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Eine Besucherin und eine Besucher bestaunen eine Vitrine im Prunksaal

Legionaries on the Nile
The Roman Army in Egypt

In 30 BC, after the victory of Octavian, later Emperor Augustus, over Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Egypt was incorporated into the Imperium Romanum. The Romans came as conquerors, but soon the soldiers were firmly integrated into the society of the province on the Nile. Documents from the Papyrus Collection of the Austrian National Library provide unique insights into the organisation of the Roman army as well as the official duties and private lives of the soldiers.


You've voted! The winner of our online voting for the special exhibit "Legionaries on the Nile" is "Losses in the Jewish Revolt". You can see the winning object from 16 May 2022 at the State Hall.

Object 1: Losses in the Jewish Revolt
Papyrus, 115-117 A.D.

This hastily written list names soldiers of the two legions that were stationed in Egypt in the 1st and early 2nd century AD: Legio III Cyrenaica and Legio III Deiotariana. The document is of historical significance thanks to the entries tr(anslatus), "transferred", and te(tatus), "deceased", before the soldiers' names. Three of the nine centuria are listed without a centurion, i.e. they currently have no commander. In addition, eight of the 28 soldiers listed are identified as deceased. In terms of dating, this high number of deceased supports the plausible assumption that the list dates from the time of the great Jewish revolt in Egypt (115-117 AD) and thus testifies to the high losses of the Roman army in this bloody uprising.

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