Skip to comments.Ancient Roman Navy Soldier Surfaces
Posted on 10/23/2005 4:42:46 PM PDT by blam
Ancient roman navy soldier surfaces
Ravenna Classe site yields his first-ever image of imperial officer
The first-ever image of a soldier in the Ancient Roman navy has surfaced on 17th September 2005 at the major imperial naval base at Ravenna Classe. The armour-clad, weapon-bearing soldier was carved on a funeral stone, or stele, in a waterlogged necropolis at Classe ('Classis' in Latin means Fleet), the now silted-up Ravenna port area where Rome's Adriatic fleet was stationed. Previous finds at the site have only shown people in civilian garb (toga). An inscription on the soldier's funeral slab says he was an officer (optio) on a small, fast oar-powered ship (liburna) used to catch pirates. Although the stele is small -about one metre (yard) long- the detail of the carving is intricate. The soldier has the bowl haircut and delicate, child-like features typical of carvings from the 1st-century AD Julio-Claudian era.
He wears anatomically shaped body armour with shoulder strips and a leather-fringed military skirt, above the light but tough military sandals called "caligae". He is carrying a heavy javelin (pilum) and has a short stabbing sword called "gladius" on his decorated belt. Over his armour there is a band which could be a military decoration. Part of the inscription is missing, but we can read the soldier's name Mon(?)us (?) Capito -may be Moniatus or Monietus Capito-, the name of his ship -called 'Aurata' that means Golden- and the name of the man who put up (and paid) the stele, probably a fellow soldier, named Cocneus. The stele was found in three metres of water by divers helping archaeologists trace a large tunnel from the late Imperial times. The stone had been taken from the burial ground and used to prop up part of the tunnel that had collapsed. The find would have pride of place in a Museum of Archaeology being set up at Classe.
Aren't navy soldiers ordinarily referred to as sailors?
Very interesting find!
Or Marines ... expected to fight on sea or land, but not to be involved in sailing the ship.
That's a marine!
Good point! What was I thinking?
Pretty little dude.
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It's a early Marine, dude!! Semper fidelis!!!
Did anyone check to see if his head was threaded, so he could screw on his jar lid?
Wouldn't that likely be"
CAPITO OPT(IO) DE LIBURNA
Big Head Officer (Captain!) during the Galley Aurata something....
I think I know where Ross Perot got his ears from now.
Wow! Hobbits in the Navy!
Hmmm' child like features, on a ship, in armor--got to be a Marine. Now we know where Uncle Sam's Misguided Children came from.
Is that Pippen, or Merry? My money says it's that "Fool of a Took".
Appears the dude had swollen ankles, perhaps a symptom of poor circulation or congestive heart failure? A modern doctor would put him on water pills.
If it absolutely has to be destroyed overnight, call in the Marines.
If it can be sold at a profit on the black market, call your local EOD detachment.
Ravenna was the Western capital for hundreds of years and was also the capital of the Ostrogothic kingdom and of Byzantine Italy. It's got an awesome history. I didn't get to see it last time I was in Italy. Next time, it's on the itinerary for sure.
There were a lot of Latin abbrev, right on into eccles Latin. :')
That's true. On the other hand, the text said that the ship was a pirate hunter, so it would make sense for it to carry a contingent of soldiers (what we would call Marines) strictly for the purpose of fighting, while the competent personnel handled the ship.
Merry. He has to be a Brandybuck, what with being comfortable around boats and all.
The image looks so much like a child. Did they conscript men into the army when they were still children and this one died while still a child? They would certainly be well trained if they were trained from childhood.