Roman Legion - Legio VI Ferrata
The Legio VI Ferrata (Sixth Iron Legion) was a Roman legion formed during the Republic.
Date of creation: The Legion was created by Gaius Julius Caesar in 52 BC and lasted until the fourth century.
Symbols: Bull and Capitoline she-wolf with babies Romulus and Remus.
The cognomen "Ferrata" translates as iron, shackled in armor. Apparently, this nickname was given to the legion for its courage and perseverance in the battles in which it took part.
There are two versions of the origin of this legion.
1) The Legion was created by Gaius Julius Caesar in 52 BC.
2) The Legion was created by Basil the Great before 52 BC.
Most authors stick to the date when the legion was created by Caesar during his famous Gallic War (52-50 BC).
- The 6th Legion began its military career at a key moment in the Gallic War, namely, the siege of Allesia (modern Alise-Saint-Rhin, France) in September 52 BC.After the Gallic War, the legion took an active part in the unfolding Civil War (49-45 BC) between the supporters of Caesar and Pompey.
- Civil War battles that the 6th Legion took part in: the Battle of Illerda (modern Lleida, Catalonia, Spain) in June-August 49 BC. the first major battle of this war; the Battle of Dyrrachia (modern Durres, Albania) in the summer of 48 BC; the decisive battle of the Civil War at Pharsalus (modern Pharsalus, Greece) on August 9, 48 BC..
- Then he accompanied Caesar in his Egyptian expedition (48-47 BC) - participated in the defense of the city of Alexandria (Egypt) from the troops of the Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII (the younger brother of Queen Cleopatra, who was supported by Caesar because Ptolemy's servants killed Pompey when he landed in Egypt), then together with Caesar he made a campaign to Syria and Pontus (the ancient Greek name for the north-eastern region of Asia Minor, in the north facing the Black Sea (Pontus Euxine). In Pontus, the Legion took part in
- The Battle of Zele (modern city of Zile, in northern Turkey) in August 47 BC. in this battle, Roman troops defeated the son of the famous king of Pontus and the enemy of the Romans-Mithridates VI Eupator-Pharnaces II. Ironically, it was Pharnaces II who, in 63 BC, betrayed his fickle father to become king of Pontus, but did not agree with the decision of the Romans to give him the Pontic Kingdom, but without Phanagoria, and dreamed of recreating the great Pontic state.
- After such success, the legion was returned to Italy by Caesar to receive well-deserved awards for their work. But before that, the legion took part in the last battle of the Civil War – the Battle of Munda (a place near the modern city of Osuna, Spain) on March 17, 45 BC.After that, the legion received its well-deserved awards and was disbanded, and its veterans settled in the city of Arles (modern city of Arles, in France).
- Once again, the legion was recreated by Marcus Lepidus, a member of the 2nd triumvirate, which arose after the assassination of Caesar in 44 BC. The Legion, on the side of the 2nd triumvirate, took part in the decisive battle of the Civil War (44-42 BC) at Philippi (now the ruins of an ancient Greek city on the Aegean coast, Greece) October 42 BC.
- After that, according to the terms of the division of power between the participants of the 2nd triumvirate, excluding Lepidus, the legion left with Mark Antony to the East. Here he helped King Herod the Great gain power over Judea in 37 BC, and in 36 BC he took part in the unsuccessful Roman Parthian campaign (40-33 BC) of Mark Antony.
- In the civil war that soon began between Octavian Augustus and Mark Antony, the legion was on the side of Antony and took part in the battle of Cape Actium (modern Cape in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of Greece) in 31 BC.For which, after the loss and death of Mark Antony, the victor Octavian transferred the legion to Syria. Here, presumably, the legion's camp was located in the Rafanei of Southern Syria (now Megiddo Valley, Israel).
- In 58, the legion units took part in the campaign of the general Corbulo to Armenia, during the Roman-Parthian war (58-63) over Armenia.
- In the outbreak of the first Jewish War (revolt) (66-73) in 67, 4 cohorts of the legion took part in the unsuccessful campaign of the Propraetor of Syria Cestius Gallus on Jerusalem, while the Roman units were defeated, and the legate of the 6th Legion died.
- Three years later, in ' 69, the legion went to Italy to support the claim of Vespasian, the commander of the Roman forces in Judea, to the imperial throne in Rome. Then these forces were led by the governor of Syria, Gaius Mucianus. But on the way to Italy, the legion deviated to the Danube and successfully destroyed the invaders, recapturing the fortresses occupied by the Sarmatians (some scientists believe that they were not Sarmatians, but Dacians) in Moesia. The legion then returned to Syria in 70 AD.
- During the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117), he participated in his war with the Dacians (106) and Trajan's Armenian campaign (114), which was aimed at the final conquest of Armenia,which Trajan did.
- During the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (117-138), the 6th Legion was briefly transferred to Arabia in 119, from where it was sent to Judea to suppress the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136).
- In 136, after the Bar Kokhba revolt was suppressed, the 6th Legion was transferred to the Galilee (now the territory of Israel), to the city of Caparconta, which soon became known as Legio (from the Latin name legion).
- During the reign of the Emperor Antonius Pius (138-161), the legion was briefly transferred to Africa, and then returned to Judea.
- In 162-165, the Emperor Lucius Verus (161-169) used the legion in Mesopotamia. There is a version that the legion took part in the capture of the capital of Parthia, the city of Ctesiphon (now ruins 32 km. from Baghdad, Iraq).
- In 193 (in the history of this year entered under the name "year of the five emperors")” The 6th Legion supported Septimius Severus (reigned 193-211), who eventually became emperor. For their fight against Pescennius Niger, another contender for the imperial throne in Rome, the 6th Legion received the title Fidelis Constans ("ever faithful").
- At the beginning of the 3rd century, in 215 AD, the 6th Legion was still in Palestine.
- The last mention of the 6th Legion dates back to the reign of Emperor Philip the Arab (241-249). Apparently, soon after that, the legion suffered heavy losses, there is a version that the legion took part in the unsuccessful campaign of Emperor Valerian (ruled 253-260) against the Sassanids in 260, in which the legion suffered greatly and was not restored, since by the time the Notitia Dignitatum was compiled (4-5 centuries), the legion was no longer listed in the list of troops of the Roman Empire.
6th Legion Memorial Plaque
Fragment of an excavation at the site of the 6th Legion in Legio. Israel. 1st-2nd century AD