Mens Talk

Friday, August 6, 2021

The dark story of the disappearance of Legio IX Hispana and the army of King Cambyses II


The dark story of the disappearance of Legio IX Hispana and the army of King Cambyses II

This time in the Talk category session I will discuss about The dark story of the disappearance of Legio IX Hispana and the army of King Cambyses II.

One of the cases that caught my attention the most was the case where someone mysteriously disappeared for no apparent reason.

Including one of them is the case of the disappearance of two fairly large armies in ancient times, namely Legio IX Hispana from ancient Rome in the 1st century AD and the army of King Cambyses II of Persia who disappeared and the deserts of Egypt in the XX century.

The dark story of the disappearance of Legio IX of Hispania and the army of King Cambyses II

These two cases are very interesting because I often hear in horror films as references to cases that cannot be explained with reason.

The reason is, if only 1 or 2 people are missing, there must be many explanations that are in accordance with common sense. But what if thousands and tens of thousands of people suddenly disappeared simultaneously without a trace that could explain why they disappeared?

What could have caused this incident to happen to them? Let us discuss the case of the disappearance of two great armies in ancient times.

Mystery of Legion IX Hispana

According to historical sources, Legio IX Hispana is the designation for one of the armies of the ancient Roman Empire that was active in the 1st century BC to the first century AD. Finally, this group of troops was stationed in England (island of England) in AD 43 to deal with local rebellions there.

But strangely, after 120 AD there was absolutely no news about this army. Suddenly this army disappeared in the records of the Romans who were famous for being very detailed and meticulous in writing their historical treatises. What is clear, the case of the mysterious disappearance of Legio IX troops has been the subject of debate among historians to this day.

Rome was not a small empire, not even the strongest in European history. It was practically unreasonable for them to let one of their elite troops just disappear without a trace.

Moreover, we need to remember, this army consists of thousands of soldiers with strong martial abilities. What caused the sudden disappearance of these troops?

The history of Legio IX Hispana begins when in 58 BC, Julius Caesar became governor of Gaul (now called France). Julius Caesar at that time had 4 elite troops, namely numbered VII, VIII, IX, and X. This IX army was again recorded in the history of battles in Greece in 48 BC and in Africa in 46 BC.

As we know, Julius Caesar was later killed by his own friend Brutus and replaced by his adopted son, Octavian. Octavian who had ambitions to become emperor was then recorded using the services of the Legio IX to fight a rebellion on the island of Sicily, Italy. After quelling the rebellion, troops were stationed in Macedonia.

Legio IX remained loyal to fight on Octavian's side, even in 31 BC it was recorded that they dared to fight Octavian's fierce rival, Markus Antonius who was also the lover of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt who was very famous for her beauty.

After 108 AD, there was never a word about this army. This was quite strange since the other troops were all listed.

A Roman historian who is very consistent in writing Roman history, namely Cassius Dio, in 210-232 AD wrote down the names of the troops belonging to the Roman empire. He recorded up to 33 Roman soldiers, from I to XXXIII, except for the names of soldiers IX which are not listed.

The disappearance of the IX army from Roman history is quite surprising and until now there has been no satisfactory explanation of the cause of the loss of these troops.

The traditional opinion accepted by most historians is that the Legio IX was defeated by Celtic rebels in England.

The figure associated with the disappearance of Legio IX is an English queen named Boudica. The story of the queen is very tragic.

Boudica is the queen of England who does not want to submit to foreign invasions like the Romans and wants to be independent. The queen's refusal was then met with a sadistic response by Roman soldiers who then attacked Boudica's palace and injured her two daughters.

The angry queen then took revenge that was no less cruel, namely by burning the city of London (then Londinium) and attacking up to 80,000 Roman residents there.

But the queen's rebellion was finally quelled and in closing, the queen finally decided to commit suicide rather than being captured alive by the Roman troops.

Not surprisingly, because of the success of destroying the city of London, there are allegations that Legio IX became one of the victims. But the queen died in 60 AD, long before the loss of Legio IX in 108 AD.

If not Boudica, who managed to eliminate Legio IX (if it was defeated by the enemy)? What is clear, this enemy, if there was one, was very worried about the Roman emperor at the time, Hadrian.

The proof is that Hadrian built a wall, similar to the taste wall in China. The wall was built to separate the Roman territories in England from the attacks of the natives from the north.

Construction of this wall began in 122 AD, several years after the disappearance of Legio IX, so it is suspected that there is a connection between the construction of this wall and the loss of the legion. Perhaps learning from the attack of the mysterious army that managed to defeat the  Legio IX, the Roman government decided to build a wall to block them.

But there are also those who reject the validity of this theory. The reason is that in 120 AD, about 10 years after this troop suddenly disappeared, the name of Legio IX was later found on a stone inscription, oddly enough in the Netherlands there.

It is not clear what they did in the Netherlands, but the evidence found there is also so scant that it is ignored by most historians.

Another explanation that could explain the disappearance of Army IX was found far away, namely in Palestine.

It may be a little difficult to link the troops lost in England to the Middle East. But this theory is considered quite logical because at that time there was a rebellion called the Second Jewish Revolt of the Jewish population in Palestine which became a Roman province in 132 AD.

There is a fairly unique story about this rebellion. This rebellion was led by a man named Simon Bar Kokhba. At that time Simon was considered a savior or messiah.

At that time the rebellion was triggered because the Jews opposed the construction of the temple of the god Jupiter which would be built right on the ruins of the Second Jewish Temple. A man named Simon then appears and claims to be the savior of mankind who will drive the Roman troops out of the Jewish holy land.

The existence of Simon who claimed to be the savior made the Jews willing to fight with a burning spirit.

As a result, about 580,000 Jews died in the rebellion, while about 1000 Jewish settlements were razed to the ground as an act of revenge from the Roman troops. Even after that event, the name Israel (the name of the Jewish kingdom that ruled Jerusalem) was later erased from the map.

Emperor Hadrian who ruled Rome later changed the name of Israel to Palestine. The name Palestine itself comes from a variation of the ancient name Philistine, which is written in the scriptures of Judaism and Christianity as the name of the people who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Jews.

Why is Legion IX supposedly disappearing as a result of this rebellion? For it makes sense that the IX Legion was summoned from England to crush the rebellion. The revolt also wiped out an army called Legion XXII which was heavily attacked by the Jews, so perhaps the same thing happened to Legion IX.

However, doubts arose again because Cassius Dio himself wrote the names of the troops fighting at that time, including Legio III, X, VI, XXII, II, X, V, XI, XII, and IV. Legion IX's name was completely unwritten.

Were the Romans ashamed that their army was defeated because they tried to change history? But the defeat of Troop XXII was clearly written in their historical treatise, then why wasn't Troop IX (if it lost at that time) not written down?

This question is still unanswered. The theory that Legion IX was destroyed in Palestine is also questionable. Strange indeed, Roman did not write down the reason why thousands of soldiers in Force IX suddenly disappeared as if swallowed by the earth.

The number of soldiers in the Legion IX army was not small, there were about 5,400 people. Why they suddenly disappeared, until now we can only wonder.

The Mystery Story of the Army of King Cambyses II of Persia

The case of the disappearance of troops that is far more exciting than the case above is the disappearance of the Persian army envoy King Cambyses II in 542 BC, or about 600 years before Legion IX disappeared without a trace. Unmitigated about 50,000 people disappeared in a desert in Egypt.

At that time the fateful story of this army was recorded by an ancient Greek historian named Herodotus. He wrote about King Cambyses II who was the eldest son of King Cyrus the Great, the famous king of Mesopotamia.

King Cambyses at that time wanted to expand his territory by invading Egypt in 525 BC. He managed to defeat the Pharaoh of Egypt, Psamtik III. After conquering the city of Memphis south of Cairo, he then captured the city of Thebes which is now known as Luxor.

After his conquest, the king wanted him to be appointed as the new Pharaoh. But the request was flatly rejected by the Egyptian religious leaders who were called by the name of the Oracle of fortune-tellers who worshiped the city of the god Ammon, the sun god.

They did not want to ordain a king who came from outside Egypt as Pharaoh. The refusal caused great anger for the angry king and sent his troops to attack the fortune-tellers.

At that time the king was on his way to conquer Ethiopia so he could not participate in the army. But he sent about 50,000 soldiers to destroy the temple of the god Ammon, where the fortune tellers were, in the city of Shiva which is located in an oasis near the city of Thebes.

The journey is estimated to cover a distance of about 800 km through the desert. According to a logical explanation, the troops disappeared because they were unable to adapt to the extremely hot desert conditions.

Even though the soldiers are tough people but if we calculate it mathematically, they need about 3 liters of water per day to last the journey.

If they walked about 5 km per hour and 10 hours per day, it would take them about 20 days to reach their destination. Let's say that during that time they need 3 liters of water per day, then 50,000 people need 4,500 tons of water which they can't carry along the journey.

Moreover, most of the soldiers are of Persian descent who may still be unfamiliar with the desert conditions in Egypt. Not to mention they have crossed a sea of ​​sand called the Great Sand Sea which stretches from Egypt to Libya.

There is also a supernatural explanation that the loss of the army was not due to thirst and hunger, but to the curse of an ancient Egyptian god.

In his treatise Herodotus mentions that King Cambyses II was a king who was too proud that when he ruled Egypt, he tried to abuse the Egyptian people by killing a cow which was considered sacred to the god Apis. Yet the cow was so revered as God's pet that no one dared to harm it.

And it is said that this arrogant deed was repaid by the ancient Egyptian gods by eliminating the troops sent by the king in a sandstorm that swallowed them alive.

Was it really the loss of this army due to natural causes or due to a god's curse? What is clear is that until now no one knows the whereabouts of the 50,000 soldiers.

That's my discussion this time about The dark story of the disappearance of Legio IX Hispana and the army of King Cambyses II.