In AD383, according to Bishop Eucherius of Lyon, flooding caused part of the bank of the River Rhone to collapse, revealing a massed grave of thousands of bodies. Eucherius identified these as a legion recruited for the Roman army from the Christians of the Theban district in Egypt, whom he claimed had been massacred nearly a century previously (near the modern village of St Maurice-en-Valais in southwestern Switzerland) for refusing to obey orders they considered immoral. This incident, asserted by Eucherius as matter of fact, is unrecorded elsewhere. Even the existence of this Theban legion is unclear. Intrigued by this discrepancy, and suspecting a cover-up by official Roman sources, Dr Donald Reilly has spent many years undertaking some historical detective work. Piecing together scattered clues from ancient coins, inscriptions and obscure texts he identifies the The ban legion as fact and sheds light on their fate. In the process he paints a powerful portrait of an empire in turmoil, beset by external enemies and riven by religious and moral uncertainties within
LOST LEGION REDISCOVERED The Mystery of the The Ban Legion
In 383, wrote Bishop Eucherius of Lyons, flooding caused a section of bank on the Rhine to collapse, revealing a mass grave of bodies of Christian soldiers from Thebes in Egypt, massacred a century previously during the persecutions of Diocletian. The martyrs have entered church legend, but modern history has always regarded the incident as without foundation.
In this book Donald O’Reilly begs to differ, claiming evidence for the existence of such a unit and indeed for its presence in the area at the time of the persecutions and beyond, even to the remaining soldiers’ presence in the army of Constantine at the Milvian Bridge.