Roman Legion - Legio III Augusta
The Legio III Augusta (Third Legion of Augustus) was a Roman legion formed in 43 BC by Consul Gaius Vibius Pansus on the orders ofOctavian Augustus.
Title: Legio III Augusta (Third Legion of August)
Dates of existence: 43 BC-beginning of the fifth century AD
Logo: winged horse Pegasus, capricorn
Nickname: Latin. Constans, Perpetua, Pia Fidelis (Constant Eternal Loyal and Faithful)
- The baptism of fire for Legio III Augusta was its participation in the Battle of Philippi in October 42 BC .Mark Anthony and Octavian Augustus against the forces of the assassins Caesar, Brutus and Cassius. This battle was won by Antony and Octavian.
- In 36 BC, the Legio III Augusta was transferred to Sicily to fight Sextus Pompey, the son of the Roman emperor.Pompey the Great, who controlled Sicily and thereby threatened the supply of food and grain to Rome.
- Since 30 BC, Legio III Augusta has been located in Africa, but the exact location of its camp is unknown as the legion has been deployed many times in Africa.
- First of all, the legion was supposed to provide protection against a possible uprising of Numidian and Moorish tribes, and in 14 AD legionnaires Legio III Augusta built a road from Takapa (modern city of Gabes, Tunisia) to Tevesta (modern city of Tebessa, Algeria), where most likely the winter quarters of the legion were located at that time.
- From 17 to 24, the legion was involved in the suppression of the uprising that broke out in Africa, which was led by Takfarinat, a deserter from among the Numidians in the Roman service. The Legion was first defeated by the rebels, and then, having replenished its forces and received help from Legio IX Hispana, it was able to defeat the rebels.
- At this time, the Legio III Augusta, the only legion in the Roman Empire commanded by a senator with the rank of Proconsul of Africa. -According to one of the inscriptions found, there is an assumption that one of these legates of Legio III Augusta could be Vellei Paterculus.
- Later, the emperor Caligula (reigned 37-41 AD), deprived this legion of such a privilege in the person of a commander from among the senators.
Ruins of Bou Njem Fort, built by soldiers of the 3rd August Legion ca. 200 AD
Leptsis Magna (museum in Libya). Monument to Gavi Macer, Inscription. Circa A.D. 19.
An inscription related to Legio III Augusta. Mdaurouche Museum, Lapidary, Algeria.
- At the end of the reign of Emperor Nero (reigned 54-68 AD), Legio III Augusta was commanded by the legate Lucius Clodius Macer, who in 68 together with Galba raises a rebellion against Nero and even recruits the Legio I Macriana Liberatrix, but Galba, becoming emperor in 69, orders Macer to be killed and the legion he recruited to disband.
- At this time, Legio III Augusta in the events of the year 69 ("The Year of the Four Emperors" ) takes part, sending vexillations in support of Galba, then Vitellius, and after Vespasian.
- In 70, Emperor Vespasian moved the Legio III Augusta to Lambesis (present-day Tazoute-Lambez, Algeria) in Numidia. Here the legion will camp for about two centuries, protecting the borders of the Roman Empire from the raids of the Berber tribes. The veterans were resettled in Cuicula, Sitifice and Tamugadi.
- In 115, the Legio III Augusta vexillation took part in the emperor's Parthian campaign Trajan. After that, due to heavy losses in this vexillation, Syrians were recruited to reinforce Legio III Augusta. Their tombstones were found in Lambasis.
- The discovery of the Legio III Augusta in Lambesis in the second century is confirmed by an inscription found and a visit to this place by the Emperor Andrian and his address to the legionnaires with a welcoming speech in 128.
- Between 132 and 136, the vexillation of the 3rd Augustan Legion took part in the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judea.
Ruins of the Legio III Augusta military base in Lambesis, Groma. Algeria. Lambesis-ruins of an ancient Roman city in modern Algeria. 260 A.D.
Tombstone of an officer of the Legio III Augusta, born in Carthage and buried in Cologne. Cologne Museum, Germany.
Tombstone of C. Geminius Celsus, legionnaire of Legio III Augusta. Leptsis Magna (museum in Libya). I-II centuries A.D.
- Legio III Augusta took part in the Parthian campaign of Lucius Verus, as well as in the Marcomannic War of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 175 AD.
- In 193, Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus awarded Legio III Augusta the nickname Latin for his support of his candidacy for the imperial throne of Rome. Pia Vindex ("The Faithful Avenger"). Also, by order of Emperor Septimius Severus, several forts were built along the border of the Roman Empire with the desert, such as Ghadames, Geriat el Gharbia, Bou Njem, etc.
- During the reign of Emperor Caracala, Legio III Augusta took part in his war with Parthia in 216 AD.
- Under the Emperor Macrinus (reigned 217-218), Legio III Augusta was reinforced by legionnaires from other legions, as it suffered heavy losses from the desert tribes.
- In 238, there was a revolt in Africa by the governor Gordianus, whom his troops, along with his son, declared Roman emperors in opposition to the official emperor Maximinus. In these events, the Legio III Augusta supported the legitimate Emperor Maximin, but after his defeat and death, the victorious emperor Gordianus III (reigned 238-244) disbanded the Legio III Augusta, and his former soldiers were transferred to legions located in Germany.
Rules for trumpeters of Legio III Augusta. Lambesis (ruins of an ancient Roman city in modern Algeria). The find is kept in the Louvre Museums, in Paris, France. 202 A.D.
- In 253, Emperor Valerian recreated the Legio III Augusta and placed it at its old base in Lambese, Africa. At the same time, the recreated Legio III Augusta received back all the titles received before and now it was called Legio III Augusta Iterum Pia Iterum Vindex ("Eternally loyal intercessor").
- In 254, the legate of the legion was Aurelius Reginus, possibly the future governor of Thebes (a province in Egypt).
- After its return to its old base in Lambesis, the reconstituted Legio III Augusta waged a long and stubborn war with the Berber tribal unification, as evidenced by the 260-year-old monument to these events found in Lambesis. This war went on long and hard, as evidenced by the fact that in 289-297 the legion was personally commanded by the Emperor Maximian in his company against the Berber tribes.
- Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305) awarded Legio III Augusta with the new title Constans, Perpetua, Pia Fidelis (Constant Eternal Loyal and Faithful) for his military achievements.
- After that, Legio III Augusta left its base in Lambesis and settled down in another place in Africa, but in what we do not know.
- Legio III Augusta was still in existence at the end of the fourth century, when the grave of a Christian soldier was found in Madauros (Madaura, a Numidian city in North Africa, Algeria) from this legion.
- Since the beginning of the 5th century, sources about the 3rd Augustan Legion have not told us anything, which allows us to conclude that Legio III Augusta has ceased to exist.
Legio III Augusta coin. Брюссель, Koninklijke musea voor kunst en geschiedenis. 1st century AD
List of Roman Legions, Legion, Legionnaire, Octavian Augustus, Legio I Macriana Liberatrix , Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajan, Year of the Four Emperors
1. М. Кристол, « Sur quelques centurions de la legion III Augusta », в Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 103 (1994)
2. J. Le Bohec, La IIIe Legion Auguste (1989, Paris)
3. J. Le Boheck, "Legion of August III", in: Yann Le Boeck, Les legions de Rome sous le Haut-Empire (2000, Lyon) 373-381
4. Jona Lendering, " Adrian and his soldiers. Lambeian inscription", in: The core of the legions. Roman Imperial Century = Ancient Warfare Special 2010
5. R. Kanya "Legion". Brief description of the history of various Roman legions.