Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

Hus

Which Legion crucified Jesus Christ?

Recommended Posts

As we understand it today, Christ was crucified in 33ad, only three years after he began his ministry. But which Roman legion actually crucified him?

 

I remember reading about Templeborough (a Roman fort near Sheffield, South Yorkshire). This Roman garrison was erected by the 4th Gaul Cohort who apparently had been stationed in the East, built that fort and lived there: two unnamed tombstones reveal this - were they very same auxilliaries that had crucified Jesus?

 

And, from 'pagan' Emperors, did they receive a retrospective reward, once they realised who Christ was?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Christ was only a small troublemaker for the romans, his cruxifiction being only a minor opperation led by local officials without orders or sanction from the central governement, especially since Rome had other issues to tackle at the time. As for later, war against the Parthian and the Jewish revolt were the only reason for the emperors to take notice of the legions of the area.

 

My scientific library is still in crates so I can't help you with the identity of the roman forces in the area at the time, which might be legionary or auxiliary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the time their were no legions stationed in Judea (the first legion, the X Fretensis, was stationed in the ruins of Jerusalem after the Great Revolt has ended in 74 AD), the Roman forces were Auxilia compose of the local non-Jewish inhabitants of the province.

 

At the time Christ was a nobody, I doubt his death would justify a special record or reward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys, but as I said, in retrospect, I wonder why the Romans didn't bother to record the slaying of such a notable Christian, and as 'pagans', celebrate it posthumously, remembering which Legion/auxilliaries they were?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys, but as I said, in retrospect, I wonder why the Romans didn't bother to record the slaying of such a notable Christian, and as 'pagans', celebrate it posthumously, remembering which Legion/auxilliaries they were?

 

Like I wrote, at the time of his death Jesus was a minor figure of no special importance and the people which executed him surely saw this as "just another day in the office" and not the one of the most important events in history. It would be quit some time until the Roman took notice of the new religion that follow Jesus and by this time whoever was responsible to his death was long forgotten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, guys, but as I said, in retrospect, I wonder why the Romans didn't bother to record the slaying of such a notable Christian, and as 'pagans', celebrate it posthumously, remembering which Legion/auxilliaries they were?

 

Notable christian? Jesus only became notable after his death, when he was eulogised by preachers of the various christian cults spreading into Rome and Asia Minor. Nor for that matter was he notable for his death. In fact, the usual rationale of his deaths significance reads as a little contrived if you aren't a believer.

 

The Romans had no problem with religion. As pagans, they saw no differentiation between their beliefs and those of the Essenes and Jesus's own cult. However, Jesus was a rabble rouser, and in Judaea of that time such a person was liable to bring themselves to the attention of the authorities for security issues, which is exactly what happened.

 

Jesus refused to acknowledge the divinity of the Emperor. I suspect the Romans were being a bit expedient here, forcing him to accept their overlordship, but since Jesus refused in effect to acknowledge Roman rule, he more or less condemned himself. As such, his death was criminally (or politically?), not religiously significant. Let's not forget that Jesus was assuming the role of the mnessiah to gather support. Contrary to some popular misconception, the judaean messiah was a man who would lead the country to victory and freedom, not the 'son of god', which is a Roman attribute given to Jesus in later centuries as christianity took hold.

Edited by caldrail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus refused to acknowledge the divinity of the Emperor. I suspect the Romans were being a bit expedient here, forcing him to accept their overlordship, but since Jesus refused in effect to acknowledge Roman rule, he more or less condemned himself. As such, his death was criminally (or politically?), not religiously significant. Let's not forget that Jesus was assuming the role of the mnessiah to gather support. Contrary to some popular misconception, the judaean messiah was a man who would lead the country to victory and freedom, not the 'son of god', which is a Roman attribute given to Jesus in later centuries as christianity took hold.

 

Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar I've read an essay by Carlos Eire that maintains it was in Roman self interest to protect a leader who told people to pay their taxes and turn the other cheek ;)

 

I cannot find the reference but I have heard that the soldiers who executed Christ were in the service of Herod (whichever one it was) and patterned on the Roman Army proper. I don't know how much creedance to give this theory. I'll try to find it, but in the meantime has anyone else heard this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Notable christian? Jesus only became notable after his death, when he was eulogised by preachers of the various christian cults spreading into Rome and Asia Minor. Nor for that matter was he notable for his death. In fact, the usual rationale of his deaths significance reads as a little contrived if you aren't a believer.

That's why I said 'in retrospect', being not a Roman or Biblical expert, I was asking it in return for an answer.

 

Thanks Cicero, I'd be interested in what you find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the time their were no legions stationed in Judea (the first legion, the X Fretensis, was stationed in the ruins of Jerusalem after the Great Revolt has ended in 74 AD), the Roman forces were Auxilia compose of the local non-Jewish inhabitants of the province.At the time Christ was a nobody, I doubt his death would justify a special record or reward.

 

I know that around this time being discussed, c. AD 33, Rome didn't have official rulership in Judaea, but I was under the impression that the high level of interest in the country, not only with a cultural fascination (for better or worse), the strong ties between the Emperor and the Herodians, but with it also being a center of trade routes with the Middle East/ Asia Minor, that Rome had more of an official military presence there other than just picked-up local auxiliaries. It seems to me that Rome had its eye too closely to not have its foot in the door- unless they were still content to rely on puppet kings to keep Judaea? Was there a stationed garrison in Syria that I'm thinking of during this time?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gospels say that when Pilate went down to Jerusalem for the Passover, he took three legions. X Fretensis, (?)Apollinarus and XV Macedonia were in Syria at the time of the Jewish revolt over a generation later and have a strong history there but I don't know if they were there for Jesus' execution. Also, the date 33 CE is a 'give or take' date at best. The most likely culprits to me would be the local cohort of Samaritan bully-boys, the Cohors Sebaste. Jesus was a minor troublemaker and it seems unlikely that Pilate would insult crack troops by asking them to carry out what was, in essence, a judicial murder. The Gospels were written to serve a religious purpose and not an historical one. Written generations after the events they describe, their authors were not above tampering with history or at least not researching alternate historical sources to find the truth. In their minds, they had The Truth already and to them, that was far more important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that around this time being discussed, c. AD 33, Rome didn't have official rulership in Judaea, but I was under the impression that the high level of interest in the country, not only with a cultural fascination (for better or worse), the strong ties between the Emperor and the Herodians, but with it also being a center of trade routes with the Middle East/ Asia Minor, that Rome had more of an official military presence there other than just picked-up local auxiliaries. It seems to me that Rome had its eye too closely to not have its foot in the door- unless they were still content to rely on puppet kings to keep Judaea? Was there a stationed garrison in Syria that I'm thinking of during this time?

 

Before 70 AD the Roman governor of Judea was of the equites order and so he lack any authority to command Legionaries, in time of need the proconsul of Syria could come with his legions to restore order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, as I mentioned before, Pilate was not likely to report a minor troublemaker. Who cares? In any case, he wouldn't want his boss thinking he couldn't handle Roman business

 

c. AD 33, Rome didn't have official rulership in Judaea

It was my understanding that Roman interest in Judaea began at least as early as 63BC and they took direct control of the province in ad 6.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gospels say that when Pilate went down to Jerusalem for the Passover, he took three legions. X Fretensis, (?)Apollinarus and XV Macedonia were in Syria at the time of the Jewish revolt over a generation later and have a strong history there but I don't know if they were there for Jesus' execution. Also, the date 33 CE is a 'give or take' date at best. The most likely culprits to me would be the local cohort of Samaritan bully-boys, the Cohors Sebaste. Jesus was a minor troublemaker and it seems unlikely that Pilate would insult crack troops by asking them to carry out what was, in essence, a judicial murder. The Gospels were written to serve a religious purpose and not an historical one. Written generations after the events they describe, their authors were not above tampering with history or at least not researching alternate historical sources to find the truth. In their minds, they had The Truth already and to them, that was far more important.

Good explanation, thanks, guys..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I wonder if the gospels quote mentioned above is another case of extemoralisation on the part of the authors or at least their translators. AFAIK it was common practice for men to be drawn from several different units to form the Governors guard c/f Vindolanda Tablet 154. If the reference is actually to the Governor's personal guard then it quite easily could have had a few men from three different legions and/ or auxilliary units but be nowhere near as large a combined unit as a legion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Written generations after the events they describe, their authors were not above tampering with history or at least not researching alternate historical sources to find the truth. In their minds, they had The Truth already and to them, that was far more important.

Mainstream thought is that the Gospels were written within the same generation as the happenings,(as in, the same generation who was with Jesus wrote them, again, by popular argument) anywhere from c. AD 50-90 depending on whose arguments you want to follow. And the author Luke, of the Gospel of the same name and the book entitled "Acts" actually wrote for history's sake specifically mentioning that he is writing to record the events for a fellow by the name of Theophilus. He might not be a Polybius or Seutonius but many of the authors we consider "historians" weren't all that concerned about the truth of what they wrote either. They had an agenda to fulfill too.

 

 

I know that around this time being discussed, c. AD 33, Rome didn't have official rulership in Judaea, but I was under the impression that the high level of interest in the country, not only with a cultural fascination (for better or worse), the strong ties between the Emperor and the Herodians, but with it also being a center of trade routes with the Middle East/ Asia Minor, that Rome had more of an official military presence there other than just picked-up local auxiliaries. It seems to me that Rome had its eye too closely to not have its foot in the door- unless they were still content to rely on puppet kings to keep Judaea? Was there a stationed garrison in Syria that I'm thinking of during this time?
Before 70 AD the Roman governor of Judea was of the equites order and so he lack any authority to command Legionaries, in time of need the proconsul of Syria could come with his legions to restore order.

Ah, thanks for the clarity. :) My memory on this is coming back now.

 

 

c. AD 33, Rome didn't have official rulership in Judaea
It was my understanding that Roman interest in Judaea began at least as early as 63BC and they took direct control of the province in ad 6.

That's what I knew too. In saying "official rulership" I was referring to having a proconsul there administrating it as a province. Sorry if I was unclear.

Edited by Fulvia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×