§74 Auxiliaries of Pannonia Superior

Auxiliaries of Pannonia Superior

(0074) Text: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) | mil(ites) v[e]xi[l](ationis) | coh(ortium) Pa(nnoniae) Sup(erioris) | cives Sisc(iani) | et Varcian(i) | et Latobici | sacrum fecer(unt).

Translation: To Best and Greatest Jupiter. The soldiers of the vexillation of the cohorts of Pannonia Superior, who are citizens of the Sisciani, Varciani, and Latobici, have dedicated this object. (Trans. Christopher B. Zeichmann)

Commentary: Pannonia Superior was formed in 103 CE; only cohors I Montanorum spent time in Pannonia before garrisoning in Judaea some time around the Bar Kokhba War (see §§216223). This identification, though is not certain, given difficulties in determining how many cohortes Montanorum existed and that they seem to have garrisoned in Pannonia Inferior (or even left the united province before it separated) before coming to Judaea/Syria Palaestina. If we assume that there was a single cohors I Montanorum civium Romanorum whose vexillations transferred throughout the empire, then one can present a tentative case for that unit’s erection of the inscription – but see the contrasting assessments of the unit’s whereabouts in Jaroslav Šašsel, “Cohors I Montanorum,” in Studien zu den Militärgrenzen Roms III, ed. Konrad Theiss, Forschungen und Berichte zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Baden-Württemberg 20 (Stuttgart: Theiss, 1986), 782-786; John Spaul, Cohors2: The Evidence for and a Short History of the Auxiliary Infantry Units of the Imperial Roman Army, BARIS 841 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2000), 292-295.

No other viable candidates for “the cohorts of Pannonia Superior” present themselves, despite the fact that there existed two cohortes Carcianorum and several cohortes Pannoniorum elsewhere in the Empire. Another possibility is that auxiliaries of various cohorts that garrisoned in Sebaste simply had a disproportionately Pannonian makeup. The tribes mentioned in this inscription were Celtic tribes located in Pannonia Superior.

Provenience: Sebaste, Palestine 103-180 CE

Bibliography: ILS 3.9132; AE 1909.235; AE 1938.13