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Dick Osseman | all galleries >> Kizkalesi >> Kızkalesi to Ayas > Kizkalesi and Ayas December 2011 1195.jpg
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13-DEC-2011

Kizkalesi and Ayas December 2011 1195.jpg

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The documents related to the Cilicians militating in the Roman army are several, but the sources speak also of stationarii, i.e. garrisons troops recruited in the Province. As one of the so-called provinciae inermes it is probable that Cilicia required a permanent garrison of no more than one full auxiliary regiment, probably the Cohors VI Hispanorum stationed at Tarsus, at least for the 1st century AD. At the same time, however, there were additional stationarii defending outposts to police strategic roads, harbours and frontiers. The need to protect the latter, for example, probably accounts for a stationarius posted at Artanada. It it highly probable that the military stelae engraved on the rocks in various locations of the territory, like Adamkalayar, Veyselli, Çanakçı, Kizkalesi are representing such soldiers. We are in front of official representations of Roman soldiers, presumably of second century AD: the general trend is that all of them are in military uniform but unarmoured, although the weapons are well visible.
Their main weapon is a light javelin, the akontion, while the sword – usually short – is invariably worn on the left side, through a baldric passing on the right shoulder. The shape of the sword is that of a gladius hispaniensis, of Pompeii typology, closed in his scabbard perfectly represented, although we cannot exclude local variants. The military tunic is closed on the waist by a knotted sash or cloth belt, and some warriors dress the military cloak (sagum). At least in one occasion the cloak is substituted by an animal skin worn on the left shoulder. Some of warriors are wearing a battle axe: this could suggest their employment as marine troops, but this it is just a hypothesis. A bearded soldier is wearing a strong javelin in his right hand, and it anticipates the Isaurian mountaineers of the Justinian’s army. The shoes are invariably short boots, very similar to the cavalry boots of second century found in the Egyptian fortress of Dydimoi. All the stelae are still in loco, except two, kept in the Mersin and Adana Archaeological Museums.

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