Roman Legion - Legio III Cyrenaica
Legio III Cyrenaica The Third Cyrenaica Legion was a Roman legion formed by Marcus Lepidus to hold Cyrenaica.
Dates of existence: from 36 BC to the 5th century AD.
Symbol: unknown. Maybe Leo or Victoria.
Nickname: Cyrenaica (Cyrenaica), later-Claudia, Severus, Valerius, Gallienus.
The exact date of creation of the legion is unknown, there are 4 versions in this regard:
1) A number of authors believe that Legion created Marcus Lepidus, a member of the second triumvirate, in 36 BC when he ruled Cyrenaica.
2) Other authors believe that the legion was created Mark Antony, when he was governor of Cyrenaica around 36 BC.
3) Another part of the authors believes that the legion was created before 30 BC and participated in the conquest of Egypt encamped in Cyrenaica.
4) The Emperor Octavian might have called the legion that because it fought in those places.
Cyrenaica is a historical region in Libya. Cyrenaica was a Roman province from 74 BC, and later in 27 BC it was united with Crete into one province, under the name Crete and Cyrenaica. It was governed by the Senate. Anyway, everyone agrees that this legion is one of the oldest Republican legions that became part of the imperial army of Rome. It is well known that the legion participated in the Egyptian campaign of Octavian Augustus and remained encamped in Egypt for almost a century and a half. His camp was first located in Upper Egypt (presumably in the city of Thebes), and some parts of the legion were located in the city of Berenice (modern Benghazi, Libya) - the capital of Cyrenaica. Most likely, the legion participated in a military campaign to Arabia (company of Hellius Gallus) and punitive expeditions to the city of Meroe (an ancient city in the territory of the modern state of Sudan) for its attacks on Upper Egypt in the 20s of the first century BC.
- From 7 to 35 AD, the Legion was located, together with the Legio XXII Deiotariana, in a double camp, in the city of Nicopolis, a suburb of Alexandria. Units of the 3rd Cyrenaica Legion were stationed throughout Egypt. His soldiers were engaged in construction and security functions.
- In ' 38, the Legion's units suppressed anti-Jewish riots in Egypt.
- In 39-40 years. The Legion's vexillation was sent to the northern coast of Gaul to participate in the invasion of Britain, during the reign of Emperor Caligula. The invasion failed and the vexillation returned to Egypt to join the main legion forces.
- In 63 AD, elements of the Legio III Cyrenaica Legion took part in Rome's war with Parthia over Armenia. The Roman forces were then commanded by Gnaeus Corbulo.
- During the reign of Emperor Nero (reigned 54-68), the legion was called the Third Cyrenaica Legion of Claudius.
- During the First Jewish War (66-73) and the Third Cyrenaica Legion, they pacified the Jewish population of Egypt, including Alexandria.
- In the struggle for the imperial throne that began after the death of Emperor Nero in 68, the legion supported Vespasian in 69 and sent his son Titus a large detachment. This unit took part in the siege and storming of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and then returned to Egypt again.
- In 107-109, the Legion was temporarily withdrawn from Egypt to be located in the newly acquired province of Arabia Petraea (now the territory of modern Jordan, southern Syria, the territory of the Sinai Peninsula and the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia). The Legion occupied the capital of the new province, the city of Bosra (now the city of the same name in southern Syria) and deployed its troops around the province, for example in the city of Gerassa ( today the city of Jarash in northern Jordan).
- From 111 to 114, the Legion repaired or rebuilt the road from the capital of the new province of Bosra to the Red Sea (Via Traiana Nova) and a chain of forts and fortifications that together formed the Arab Limes. Soon after, the legion was again returned to Egypt, as already in 115, its combined forces, along with the Twenty-second Deiotar Legion, were needed to suppress the Jewish revolt in Egypt and Cyrenaica. The uprising was suppressed by 117 with the help of reinforcements.
- In parallel with these events, the legion's vexillation fought in Judea (116) and participated in the emperor's Parthian campaign Trajan (year 117). In 120, the legion fought with Arab tribes.
- Between 120 and 125, the Legio III Cyrenaica legion is withdrawn from Egypt and finally transferred to Bosra.
- The Legion's vexillation took part in the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judea (132-136).
- During the reign of Emperor Antony Pius (reigned 138-161), the Legio III Cyrenaica bills of exchange were sent to Mauretania to fight against the Moors, while other units were stationed in Hegra (now the city of Madain Salih, northwestern Saudi Arabia).
- In 162-166, parts of the legion took part in the Parthian campaign of Lucius Verus (the war between Rome and Parthia over Armenia and Mesopotamia).
- In 175, during the revolt of Avidius Cassius, against the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the legion supported the usurper Avidius, but lost. Most likely due to the support of Avidius, parts of the legion took part in the Marcomanian War.
- In the year of the Five Emperors (193), the legion supported Pescennius Niger, but he lost out to another contender for the imperial throne, Septimius Severus, in 194 A.D. This may be why the legion took part in Severus ' war with Parthia over Mesopotamia.
- At the beginning of the third century, in 216-217, the legion participated together with other legions in the Parthian campaign of the Emperor Caracalla.
- In 216, legionnaires of Legio III Cyrenaica, together with the forces of Legio IIII Scythica, built an amphitheater in Dura Europos (now an ancient ruin near the modern Syrian city of Salhiyah).
- In the 230s, the legion took part in the Persian campaign of Emperor Alexander Severus (reigned 222-235) in Mesopotamia, for which Emperor Severus granted the legion the honorary nickname "Legion of Alexander Severus". The legion was later known as the " Valerian Legion "during the reign of Emperor Valerian (reigned 253-260) and the" Gallienus Legion " during the reign of Emperor Gallienus (reigned 253-268).
- In 262-273, the legion fought first with the Queen of Palmyra, Zinobia, against Persia, and then against her when she declared the separation of Palmyra from the power of Rome. Palmyra was a state dependent on Rome, which existed in 260-273 and included the territories of the Roman provinces of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and a large part of Southern Armenia. The capital of the state was the city of Palmyra. Today, the ruins of the city are located on the territory of Syria. After the subjugation of Palmyra, Legio III Cyrenaica, together with the forces of Legio IIII Martia, was stationed in the province of Arabia.
- At the beginning of the 5th century, Legio III Cyrenaica is mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum . According to it, the legion was stationed in Bostra and managed by Dux Arabia.
An inscription from 117 AD that mentions Legio III Cyrenaica
Mark Antony coin (Denarius), 30s BC
List of Roman Legions, Legion, Legionnaire,Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Octavian Augustus, Mark Antony, Legio XXII Deiotariana, Year of the Four Emperors, Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajan, Notification Dignitatum, Dux
- Dandelot Collins-The Complete History of the Roman Legions
- R. Kanya. A brief history of the various legions. Legio. 2001
- Jona Lendering. Legio III Cyrenaica (English). Livius.org. 2002
- P.-L. Gatier, "La Legio III Cyrenaica et l'Arabie", in dans Les Legions de Rome sous-les-Empires, I, Lyon, 2000, pp. 341-344