Legio II Augusta

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Legio II Augusta
Roman Empire 125.png
Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO II AUGUSTA, stationed at Isca Silurum (Caerleon, Wales), in Britannia province, from AD 74 to at least 269
Active43 BC to sometime in the 4th century AD
Country Roman Republic and Roman Empire
Type Roman legion (Marian)
RoleInfantry assault (some cavalry support)
SizeVaried over unit lifetime. Approx. 3,500 fighting men + support at the time of creation.
Garrison/HQ
Nickname(s)
  • Augusta, "Augustan" under Augustus
  • Antonina, "Antoninian" under Caracalla or Elagabalus
Patron Augustus
Mascot(s) Capricornus, in its sea-goat form the astrological sign of II Augusta's patron, Augustus
Engagements
Commanders
Notable
commanders

Legio II Augusta ("Augustus' Second Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army that was founded during the late Roman republic. Its emblems were the Capricornus, [1] Pegasus, [2] and Mars. It may have taken the name "Augusta" from a victory or reorganization that occurred during the reign of Augustus. [3]

Contents

One of the emblems used was the Capricornus Caerleon plaque2.JPG
One of the emblems used was the Capricornus

In Republican service

The Legio II, Sabina was a Roman military unit of the late Republican era, which may have been formed by Julius Caesar in the year of the consulate of 48 BC and coincide, in this case, with the Legio II. Enlisted to fight against Pompey, they took part in the subsequent Battle of Munda of 45 BC.

Alternatively it could be the Legio II, formed by the consul, Gaius Vibius Pansa in 43 BC and recruited in Sabina, hence its nickname. [4] If this theory is true, than it probably participated in the subsequent battle of Philippi of 42 BC on the side of the triumvirate, Octavian and Marc Antony. [5]

After the defeat of the Republicans, Legio II swore allegiance to Octavian [6] and with the same remained until the battle of Actium of 31 BC, [7] after which it seems to have been dissolved in the years between 30 and 14 BC (sent on leave were between 105,000 and 120,000 veterans) [8] and some of its soldiers may have been integrated into the new Legio II Augusta. [6]

In Imperial service

Hispania

At the beginning of Augustus' rule, in 26 BC, [3] this legion was relocated to a place north of Hispania Tarraconensis, to fight in the Cantabrian Wars. [9] This war would definitively established Roman power in Hispania. While the legion was in Hispania, they along with the Legio I Germanica helped build the Colonia Acci. [9] They also constructed the city of Cartenna. [3]

Germania and Gaul

With the annihilation of several legions at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the Legio II Augusta moved to Germania, possibly in the area of Moguntiacum. While in Germania, during the 15 AD the Legion would participate in the campaigns of Germanicus against the Germanic tribes. [9] [3] After Germanicus was recalled the Legion was stationed at Argentoratun. [9] On its way back from Germania, the legion was drenched in heavy rain and harassed by heavy storms. [3] After Julius Sacrovir and Julius Florus revolted against the Roman Empire in Gaul, the Legio II Augusta, under the command of Gaius Silius would help put down the revolt. [9] [3]

Britain

Invasion of Britannia and Boudica's revolt

The legion was one of the four legions used during Claudius's invasion of Britannia. [9] The commander of the Legion at the time was Vespasian. He led the campaign against the Durotriges and Dumnonii tribes. During the campaign the Legion marched across the south of Britain, fighting many battles against the local tribes. [3]

The Legion was first stationed at Alchester and in 49 AD it was moved to Waddon Hill. [9] From 55 it was based at Exeter [10] and from 66 it was possibly at Glevum. [11]

During the uprising of queen Boudica, when its praefectus castrorum Poenius Postumus, who was then its acting commander, most likely because its legatus and tribunes probably being absent with the governor Suetonius Paulinus, contravened Suetonius' orders to join him and so later committed suicide. [9]

Year of the Four Emperors

In 69 CE, duing the Year of Four the Emperors, a vexillation of the Legio II Augusta sided with emperor Otho. [3] After Otho was defeated the vexillation switched sides and served Vitellius. [9] This vexillation possibly took part in Vetellius's march on Rome, and fought in the battle at Cremona against the legions of Otho. [9] Later these soldiers were defeated by those of Vespasian and returned to Britain in 70. It is possible that the main body of the legion had always been loyal towards Vespasian. [9]

Continued service in Britain

Julius Frontinus, the governor of Britain from 74-78 ordered several campaigns against the Silures tribe [3] and during the war the fortress of Caerleon in Wales was constructed where from 75 the legion was based. [9] The Legion remained there, even during Agricola's term as governor of Britain. Although, several vexillations of the Legio II Augusta fought in the Battle of Mons Graupius. [3]

In 139 the Legion helped build the short lived Antonine Wall. [9] During the years 155 and 158 a revolt spread across Britain, the Legio II Augusta was one of those that fought against the revolt. [9] The legions in Britain suffered greatly, causing reinforcements from the Germanic provinces to be brought over. [9]

In 196 Decimus Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain, declared himself emperor and the Legio II Augusta supported his claim. [9] The legions were defeated by the current emperor, Septimus Severus. Although, while the legions were absent from Britain, the province was overrun with Pictish tribes. [9] Emperor Severus attempted to conquer Scotland in order to stop the tribes, while Severus was fighting the Picts, Legio II Augusta was stationed at a fort near Carpow. [9] It is unknown when, but the II Augusta received the surname Antonina, which meant that the soldiers were particularly dear to the emperor. This happened either under Caracalla or Heliogabalus, [9]

During Severus Alexanders reign as emperor of Rome, the conquests in Scotland were given up and the Second Legion returned to Caerleon. [9] The legion was still there in 255. [9] The last known mention of the Legion was the Notitia Dignitatum which places the Legion at Richborough, suggesting Caerleon was abandoned. [3]

Romanwallinscotl00macduoft raw 0377CarleithNo7.png
RIB 2203. Distance Slab of the Second Legion found near Duntocher. [12] George MacDonald calls in no. 12 in the 2nd edition of his book The Roman Wall in Scotland. [13] It has been scanned and a video produced. [14]
Romanwallinscotl00macduoft raw 0371Cochno2.png
RIB 2204. Distance Slab of the Second Legion [15] George MacDonald calls in no. 14 in the 2nd edition of his book The Roman Wall in Scotland. [16] It has been scanned and a video produced. [17]
Funerary stele of legionnaire Caius Largennius of the Legio II Augusta, found in Strasbourg (district of Koenigshoffen)
(Musee archeologique de Strasbourg) Stele-Legio II Augusta-Strasbourg.jpg
Funerary stele of legionnaire Caius Largennius of the Legio II Augusta, found in Strasbourg (district of Kœnigshoffen)
(Musée archéologique de Strasbourg)

Attested members

NameRankTime frameProvinceSoldier located inVeteran located inSource
Caius Largennius milesGermaniaArgentoratum ? Argentoratum Koenigshoffen Stele de Largennius.jpg
Lucius Antistius Rusticus tribunusc. 69Britannia AE 1925, 126
Gnaeus Julius Agricola tribunusBritannia
Gaius Fabius Agrippinus tribunusbefore 140Britannia AE 1955, 174
Publius Septimius Geta tribunusc. 170sBritannia
Iulius Marcellinus [18] centurio [18] Britannia [18] Banna [18]
Poenius Postumius [19] praefectus castrorum [19] Britannia [19]
Titus Flavius Vespasianus legatusAD 42-47BritanniaItalyRomeSuetonius Vesp. 4; Tacitus Hist. III 44; Josephius Bell. Jud. III 12
Aulus Larcius Priscus legatusbetween 97 and 105Britannia CIL VIII, 17881
Aulus Claudius Charax [20] legatusc. 141-c. 144Britannia AE 1961, 320
Fronto Aemilianus Calpurnius Rufilanus [20] legatus161/169 or 177/180Britannia CIL VII, 98 = RIB 320
Quintus Aurelius Polus Terentianus [21] legatusbetween 185 and 190Britannia AE 1965, 240
Lucius Julius Julianus legatusend 2nd centuryBritannia CIL XI, 4182, CIL VII, 480
Tiberius Claudius Paulinus legatusearly 3rd centuryBritannia CIL XIII, 3162
Vitulasius Laetinianuslegatusbetween 253 and 259Britannia CIL VII, 107
Titus Flavius Postumius Varuslegatus3rd centuryBritannia CIL VII, 95
Lucius Valerius GeminusAD 43-66Britannia Alchester
Flavius Quadratusaquilifer?Hispania Olisipo CIL II, 266 = HEp 11, 2001
Titus Flavius Rufus centurio Italia, Moesia, Dacia Dacia CIL XI, 20 = ILS 2082, CIL III, 00971

See also

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References

  1. Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000 By L. J. F. Keppie page 128
  2. Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000 By L. J. F. Keppie page 129
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Legio II Augusta". Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  4. L.Keppie. The making of the roman army. pp. 199 and 203.
  5. E.Ritterling (1924–1925) [1483–1484]. voice Legio, in Realencyclopädie of Klassischen Altertumswissenschaft.
  6. 1 2 JRGonzalez. Historia del las legiones romanas. p. 106.
  7. L.Keppie. The making of the roman army. p. 201.
  8. Augustus. "Res Gestae Divi Augusti". III: 15 and 16.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 "Legio II Augusta - Livius". www.livius.org. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  10. "Remains of Roman defences discovered under Exeter's Bus Station site". Exeter City Council. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  11. G Webster, Rome against Caractacus, p 45, ISBN   0713472545
  12. "RIB 2203. Distance Slab of the Second Legion". Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  13. Macdonald, Sir George (1934). The Roman wall in Scotland, by Sir George Macdonald (2d ed., rev., enl., and in great part rewritten ed.). Oxford: The Clarendon press. pp. 386–387. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  14. "Distance Slab of the Second Legion, Duntocher" . Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  15. "RIB 2204. Distance Slab of the Second Legion". Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  16. Macdonald, Sir George (1934). The Roman wall in Scotland, by Sir George Macdonald (2d ed., rev., enl., and in great part rewritten ed.). Oxford: The Clarendon press. pp. 387–388. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  17. "Distance slab of the 2nd Legion, Caerleith Farm, Duntocher" . Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  18. 1 2 3 4 "PVL Inscriptions - Birdoswald". Per Lineam Valli. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  19. 1 2 3 "Legio II Augusta" . Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  20. 1 2 Géza Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand unter der Antoninen (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt Verlag 1977), p. 298
  21. Anthony Birley, The Fasti of Roman Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 261f

Further reading