Cornelius Fuscus

Cornelius Fuscus (died 86 AD) was a Roman general who fought campaigns under the Emperors of the Flavian dynasty. During the reign of Domitian, he served as prefect of the imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, from 81 until his death in 86 AD. Prior to this appointment, Fuscus had distinguished himself as one of Vespasian's most ardent supporters during the civil war of 69 AD, known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

In 85 AD the Dacians, led by King Decebalus, invaded the Roman Empire at Moesia, a province located south of the Danube. In response, Domitian dispatched Cornelius Fuscus to the region with five legions. Although Fuscus was initially successful in driving the invaders back across the border, the prefect suffered defeat when he was ambushed along with Legio V Alaudae during an expedition into Dacia, at the First Battle of Tapae. The entire legion was annihilated, and Fuscus killed.

Cornelius Fuscus
Died86 AD
AllegianceRoman Empire
Years of service81–86
RankPraetorian prefect
UnitPraetorian Guard--Legio V Alaudae
Commands heldPraetorian Guard (81–86)
Legio V Alaudae (86)
Battles/warsYear of the Four Emperors
Dacian Wars
Other workImperial procurator of Illyricum

Year of the Four Emperors

Reign of Galba

Little is known of the life of Cornelius Fuscus prior to his appearance in the civil war of 69. The Roman historian Tacitus informs us that he was born into an aristocratic family, but renounced a senatorial career in favour of a life of "quiet repose" as an equestrian.[1] He enters history upon the accession of Galba on June 9, 68.

About six months earlier, Gaius Julius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, had rebelled against tax policies instituted by Emperor Nero.[2] To gain support, Vindex had called upon Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to declare himself Emperor.[3] Galba was one of Rome's oldest generals, enjoying considerable prestige and widespread political support.[4] Nero's own popularity was already on the decline, but nonetheless, he managed to crush the revolt by quickly sending the governor of Germania Superior, Virginius Rufus to Gaul, who defeated Vindex in a battle near Vesontio.[5] Galba was declared a public enemy, and his legion confined to the city of Clunia.[3] The victory proved insufficient to restore Nero's damaged reputation however. Rumours quickly spread across the Empire that multiple legions were defecting to Galba's side. By June 68, the Senate had voted Galba the Emperor and declared Nero a public enemy.[6][7] Nero's fate was ultimately sealed when Nymphidius Sabinus, the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, bribed his soldiers to desert their Emperor.[8] On June 9 68, Nero committed suicide, and with him the Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an end.[7]

Despite Nero's unpopularity, many provinces were reluctant to accept Galba as his successor. Cornelius Fuscus was among those who declared their support for the new Emperor early. According to Tacitus, Fuscus was vital in acquiring the support of an unspecified Roman colony in Spain, Northern Italy, or Gaul,[9] a service for which he was rewarded with the procuratorship of Illyricum. Galba's troubles were far from over, however, and soon legions posted in Germania, as well as the Praetorian Guard in Rome, revolted. On January 15, 68, Galba was murdered and replaced by Otho, governor of Lusitania, who himself quickly perished against the armies of Vitellius, governor of Germania. Shortly thereafter, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, a general stationed in Judaea, declared war on Vitellius.[10]

War of Vespasian

Vespasian joined forces with the governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus, who was to conduct the war against Vitellius, while Vespasian himself travelled to Egypt to secure the grain supply to Rome. Not long after, the provinces of Illyricum, Pannonia and Dalmatia defected to the side of the Flavians, at the instigation of Marcus Antonius Primus and Cornelius Fuscus. According to Tacitus, Fuscus was eager for battle:

Embracing the cause of Vespasian, [Fuscus] lent the movement the stimulus of a fiery zeal. Finding his pleasure not so much in the rewards of peril as in peril itself, to assured and long acquired possession he preferred novelty, uncertainty, and risk.[11]

The defection of Antonius Primus and Fuscus was a major blow for Vitellius. Fuscus and Primus led Vespasian's Danube legions in the invasion of Italy. Fuscus led the Legio V Alaudae in the war, and was appointed commander of the fleet of Ravenna when it turned to Vespasian. Fuscus led the Alaudae in the Second Battle of Bedriacum and helped the legions on the left wing, and commanded the legion during the conquest of Rome.

Dacian wars

Nothing is recorded of Fuscus' activities in the eleven years Vespasian (69–79) and then his son Titus (79–81) were in power. He re-emerges as a prefect of the Praetorian Guard under Emperor Domitian (81–96), a post he held from at least 81 until his death in 86.

Sometime around 84 or 85 the Dacians, led by King Decebalus, crossed the Danube into the province of Moesia, wreaking considerable havoc and killing the Moesian governor Gaius Oppius Sabinus.[12] Domitian immediately launched a counteroffensive, personally travelling to the region accompanied by a large force commanded by Cornelius Fuscus. Fuscus successfully drove the Dacians back across the border in mid-85, prompting Domitian to return to Rome and celebrate an elaborate triumph.[13] The victory proved to be short-lived however, as early in 86, Fuscus embarked on an ill-fated expedition into Dacia, which resulted in the complete destruction of the fifth legion, Legio V Alaudae, near Tapae. As Fuscus's men marched into Dacia, the forces of Decebalus attacked from all sides, and Fuscus attempted to rally his men, but was unsuccessful. Fuscus was killed, and the battle standard of the Praetorian Guard lost. The Praetorian cohorts would be restored, but the 5th Alaudae was never reformed.[14]


  1. ^ Syme (1937), p. 8
  2. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.22
  3. ^ a b Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, Life of Galba 5
  4. ^ Suetonius, Life of Galba 14
  5. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.24
  6. ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History LXIII.49
  7. ^ a b Suetonius, Life of Nero 49
  8. ^ Tacitus, Histories I.5
  9. ^ Syme (1937), p. 13
  10. ^ Josephus, The Wars of the Jews IV.10.4
  11. ^ Tacitus, Histories II.86
  12. ^ Jones (1992), p. 138
  13. ^ Jones (1992), p. 139
  14. ^ Jones (1992), p. 141


  • Jones, Brian W. (1992). The Emperor Domitian. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10195-6.
  • Syme, Ronald (1937). "The Colony of Cornelius Fuscus: An Episode in the Bellum Neronis". The American Journal of Philology. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 58 (1): 7–18. doi:10.2307/290158. JSTOR 290158.

External links

Primary sources

AD 86

AD 86 (LXXXVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Petronianus (or, less frequently, year 839 Ab urbe condita). The denomination AD 86 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Aquila (Roman)

An aquila, or eagle, was a prominent symbol used in ancient Rome, especially as the standard of a Roman legion. A legionary known as an aquilifer, or eagle-bearer, carried this standard. Each legion carried one eagle.

The eagle was extremely important to the Roman military, beyond merely being a symbol of a legion. A lost standard was considered an extremely grave occurrence, and the Roman military often went to great lengths to both protect a standard and to recover it if lost; for example, see the aftermath of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where the Romans spent decades attempting to recover the lost standards of three legions.

No legionary eagles are known to have survived. However, a number of other Roman eagles, either symbolizing imperial rule or used as funeral emblems, have been discovered.


Burebista (Ancient Greek: Βυρεβίστας, Βοιρεβίστας) was a Thracian king of the Getae and Dacian tribes from 82/61 BC to 45/44 BC. He was the first king who successfully unified the tribes of the Dacian kingdom, which comprised the area located between the Danube, Tisza, and Dniester rivers and modern day Romania. In the 7th and 6th centuries BC it became home to the Thracian peoples, including the Getae and the Dacians. From the 4th century to the middle of the 2nd century BC the Dacian peoples were influenced by La Tène Celts who brought new technologies with them into Dacia. Sometime in the 2nd century BC the Dacians expelled the Celts from their lands. Dacians often warred with neighbouring tribes, but the relative isolation of the Dacian peoples in the Carpathian Mountains allowed them to survive and even to thrive. By the 1st century BC the Dacians had become the dominant tribe.

From 61 BC onwards Burebista pursued a series of conquests that expanded the Dacian kingdom. The tribes of the Boii and Taurisci were destroyed early in his campaigns, followed by the conquest of the Bastarnae and probably the Scordisci peoples. He led raids throughout Thrace, Macedonia, and Illyria. From 55 BC the Greek cities on the west coast of the Black Sea were conquered one after another. These campaigns inevitably culminated in conflict with Rome in 48 BC, at which point Burebista gave his support to Pompey. This in turn made him an enemy to Caesar, who decided to start a campaign against Dacia. This plan fell through in 44 BC when Caesar was assassinated. Burebista himself was assassinated in a plot by the Dacian aristocracy at around the same time.

After Burebista's death, the empire he had created broke up into smaller kingdoms. From the reign of Tiberius to Domitian, Dacian activity was reduced into a defensive state. The Romans abandoned plans of mounting an invasion against Dacia. In 86 AD the Dacian king, Decebalus, successfully re-united the Dacian kingdom under his control. Domitian attempted a hasty invasion against the Dacians that ended in disaster. A second invasion brought peace between Rome and Dacia for nearly a decade, until Trajan became emperor in 98 AD. Trajan also pursued two conquests of Dacia, the first, in 101–102 AD, concluded in a Roman victory. Decebalus was forced to agree to harsh terms of peace, but did not honour them, leading to a second invasion of Dacia in 106 AD that ended the independence of the Dacian kingdom.

Cornelius (name)

Cornelius is an originally Roman masculine name. Its derivation is uncertain but is suspected to be from the Latin cornu, "horn".


In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia ([ˈdaːkja]; English ) was the land inhabited by the Dacians. The Greeks referred to them as the Getae (east of Dacia) and the Romans called them Daci.

Dacia was bounded in the south approximately by the Danubius river (Danube), in Greek sources the Istros, or at its greatest extent, by the Haemus Mons. Moesia (Dobruja), a region south-east of the Danube, was a core area where the Getae lived and interacted with the Ancient Greeks. In the east it was bounded by the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) and the river Danastris (Dniester), in Greek sources the Tyras. But several Dacian settlements are recorded between the rivers Dniester and Hypanis (Southern Bug), and the Tisia (Tisza) to the west.

At times Dacia included areas between the Tisa and the Middle Danube. The Carpathian Mountains are located in the middle of Dacia. It thus corresponds to the present-day countries of Romania and Moldova, as well as smaller parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

A Dacian Kingdom of variable size existed between 82 BC until the Roman conquest in AD 106. The capital of Dacia, Sarmizegetusa, located in modern Romania, was destroyed by the Romans, but its name was added to that of the new city (Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa) built by the latter to serve as the capital of the Roman province of Dacia.

Dacii (film)

Dacii (The Dacians) is a 1967 historical drama film about the run up to Domitian's Dacian War, which was fought between the Roman empire and the Dacians in AD 87-88. The film mixes historical events with a fictional story about a Roman general who is the son of a Dacian spy.

The film was directed by Romanian director Sergiu Nicolaescu. It was released on 31 May 1967 in France. It was entered into the 5th Moscow International Film Festival. In Romania the film was immensely successful, and it remains one of the most watched films of all time in the country.


Decebalus (r. 87–106 AD) was the last king of Dacia. He is famous for fighting three wars, with varying success, against the Roman Empire under two emperors. After raiding south across the Danube, he defeated a Roman invasion in the reign of Domitian, securing a period of independence during which Decebalus consolidated his rule.

When Trajan came to power, his armies invaded Dacia to weaken its threat to the Roman border territories of Moesia. Decebalus was defeated in 102 AD. He remained in power as a client king, but continued to assert his independence, leading to a final and overwhelming Roman invasion North of the Danube in 105 AD. Trajan reduced the Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa in 106 AD to ruins, absorbing some of Dacia into the Empire. Decebalus committed suicide to avoid capture.

Domitian's Dacian War

Domitian's Dacian War was a conflict between the Roman Empire and the Dacian Kingdom, which had invaded the province of Moesia. The war occurred during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian, in the years 86–88 AD. The Roman Empire lost.

Duras (Dacian king)

Duras (ruled c.69-87), also known as Duras-Diurpaneus, was king of the Dacians between the years AD 69 and 87, during the time that Domitian ruled the Roman Empire. He was one of a series of rulers following the Great King Burebista. Duras' immediate successor was Decebalus.

Gaius Oppius Sabinus

Gaius Oppius Sabinus (died AD 85) was a Roman Senator who held at least one office in the emperor's service. He was ordinary consul in the year 84 as the colleague of emperor Domitian.Sabinus was probably the son or nephew of Lucius Oppius, suffect consul in the nundinium of October-December 43. Following his consulate, Oppius Sabinus acceded to governor of the imperial province of Moesia. He served in this position for only a few months when an army of Dacians under Diurpaneus crossed the Danube and invaded the province. Sabinus was killed in the winter of 85/86 AD fighting the invaders.Administration of the province fell upon one of the legionary legates, until the new governor, Marcus Cornelius Nigrinus, could arrive. Meanwhile the Dacians ravaged the province and burned a number of forts along the Danube. Domitian, accompanied by his praetorian prefect Cornelius Fuscus, quickly traveled to Moesia with reinforcements to drive the Dacians out of Roman territories; these were the opening moves of Domitian's Dacian War.

List of Dacian names

This article is a non-exhaustive lists of names used by the Dacian people, who were among the inhabitants of Eastern Europe before and during the Roman Empire. Many hundreds of personal names and placenames are known from ancient sources, and they throw light on the Dacian language and the extent to which it differed from Thracian.

List of Roman generals

Roman generals were often career statesmen, remembered by history for reasons other than their service in the Roman Army. This page encompasses men whom history remembers for their accomplishments commanding Roman armies on land and sea.

Lucius Tampius Flavianus

Lucius Tampius Flavianus was a Roman senator who was consul twice, as a suffect consul. While the date of his first consulship is not certain, the name of his colleague for that term, Publius Fabius Firmanus, is. His second consulship, with Marcus Pompeius Silvanus Staberius Flavianus as his colleague, was for the third nundinium of the year 76.

Military history of Romania

The military history of Romania deals with conflicts spreading over a period of about 2500 years across the territory of modern Romania, the Balkan Peninsula and Eastern Europe and the role of the Romanian military in conflicts and peacekeeping worldwide.

During antiquity, the territory of modern Romania was the scene of sporadic wars between the native Dacian tribes and various invaders (Persians, Macedonians, Celts or Romans). Ultimately, the Kingdom of Dacia was conquered by the Roman Empire in 106 and large parts of its territory became a Roman province. As the Roman Empire declined, Dacia was abandoned because of pressure from the Free Dacians and Goths.

For 1000 years, numerous migrating peoples including the Goths, Huns, Gepids, Avars, Slavs, Bulgars, Magyars, Cumans and Mongols overran the territory of modern Romania. In the 13th century, a number of small Romanian states emerged and evolved into the medieval principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania.

During the Late Middle Ages, all three provinces had to deal with the danger posed by the growing power of the Ottoman Turks. John Hunyadi, Voivode of Transylvania and regent of Hungary managed to halt the Turkish advance into Central Europe and secured a major victory at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456. Stephen the Great of Moldavia, Mircea the Elder and Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia also successfully fought off the Turks and distracted them from the strategically more important objectives in the Mediterranean and the Balkans. However, by the middle of the 16th century, the three principalities had become Ottoman vassals. Michael the Brave of Wallachia managed to unite his realm with Transylvania and Moldavia and gain independence for a short time in 1600.The early modern period was characterised by continuous warfare between the Habsburg Empire, Ottoman Empire, Poland (until the 18th century) and Russia for the control of the Danubian principalities and Transylvania. The defeat of the Ottomans at the Battle of Vienna in 1683 marked the beginning of their decline in the region.

The 19th century saw the formation of the modern Romanian state through the unification of Moldavia and Wallachia. Independence from the Ottoman Empire was secured after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 and Romania became a kingdom in 1881. The participation on the Allied (Entente) side during World War I triggered the unification of the remaining Romanian inhabited territories with the kingdom, thus forming Greater Romania.

Romania reached its zenith during the inter-war period. After World War II, it was reduced to its modern borders and fell in the Soviet sphere of influence. The revolution of 1989 ended Communism and the geopolitical mutations in the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union paved the way for European integration, economically, politically, and militarily. Today, the Romanian army participates in peacekeeping missions with its NATO allies in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere.


Moesia (; Latin: Moesia; Greek: Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern parts of the modern North Macedonia (Moesia Superior), Northern Bulgaria and Romanian Dobrudja (Moesia Inferior).

Praetorian prefect

The praetorian prefect (Latin: praefectus praetorio, Greek: ἔπαρχος/ὕπαρχος τῶν πραιτωρίων) was a high office in the Roman Empire. Originating as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, the office gradually acquired extensive legal and administrative functions, with its holders becoming the Emperor's chief aides. Under Constantine I, the office was much reduced in power and transformed into a purely civilian administrative post, while under his successors, territorially-defined praetorian prefectures emerged as the highest-level administrative division of the Empire. The prefects again functioned as the chief ministers of the state, with many laws addressed to them by name. In this role, praetorian prefects continued to be appointed by the Eastern Roman Empire (and the Ostrogothic Kingdom) until the reign of Heraclius in the 7th century AD, when wide-ranging reforms reduced its power and converted it to a mere overseer of provincial administration. The last traces of the prefecture disappeared in the Byzantine Empire by the 840s.

The term praefectus praetorio was often abbreviated in inscriptions as 'PR PR' or 'PPO'.

Timeline of Ancient Romania

This section of the timeline of Romanian history concerns events from Late Neolithic (c. 3900 BC) till Late Antiquity (c. 400 AD), who took place in or are directly related with the territory of modern Romania.

Trajan's Dacian Wars

The Dacian Wars (101–102, 105–106) were two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Emperor Trajan's rule. The conflicts were triggered by the constant Dacian threat on the Danubian province of Moesia and also by the increasing need for resources of the economy of the Empire.

Trajan turned his attention to Dacia, an area north of Macedon and Greece and east of the Danube that had been on the Roman agenda since before the days of Caesar when the Dacians defeated a Roman army at the Battle of Histria. In AD 85, the Dacians swarmed over the Danube and pillaged Moesia and initially defeated the army that Emperor Domitian sent against them. The Romans were defeated in the Battle of Tapae in 88 and a truce was established.Emperor Trajan recommenced hostilities against Dacia and, following an uncertain number of battles, defeated the Dacian king Decebalus in the Second Battle of Tapae in 101. With Trajan's troops pressing towards the Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa Regia, Decebalus once more sought terms. Decebalus rebuilt his power over the following years and attacked Roman garrisons again in 105. In response Trajan again marched into Dacia, besieging the Dacian capital in the Siege of Sarmizegetusa, and razing it. With Dacia quelled, Trajan subsequently invaded the Parthian empire to the east, his conquests expanding the Roman Empire to its greatest extent. Rome's borders in the east were indirectly governed through a system of client states for some time, leading to less direct campaigning than in the west in this period.

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