary of Dio's history.
- Birley (1987:177) gives the possible dates for this battle as the winter
of 173-174 or the winter of 174-175. I use the former, but the later works just as well.
- The II Adiutrix was at Aquinum (Budapest), the V Macedonica at Potaissa
(Turda), and the XIII Gemina at Apulum (near Aqua Julius;
Parker:1971:157, 163, 168).
- The cavalry square dates back to Alexander the Great. The infantry
square was known by Plutarch and other writers whose works Castus would likely have studied
(Goldsworthy 1996:102, 229).
- The Roman shields were jammed into the ice, so that the boss and base of
the shield were against the ice and the top of the shield in the air at roughly a 45 degree
angle. One foot was braced against the inner curve while the second foot remained on the
- The Romans used their feet to flip anyone who landed on top of them
backward. The soldiers grappled until they were on top of the horsemen, apparently going so far
as to use their teeth to prevent the Sarmatians from escaping. For the full account of the
battle, see Dio 72.7.4-5 (Cary 1932:25).
- The Romans initially seem to be rather dim-witted, falling for such a
typical steppe tactic as the feigned retreat. But the centurion in charge may have actually
expected the maneuver and walked into it on purpose, given the reported calm of the Romans and
the skill with which they execute the unusual tactics against the Iazyges.
- Soldiers were not allowed to marry until 197
(Parker 1971:237); officers above the rank of centurion could
marry (Parker 1971:238). Since the inscription from Castus's
sarcophagus speaks of his family, we know that he eventually took a wife and had offspring.
Otherwise the inscription would have read "for himself" (cf.
Collingwood and Wright 1965:228, no. 678) or "for himself and his
wife" (if there were no children; cf. Collingwood and Wright 1965:230, no. 685.
- A few equestrians, such as Pertinax, actually entered senatorial ranks by
becoming senators, but Casus's talent lay in military rather than in political matters.
- Castus's next rank was listed on the missing central section of his
sarcophagus. Judging by the rank abbreviations and letter sizing for the extant portion of the
inscription, "prAef" ("praefectus") would fit in the missing section. It is possible that the
abbreviation for "item" could have fit in the space as well, which would have rendered
Castus a praefectus cohortis of the V Macedonica. This, however, is unlikely, given the
frequency with which officers changed legions. Castus was more likely a praefectus numeri
who was on special duty and not attached to a specific legion. For auxilia and numeri
not attached to legions, see Durant 1969:82.
- Prior to Claudius, it was possible for a primus pilus to be
promoted directly to tribuni militum, but by the end of the second century, a tour as
praefectus cohortis was required prior to the promotion (Parker 1971:189).
- The governor of Britain at the time was Q. Antistius Aduentus
(Collingwood and Wright 1965:361, no. 1083; Salway 1991:207-208).
Lanchester, where this altar and inscription were found, was abandoned soon afterward
(Journal of Roman Studies 28, 1938:177-178).
- Castus had an extensive knowledge of the Iazyges, and he probably had
their respect as well, if he indeed was the centurion who defeated them on the Danube and if he
also played a role in their defeat by Marcus Aurelius.
- If Castus had not married before, he most likely did now, and he probably sired
most of his children at this time.
- Ca. 178 Caerellius Priscus became governor of Britain
(Salway 1991: 210). He is likely the first governor that
Castus reported to as commander of Bremetennacum.
- The governor of Britain at this time was probably Ulpius Marcellus,
though there is some debate about his dates (Collingwood and Wright 1965:472, no. 1463;
- Castus took his post following Marcus Aurelius's death, no earlier than
181, given the date he becomes dux. Tigidius Perennis was notorious for posting
equestrians to high-level commands under Commodus (
Grant 1985:96; Salway 1991:212-213),
and Perennis may have been responsible for Castus's appointment as dux.
- Some soldiers were known to serve as long as thirty or forty years
(Parker 1971:213). The Roman army discharged every other year,
so twenty-five and twenty-six years were the most common numbers for terms of service
(Parker 1971:214). Auxilia served a standard twenty-five
years (Parker 1971:214), and the numeri were modeled off the
- Salway (1993:365) dates the two known
inscriptions for the rank to 222-235 for the first one and 238 or later for the second.
- For more details about the fort, see Bruce 1978:228-229.
- Also spelled Aballava and Avallava. For more details about the fort, see
Frere et al. 1987:13. For the Roman roads in Britain, see
- While it is accepted wisdom that the Iazyges did not become citizens
upon the completion of their 25 years of service (Salway 1965:29),
the number of "M. Aurelius [cognomen]" inscriptions that appear in Britain ca. 200, particularly
since some of these include the names Lucius (Collingwood and Wright 1965:174, no. 522--who
is specifically described as a "horseman" though he is depicted in Roman-style dress--and 539, no. 1715)
and Castus (Collingwood and Wright 1965:409, no. 1242),
strongly suggests that the Sarmatians did indeed become citizens. See Goodburn and Waugh (1983:1-2)
for the Aurelii inscriptions in Britain. The citizenship, however, was only extended to one wife
for each Sarmatian, and no children were included in the grant. While Hadrian had granted
citizenship to entire families (Frere, Roxan and Tomlin 1997:19-21, no. 2401.8),
starting with Antoninus Pius, the grants were limited to the soldier and one wife
(Frere, Roxan and Tomlin 1997:23-27, nos. 2401.9, 2401.10, 2401.12 and 2401.13).
Tracking of the inscriptions also shows that heirs of these M.
Aurelii, and some of the M. Aurelii themselves, served in the XX Valeria Victrix as well as in
the VI Victrix, some of which even depict the horsemen in steppe garb (See the Aurelii
inscriptions in Goodburn and Waugh 1983). Some figures who appear
to be naked (e.g., M. Arelius Vic[t]or;
Collingwood and Wright 1965:477-478, no. 1481) may have originally
been depicted with scale mail.
- In general, see Parker
(1971:242); children born castris (in camp) being granted
citizenship only if they join the army. For veterans serving four to five years in reserve after
discharge, see Parker (1971:214).
The region may have developed into a breeding center for army horses, which would explain the
unusual title eventually settled on the commander of the fort.
- The steppe tribes tended to assimilate rapidly to any culture that
they viewed as having conquered them, losing all of their devastating fighting ability
(Littleton and Malcor 1994:26). In Britain, the Iazyges
developed more along the lines of the Alans of Gaul, becoming an elite fighting force. Castus,
who knew their culture and abilities and who had unprecedented latitude in his command, given
the complete disaster Britain became during his tenure there, can likely be credited with
achieving this feat.
- Dio 73,8; Cary 193285-89;
- Pertinax was appointed by Commodus to clean up the mess in Britain.
Pertinax had risen from equestrian rank to become a senator. His military skill earned him a
consulship in 174 or 175--the approximate time that Castus probably led the Iazyges to Britain.
Pertinax resigned as governor in 187 and was probably succeeded by Albinus (Frere 1967:150).
- The uprising was, according to Herodian, led by an ex-soldier named
Maternus. The events as Herodian relates them duplicate the journey to Rome, so what we
probably have is a scramble of the two tales, with the campaign sequence preserving the actual
sequence of events and the doubled message to Britain appearing before the story that has the
- Herodian 1.9.10, Whittaker 1969, 1:60-67;
Frere 1978:190; Pflaum 1960:535-537;
Salway 1991:213, n. 1. Louis (1938:253)
presents some of the archeological evidence that such an uprising and invasion actually occurred
at this time.
The Rhine legions were conducting trials of both soldiers and
civilians by August 14, 186, so Castus's invasion had to happen either late in 185 or early in
186 (Whittaker 1969, 1:60-61, n. 2). For ca. 186,
Whittaker (1969, 1:63, n. 3) identifies the governors of
Aquitania, Belgica and Lugdunensis were Niger, Albinus and Severus, respectively, who wind up
fighting for the imperial throne in 196. If Whittaker is right on the date of Severus's
governorship, this would have put Castus functioning as a dux in Severus's province. This is
interesting in light of the likely future connection between the two men on a second campaign in
Gaul, ca. 196-197. See below.
- Dio 73.2a-10, Cary 1932:89-91;
Herodian I.9.5-8, Whittaker 1969, 1:56-57;
Frere 1967:150. Herodian mentions this event and the Armorican
uprising in conjunction (Herodian I.9- I.10,
Whittaker 1969, 1:53-67).
We know that Castus led the Roman troops against the uprising in Armorica. In spite of
protestations that the two events should not be linked (Todd 1981:162-163), there is no reason
not to link the two events--especially since the number of officers who could have pulled off
the warning are extremely limited. Grant (1994:65-66) argues that the embassy was sent to
protest the appointment of Castus, an equestrian, to a senatorial rank, but that does not make
sense if the troops who went were Sarmatians.
- The chronology here is problematic, just as the time scheme is out of
joint elsewhere in Herodian's work (Whittaker 1969, 1:xi).
Only Herodian mentions the Armorican campaign, and his work plays notoriously fast and loose with
historical dates and sequences, since he was vastly more interested in rhetoric than in history.
He puts the message about Perennis to Rome from "soldiers" before the Armorican campaign
(Herodian I.9-I.10, Whittaker 1969, 1:53-67). Pflaum
(1960:535) and others think the order should be reversed.
Castus reportedly took between 12,000 and 18,000 soldiers out of
Britain (perhaps about 15,000, with a core of roughly 5,000 Iazyges). He could hardly have done
this until late 184 or early 185, when the war in northern Britain was winding down. Castus
could have put down the Armorican uprising, then sent 1500 troops onto Rome with the warning
while returning to Britain with the rest. In this case, Castus would have received the
governorship of Liburnia from Commodus as his reward. Frere (1967:150) does not go so far to say
explicitly that Castus sent the delegation to Commodus, but he does lump the episode in the same
paragraph in which he covers Castus's career. Possibly two embassies were sent, depending on
whether or not Herodian doubled the pattern.
- Or possibly twenty-six, since the army only discharged every
- Ius gladii is the authority of inflicting death sentences
(cf. Tacitus 3.68; Grant 1956:152); this authority was held by all higher magistrates
(Barrett 1957:247; Rives 1996:n. 9).
See also Pflaum 1960, 1:537.
- Lucius Sellius Artorius, who died at age eight years and eight months,
was the son of Sellius Felix and Artoria Secundina (Mommsen 1873:no. 2520).
The inscription was found in the region of Salonae (the area that contains Spalato and which is
very close to Epetium in Podstrana). Given the proximity of this inscription to the Castus
inscriptions, Artoria Secundina (a "second" Artoria in a given family) was possibly Castus's
daughter and the boy Lucius a grandson who was named after him. Artoria Erontima (or Frontina),
whose inscription also came from Salonae, could be another daughter (Mommsen 1873:no. 9266).
Artoria, daughter of Caius Artorius and Flora, was buried in Noricum; the dating of the
inscription that mentions her, however, is still unclear (Mommsen 1873:no. 5336).
(Flora/Florantinus are common Artorii names, possibly indicating a family connection with
Florence.) Artorius Felicissimus, who lived to be sixty-one and who was buried near
Narona (His inscription was found in a building in Siljek.), could be another close relative, but
his dates are also in question (Mommsen 1873:297, no. 1846).
- Apparently something untoward was happening in the region, though no
source records what it was. Most sources are preoccupied with Perennis's fall from power,
ca. 185-186; e.g. Scarre 1995:122. The previous governor, Lucius Junius Rufinus Proculeanus,
lasted less than a year (Scarre 1995:122). Perhaps Proculeanus ran afoul of Commodus. Or
perhaps the governor fell victim to the plague. No military upheaval is reported, though it is
possible that something of that nature was responsible for the governor's death--which might
explain Castus's posting to Liburnia at roughly the same time as Dio's father became governor of
- Xiphilinus, however, would not have considered Castus important to
matters in Byzantium and would, therefore, have dropped his name from the summary of the
Since Castus was a subordinate and of equestrian rather than of
senatorial rank, he would not have socialized with the governor's family, though members of that
family could have easily overheard Castus swapping stories with his peers while he was visiting
the governor to deliver a report or perform some other business. This difference in social and
political rank would also account for Dio dropping Castus's name in the text.
- Albinus apparently thought that Severus intended to share the imperial
throne with him (Dio 74.15.2, Cary 1932:153).
- Severus would have been doubly likely to summon Castus, especially if
the two men had already joined forces when Castus successfully fought the rebellion in Gaul in
- Dio 76; Cary 1932:203-215;
Grant 1985:109. Tinurtium is modern Tournus, which is located
southwest of Châlons and north of Mâcon. Coincidentally, it was near Châlons that a contingent
of the Sarmatians cousins, the Alans, helped defeat the Huns some two-and-a-half centuries later
(Littleton and Malcor 1994:37).
- This reinforces the notion that Castus was the brains behind the defeat
of the British cavalry at Tinurtium.
- Lyon was the capitol of the province of Lugundensis
(Grant 1971:57), which probably accounts for why Albinus headed
Dio (76.6, Cary 1932:207) gives the
numbers as being 150,000 men on each side. Unless there were far more numeri in the region than
has been previously thought, this figure is impossible. Britain only had about a third of this
number in troops (Salway 1991:220), even if Albinus completely
stripped the military from the country, a massive abandonment of the frontier for which there is
no evidence. The three British legions had roughly 5,000 men and 120 horsemen each
(Grant 1985:338), for a total of 15,000 men and 360 horsemen
(Parker 1971:163). There were only 37,550 auxiliaries in Britain
under Marcus Aurelius (Frere 1978:186)--though there was the
potential to garrison 42,000 auxiliaries in addition to the regular legions (Frere 1978:185).
Severus's route would have taken him by six legions
(Grant 1985:109; Parker 1971:168),
for a total of 30,720 troops, 720 of which would have been horsemen. The total number of
auxilia in the entire empire at this point was 150,000
(Grant 1985:336), and there is no way that they were all in
Gaul. The number of numeri in the empire is unknown
(Grant 1985:339), though the only significant number in Britain
were the Sarmatians, who by 197 probably numbered around 5,000--losses being offset by sons
following fathers into the army as the vicus adjacent to the fort was established. Still, even
if both Severus and Albinus withdrew all possible troops from the border defenses, something
neither of them could have or would have done, they could not have amassed the numbers Dio
describes. Dio probably exaggerated the figures (Frere 1978:221).
Though some scholars think that the Sarmatians of Britain were
wiped out in this civil war (Frere 1978:187), the losses were probably closer to half the
contingent, judging by which forts had to be regarrisoned following these battles and which ones
were allowed to remain empty.
- Twenty-nine Senators and numerous equestrians were executed under
Severus for supporting his enemies. It is unlikely, however, that Castus met such an end, given
the esteem with which he was apparently held after his death.
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