Legio I Italica
Legio Prima Italica: the epithet Italica is a reference to the Italian origin of its first recruits) was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded by emperor Nero on September 22, 66. There are still records of the I Italica on the Danube border at the beginning of the 5th century; the emblem of the legion was a boar. In the aftermath of the Roman–Parthian War of 58–63, Emperor Nero levied the I Italica with the name phalanx Alexandri Magni, for a campaign in Armenia, ad portas Caspias - to the pass of Chawar; the sources mention the peculiar fact that the original legionaries were Italics, all over six feet tall. However, since the Jewish Revolt broke out a few weeks the projected Armenian campaign never took place; the governor of Gaul, Gaius Julius Vindex, rose in revolt in early 68 and I Italica was redirected there, arriving just in time to see the end of the revolt. In the Year of the Four Emperors, after the death of Nero, the legion received the name I Italica and fought for Vitellius at the second Battle of Bedriacum, where the Vitellians were defeated by forces supporting Vespasian.
The new emperor sent I Italica to the province of Moesia in 70. They encamped at Novae; the legion served on campaign during the Dacian wars of Trajan. The legion was responsible for bridge construction over the Danube. Building activities seem to have been an area of expertise for the legion. On 3 December 1969 a Roman votive altar was found at Old Kilpatrick on the Antonine Wall dating from around 140 A. D, it has been scanned and a video produced. The inscription mentions the First Cohort of Baetasians known to have been at Bar Hill, Julius Candidus, a centurion from I Italica. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Legio I Italica was involved in the wars against the Germanic tribes that threatened to cross the Danube. After a long war, the Romans had conquered much territory on the left side of the Danube. There Marcus Aurelius had intended to form a new province under governor Aulus Julius Pompilius Piso, commander of I Italica and IV Flavia Felix, but the revolt of Avidius Cassius in the East prevented the formation of the new province.
In 193, the Governor of Pannonia Superior, Septimius Severus moved to Italia. I Italica did not move to Italy; the legion fought against Severus' rival, Pescennius Niger, besieging Byzantium together with XI Claudia, fighting at Issus. The First took part in the Parthian campaign of Severus. In the 3rd century, during the rule of Caracalla, the legion participated in the construction of the Limes Transalutanus, a defensive wall along the Danube, which began near Novae. Under Alexander Severus, some vexillationes of the I Italica moved to Salonae, guarding the Dalmatian coast. Capidava List of Roman legions livius.org account of Legio I Italica Legio I Italica - reenactment group
Legio IV Flavia Felix
Legio quarta Flavia Felix, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in AD 70 by the emperor Vespasian from the cadre of the disbanded Legio IV Macedonica. The legion was active in Moesia Superior in the first half of the 5th century; the legion symbol was a lion. During the Batavian rebellion, the IV Macedonica fought for Vespasian, but the emperor distrusted his men because they had supported Vitellius two years before; therefore IV Macedonica was disbanded, a new Fourth legion, called Flavian Felix was levied by the emperor, who gave the legio his nomen, Flavia. Since the symbol of the legion is a lion, it was levied in July/August 70. IV Flavia Felix was camped in Burnum, where it replaced XI Claudia. After the Dacian invasion of 86, Domitian moved the legion to Moesia Superior, in Singidunum, although there is some evidence of the presence of this legion, of one of its vexillationes in Viminacium, base of VII Claudia. In 88 the Fourth participated to the retaliation invasion of Dacia.
It participated in the Dacian Wars of Trajan, being victorious at the Second Battle of Tapae. The legion participated at the final and decisive battle against the Dacians, conquering their capital, Sarmisegetusa. Monuments of IV Flavia Felix have been found at Aquincum; this suggests that a subunit replaced II Adiutrix during its absence during the wars of Lucius Verus against the Parthian empire. In the Marcomannic Wars, the fourth fought on the Danube against the Germanic tribes. After the death of Pertinax, the IV Flavia Felix supported Septimius Severus against usurpers Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus; the legion may have fought in one of the several wars against the Sassanids, but stayed in Moesia Superior until the first half of the 5th century. This Roman Legion was featured in the beginning of the movie Gladiator where Maximus Decimus Meridius was the Legion general, leading the campaign in Germania against the Marcomanni. List of Roman legions Roman legion Legio IIII Macedonica livius.org account of Legio IIII Flavia Felix Reenactment Legion based in Southern Ontario, Canada portraying IIII Flavia Felix
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about 166 until 180 AD. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against, the Germanic Marcomanni and Quadi and the Sarmatian Iazyges; the struggle against the Germans and Sarmatians occupied the major part of the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, it was during his campaigns against them that he started writing his philosophical work Meditations, whose book 1 bears the note "Among the Quadi at the Granua". During the years succeeding the rule of Antoninus Pius, the Roman Empire began to be attacked on all sides. A war with Parthia lasted from 161 to 166 and, although it ended its unforeseen consequences for the Empire were great; the returning troops brought with them a plague, which would kill an estimated 5 million people weakening the Empire. At the same time, in Central Europe, the first movements of the Great Migrations were occurring, as the Goths began moving south-east from their ancestral lands at the mouth of River Vistula, putting pressure on the Germanic tribes from the north and east.
As a result, Germanic tribes and other nomadic peoples launched raids south and west across Rome's northern border into Gaul and across the Danube. Beginning in 162 and continuing until 165, an invasion of Chatti and Chauci in the provinces of Raetia and Germania Superior was repulsed. In late 166 or early 167, a force of 6,000 Langobardi and Lacringi invaded Pannonia; this invasion was defeated by local forces with relative ease, but they marked the beginning of what was to come. In their aftermath, the military governor of Pannonia, Marcus Iallius Bassus, initiated negotiations with 11 tribes. In these negotiations, the Marcomannic king Ballomar, a Roman client, acted as a mediator. In the event, a truce was agreed upon and the tribes withdrew from Roman territory, but no permanent agreement was reached. In the same year and the Sarmatian Iazyges invaded Dacia, succeeded in killing its governor, Calpurnius Proculus. To counter them, Legio V Macedonica, a veteran of the Parthian campaign, was moved from Moesia Inferior to Dacia Superior, closer to the enemy.
During that time, as plague was ravaging the empire, Marcus Aurelius was unable to do more, the punitive expedition he was planning to lead in person was postponed until 168. In the spring of that year, Marcus Aurelius, together with Lucius Verus, set forth from Rome, established their headquarters at Aquileia; the two emperors supervised a reorganization of the defences of Italy and the Illyricum, raised two new legions, Legio II Italica and Legio III Italica, crossed the Alps into Pannonia. The Marcomanni and the Victuali had crossed the Danube into the province, but, at least according to the Historia Augusta, the approach of the imperial army to Carnuntum was sufficient to persuade them to withdraw and offer assurances of good conduct; the two emperors returned to Aquileia for the winter, but on the way, in January 169, Lucius Verus died. Marcus returned to Rome to oversee his co-emperor's funeral. In the autumn of 169, Marcus set out from Rome, together with his son-in-law Claudius Pompeianus, who would become his closest aide during the war.
The Romans had gathered their forces and intended to subdue the independent tribes, who lived between the Danube and the Roman province of Dacia. The Iazyges killed Claudius Fronto, Roman governor of Lower Moesia. However, while the Roman army was entangled in this campaign, making little headway, several tribes used the opportunity to cross the frontier and raid Roman territory. To the east, the Costoboci crossed the Danube, ravaged Thrace and descended into the Balkans, reaching Eleusis, near Athens, where they destroyed the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries; the most important and dangerous invasion, was that of the Marcomanni in the west. Their leader, had formed a coalition of Germanic tribes, they crossed the Danube and won a decisive victory over a force of 20,000 Roman soldiers near Carnuntum, in what is sometimes known the Battle of Carnuntum. Ballomar led the larger part of his host southwards towards Italy, while the remainder ravaged Noricum; the Marcomanni razed besieged Aquileia.
This was the first time that hostile forces had entered Italy since 101 BC, when Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri. The army of praetorian prefect Titus Furius Victorinus tried to relieve the city, but was defeated and its general slain. There is no consensus amongst scholars as to the year that the great Gemanic invasion towards Aquileia took place. Several authors, like Marcus Aurelius' biographer Frank McLynn, accepting the date of defeat near Carnuntum as 170, place the great Germanic invasion itself three years earlier, they maintain it happened in 167 because by the year 170 the Germans would have been checked by the Praetentura Italiae et Alpium—the fortifications which were erected in 168–169 to block a breakthrough of the Alps to Northern Italy – whereas all sources confirm it to be a military walkover. A further argument is that the panic which gripped Rome in 167–168 would make no sense if the Germanic tribes were still on the opposite side of the Danube. No source mentions the emperor being near the front when the disaster occurred, whereas
Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
Septimius Severus known as Severus, was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa; as a young man he advanced through the cursus honorum—the customary succession of offices—under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the Roman generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia; that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul. After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris.
He enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202 he campaigned in Mauretania against the Garamantes, he proclaimed as Augusti his elder son Caracalla in 198 and his younger son Geta in 209. In 208 he travelled to Britain, reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In the same year he invaded Caledonia, but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill of an infectious disease, in late 210. Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum, was succeeded by his sons, thus founding the Severan dynasty, it was the last dynasty of the Roman Empire before the Crisis of the Third Century. Born on 11 April 145 at Leptis Magna as the son of Publius Septimius Geta and Fulvia Pia, Septimius Severus came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank, he had Italian Roman ancestry on his mother's side and descended from Punic – and also Libyan – forebears on his father's side. Severus' father, an obscure provincial, held no major political status, but he had two cousins, Publius Septimius Aper and Gaius Septimius Severus, who served as consuls under the emperor Antoninus Pius r.
138–161. His mother's ancestors had moved from Italy to North Africa. Septimius Severus had two siblings: Publius Septimius Geta. Severus's maternal cousin was consul Gaius Fulvius Plautianus. Septimius Severus grew up in Leptis Magna, he spoke the local Punic language fluently, but he was educated in Latin and Greek, which he spoke with a slight accent. Little else is known of the young Severus' education but, according to Cassius Dio, the boy had been eager for more education than he had got. Severus received lessons in oratory: at age 17 he gave his first public speech. Around 162 Septimius Severus sought a public career in Rome. At the recommendation of his relative Gaius Septimius Severus, Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted him entry into the senatorial ranks. Membership in the senatorial order was a prerequisite to attain positions within the cursus honorum and to gain entry into the Roman Senate, it appears that Severus' career during the 160s met with some difficulties. It is that he served as a vigintivir in Rome, overseeing road maintenance in or near the city, he may have appeared in court as an advocate.
At the time of Marcus Aurelius he was the State Attorney. However, he omitted the military tribunate from the cursus honorum and had to delay his quaestorship until he had reached the required minimum age of 25. To make matters worse, the Antonine Plague swept through the capital in 166. With his career at a halt, Severus decided to temporarily return to Leptis, where the climate was healthier. According to the Historia Augusta, a unreliable source, he was prosecuted for adultery during this time but the case was dismissed. At the end of 169 Severus journeyed back to Rome. On 5 December, he took office and was enrolled in the Roman Senate. Between 170 and 180 his activities went unrecorded, in spite of the fact that he occupied an impressive number of posts in quick succession; the Antonine Plague had thinned the senatorial ranks and, with capable men now in short supply, Severus' career advanced more than it otherwise might have. The sudden death of his father necessitated another return to Leptis Magna to settle family affairs.
Before he was able to leave Africa, Mauri tribesmen invaded southern Spain. Control of the province was handed over to the Emperor, while the Senate gained temporary control of Sardinia as compensation. Thus, Septimius Severus spent the remainder of his second term as quaestor on the island of Sardinia. In 173 Severus' kinsman Gaius Septimius Severus was appointed proconsul of the Province of Africa; the elder Severus chose his cousin as one of his two legati pro praetore, a senior military appointment. Following the end of this term, Septimius Severus returned to Rome, taking up office as tribune of the plebs, a senior legislative position, with the distinction of being the candidatus of the emperor. About 175, Septimius Severus, in his early thirties at the time, contracted his first marriage, to Paccia Marciana, a woman from Leptis Magna, he met her during his tenure as legate under his uncle. Marciana's name suggests Punic or Libyan origin, but nothing else is
Legio I Minervia
Legio I Minervia was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in AD 82 by emperor Domitian, for his campaign against the Germanic tribe of the Chatti. Its cognomen refers to the legion's protector. There are still records of the I Minervia in the Rhine border region in the middle of the 4th century; the legion's emblem is an image of goddess Minerva. Legio I Minervia first, main, camp was in the city of Bonna, in the province of Germania Inferior. In 89, they suppressed a revolt of the governor of Germania Superior. Due to this, Domitian gave them the cognomen Pia Fidelis Domitiana. Between 101 and 106, the legion fought the Dacian Wars of emperor Trajan, commanded by Hadrian, the future emperor; the emblem with Minerva figure appears on the column of Trajan in Rome, along with symbols of other legions. After this war, I Minervia returned to its home city of Bonna. Together with XXX Ulpia Victrix, stationed close by in Castra Vetera II, they worked in numerous military and building activities extracting stone from quarries.
Although it belonged to the Germanic army and Bonn was its camp, vexillationes of the legion were allocated in different parts of the Empire: 162–166 war against the Parthian Empire, commanded by emperor Lucius Verus 166–175 and 178–180 war against the Marcomanni, commanded by emperor Marcus Aurelius 173 campaign against the Chauci of Gallia Belgica, commanded by governor Didius Julianus 198–211 garrison of the city of Lugdunum, capital of GalliaDuring the civil wars of the late 2nd and 3rd century, I Minervia supported the following emperors: Septimius Severus Elagabalus Alexander Severus the Gallic Empire, that existed between 260 and 274Around 353, Bonna was destroyed by the Franks, I Minervia disappears from the sources. However, there is no reference to its destruction. List of Roman legions Roman legion livius.org account for Legio I Minervia Legio I Minervia Pia Fidelis, German re-enactment group, German re-enactment group, reenacting not only the Legio I Minervia
Legio III Cyrenaica
Legio tertia Cyrenaica was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. The origins of the legion remain unknown. One source believes the legion was founded by Mark Antony around 36 BC, when he was governor of Cyrenaica; the legion's origins may come from the fact it was commanded by Lucius Pinaris Scarpus, an ally of Mark Antony whom Antony appointed to be governor of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya. There are still records of the legion in Syria in the beginning of the 5th century; the legion symbol is unknown. Legion III Cyrenaica was one of the longest-living Roman legions; the origin of the title/name Cyrenaica is not known - it may have been given to the Legion to signify its origin in Cyrene, or to signify a major victory or for notable action in that province. Difficulties tracing the history of any Roman legion, including III Cyrenaica, are multiple. Firstly, contemporary historians agree. Secondly, when discussing Roman legions, there is confusion—especially after Augustus became Caesar until the end of the empire some 500 years later—caused by the Roman habit of numbering several legions over successive centuries as "III Legion".
Distinguishing between the legions is only done via regional title such as III Cyrenaica etc. To illustrate the confusion this causes, authoritative sources list that in AD 20, just in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, there is a Legio III Augusta stationed in Africa, a Legio III Cyrenaica in Egypt and a Legio III Gallica in Syria. Legio III Cyrenaica may have been stationed in Alexandria, sharing a'double-fortress' with Legio XXII Deiotariana, where it may have stayed for about one hundred years before re-locating to Bostra, Syria. However, the Roman habit of sending vexillations from parent legions to be assigned to campaigns, these assignments lasting several years complicates making absolute statements regarding which legions fought in any specific location. Furthermore, in the case of the list below, just how long III Cyrenaica may have served with XXII Deiotariana as the garrison of Egypt is unclear. In the Parthian campaigns, which of those legions bearing the designation III served in Parthia is difficult to ascertain (sources credit at least three.
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, is known to have received vexillations from the Egypt garrison, but the identity of the legions supplying the vexillations is unclear. In AD 215, during the reign of the emperor Caracalla, Legio III Parthica is listed as assigned to Mesopotamia, Legio III Gallica as garrisoning Syria, Legio III Augusta as assigned to North Africa, whilst Legio III Cyrenaica is listed as assigned to Arabia Petraea. Emperor Septimius Severus in AD 197 is known to have raised three legions–I, II and III Parthica—for service in the east, leaving Legio II Parthica in Rome, but taking the other two legions with him on his Parthian campaign. From c. AD 140 to AD 395, Legio III Cyrenaica is known to have been garrisoned at Bosra in southern modern-day Syria, east of the Sea of Galilee; the following is a list of campaigns and actions thought to have been seen by Legion III Cyrenaica during much of its existence: 35 BC - Leg. III is formed by Mark Antony or Lepidus in Cyrene. At this time, Legions still hold to the Republic tradition of being numbered in order of their creation, so this may have been the third Legion that had established and had under his direct command and loyalty.
31 BC - - Either before or after Anthony and Cleopatra are defeated by Octavian, it is thought soldiers of Leg. III Cyrenaica defect from Anthony and claim allegiance to Octavian - who spares the Legion from being disbanded. 26 - 25 BC - Action in Arabia Felix, commanded by Aelius Gallus, Prefect of Egypt. 23 BC - Action against Nubian invaders, Elements of III stationed in Thebes, Egypt. 23 BC - Roman military presence in Egypt is reduced to 2 Legions: III Cyrenaica and XXII Deiotariana. Which other Legions, or how many there were, is not known. AD 7 - 11 - Suggested time period that the double-fortress at Nikopolis is established. AD 11 - Elements of Leg III under command of Publius Juventius Rufus, stationed in Berenike. AD 39 / 40 - A detachment of Leg III was sent up to the northern coast of Gaul to assist Emperor Caligula's legions with his rather unimpressive invasion of Britain. III was used as a logistics and supplies organizer for the invasion / landing force. AD 58 - 63 - Under the command of Gn.
Domitius Corbulo, elements of III saw action in the Parthian frontier. AD 66 - 70 - The First Jewish–Roman War. An uprising of Jews starts in Alexandria, spreads to Judea. Elements of III and XXII fought their way to Jerusalem, with the assistance of several other legion and allied forces surrounded and besieged the city, led by Vespasian, Proconsul of Africa. AD 69 - "Year of the Four Emperors". Factions led by Galba and Vitellius all tried to seize control of Rome after the death of Nero; these factions, who had no aristocratic claim to the throne, all tried to take control one after