Roman Legion - Legio VIII Bis Augusta
Legio VIII Bis Augusta The Eighth Legion of Augustus was a Roman legion formed by Gaius Julius Caesar.
Date of creation: 59 BC and lasted until the beginning of the 5th century AD.
- The Legion was created by Gaius Julius Caesar to fight in the Gallic War (58-50 BC) in 59 BC. It is believed that the legion served not only citizens of Rome, but also residents of the provinces – for example, Gauls and others.
- The baptism of fire for the legion was the battle of the Sabis River (now the Sambre River, in France and partly in Belgium) in 57 BC. e. against the Nervii tribe (one of the Belgic tribes).
- In 52 BC, the legion takes part in the battle and siege of Gergovia (modern Clermont-Ferrand, Frpantia) against the leader of the Gallic revolt Vercingetorix.
- In the Civil War that followed the Gallic War (49-45 BC) between Caesar and Pompey, the legion took part in the Battle of Dyrrachia (present-day Durres, Albania) - 48 BC; and the Battle of Pharsalus (present-day Gordo Pharsada, Greece – - 48 BC.
- The legion also took part in the destruction of Caesar's opponents in Africa, the so-called Caesar's African Company in 46 BC, where it took part in the Battle of Thapsa (modern Ras Dimas, Tunisia) in April 46 BC. It was thanks to the soldiers of the 8th Legion that Queen Cleopatra largely inherited the Egyptian throne.
- In 45 BC, like many of Caesar's legions, the 8th Legion was disbanded and its veterans retired, given land in the Casilinum area.
- In the civil war that began after Caesar's assassination in 44 BC between Caesar's supporters and his assassins, Caesar's nephew, Octavian Augustus, recreated this legion by assigning it the cognomen “Augusta” ("Augusta") - in the autumn of 44 BC.There is a version that this cognomen, the legion received later, in 6 AD. during its participation in Tiberius ' campaign against the Marcomanni.
- In 43 BC, soldiers of the Legio VIII Bis Augusta took part in the Battle of Modena, and in 42 BC, the Battle of Philippi (now located near the city of Philippi in Northern Macedonia).
- After this battle, the legion is sent to quell the rebellion of Mark Antony's brother, Lucius, in the city of Perugia - its siege of 41 BC..
- Then the legion, under the command of Agrippa, as part of other forces, is sent to fight the son of Pompey the Great, Sextus, who held Sicily.
- Probably the legionnaires took part in the second war of Octavian and Mark Antony, more precisely in the battle of Cape Actium in 31 BC.
- It is speculated that the legion was given the nickname “Lucius " for its role in suppressing the speech of Mark Antony's brother, Lucius.Modena”, there is no other explanation for why this legion was called so for some time.
- After the final victory of Octavian over Mark Antony, the legion in 30 BC is transferred first to Tunisia, and then to the Balkans.
- In 6 AD, the legion took part in the military campaign of the general, and in the future, the next Roman emperor after Augustus, Tiberius, against the German tribe of the Marcomanni.
- During the Teutoburg Forest disaster, when Rome lost the XVII, XVIII, and XIX legions to Germany, in AD 9, the legion was camped at Poetovio (present-day Ptuj, Slovenia) in Pannonia.
- During the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54) in 44, the legion was transferred to the city of Novy (modern Svishtov, Bulgaria). The Legion was stationed in Novy from 44 to 69.
- There is a theory that one or two Legion vexillations took part in the conquest of Britain in 44 AD, but no evidence of their involvement in this campaign has yet been found.
Tombstone of Gaius Valerius Crispus, legionnaire of LEGIO VIII AUGUSTA, from Wiesbaden. Saalburg Museum. Austria. Around 90 AD.
Tile with the stamp of the VIII Legion of Augustus from Strasbourg-Konigshoffen. Hamburg, Rohan's Palace. 1st-4th century AD
The altar. Hamburg, Rohan's Palace. Hamburg, Rohan's Palace. 2-3 century AD
- During the reign of the Emperor Nero (54-68), the Legion's vexillatii participated in wars with the Sarmatian, Dacian, and Roxolanian tribes. For this, Emperor Nero granted the legion the title " BIS AUGUSTA” ("Twice the Legion of Augustus") to the cognomen Augusta. After Nero's death, the Legion relinquished this title.
- In the civil war that began after the assassination of Emperor Nero in 68-69 (the“Year of the Four Emperors”), the legion first supported Otho (reigned in January-April 69) and fought for him against Vitellius at the Battle of Bedriaca (modern village of Calvatone, Italy), but lost in April 69, was returned to the Danube, but soon supported Vespasian and took part in the Battle of Cremona (June 69), where it
- In 70, the legion, along with other forces, participates in the campaign of the general Cerialis, to suppress the Batavian uprising on the Rhine.
- In 74, the LEGIO VIII built a road through the Kinzig River valley to shorten the route from Augusta Vindelicorum (present-day). Augsburg) in Raetia in Mogontiac (modern times). Mainz) in upper Germany.
- This marked the beginning of the occupation of southwestern Germany. Baden-Würtenberg).
- Military camps were built that controlled the route between the Rhine and the Danube, and civilian settlements grew up next to them.
- The LEGIO VIII AUGUSTA may have taken part in Domitian's campaigns against the Hutts in 83/84 and 88/89. The gravestone of Gaius Valerius Crispus, found near Wiesbaden, may be evidence of the Legion's involvement in this campaign. Krispos died during this campaign and was buried near Wiesbaden.
- LEGIO VIII AUGUSTA for a long time performed mainly defensive functions on the Rhine.
- Here they defended the border from the Germans, controlled navigation on the Rhine, built roads, new fortresses – and sometimes engaged in civil construction – the construction of an aqueduct in Argentorat (now the city of Strasbourg, France), etc.
- During its long stay in the fortress of Argentorat (now the city of Strasbourg, France), the legion established the production of its own ceramics, with its own brand, later archaeologists will find ceramic bricks and fragments of tiles with the legion's brand in the area.
- Similarly, a large legion detachment of 1,000 men was sent to Britain to build Hadrian's rampart in 119.
- In 130, the commander of the legion, for his services, receives the title Pater Rhenus (father of the Rhine).
- In 185, the Legion destroys the rebel Maternus and his band.
- In 186, the legion received the title Pia Fidelis Constans Commoda ("The eternally loyal and honest Legion of Commodus").
- After the emperor's death in 192, the title was reduced to Pia Fidelis Constans.
- In 193 - the "Year of the Five Emperors" - the legion immediately took the side of Septimius Severus and suppressed the rebellion of Clodius Albinus (193-197) in Lugdunum (modern Leon, France).
- In 196-197, the Legion took part in the Parthian Campaign (197-198) of Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211).
- In 213, during the reign of Emperor Caracalla (211-217), the legion took part in a military campaign against the German tribe of the Alemani.
- In 233, during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235), the legion took part in a military campaign against the Sassanids in the East.
- In 235, he was returned to the Rhine to defend himself against the German Alemannic tribes who attacked the Roman provinces on the Rhine when the legions from the Rhine were transferred to the East.
- Between 250 and 260 AD, the Alemanni still managed to capture the Roman territories between the Danube and the Rhine, and Rome withdrew from these territories, but the 8th Legion still remained on the Rhine border and defended it.
- During the reign of the Emperor Gallienus (253-268), the legion was given the title Pia VII Fidelis VII for its support against Postumus. After the death of the Emperor Gallienus, the title granted to them was practically not used in the legion.
- Marcus Postumus – a Roman general who took advantage of the situation-problems during the reign of the Emperor Gallienus, declared himself Roman Emperor and created the so-called Gallic Empire (it included the territories of Gaul, Upper and Lower Germany, Britain and Iberia), becoming its first emperor in 260-269.
- In the fourth century, a major vexillation of the legion was located in Divitia (modern day Deitz, Germany), but the main forces of the legion continued to be located in Strasbourg.
- In the 5th century, the legion is referred to in the Notitia Dignitatum as "OCTAVANI", being part of the Palatine legions.
- In 402, the legion, along with other forces, was called by the general Stilicho to Rome to protect it from the troops of Alaric's Visigoths.
- There is no further information about the legion and its fate.
Bas-relief with a reference to the 8th Legion. Strasbourg Museum, Rohan Palace. France. 100-150 AD
Model of the 8th Legion base in Strasbourg. Circa 200s AD Modern museum model kept in Strasbourg.
1. Dandelot-Collins. Legions of Rome.
2. R. Kanya. A brief history of the various legions.
3. S. Mitchell, "Legio VIII and the Garrison of Augustana Galatia", in: Classical Quarterly 26 (1976) 298-305
4. M. Redde, "Legio VIII Augusta", in: Jan Le Bogue, Roman Legion of the Empire (2000 Lyon) 119-12