Roman Legion - Legio VIII Bis Augusta
Legio VIII Bis Augusta The Eighth Legion of Augustus was a Roman legion formed by Gaius Julius Caesar.
Dates of existence: 59 BC and lasted until the beginning of the 5th century AD.
Titles: Augusta (Augusta), Bis Augusta (Twice Augusta), Pia Fidelis Constans Commoda (Eternally loyal and honest Legion of Commodus), Pia VII Fidelis VII
- The Legion was created Gaius Julius Caesar to participate 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 post-Gallic War, the Civil War (49-45 BC) between Caesar and 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 (Caesar's African Company) in 46 BC, including the Battle of Thapsa (present-day Ras Dimas, Tunisia) in April 46 BC. It was thanks to the soldiers of Legio VIII that the Egyptian throne largely went to Queen Cleopatra.
- In 45 BC, Legio VIII was disbanded and its veterans retired. They were 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") - in the autumn of 44 BC.e. There is a version that the legion received this cognomen later, in 6 AD. e. during its participation in the campaign of Tiberius against the Marcomanni.
- In 43 BC, legionnaires of Legio VIII Bis Augusta took part in the Battle of Modena, and in 42 BC, the Battle of Philippi (now near the city of Philippi in Northern Macedonia).
- After this battle, the legion is sent to suppress the brother's speech Mark Antony -Lucius in the city of Perugia. The siege of the city took place in 41 AD.
- Then the Legio VIII Bis Augusta, under Agrippa's command, is sent as part of Augustus ' army to fight his son Pompey the Great - Sextus, who held Sicily.
- It is likely that the legionnaires took part in the second war of Octavian and Mark Antony, more precisely in the battle of Cape Actium in 31 BC.
- There is an assumption that for participating in the suppression of the speech of Mark Antony's Brother Lucius, the legion received the nickname “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, Legio VIII Bis Augusta in 30 BC is transferred first to Tunis, and then to the Balkans.
- In 6 AD, the legion took part in the military campaign of the general, and in the future, the Roman emperor, Tiberius against the German tribe of the Marcomanni.
- At the time of the Teutoburg Forest disaster, when Rome lost Legio XVII; Legio XVIII and Legio XIX to Germany, in AD 9, Legio VIII Bis Augusta was camped at Poetovio (modern city of Ptuj, Slovenia) in Pannonia.
- During the reign of Emperor Claudius in 44, the legion was transferred to the city of Novy (modern Svishtov, Bulgaria). The Legio VIII Bis Augusta was located in Novae from 44 to 69 AD.
- There is a theory that one or two Legion vexillations took part in the conquest of Britain in 44, but direct evidence of their participation in this company has not 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 AD (The legion first supported Otho (reigned January-April 69) and fought for him against Vitellius at the Battle of Bedriacus (modern village of Calvatone, Italy), but lost and was returned to the Danube in April 69. Soon he supported Vespasian and took part in the Battle of Cremona (June 69), where he found himself in the camp of the victors.
- In 70, he participated in the campaign of the general Cerialis to suppress the Batavian revolt on the Rhine.
- In 74, the Legio VIII Augusta builds a road through the Kinzig River Valley in order 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.
- Also, a large legion of 1,000 men was sent to Britain to build Hadrian's rampart (wall) there in 119 AD.
- In 130, the legion commander receives the title Pater Rhenus (Father of the Rhine) for his services.
- 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 AD, the title was shortened to Pia Fidelis Constans.
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.
Legio VIII Augusta Eagle Coin
- In the year of the Five Emperors (193), the Legion immediately took the side of Septimius Severus and suppressed the rebellion of Clodius Albinus (193-197 AD) in Lugdunum (present-day Leon, France).
- In 196-197, the Legion took part in the Parthian Campaign of Emperor Septimius Severus.
- In 213, during the reign of Emperor Caracalla, the legion took part in a military campaign against the German tribe of the Alemani.
- In 233, during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus, the legion took part in a military campaign against the Sassanids in the East.
- In 235, the Legio VIII Augusta was returned to the Rhine to defend against the German Alemannic tribes that attacked the Roman provinces on the Rhine.
- Between 250 and 260, the Alemanni still managed to capture the Roman territories between the Danube and the Rhine and Rome withdrew from these territories, but Legio VIII Augusta still continued to stay on the Rhine border and defend it.
- During the reign of the Emperor Gallienus, 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.
- 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 Legio VIII Augusta, 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.
List of Roman Legions, Legion, Legionnaire, Gaius Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus, Year of the Five Emperors, Notification Dignitatum, Legio XVII, Legio XVIII, Legio XIX
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