Roman fleets in the black sea: Mysteries of the classis pontica


Conference Paper

The paper sketches what is known of the classis Pontica from its establishment in 64 with the annexation of Pontus until its disappearance in the 3rd century, when a Roman naval presence in the eastern Euxine vanishes. Trajan probably transferred the fleet's base from Trapezus to Sinope in conjunction with preparations for his Parthian war (114-17). The classis Pontica became the only praetorian fleet stationed in the Euxine. Its title Severiana may reflect distinguished service against Pescennius Niger in 193-194. As Josephus (BJ 2.366- 67) erroneously transferred Euxine piracy of the Augustan era into a late Neronian context, changes in the defensive arrangements for eastern Anatolia, not piracy, motivated the fleet's creation. Josephus' 3000 hoplites pacifying the Euxine are a misinterpretation of a legionary vexillation that suppressed Anicetus' revolt in 69.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wheeler, EL

Published Date

  • December 1, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 55 /

Start / End Page

  • 119 - 154

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0065-1141

Citation Source

  • Scopus