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Roman Legions

The Overview section of the Family Tree DNA project “E-V13 … Balkan/Swiss/UK” suggests E-V13 is linked to the movements of Roman “auxiliary troop” recruited in the Balkans. Perhaps, but not only auxiliary troops were recruited from this area. This reference may reflect the historic status of auxiliary troops as those recruited from outside the empire. By the second century however, the empire had spread well beyond Italy with residents of such areas generally holding Roman citizenship and eligible for recruitment in the legions as opposed to the auxiliary units. This was true of much of the western coast of the Balkans, whose population was generally referred to as Illyrian’s. “By the 2nd century, with roughly half the Roman army deployed on the Danube frontier, the auxilia and legions alike were dominated by Illyrian recruits.” Not only citizen legionnaires but many of the emperors from this time were from this region.

In our “Legions” article we refer to recruitment by the Roman Legions. The migration under discussion related to Y-DNA from the Balkans into areas of Western Europe would have include soldiers, governing officials, cooks, carpenters and anyone else involved, in uniform or out of uniform, whether slave, freeman or citizen. We do not wish to imply that the recruits carrying our Y-DNA were necessarily citizen legionnaires or even fighting troops of the auxiliaries, just that they might have been recruited in association with the Roman Legions.

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