Glasgow Archaeological Society   [Hrsg.]
The Antonine Wall report: being an account of excavations, etc., made under the direction of the Glasgow Archæological Society during 1890 - 93 — Glasgow, 1899

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THE ANTONINE WALL REPORT.

155

soon after a.d. 162, while a diploma further shows its presence somewhere
in Britain in a.d. 124. This completes its known history, but its origin can
be stated with much probability. Syria, we know, provided all the bowmen
of the Roman army during the first three centuries of our era, save a small
contingent from Thrace, and the dedication Deae Suriae mentioned above,
and some other traces of Syrian worships at Carvoran (C.I.L., vii. 752, 759)
strongly suggest that our Hamii were Syrian.1 It has even been conjectured
that they were called after "Hama," a supposed native name of Apamea on
the Orontes, but that name is a mistake.2 Nothing is recorded about other
cohorts of Hamii, except that a cohors ii. Amiorum is once mentioned vaguely
on an African inscription. The army list of the empire is known to us only
through chance and isolated notices of troops, and though we can discern
the broad outlines of military organisation, many details are still obscure,
and some, perhaps, will never be adequately ascertained.

I think, however, that with the aid of judicious conjecture more light may
be thrown on the history of this cohort. The Notitia Dignitatem places the
Cohors ii. Delmatarwm in garrison at Carvoran, and the name of that regiment
has been detected—not with entire certainty—on a Carvoran dedication
deo Veteri,. which, like other similar dedications, belongs probably to the
third or fourth century. It has been usually assumed that this cohort
garrisoned Carvoran from the first, and certainly the garrisons assigned by
the Notitia to certain other forts on the wall seem to have been placed in
those forts by Hadrian-. But the appearance of the Hamii suggests a different
possibility. I venture to conjecture that the Hamii garrisoned Carvoran in
the second century, but they were afterwards removed or perhaps annihilated
in one of the many frontier wars and revolts which troubled Britain during
the latter half of that century,3 and the Cohors ii. Dclmatarum came to fill
their place. This conjecture, I think, agrees with all the conditions and
probabilities of the case.

Stuart (Caledonia Romana, p. 339, ed. 2) puts them on the Elbe, which is not
possible. Much (Deutsche Stammsitze, p. 149) brings them from the Lower
Rhine, connecting the name with " Chamavus," &c. But there were no German
bowmen in the Roman army before Diocletian, and the phonetic connection
between "Chamavus" and "Hamius" is (as Prof. Napier tells me) not at all
probable.

2 Dr. Driver, Regius Professor of Hebrew in the University of Oxford, writes
to me that " Hama " is not an old name of Apamea, but a separate town near it,
often mentioned in the Old Testament as Hamath, known to the Romans as
Epiphaneia and still called Hama, " th " being dropped in the modern Arabic
pronunciation. The Gentile adjective meaning "men of Hamath" would have
the "th" in antiquity, and so appears in the Vulgate Amathaei (Gen. x. 18), in
Maec. I., xii. 25, i] 'A/tadiris x"Pa> and Josephus I., vi. 2, 'A/xaB-q. Hamath cannot
therefore be the place after which the Hamii were called.

3 A Humerus militum Syrorum Sagittariorum may perhaps he mentioned on a
badly recorded inscription from Kirkby Thore (Cumberland) of the third ccntairy
or possibly of a later date (Ephemeris Epigraphica, vii. 957, p. 307), and the
Notitia mentions some " Equites Syri" as belonging to the British field army in
the fourth century. But these can hardly be identical with our Hamii.
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