The disappearance of the Ninth Legion has been a continuous source of mystery for historians. Throughout the years many people have wondered what happened to the fabled Legio Nona Hispania. All kinds of theories were speculated. Some of these gave birth to movies and books that tried to retrace the steps of the Ninth Legion. But what really happened to the 5,000 of Rome’s finest soldiers?
Legio Nona Hispania (The Ninth Legion) was a Roman legion. It operated from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD. Around the second half of the 2nd century it disappeared without a trace. Nobody knows what fate befell it. A theory said that it was defeated in action at the beginning of the 2nd century. At that time people believed the legion was somewhere north to Hadrian’s Wall. However, archaeological proof showed that the legion was in Nijmegen between 121 and 130. Records show that a legion was destroyed in 161, but it is unknown whether it was this legion or another. By 165 the legion had disappeared from any kinds of records.
Another theory states that the Ninth Legion was lost in the mists of Caledonia. At that time the Roman soldiers were marching forward to end a rebellion. Instead, they met a band of British warriors who managed to defeat them. This idea became popular and gave birth to a famous novel, “The Eagle of the Ninth” which was later turned into a movie. Historians, on the other hand. doubt the legion was defeated in Britain. They believe the legion was lost, while being taken out of Britannia. However, they do not have any evidence to back this claim up.
It is known that during the reign of Hadrian, the Roman legions were overwhelmed by Britons. The latest theories state that the Ninth Legion was relocated to York where it suffered great losses. Most probably, the last of their ranks gave their life fighting the Britons during the second half of the 2nd century.
Have you heard about the Ninth Legion? What do you think happened to it?
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