Revolt of the Batavi

The Revolt of the Batavi took place in the Roman province of Germania Inferior between AD 69 and 70. It was an uprising against the Roman Empire started by the Batavi, a small but militarily powerful Germanic tribe that inhabited Batavia, on the delta of the river Rhine. They were soon joined by the Celtic tribes from Gallia Belgica and some Germanic tribes.

Under the leadership of their hereditary prince Gaius Julius Civilis, an auxiliary officer in the Imperial Roman army, the Batavi and their allies managed to inflict a series of humiliating defeats on the Roman army, including the destruction of two legions. After these initial successes, a massive Roman army led by the Roman general Quintus Petillius Cerialis eventually defeated the rebels. Following peace talks, the Batavi submitted again to Roman rule, but were forced to accept humiliating terms and a legion stationed permanently on their territory, at Noviomagus (modern day Nijmegen, The Netherlands).

Revolt of the Batavi
Part of the Year of the Four Emperors

The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis,
completed by Rembrandt in 1661
Result Roman strategic victory; subjugation of the Batavi
Roman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Gaius Julius Civilis
Julius Tutor
Julius Classicus
Marcus Hordeonius Flaccus
Claudius Labeo
Munius Lupercus
Quintus Petillius Cerialis

Depending on definition of loyalty:

  • One Batavi ala and eight cohorts; 5,000+ Batavi (mostly cavalry)
  • Two defecting Roman legions; 10,000
  • Varying support from other tribes; likely thousands
Total: 5,000–20,000

Four Roman legions and attempted reinforcements; 10,000–15,000+

Eight Roman legions; 40,000

Total: 60,000–65,000
Casualties and losses
Relatively light; Batavi army survives to later serve Romans again 10,000–20,000+


The Batavi were a sub-tribe of the Germanic Chatti tribal group who had migrated to the region between the Old Rhine and Waal rivers (still today called the Betuwe after them) in what became the Roman province of Germania Inferior (S Netherlands/Nordrhein). Their land, though potentially fertile alluvial deposits, was largely uncultivable, consisting mainly of Rhine delta swamps. Thus the Batavi population it could support was tiny: not more than 35,000 at this time.[1]

They were a warlike people, skilled horsemen, boatmen and swimmers. They were therefore excellent soldier-material. In return for the unusual privilege of exemption from tributum (direct taxes on land and heads that most peregrini were subject to), they supplied a disproportionate number of recruits to the Julio-Claudian auxilia: one ala and 8 cohortes. They also provided most of the emperor Augustus' elite regiment of Germanic bodyguards (Germani corpore custodes), which continued in existence until AD 68.[2] The Batavi auxilia amounted to about 5,000 men, implying that for the entire Julio-Claudian period, over 50% of all Batavi males reaching military age (16 years) may have enlisted in the auxilia. Thus the Batavi, although just about 0.05% of the total population of the empire in AD 23, supplied about 4% of the total auxilia i.e. 80 times their proportionate share. They were regarded by the Romans as the best and bravest (fortissimi, validissimi) of their auxiliary, and indeed of all their forces.[3] In Roman service, they had perfected a unique technique for swimming across rivers wearing full armour and weapons.[4]

Gaius Julius Civilis (an adopted Latin name, not his native one) was a hereditary prince of the Batavi and the prefect (commanding officer) of a Batavi cohort. A veteran of 25 years' distinguished service in the Roman army, he and the 8 Batavi cohorts had played an important role in the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43 and the subsequent subjugation of that country (43-66).[5]

C Aquilus Proculus
Silver-plated medal, denoting the property of C. Aquilius Proculus, the primus pilus who organized the retreat of Roman troops from the Rhineland and was betrayed by his local auxiliaries. (Tac. Historiae IV-18). The medal was found on the Kops Plateau in Nijmegen.[6]

By 69, however, Civilis, the Batavi regiments and the Batavi people had become utterly disaffected from Rome. After the Batavi regiments were withdrawn from Britain in 66, Civilis and his brother (also a prefect) were arrested by the governor of Germania Inferior on false accusations of treason. The governor ordered the brother's execution, and sent Civilis to Rome in chains for judgement by the Roman emperor Nero. (The difference in treatment indicates that the brother was still a peregrinus i.e. a non-citizen subject of the empire, while Civilis, as his name implies, had been accorded Roman citizenship, which entitled him to have his case heard by the emperor in person). While Civilis was in prison awaiting trial, Nero was overthrown in AD 68 by an army led into Italy by the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, the veteran general Servius Sulpicius Galba. Nero committed suicide, ending the rule of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, founded a century earlier by Augustus. Galba was proclaimed emperor. He acquitted Civilis of the treason charge and allowed him to return home.

Funerary Stela Corporis Custodes
Funerary stela of a Batavian member of the Corporis Custodes of Nero.

Back in Germania Inferior, however, it seems that Civilis was arrested again, this time on the order of the new governor Aulus Vitellius, acting at the urging of the legions under his command, which demanded Civilis' execution.[7] Meanwhile, Galba disbanded the German Bodyguards Regiment, which he distrusted due to the loyalty they had given to Nero in the latter's final days. This alienated several hundred crack Batavi troops, and indeed the whole Batavi nation, who considered it a grave insult.[8] At the same time, relations collapsed between the 8 Batavi cohorts and their parent-legion XIV Gemina, to which they had been attached since the invasion of Britain 25 years earlier. The seething hatred between the Roman legionaries and their German auxiliaries erupted in serious fighting on at least two occasions.[9]

At this juncture, the Roman empire was convulsed by its first major civil war for a century, the Year of the Four Emperors. The cause was the fall of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The descendants of Augustus had enjoyed the automatic and fervent loyalty of ordinary legionaries in the frontier armies. But Galba possessed no such legitimacy in their eyes. Supreme power was now open to whichever general was strong enough to seize it (and keep it). First, in AD 69, Galba's deputy, Otho, carried out a coup d'état in Rome against his leader, who was killed by the Praetorian Guard.

Then Vitellius launched his own bid for power, and prepared to lead the Rhine legions into Italy against Otho. Now in urgent need of the Batavi's military support, Vitellius released Civilis. In return, the Batavi regiments helped Vitellius defeat Otho's forces at the Battle of Bedriacum. The Batavi troops were then ordered to return home. But at this point arrived news of the mutiny of general Titus Flavius Vespasianus, commander of forces in Syria, whose own massive army of 5 legions was soon joined by the legions on the Danube. Vitellius' governor in Germania Inferior, desperate to raise more troops, lost the goodwill of the Batavi by attempting to conscript more Batavi than the maximum stipulated in their treaty. The brutality and corruption of the Roman recruiting-centurions, who were also responsible for many cases of sexual assault on Batavi boys, brought already deep discontent in the Batavi homeland to the boil.[10]


Germania 70
Rhine frontier of the Roman empire, 70 AD, showing the location of the Batavi in the Rhine delta region. Roman territory shaded dark
Reconstruction of a Roman fluvial boat of the classis germanica (Rhine flotilla). It is based on the remarkable discovery of the remains of five Roman boats at Mainz in the early 1980s. The boat above, denoted Mainz Type A, was designed as a rapid intervention launch, with long, narrow shape and shallow keel. It would be rowed by the troops themselves (32 oars, 16 on each side). Note the mounted shields to protect the oarsmen from missiles shot from the riverbanks. At the time of Civilis' revolt (69 AD), most such boats were manned by Batavi crews. 4th century. Museum für Antike Schifffahrt, Mainz, Germany

In the summer of 69, Civilis was commander of the Batavian auxiliary troops allocated in the Rhine legions. He was aware of Roman military tactics which gave him ideas on how to defeat them. The first action was to set up a decoy and Civilis induced a rebellion outside of Batavia.

The tribe of the Cananefates was living in lands between the Batavians and the North Sea. The inducements used by Civilis to instigate rebellion are not known, but the Cananefates, led by their chief Brinno, attacked several Roman forts, including Traiectum (Utrecht). With most of the troops in Italy fighting in the civil war, the Romans were caught off guard. Flaccus, commander of the Rhine legions, sent auxiliary troops to control the situation. The result was another disaster for the Romans. Civilis assumed the role of mastermind of the rebellion and defeated the Romans near modern Arnhem.

It was time to deal with the rebels with a firm hand. Flaccus ordered the V Alaudae and the XV Primigenia legions to deal with the problem. Accompanying them were three auxiliary units, including a Batavian cavalry squadron, commanded by Claudius Labeo, a known enemy of Civilis. The battle took place near modern Nijmegen. The Batavian regiment deserted to their countrymen, giving a blow to the already feeble morale of the Romans. The result was disastrous: a Roman army was beaten and the legions forced to retreat to their base camp of Castra Vetera (modern Xanten).

By this time, the Batavians were independent and clearly had the upper hand. Even Vespasian, who was fighting Vitellius for the imperial throne, saluted the rebellion that kept his enemy from calling the Rhine legions to Italy. The Batavians were promised independence and Civilis was on his way to becoming king.

Castra Vetera

But for unknown reasons, this was not enough for the Batavians. Civilis chose to pursue vengeance and swore to destroy the two Roman legions. The timing was well chosen. With the civil war of the Year of the Four Emperors at its peak, it would take some time before Rome could produce an effective counterattack. Moreover, the eight Batavian auxiliary units of Vitellius' army were on their way home and could be easily persuaded to join the rebellion for an independent Batavia. This was an important reinforcement. Apart from being veteran troops, their numbers were greater than the combined Roman troops stationed in Moguntiacum (Mainz) and Bonna (Bonn).

In September 69, Civilis initiated the siege of Castra Vetera, the camp of the 5,000 legionaries of V Alaudae and XV Primigenia. The camp was very modern, filled with supplies and well defended, with walls of mud brick and wood, towers and a double ditch. After some failed attempts to take the camp by force, Civilis decided to starve the troops into surrender.

Meanwhile, Flaccus decided to wait for the result of the war in Italy. Not long before, the Rhine legions had been punished by Galba for their actions against the rebel Vindex of Gallia Lugdunensis. Vespasian was winning the war and Civilis was helping him to become emperor by preventing at least the two legions besieged in Xanten, loyal to Vitellius, from coming to his rescue. Flaccus and his commanders did not want to risk a second military gaffe and decided to wait for instructions.

But the news of Vitellius' defeat arrived and Civilis still continued the siege. He was not fighting for Vespasian; he was fighting for Batavia. Flaccus started to prepare a counterattack to rescue the besieged legions. Civilis was not going to wait until they were fully prepared and launched a surprise attack. In the evening of December 1 his best eight cavalry regiments attacked the Romans in Krefeld. The Roman army won the battle and destroyed the Batavian cavalry. But their own losses were enormous.

Knowing that the Romans would come to Castra Vetera, Civilis abandoned the siege and threatened to attack Moguntiacum. The Romans were misled and rushed to the rescue of their main base in Germania Superior. In Moguntiacum they received the news of Vespasian's accession to the throne. Flaccus decided to celebrate the event by distributing a sum of money to the legions. But these legions were historically loyal to Vitellius, their former commander, and this act of generosity was interpreted as an offense. Flaccus was murdered and his second-in-command deserted, leaving the Roman army in a state of confusion.

Civilis saw his chance and before the Romans knew what was happening, his troops besieged Castra Vetera once more.

The rebellion continues

The year 70 started with the odds favoring the rebels. Two legions were still besieged at Castra Vetera and the rest of the Roman army was not large enough to cope with the revolt. Apart from the Batavian rebellion, the Trevirans and Lingones had declared the independence of Gaul. Julius Sabinus, the rebel emperor, managed to persuade the I Germanica and XVI Gallica to come over to his side. At Castra Vetera the situation was desperate. Food supplies had run out and the besieged legions were eating horses and mules to survive. With no prospect of a relief, the commander of the troops, Munius Lupercus, decided to surrender.

The legions were promised safe conduct if they left the camp to be sacked by the rebels. All weapons, artillery material and gold was left to plunder. V Alaudae and XV Primigenia marched out of the camp but after only a few kilometers they were ambushed by Germanic troops and destroyed. The commander and principal officers were made slaves and given as a present to Veleda, the prophetess who had predicted the rise of the Batavians.

After this success, Civilis went to Colonia Agrippina (Cologne) and set up camp there. In the next months, he invested his time in convincing other tribes from northern Gaul and Germania to join the rebellion.

Rome retaliates

The rebellion in Germania was now a real threat to the Empire. Two legions had been lost, two others (I Germanica and XVI Gallica) were controlled by the rebels. This could not be allowed for much longer. As soon as Vespasian had the Empire in his hands and the situation in Italy under control, he decided to act. He nominated Quintus Petillius Cerialis, a close relative and experienced general, as commander of the avenging force. Not wanting to risk a defeat, an enormous army was summoned. The legions VIII Augusta, XI Claudia, XIII Gemina, XXI Rapax and the recently levied II Adiutrix were immediately sent to Germania. Additionally, the legions I Adiutrix and VI Victrix were summoned from Hispania and XIV Gemina from Britannia. Most parts of these legions were deployed to pacify other parts of Gaul and Germania Superior and secure the Rhine frontier. Still, Cerialis' army was a massive one and posed a serious threat to the rebels.

On the news of the approaching army, Julius Tutor, one of Civilis' allies, surrendered. The "imprisoned" legions, I Germanica and XVI Gallica, capitulated. They were disgraced and no longer had the confidence of Rome. The I Germanica was disbanded and its legionaries were added to the VII Gemina in Pannonia. XVI Gallica was reconstituted with the name of Legio XVI Flavia Firma. Pushing down from all directions, Cerialis forced the rebels and their (now scarce) allies to retreat to the North. The rebellion was now confined to Germania Inferior.

From his homeland of Batavia, Civilis tried for some time to attack the Roman army in a series of raids by land and, with help of his fleet, in the rivers Waal and Rhine. In one of these raids, Civilis managed to capture the flagship of the Roman fleet. This was a humiliation that demanded a response. Cerialis decided to wait no longer and invaded Batavia.

At the outset of the rebellion, Rome was heavily preoccupied with major military operations in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. However, the siege of Jerusalem that began in April 70 AD was over by early September, and the war was essentially over. When Civilis heard that Jerusalem had fallen, and he realized that Rome would now bring its full resources to bear upon him, Civilis very wisely made the best—to wit, the earliest—peace that he could. Indeed, his people were spared, if subjugated.

Peace talks followed. A bridge was built over the river Nabalia, where the warring parties approached each other on both sides. The general agreements are unknown but the Batavians were forced to renew their alliance with the Roman Empire and to levy another eight auxiliary cavalry units. The Batavian capital of Nijmegen was destroyed and its inhabitants ordered to rebuild it a few kilometers downstream, in a defenseless position. Moreover, X Gemina would be stationed close by, to secure peace.

The fate of Civilis is unknown.

Cultural influence in the Netherlands

With the development of modern Dutch national consciousness beginning in the 16th Century, the Dutch tended to identify the ancient Batavians as their forebears, as manifested for example in the name of the Batavian Republic established under auspices of the French Revolution and in the name of Batavia (now Jakarta) given to the capital of Dutch East Indies. Hence, leaders of the Revolt of the Batavi were given the status of Dutch National Heroes and their revolt against Roman rule regarded as a precursor of the 16th Century Dutch revolt against Spanish rule. The painting by Rembrandt at the top of this page is part of that view of the Revolt of the Batavi.

List of legions involved


  1. ^ A. Birley Garrison Life at Vindolanda (2002) 43
  2. ^ Birley (2002) 43
  3. ^ Tacitus Germania 29.1 and Historiae II.28
  4. ^ Dio Cassius LXIX.9.6; Tacitus Agricola 18.4
  5. ^ Tacitus Historiae IV.12
  6. ^ - Nijmegen: Kops Plateau
  7. ^ Tacitus Historiae IV.13
  8. ^ Tacitus Historiae II.5
  9. ^ Tacitus Historiae I.64, II.66
  10. ^ Tacitus Historiae IV.14

External links

Albaniana (Roman fort)

Albaniana was the name of a Roman fort (castellum) in modern-day Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands. The Tabula Peutingeriana situates it in between the castella of Matilo and Nigrum Pullum. It was part of the Lower Germanic Limes and separated the Roman Empire from tribal country to the north.

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.


The Auxilia (Latin, lit. "auxiliaries") constituted the standing non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman army during the Principate era (30 BC–284 AD), alongside the citizen legions. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided almost all of the Roman army's cavalry (especially light cavalry and archers) and more specialised troops. The auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were mostly volunteers, not conscripts.

The Auxilia were mainly recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the population in the 1st and 2nd centuries (c. 90% in the early 1st century). In contrast to the legions, which only admitted Roman citizens, members of the Auxilia could be recruited from territories outside of Roman control.

Reliance on the various contingents of non-Italic troops, especially cavalry, increased when the Roman Republic employed them in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC. The Julio-Claudian period (30 BC–68 AD) saw the transformation of the Auxilia from motley levies to a standing corps with standardised structure, equipment and conditions of service. By the end of the period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and auxiliaries in terms of training, and thus, combat capability.

Auxiliary regiments were often stationed in provinces other than that in which they were originally raised, for reasons of security and to foster the process of Romanisation in the provinces. The regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by then the units in question were different in size, structure, and quality from their predecessors.

Batavi (Germanic tribe)

The Batavi were an ancient Germanic tribe that lived around the modern Dutch Rhine delta in the area that the Romans called Batavia, from the second half of the first century BC to the third century AD. The name is also applied to several military units employed by the Romans that were originally raised among the Batavi. The tribal name, probably a derivation from batawjō ("good island", from Germanic bat- "good, excellent," which is also in the English "better," and awjō "island, land near water"), refers to the region's fertility, today known as the fruitbasket of the Netherlands (the Betuwe).

Finds of wooden tablets show that at least some were literate.

Batavi (military unit)

The Batavi was an auxilia palatina (infantry) unit of the Late Roman army, active between the 4th and the 5th century. It was composed by 500 soldiers and was the heir of those ethnic groups that were initially used as auxiliary units of the Roman army and later integrated in the Roman Empire after the Constitutio Antoniniana. Their name was derived from the people of the Batavi.

In the sources they are usually recorded together with the Heruli, and it is probable the two units fought together.

At the beginning of the 5th century two related units are attested, the Batavi seniores and the Batavi iuniores.


The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group indigenous to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. They inhabit an area known as Frisia and are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia (which was a part of Denmark until 1864). The Frisian languages are still spoken by more than 500,000 people; West Frisian is officially recognized in the Netherlands (in Friesland), and North Frisian and Saterland Frisian are recognized as regional languages in Germany.

Germania Inferior

Germania Inferior ("Lower Germany") was a Roman province located on the west bank of the Rhine and bordering the North sea.

Germanic Wars

"Germanic Wars" is a name given to a series of wars between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BC and 596 AD. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd century BC. The series of conflicts, which began in the 5th century under the Western Roman Emperor Honorius, led (along with internal strife) to the ultimate downfall of the Western Roman Empire.

Cimbrian War, 113–101 BC

Battle of Noreia 112 BC

Battle of Agen 107 BC

Battle of Arausio 105 BC

Battle of Aquae Sextiae 102 BC

Battle of Vercellae 101 BC

Battle of Vosges 58 BC

Battle of the Sabis 57 BC

Clades Lolliana 16 BC

Early Imperial campaigns in Germania, 12 BC – AD 16

Battle of Arbalo 11 BC

Battle of the Lupia River 11 BC

Battle of the Teutoburg Forest 9 AD

Campaign against the Marsi 14

Campaign against the Chatti 15

Campaign against the Bructeri 15

Battle at Pontes Longi 15

Battle of Idistaviso 16

Battle of the Angrivarian Wall 16

Campaign against the Chatti 16

Battle of Baduhenna Wood 28

Revolt of the Batavi 69-70

Domitian's Campaign against the Chatti 82

Marcomannic Wars 166–180

Battle of Carnuntum 170

Crisis of the Third Century 235–284

Battle at the Harzhorn c. 235

Battle of Nicopolis ad Istrum 250

Battle of Beroe 250

Battle of Philippopolis 250

Battle of Abrittus 251

Siege of Thessalonica 254

Battle of Thermopylae 254

Battle of Mediolanum 259

Battle of Augusta Vindelicorum 260

Siege of Mainz 268

Battle of Lake Benacus 268

Battle of Naissus 269

Battle of Placentia 271

Battle of Fano 271

Battle of Pavia 271

Battle of Lingones 298

Battle of Vindonissa 298

German and Sarmatian campaigns of Constantine 306–336

Siege of Senonae 356

Siege of Autun 356

Battle of Durocortorum 356

Battle of Brumath 356

Battle of Argentoratum 357

Battle of Solicinium 367

Great Conspiracy 367–368

Gothic War (376–382)

Battle of Marcianople 376

Battle of the Willows 377

Battle of Dibaltum 377

Battle of Adrianople 378

Siege of Adrianople (378)

Battle of Constantinople (378)

Battle of Thessalonica 380

Battle of Argentovaria 378

Massacre of Thessalonica 390

Battle of the Frigidus 394

Gothic War (402-403)

Siege of Asti 402

Battle of Pollentia 402

Battle of Verona 403

Battle of Faesulae 406

Battle of Moguntiacum 406

Crossing of the Rhine 406

Sack of Rome 410

Siege of Hippo Regius 430–431

Battle of Narbonne 436

Battle of the Catalaunian Plains 451

Sack of Aquileia 452

Sack of Rome 455

Battle of Aylesford 455

Battle of Órbigo 456

Battle of Arelate 458

Battle of Cartagena 461

Battle of Orleans 463

Battle of Bassianae 468

Battle of Cap Bon 468

Battle of Bolia 469

Battle of Déols c. 469

Battle of Ravenna 476

Battle of Soissons 486

Battle of Isonzo 489

Battle of Verona 489

Battle of the Adda River 490

Vandalic War 533-534

Battle of Ad Decimum 533

Battle of Tricamarum 533

Gothic War (535–554)

Siege of Naples 536

Siege of Rome 537-538

Battle of Treviso 541

Siege of Verona 541

Battle of Faventia 542

Battle of Mucellium 542

Siege of Naples 543

Sack of Rome 546

Siege of Rome 549-550

Battle of Sena Gallica 551

Battle of Taginae 552

Battle of Mons Lactarius 553

Battle of the Volturnus 554

Byzantine–Lombard wars 568–750

Legio I Germanica

Legio I Germanica, the 1st Germanic Legion, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army, possibly founded in 48 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar to fight for him in the civil war against Pompey. The title germanic is a reference to its service in Germany, rather than the place of origin of its soldiers. After the Revolt of the Batavi (AD 70), the remaining men of the Germanica were added to Galba's seventh legion, which became VII Gemina. The emblem of Legio I is unknown, but it was probably Taurus, like all the other legions levied by Caesar (except the V Alaudae).

Legio XI Claudia

Legio undecima Claudia ("Claudius' Eleventh Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. XI Claudia dates back to the two legions (the other was the XIIth) recruited by Julius Caesar to invade Gallia in 58 BC, and it existed at least until the early 5th century, guarding lower Danube in Durostorum (modern Silistra, Bulgaria). The emblem of the legion is not known; it could have been, as all of the Caesar's legions, the bull or possibly the she-wolf lactating the twins.

List of Roman civil wars and revolts

This is a list of civil wars and organized civil unrest in ancient Rome (753 BC – AD 476).


The Mattiaci were by Tacitus recorded as an ancient Germanic tribe and related to the Chatti, their Germanic neighbors to the east. There is no clear definition of what the tribe's name meant. The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography suggests that the name is derived from a combination of 'matte', meaning 'a meadow', and 'ach' (pronounced with the 'ch' as in 'loch'), signifying water or a bath.The Mattiaci were settled on border of the Roman Empire on the right side of the Rhine in the area of present-day Wiesbaden (Aquae Mattiacorum), the southern Taunus, and the Wetterau. Archaeological evidence of Wiesbaden cannot prove their alleged origin. While the worship of various Gaulic deities like Sirona or Epona is attested, there is so far no evidence for Germanic gods nor for specific products of Germanic origin.Tacitus relates that they were not required to pay tribute to the Romans but were to provide assistance in war and thus were an outpost of Roman rule on the border with Germania. He refers to them in his Germania (ch 29) in relation to the Batavians:

[The Batavians] are not under the contempt of paying tribute, nor subject to be squeezed by the farmers of the revenue. Free from all impositions and payments, and only set apart for the purposes of fighting, they are reserved wholly for the wars, in the same manner as a magazine of weapons and armour. Under the same degree of homage are the nation of the Mattiacians. For such is the might and greatness of the Roman People, as to have carried the awe and esteem of their Empire beyond the Rhine and the ancient boundaries. Thus the Mattiacians, living upon the opposite banks, enjoy a settlement and limits of their own; yet in spirit and inclination are attached to us: in other things resembling the Batavians, save that as they still breathe their original air, still possess their primitive soil, they are thence inspired with superior vigour and keenness.

With the Chatti, the Mattaci took part in the Revolt of the Batavi in 69 AD, besieging the Roman city of Mogontiacum (present-day Mainz). After the foundation of the Limes Germanicus, the tribal identity of the Mattiaci seems to have eroded away. When the municipality of the Civitas Mattiacorum had been established unter emperor Trajan, the citizens of Aquae Mattiacorum referred to themselves as vicani Aquaenses instead of "Mattiaci".In the late 1st century AD, Valerius Martialis mentions a kind of soap that was named for the Mattiaci and may have been a local product:

Sapo:Si mutare paras longaevos cana capillos,

Accipe Mattiacas - quo tibi calva? - pilas.Soap:

If you want to change your highly aged hair,

use Pilae Mattiacae - why have a bald head?

A Cohors II Mattiacorum Milliaria Equitata has been attested by several finds in the Roman province of Moesia inferior (e.g. at Sostra). It may have originated in Mattiaci recruited after the Revolt of the Batavi.

The Notitia Dignitatum, an early 5th century document, lists two auxilia palatina, the Mattiaci seniores and the Mattiaci iuniores. The references imply Mattiaci in Roman service.

Numerus Batavorum

The numerus Batavorum, also called the cohors Germanorum, Germani corporis custodes, Germani corpore custodes,, Imperial German Bodyguard or Germanic bodyguard was a personal, imperial guards unit for the Roman emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (30 BC – AD 68) composed of Germanic soldiers. Although the Praetorians may be considered the Roman Emperor's main bodyguard, the Germanic bodyguards were a unit of more personal guards recruited from distant parts of the Empire, so they had no political or personal connections with Rome or the provinces.From De Bello Gallico, it is known that Julius Caesar also had a Germanic bodyguard.

Praetorium Agrippinae

Praetorium Agrippinae was a Roman settlement in the province of Lower Germania, in the area of the Cananefates, located in modern-day Valkenburg, Netherlands. It was an army encampment (Lat.: castellum) on the Old Rhine (at the time the major branch of the river Rhine), on the northern border of the Roman Empire, the limes. Praetorium Agrippinae is mentioned on the Tabula Peutingeriana between the castella of Matilo in the east and Lugdunum Batavorum to the west.

The Iron Hand of Mars

The Iron Hand of Mars is a 1992 historical mystery crime novel by Lindsey Davis and the fourth book of the Marcus Didius Falco Mysteries series. Set in Rome and Germania during AD 71, the novel stars Marcus Didius Falco, informer and imperial agent. The iron in the title refers to the standard, shaped like a giant hand made of iron, which Falco is required to deliver to the imperial legions in Germany.

Traiectum (Utrecht)

Traiectum was a Roman fort, or castrum, on the frontier of the Roman Empire in Germania Inferior.

The remains of the fort are in the center of Utrecht, Netherlands, which takes its name from the fort.

Year of the Four Emperors

The Year of the Four Emperors, 69 AD, was a year in the history of the Roman Empire in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.The suicide of the emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69 Galba, Otho, and Vitellius successively rose and fell, the latter overlapping with the July 69 accession of Vespasian, who founded the Flavian dynasty. The social, military and political upheavals of the period had Empire-wide repercussions, which included the outbreak of the Revolt of the Batavi.


In Old Norse, ǫ́ss (or áss, ás, plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon is known as the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage war against each other, which results in a unified pantheon.

The cognate term in Old English is ōs (plural ēse) denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. The Old High German is ans, plural ensî.

The Gothic language had ans- (based only on Jordanes who glossed anses with uncertain meaning, possibly 'demi-god' and presumably a Latinized form of actual plural *anseis).

The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz (plural *ansiwiz). The ansuz rune, ᚫ, was named after the Æsir.

Unlike the Old English word god (and Old Norse goð), the term ōs (áss) was never adopted into Christian use.

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