Monday, 21 December 2020

Something Completely Different

The Roman Service Record of Petronius Fortunatus early second century AD.

Kasserine, Tunisia (Cillium)

[…] militavit L annis, IV in leg(ione) I Ita[lica]
librar(ius), tesser(arius), optio, signif(er), [7 = (centurio)]
factus ex suffragio leg(ionis) eiu[sdem]
militavit 7 leg(ionis) I Ital(icae), 7 leg(ionis) VI F[erratae],
7 leg(ionis) I Min(erviae), 7 leg(ionis) X Gem(inae), 7 leg(ionis) II A[di(utricis)]
7 leg(ionis) III Aug(ustae), 7 leg(ionis) II[I] Gall(icae), 7 leg(ionis) XXX U[l]p(iae),
7 leg(ionis) VI Vic(tricis), 7 leg(ionis) III Cyr(enaicae), 7 leg(ionis) XV Apol(linaris),
7 leg(ionis) II Par(thicae), 7 leg(ionis) I Adiutricis,
consecutus ob virtutem in
expeditionem Parthicam
coronam muralem vallarem
torques et phaleras, agit in
diem operis perfecti annos LXXX,
sibi et
Claudiae Marciae Capitolinae
koniugi karissimae, quae agit
in diem operis perfecti
annos LXV; et
M(arco) Petronio Fortunato filio,
militavit ann(is) VI, 7 leg(ionis) X[X]II Primig(eniae),
7 leg(ionis) II Aug(ustae), vixit ann(is) XXXV
cui Fortunatus et Marcia parentes
karissimo memoriam fecerunt

‘… served 50 years, 4 in the First Legion Italica as librarius, tesserarius, optio, signifer, made centurion by vote of the said legion; served as centurion of the First Legion Italica, and of the Sixth Legion Ferrata, the First Legion Minervia, the Tenth Legion Gemina, the Second Legion Adiutrix, the Third Legion Augusta, the Third Legion Gallica, the Thirtieth Legion Ulpia, the Sixth Legion Victrix, the Third Legion Cyrenaica, the Fifteenth Legion Apollinaris, the Second Legion Parthica, the First Legion Adiutrix; awarded the Mural Crown, the Rampart Crown, Torques and Arm-bands, for his valour in the Parthian campaign; aged 80 the day this work was finished. For himself and his dearest wife, Claudia Marcia Capitolina, aged 65 the day this work was finished; and for his son Marcus Petronius Fortunatus, who served six years, centurion of the Twenty-Second Legion Primigenia, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, aged 35; for whom his parents Fortunatus and Marcia erected this monument to their dearest son.’

Both father and son had been centurions in Britain, the father in the Sixth Legion at York, his son in the Second Legion at Caerleon, although he may actually have died on active service. Skilful analysis of the father’s career by Eric Birley, Val Maxfield and Tony Birley, has outlined its chronology.39 It was unusually long and geographically diverse, taking Fortunatus from the lower Danube (Legion I Italica) to Jerusalem (VI Ferrata), and then probably to the detachments of European legions which served in the Parthian campaign of Lucius Verus (AD 162–6). It is this campaign to which he refers, not that of Septimius Severus, to judge by the lavish scale of his decorations. From here he went to Africa (III Augusta), then back to Syria (III Gallica), followed by the lower Rhine (XXX Ulpia) and even Britain (VI Victrix), before returning to the eastern frontier, that is to Arabia (III Cyrenaica) and the upper Euphrates (XV Apollinaris). By now in his late 60s, he was transferred to Severus’ new Second Legion Parthica (embodied c. AD 197), where like Virilis he may have been responsible for training recruits. Finally he served on the middle Danube with the First Legion Adiutrix. According to this chronology, he joined the First Legion Italica in the mid-AD 150s in his mid-20s, and retired 50 years later in his mid-70s. He implies that his son had died quite recently, which would place his birth (and his father’s informal marriage) in the mid- AD 170s.

Extracted from Britannia Romana by R S O Tomlin and published by Oxbow Books in 2018.

Thesis ‘Always Crackne in Heaven’ by Grant Finlay

I came across an interesting thesis ‘Always Crackne in Heaven’ by Grant Finlay B.A. Theol. M. and submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania in 2015.

The abstract follows

"The interaction of Aboriginal people with expressions of Christian faith during the colonial history of Australia has been examined in various contexts but not to any great extent in Australia’s southernmost setting of Tasmania. This thesis traces the interactions of Tasmanian Aboriginal people with Christianity from the beginnings of the colony of Van Diemen’s Land to the early years of the twentieth century.

While surviving documentary sources are limited they show a vibrant precontact Aboriginal religious life. Its elements were multi-layered, complex and open to interacting with the different religious lives of other clans and subsequently with the colonists. Pre-existing religious beliefs and practices were the paradigm through which Aboriginal people interpreted the Christian faith. In the first generations of colonial contact there was not a mission among Aboriginal people by any church missionary society. Most religious oriented conversations occurred in the less formal settings of conversations between individuals or within families. Some conversations were with the Government appointed conciliator, catechist or clergy who were part of Government programs such as the Hobart Orphan School, the Settlement at Wybalenna, and Oyster Cove Station. These formal settings provide archival sources that indicate a variety of interactions and Aboriginal responses to Christian faith. The polyvalent rather than uniform responses demonstrate the ‘agency’ of Aboriginal people. Most chose to reject the Christian faith. Some, however, incorporated various elements including baptism, participation in church services, family Bible reading, Bible translation, writing addresses and the preaching of Christian sermons.

A substantial focus of this thesis examines the oral and literary responses to exposure to the Christian faith at a pivotal location during a crucial period of colonial history, namely the Wybalenna Settlement on Flinders Island from 1832 – 1847. Previously unpublished sources analysed include Bible translations, catechetical examinations, literacy tests, Christian addresses and newspaper articles. The interplay of oral and written responses is examined as well as ways Aboriginal people incorporated Christian faith as they adapted and mediated personal and clan roles and relationships in the dynamic context of Wybalenna. The formal settings of the Wybalenna Settlement and Orphan School contrast the largely independent practices of particular families on the Furneaux Islands throughout most of the nineteenth century and the Nicholls Rivulet Methodist Church in the early twentieth century. These more informal settings demonstrate ways in which Aboriginal people’s adoption of Christian faith was constrained by denominational structures and a general lack of interest in them by most church members. Nevertheless, Aboriginal Christian people formed long and lasting relationships with a few colonial Christians who supported their development of uniquely Tasmanian Aboriginal Christian lives."

Appendix A is a list of Church baptism records of Aboriginal children baptised in Van Diemen’s Land.

Appendix B is a list of Aboriginal children listed in Hobart Orphan School Register.

The full thesis is available here .