Eine epigraphische Studie zu Migration und Mobilität römischer Soldaten am Rande des Imperium Romanum


The goal of the PhD-project is to explore the aspects of migration, mobility and life in a border region by evaluating the epigraphic material of a Roman legion, more precisely of the Mainz Legio XXII Primigenia Pia Fidelis. To appraise migration and mobility, three open questions will be asked: 1) Where did the recruits come from? 2) Where were the officers/soldiers displaced during their military service? 3) Where did the veterans settle down after their military career?

Concerning the first and the second question for example, it can be said that the recruitment areas of the legionaries have changed over time. In the 1st century, the largest number of soldiers probably came from northern Italy (Gallia Cisalpina), from cities such as Milan and Mantua. This is confirmed in the Mainz inscriptions CIL XIII, 6967 and CIL XIII, 6973. Additionally, some recruits came from Southern Gaul (Aix-en-Provence, Narbonne; Vienne; Apt), the Noricum and Spain. These trends changed in the 2nd and 3rd century as the soldiers got then mostly recruited in the closer surroundings (Gaul / Germania) and in the region of the Black Sea (Thracia). Indeed, the funerary inscription of the Treverian T. Aurelius Saturninus (AE 1978, 528) shows that individual recruits also came from the greater region around nowadays Luxembourg (Gallia Belgica). Moreover, many soldiers got relocated and used for construction works along the Limes or to support combat missions in the East of the Empire. The inscription of an officer from Dalmatia (CIL XIII, 6952) also underlines that individual soldiers served in different legions: Here, it is mentioned that this man acted as aquilifer of the Legio XXX in Xanten, later became centurio of the Legio XIIII in Carnuntum and finally died as an active centurio of the Legio XXII. The results of all three questions will be visualized using a geographic information system (GIS), in which historical data is recorded in a spatial reference, evaluated and displayed geographically on a map.

In a last step the influence of the legionaries on life along the Rhine river will be examined. It should be noted that the soldiers brought their own experiences and needs; and have thus substantially influenced life in border regions both from a cultural and economic perspective. The soldiers had to be cared for, which is why many craftsmen and traders settled in the neighborhood. The sources for the contents of this chapter are not only inscriptions but also archaeological legacies, which show that products (e.g. wine, olive oil) were imported from far away to the legionaries in Upper Germania.

Image: © GDKE_Landesmuseum Mainz (Ursula Rudischer)

Since 2019

Doctoral candidate:
Thierry Groff

Andrea Binsfeld
Christoph Schäfer

CET Members:
– Andrea Binsfeld (Université du Luxembourg)
– Martin Uhrmacher (Université du Luxembourg)
– Christoph Schäfer (Universität Trier)
– Frank Daubner (Universität Trier))

AFR Individual PhD grant (FNR)