Classis Misenensis in the Atlantic?

Sep 2015
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ireland
The career of Lucius Artorius Castus is reasonably well documented in epigraphy. Having served as centurion in four different legions, he was given command of the Fleet of Misenum. His next post was as prefect of the VI Victrix, almost certainly in Britain. However after this things get complicated. He appears to have commanded two British legions ADVERSVS ARM[....]S. Littleton and Malcor proposed that Castus was the foundation King Arthur and that ARM[....]S was ARMORICANOS, implying that Castus campaigned in Gaul with two legions. Recently, Linda Malcor has changed her mind and now suggests ARM[....]S is ARMATOS i.e. armed men. Presumably the implication here is that Castus led a Roman army to defeat an uprising in Britain. She also suggests that Castus commanded a significant Sarmation contingent in Britain after 175. Marcus Aurelius transferred 5500 Sarmations to Britain that year. The theory goes that Sarmation traditions are evident in Arthurian legend.

An alternative interpretation is that Castus was in Britain in 161 and that ARM[....]S is ARMENIOS. Therefore Castus probably commanded detachments of two British legions in Armenia in 163. Statius Priscus, as governor of Cappadocia, led the successful Roman assault on Armenia. He had been governor of Britain in 161. So might it be possible that Castus commandeered the Misenum fleet to Britain to transfer Priscus and Roman military personnel from Britain to the eastern Med? Were Misenum ships equipped for dealing with the north Atlantic and is there any evidence that they had ever sailed as far north as Gaul or Britain. The Misenum fleet primarily patrolled the western Med. However some of its triremes are known to have been harboured close to the mouth of the Orontes in 166. Lucius Verus appears to have initially at least, organised the Parthian campaign from Antioch.
 
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