Legio III Italica


Legio III Italica

Legio III "Italica" was a Roman legion levied by Marcus Aurelius around 165, for his campaign against the Marcomanni tribe. The cognomen "Italica" suggests that recruits were originally from Italy. The legion was still active in Germania in the early 5th century (Notitia Dignitatum, dated ca. 420 AD for Western Roman Empire entries).

Together with legions II "Italica" and I "Adiutrix", III "Italica" legion was in the Danube provinces from its beginning, fighting the Marcomanni invasion of the Raetia and Noricum provinces. In 171 they built the camp "Castra Regina", present Regensburg, designed as a strongly defensive position like a castle.

In the civil war of 193, this legion supported Septimius Severus and helped him defeat his opponents first Pertinax and Didius Julianus, then Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Their loyalty was extended to Severus' successor, emperor Caracalla, for whom they fought in 213 a campaign against the Alamanni.

Since the cognomen "III Italica Gordiana" is recorded, vexellations (sub-units) the legion were involved in Emperor Gordian III's campaign against the Sassanid Empire in 243-244.

As part of the powerful Danubian army, III "Italica" took part in the frequent 3rd century internal power struggles. The legion fought for Gallienus against his rival Postumus, so it was awarded with the "VI Pia VI Fidelis" and "VII Pia VII Fidelis" (seven times faithful and loyal) cognomen. III "Italica" main camp was still Regensburg, but they were included in the 273 campaign commanded by emperor Aurelian against queen Zenobia. Vexellations of the legion, a "comitatensis" unit, are mentioned in Notitia Dignitatum as still being in Castra Regina and the Danubian provinces during the early 5th century.

ee also

*List of Roman legions

External links

* [http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/iii_italica.html livius.org account of Legio III Italica]
* [http://www.legion-regensburg.de/ LEGIO TERTIA ITALICA ANTONINIANA] , German re-enactment group.
* [http://www.legioiiiitalica.org/ Legio III Italica] , US re-enactment group.


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