Roman Legion - Legio I Italica
Legio I Italica (First Italian Legion) is a Roman legion that was created in September 66 or 67 by Emperor Nero (reigned 54-68 AD) to participate in the emperor's future campaign to Armenia and other eastern lands.
Legion name: Legio I Italica (First Italian Legion)
Dates of existence: from September 66/67 AD to the middle of the 5th century, after which it was transformed into comitates.
Logo: wild boar, bull
Nickname: Antoniniana (Antoninov);. Lat. Severiana( Sever); Lat. Gordiana( Gordianov); Lat. Pia Fidelis (Loyal and loyal).
- Legio I Italica (First Italian Legion) is a Roman legion that was created in September 66 or 67 by the Emperor Nero to participate in the future campaign of the emperor to Armenia and other eastern lands.
- While transporting the legion to the east in early 68 AD, the governor of Lugund Gaul Gaius Julius Vindex revolted and the legion was transported to Gaul in March or April 68 AD.
- By the time the Legio I Italica arrived on the scene in the spring of 68, the rebellion had been crushed, and Galba became the new emperor in the summer of 68, who moved the legion to Lugund (present-day Leon, France).
- In early 69, the Legio I Italica supported the new pretender to the imperial purple, Viceroy Vitellius of Lower Germany, and joined his army.
- The legion received its baptism of fire in the 1st Battle of Bedriacus (April 14, 69 AD), in which Vitellius ' troops defeated the troops that had overthrown Galba, Otho.
- Later, the Legio I Italica took part in the 2nd Battle of Bedrica (also called the Battle of Cremona) in October 69, in which Vitellius ' forces were defeated by the new pretender to the imperial purple, a general from the East, Vespasian. In December 69, Vespasian's troops entered Rome, making Vespasian emperor, and Vitellius was killed.
- The new emperor sent the Legio I Italica to Moesia, where it was stationed in Novy (modern Svishtov, Bulgaria). In Moesia, the legion, as part of other Roman forces, was defeated by the Sarmatian tribes that invaded Moesia in the winter of 69-70 AD. In 70, the new governor of Moesia restored order and joined the forces of the battered Legio I Italica. Moesia is a region between the Lower Danube and the Balkan Mountains.
Ruins of the camp of the I Italian Legion in Novae
Tile with the seal of the I Italian Legion
An altar dedicated to the Liber Pater by the first Italian Legion. Svishtov City Museum, Bulgaria. I century AD
- In Novae, the Legio I Italica remained a base until the middle of the fifth century, although vexillations of this legion were used throughout the Roman Empire.
- Traces of Legio I Italica vexillations are found in the 1st century in the Crimea (in Chersonesos) and in Dacia (the legion vexillation took part in the Battle of Tapi in 88).
- During the reign of the Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD) veterans of the Legio I Italica were settled in the established colonies of Esque and Keleii (modern Corabia, Romania), and in 98 the old legion base in Novae was rebuilt.
- The Legion's vexillations took part in the Dacian Wars (101-106 AD) and the Parthian Campaign (114-117 AD) of Emperor Trajan.
- Little is known about the Legion's next 50 years of operation. It is assumed from the altars found that the vexillations of the legion were used by the Emperor Andrian in Delphi( there is an inscription in that place dating back to 125) and Judea to suppress the Bar Kokhba revolt.
- Under the Emperor Antoninus Pius, between 139 and 142, parts of the Legio I Italica built the Antonine Rampart between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
- There is an assumption that the inscription found is not entirely accurate, that parts of the legion also took part in suppressing the uprising of the Moors (Mauri) in North Africa under Antoninus Pius.
- Under the emperor Marcus Aurelius, the legion took part in the Marcomannic War (166-180 AD). Perhaps because of the courage shown by the legionnaires of Legio I Italica, the II and III legions created at this time were called Italian.
- In addition to the wars, the legion also continued to guard the Danube border. After the division of Moesia into upper and lower Moesia, the Legio I Italica troops began to belong to the troops of Lower Moesia.
Road inscription of the Aurelian era. Qasr al-Azraq. A.D. 273
Altar dedicated to Apollo by the Legion of the First Italians. Svishtov City Museum, Bulgaria. 1st century AD
- After 168, the Legion's vexillatii occupied the important fortress of Kapidava, which guarded the Danube crossing in Lower Moesia. Found bricks of the legion temple with the legion brand near the parking lot of the Danube Fleet, the fortress of Dinogetia, confirm the fact that the Legio I Italica had its own vessels for patrolling the Danube and solving other various tasks.
- In the second and third centuries, vexillations from the Legio I Italica and Legio XI Claudia were placed in the town of Montanensis (present-day Montana, Bulgaria) to protect local silver mines and catch animals for circus games.
- During the Severus dynasty, the Legion was actively building at its base in Novae.
- When the governor of Pannonia, Septimius Severus, declared his claim to the imperial purple in 193, the legionnaires of the Legio I Italica, led by their legate Lucius Marius Maximus Perpetva Aurelianus, supported him. The Legion fought for Severus, first against Pescennius Niger in the East, besieging Byzantium, and then in 197 against Clodius Albinus at the Battle of Lugunda.
- There is a version that Legio I Italica took part in the campaigns of the North against the Parthians in 195 and 197-198 AD.
- In 205 AD, the Legio I Italica received the venerable nickname lat. Antoniniana ("Antoninov").
- Under the son of Septimius Severus, Emperor Caracalla, who extended the southern border of Dacia by 50 kilometers forward, the Limes Transalutanus defensive network was built, which began very close to Nova, which implies the participation of Legio I Italica legionnaires in its construction.
Denarius of the Emperor Septimius Severus with a reference to the First Italian Legion. II century AD
- Under the Emperor Alexander Severus, the unit received the honorary nickname lat. Severiana ("Severov").
- Also, a large vexillation of the legion at this time was located in the Dalmatian city of Salona (modern city of Split, Croatia).
- In the period between 238 and 244 AD, the legion received another nickname-lat. Gordiana ("Gordians") in honor of the emperor Gordianus III (reigned 238-244), whom the legion supported in the fight against his enemies. In memory of this, even a statue of the Emperor Gordianus III was erected at the legion's base in the city of Nova. Also, the Legio I Italica legionnaires ' bill, together with bills from other legions, participated in the construction of roads in Jordan, as evidenced by a stone with an inscription found there (an inscription from Qasr el-Azrak).
- Around 250 AD, the legion's base, Nova, withstood a siege by the Ostrogoths, despite the destruction of part of the camp by the enemy.
- Under the Emperor Gallienus, Legio I Italica received from him the honorary nickname lat for its loyalty to the emperor. Pia Fidelis ("Loyal and faithful"), as indicated by the inscriptions on the coins of that time.
- At the end of the 3rd century, the Legio I Italica, for some unknown reason, is referred to as the "Mezinsky Legion". Almost all the additions to the legion during this period came from Thrace.
- Under the Emperor Diocletian 's vexillation Legion was part of the comitatus.
Silver coin of the Emperor Gallienus with the mention of the I Italian Legion. II century AD
- Around 297, the Legio I Italica vexillation, along with other troops, participated in the suppression of an uprising in Egypt. Later, she was transferred to Arabia Petraea, where she built a road that connected the fortresses of Bosra, Basianid, Amata and Dumata. Arabia Petraea was a Roman border province that existed from the second to the seventh centuries. This term also referred to one of the three parts of the Arabian Peninsula (the other two are Arabia Magna and Arabia Felix).
- Around 300 AD, the Vexillatio Legio I Italica, together with the Vexillatio Legio II Herculia under the command of Maximian, left a commemorative inscription in honor of the tetrarchs in Chersonesos.
- During the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great, part of the Legio I Italica was known as Primani.
- Around 316-317, the Novach camp was partially destroyed. It was also partially inhabited by the civilian population.
- At the beginning of the fifth century, according to the Notitia Dognitatum, around 400, the Legio I Italica was still guarding the Danube, but was divided into two parts: one of which was under the command of the Dux of Moesia. The Legion prefect and the Border prefect were stationed with their units in Novy, while the other border prefect was located 100 kilometers downstream of the Danube in Sextagint Priest (modern city of Ruse or Ruschuk, Bulgaria). The second part of the legion, in the status of a pseudo-committee, was under the authority of the military Master of the East, while the Palatine Legion was under the direction of the Master of the court troops.
List of Roman Legions, The Roman Empire, Legion, Legionnaires, Legio XI Claudia, Komitatens, Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajan
1. Kanya River. A brief history of the various Roman legions.
2. Emil Ritterling. Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Legio (I Italica). Band XII,2. — Stuttgart, 1925. — 1407—1417 p.
3. Julian Bennett. Trajan. Optimus Princeps. — Routledge, 1997.
4. Gabriele Wesch-Klein. Soziale Aspekte des römischen Heerwesens in der Kaiserzeit. — Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998.
5. Marietta Horster. Novae. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2. Auflage. Band 21. — Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2002.
6. M. Absil, "Legion I Italica", in: Yann Le Boek, Les legions de Rome sous le Haut-Empire (2000, Lyon) 228-238.
7. A. B. Bernatsky and N. Sharankov, "A hitherto unknown aspect of the military activities of the Italian Legion I in the light of the recently discovered pedestal with a Greek inscription from Nova" in Archaeologia Bulgarica 22/3 (2018) 1-19.
8. MP Speidel and J. Reynolds, " Veteran of the Legio I Parthica of Carian Aphrodisias ", in Epigraphica Anatolica 5 (1985) 31-35.