Into the unknown.
Nero’s Nile expedition of 62 AD was a small affair, part geographic philanthropy part Reconnaissance for conquest. Lead by two Praetorian Centurions it had travelled down the Nile through Egypt into modern Sudan, which was as war torn then as it is now, and reached the prosperous capitol of the Kingdom of Kush, Meroe. It was a time of stabilising relations between Rome and Meroe. After sporadic conflicts, it is known that trade was already beginning to flourish again between the province of Egypt and Kush. The Romans were well treated by Kandake Amanikhatashan, who had only recently ascended the throne and wished friendly relations with her powerful Roman neighbour in Egypt. This was fortuitous for Nero had sent the mission not just to find the source of the Nile but to suss out Kush for conquest. The centurions gathered supplies and information and were once more on their way into the unknown. Continue reading “Farthest South part 3.”
The Journey to Meroe.
In AD 62 Nero sent two Praetorian Centurions to Egypt to explore the Nile, and scout out the land for possible conquest. They arrived in Egypt and gathered a small, well equipped expedition, kitted out with military equipment from local Legion bases and hired civilian boats to carry them, and guides to lead the way. Thus prepared they set off on the journey to Meroe.
Continue reading “Farthest South: Part 2.”
This is the story of an attempt to find the source of the Nile. Because Emperor Nero couldn’t make do with Garum. Continue reading “Farthest South.”
Knowing my grasp of maths and arithmetic this will probably go pear shaped. But here’s some thoughts on Roman legionary supply trains from around the 1st Century AD.
There were 9 contubernium in each Century.
And that means 9 tents per century and one Centurion’s tent so 10, there’s no evidence where the Signifer or Optio slept, Goldsworthy say’s that The cramped leather (waterproof goatskin) tents used by the Contubernium’s where carried by Mule’s, which where tethered to the rear of the tent when in camp, assuming that “Marius’ Mules” carried all their personal equipment on their back’s They would probably have needed two real mule’s to carry the tent and poles for them and the centurion and heavy equipment such as axes, pickaxes, mallets, spades, turf cutters and quern stones for grinding grain, and possibly the large caltrops (tribuli), and Cowan say’s that the mule’s was taken care of by muleteer’s (military slaves called Calones). I gather then that each century would have a considerable baggage train.
So let’s have a go at breaking it down here.
1 Century has 10 tents, carried by 18 Mules based on two Mules for each contibernum in the care of either 9 or 18 muleteer’s (calones) who where probably assigned by the, prefect Castrorum.
Providing that enough animals where available, a nightmare of a job no doubt, this means that on paper one cohort of six centuries would have a baggage train of 108 Mules and a similar or double number of calones.
A legion of 10 cohort’s thought to number over 5,000 men, would have some 1,080 Mules and similar number of Calones coming after it. That is some supply train when you consider an army could consist of over three legions, plus double that number of auxiliaries. This also bearing in mind that Marius reformed the army so that each soldier carried more equipment on his back to cut down the amount of mules required, hence the soldiers were nicknamed with customary Latin wit, “Marius’ Mules”