- Phillipe Wamba
According to Christian legend, Saint Maurice (Saint Maurice d'Agaune), the first Christian saint to be explicitly represented as an African, was a primicerius (a high-ranking officer) in the Roman army whose legion was massacred by the Romans in the late third century for refusing to participate in a pagan ritual.
Maurice and his legion, all baptized Christians, were recruited for military service in Thebaid, an Egyptian province on the upper Nile (near the present-day border between Egypt and Sudan). Thebaid, with its capital at Thebes, was the southernmost region of the Roman Empire, then ruled by co-emperors Diocletian and Maximian.
In 287 Maximian commander of the Roman army in Gaul led his troops which included Maurice s legion in a military campaign against insurgents in Gaul On the eve of battle the army camped at Octodurum in what is now Martigny Switzerland and Maximian ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.