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Old 06-06-2013, 01:53 AM   #1
Huon
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Default The Thundering Legion

The Thundering Legion : Legio fulminata, not fulminatrix.

Emperor Marcus Aurelius commanded the XII Fulminata in his campaign in 174 against the Quadi, a people inhabiting an area now known as Slovakia in modern day Slovak Republic, between Poland and Hungary. His army, exhausted by thirst, was on the point of falling an easy prey to the enemy.

Christian version reported by Tertullian (c. 160 - c. 225) :

It was then that the soldiers of the Twelfth Legion, which was composed of Christians, prayed to their God for help. Forthwith a heavy thunderstorm arose, bringing the desired relief to the Romans, but terrifying and dispersing the barbarians. Hereupon the emperor issued a decree forbidding the persecution of the Christians and to the Twelfth Legion he gave the surname of fulminata, or fulminea, that is, "thundering."

The same episode reported by Cassius Dio (c. 150 - 235) refers of the presence of an Egyptian mage, Harnuphis, who evoked Mercury, obtaining the rain shower. See Cassius Dio, Roman History, lxxii.8-10
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:00 AM   #2
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The Thundering Legion, according to Cassius Dio Roman History, lxxii.8-10 :

8 So Marcus subdued the Marcomani and the Iazyges after many hard struggles and dangers. A great war against the people called the Quadi also fell to his lot and it was his good fortune to win an unexpected victory, or rather it was vouchsafed him by Heaven. For when the Romans were in peril in the course of the battle, the divine power saved them in a most unexpected manner. The Quadi had surrounded them at a spot favourable for their purpose and the Romans were fighting valiantly with their shields locked together; then the barbarians ceased fighting, expecting to capture them easily as the result of the heat and their thirst. So they posted guards all about and hemmed them in to prevent their getting water anywhere; for the barbarians were far superior in numbers. The Romans, accordingly, were in a terrible plight from fatigue, wounds, the heat of the sun, and thirst, and so could neither fight nor retreat, but were standing and the line and at their several posts, scorched by the heat, when suddenly many clouds gathered and a mighty rain, not without divine interposition, burst upon them. Indeed, there is a story to the effect that Arnuphis, an Egyptian magician, who was a companion of Marcus, had invoked by means of enchantments various deities and in particular Mercury, the god of the air, and by this means attracted the rain.

Paragraph 9 is simply Xiphilinus' own comment on Dio's narrative.
Xiphilinus, end of the 11th century, at Constantinople.

9 This is what Dio says about the matter, but he is apparently in error, whether intentionally or otherwise; and yet I am inclined to believe his error was chiefly intentional. It surely must be so, for he was not ignorant of the division of soldiers that bore the special name of the "Thundering" Legion, — indeed he mentions it in the list along with the others,— a title which was given it for no other reason (for no other is reported) than because of the incident that occurred in this very war. It was precisely this incident that saved the Romans on this occasion and brought destruction upon the barbarians, and not Arnuphis, the magician; for Marcus is not reported to have taken pleasure in the company of magicians or in witchcraft. Now the incident I have reference to is this: Marcus had a division of soldiers (the Romans call a division a legion) from Melitene; and these people are all worshippers of Christ. Now it is stated that in this battle, when Marcus found himself at a loss what to do in the circumstances and feared for his whole army, the prefect approached him and told him that those who are called Christians can accomplish anything whatever by their prayers and that in the army there chanced to be a whole division of this sect. Marcus on hearing this appealed to them to pray to their God; and when they had prayed, their God immediately gave ear and smote the enemy with a thunderbolt and comforted the Romans with a shower of rain. Marcus was greatly astonished at this and not only honoured the Christians by an official decree but also named the legion the "thundering" Legion. . It is also reported that there is a letter of Marcus extant on the subject. But the Greeks, though they know that the division was called the "Thundering" Legion and themselves bear witness to the fact, nevertheless make no statement whatever about the reason for its name.

Back to Cassius Dio :
10 Dio goes on to say that when the rain poured down, at first all turned their faces upwards and received the water in their mouths; then some held out their shields and some their helmets to catch it, and they not only took deep draughts themselves but also gave their horses to drink. And when the barbarians now charged upon them, they drank and fought at the same time; and some, becoming wounded, actually gulped down the blood that flowed into their helmets, along with the water. So intent, indeed, were most of them on drinking that they would have suffered severely from the enemy's onset, had not a violent hail-storm and numerous thunderbolts fallen upon the ranks of the foe. Thus in one and the same place one might have beheld water and fire descending from the sky simultaneously; so that while those on the one side were being consumed by fire and dying; and while the fire, on the one hand, did not touch the Romans, but, if it fell anywhere among them, was immediately extinguished, the shower, on the other hand, did the barbarians no good, but, like so much oil, actually fed the flames that were consuming them, and they had to search for water even while being drenched with rain. Some wounded themselves in order to quench the fire with their blood, and others rushed over to the side of the Romans, convinced that they alone had the saving water; in any case Marcus took pity on them. He was now saluted imperator by the soldiers, for the seventh time; and although he was not wont to accept any such honour before the senate voted it, nevertheless this time he took it as a gift from Heaven, and he sent a despatch to the senate.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:24 AM   #3
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The Thundering Legion, according to Tertullian ("Apologeticum," v, and To Scapula 4). He is quoted by Eusebius (Church History V.5), who also cites Apollinaris of Hierapolis, a contemporary of Marcus Aurelius, as an authority for the alleged miracle.

Eusebius Book 5 Chapter 5.

1. It is reported that Marcus Aurelius Cæsar, brother of Antoninus, being about to engage in battle with the Germans and Sarmatians, was in great trouble on account of his army suffering from thirst. But the soldiers of the so-called Melitene legion, through the faith which has given strength from that time to the present, when they were drawn up before the enemy, kneeled on the ground, as is our custom in prayer, and engaged in supplications to God.

2. This was indeed a strange sight to the enemy, but it is reported that a stranger thing immediately followed. The lightning drove the enemy to flight and destruction, but a shower refreshed the army of those who had called on God, all of whom had been on the point of perishing with thirst.

3. This story is related by non-Christian writers who have been pleased to treat the times referred to, and it has also been recorded by our own people. By those historians who were strangers to the faith, the marvel is mentioned, but it is not acknowledged as an answer to our prayers. But by our own people, as friends of the truth, the occurrence is related in a simple and artless manner.

4. Among these is Apollinarius, who says that from that time the legion through whose prayers the wonder took place received from the emperor a title appropriate to the event, being called in the language of the Romans the Thundering Legion.

5. Tertullian is a trustworthy witness of these things. In the Apology for the Faith, which he addressed to the Roman Senate, and which work we have already mentioned, he confirms the history with greater and stronger proofs.

6. He writes that there are still extant letters of the most intelligent Emperor Marcus in which he testifies that his army, being on the point of perishing with thirst in Germany, was saved by the prayers of the Christians. And he says also that this emperor threatened death to those who brought accusation against us.

7. He adds further:
"What kind of laws are those which impious, unjust, and cruel persons use against us alone? which Vespasian, though he had conquered the Jews, did not regard; which Trajan partially annulled, forbidding Christians to be sought after; which neither Adrian, though inquisitive in all matters, nor he who was called Pius sanctioned." But let any one treat these things as he chooses; we must pass on to what followed.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:54 AM   #4
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My own comments.

Eusebius : 5. Tertullian is a trustworthy witness of these things.

Hem, hem, not so sure. But Eusebius is certainly a trustworthy witness of what Tertullian wanted to say, around 180 : Christian soldiers can be incorporated in a Roman Legion, and they will not betray the empire.

At that time, it seems that the Christians were a small sect growing rapidly, and that they wanted to be considered as "normal citizens".
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huon View Post
My own comments.

Eusebius : 5. Tertullian is a trustworthy witness of these things.

Hem, hem, not so sure. But Eusebius is certainly a trustworthy witness of what Tertullian wanted to say, around 180 : Christian soldiers can be incorporated in a Roman Legion, and they will not betray the empire.

At that time, it seems that the Christians were a small sect growing rapidly, and that they wanted to be considered as "normal citizens".
Nice subject Huon.

This same subject was also dealt with by Carrier at the beginning of the video linked to in the thread
Richard Carrier on Miracles and Historical Method.

Just more thundering bullshit from Eusebius.

When are we going to wake up from the dream?





εὐδαιμονία | eudaimonia
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:59 AM   #6
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Good plots are hard too find.

Gilgamesh emerged as Noah.

When it come to myths why reinvent the wheel?

There are only so many natural events forwhich divine intervention an be attached. Floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, plagues.

God is always on both sides, the winner claims divine support.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huon View Post
My own comments.

Eusebius : 5. Tertullian is a trustworthy witness of these things.

Hem, hem, not so sure. But Eusebius is certainly a trustworthy witness of what Tertullian wanted to say, around 180 : Christian soldiers can be incorporated in a Roman Legion, and they will not betray the empire.

At that time, it seems that the Christians were a small sect growing rapidly, and that they wanted to be considered as "normal citizens".
Origen in "Against Celsus", immediately contradicted Tertullian. It was unlikely that there were Christian soldiers in the time of Marcus Aurelius when up to the mid 3rd century Christians of the Jesus cult did not hold public office and did NOT engage in warfare.


Against Celsus" 3.8
Quote:
....But with regard to the Christians, because they were taught not to avenge themselves upon their enemies (and have thus observed laws of a mild and philanthropic character); and because they would not, although able, have made war even if they had received authority to do so—they have obtained this reward from God, that He has always warred in their behalf...
Against Celsus 5.33
Quote:
...And to those who inquire of us whence we come, or who is our founder, we reply that we have come, agreeably to the counsels of Jesus, to “cut down our hostile and insolent 'wordy' swords into ploughshares, and to convert into pruning-hooks the spears formerly employed in war.”

For we no longer take up “sword against nation,” nor do we “learn war any more,” having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.....

Against Celsus 8.75
Quote:
And it is not for the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public offices, but that they may reserve themselves for a diviner and more necessary service in the Church of God— for the salvation of men. And this service is at once necessary and right....
Tertullian's claims about Christian soldiers are most likely fiction in the time of Marcus Aurelius.

Christians did not fight wars nor did they hold public office in the government.

But, not only that.

The Jesus cult of Christians operated in SECRET associations during the time oF Celsus which is about the time of Marcus Aurelius.

Against Celsus" 1.1
Quote:
The first point which Celsus brings forward, in his desire to throw discredit upon Christianity, is, that the Christians entered into secret associations with each other contrary to law.....
Tertullian is completely contradicted by Origen, an Apologetic source.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:26 PM   #8
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How do you know that Gilgamesh emerged as Noah rather than the other way around?? Please explain.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_bnk View Post
Good plots are hard too find.

Gilgamesh emerged as Noah.

When it come to myths why reinvent the wheel?

There are only so many natural events forwhich divine intervention an be attached. Floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, plagues.

God is always on both sides, the winner claims divine support.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huon View Post
My own comments.

Eusebius : 5. Tertullian is a trustworthy witness of these things.

Hem, hem, not so sure. But Eusebius is certainly a trustworthy witness of what Tertullian wanted to say, around 180 : Christian soldiers can be incorporated in a Roman Legion, and they will not betray the empire.

At that time, it seems that the Christians were a small sect growing rapidly, and that they wanted to be considered as "normal citizens".
An excellent series of posts. A reminder that a lot of supposed serious ancient history ain't that at all. Sober history or mythology/ideology? The idea of a Roman general having his own Egyptian mage on the battlefield is most certainly amusing and not the sort of standard idea of the behavior of a competent Roman general.

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Old 06-07-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duvduv View Post
How do you know that Gilgamesh emerged as Noah rather than the other way around?? Please explain.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_bnk View Post
Good plots are hard too find.

Gilgamesh emerged as Noah.

When it come to myths why reinvent the wheel?

There are only so many natural events forwhich divine intervention an be attached. Floods, droughts, storms, earthquakes, plagues.

God is always on both sides, the winner claims divine support.

Because Noah is Israelite mythology, which factually formed after 1200 BC.

The oldest legend is Ziusudra which Gilgamesh borrowed from. Ziusudras flood time, is attested with a real devistating flood of the Euphrates in 2900 BC.


Israelites had to develop their own writing and this didnt start until 1000 BC almost 2000 years after the Levant flood mythology started by previous cultures.


Your barking up the wrong tree here, Sumerians and Mesopotamians had a wealth of writing for us to get accurate details we never could out of the later Israelite cultures.
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