Legio III Italica

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An antoninianus issued by Gallienus in 260 to celebrate III Italica. Note the stork, the legion's symbol, on the obverse. The legion is called VI Pia VI Fidelis, "six times faithful and six times loyal"

Legio tertia Italica (Third Italian legion) 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 Raetia and other provinces 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 strongly defensive position.

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.

Legion´s History[edit]

Anthonine Dynasty

Marcus Aurelius founded in the year 165 AD Gnaeus Iulius Verus and Tiberius Claudius Proculus Cornelianus two new legions - the II and III. Italica. Their names suggests that their recruitment area, the populous northern Italy and the soldiers was also initially largely stemmed from there. Immediately after their set, the Legion probably immediately vexillations in the crisis-ridden Pannonia in march, subsequently they fought under Marcus Aurelius in the Marcomanni wars. Under the command of Quintus Antistius Adventus Postumius Aquilinus the Legion 167-170 during the expedition Germanica in the Central Alps to protect Italy was used against Germanic tribes. To 170 the Legion probably took on a campaign under the leadership of the commander and later Emperor Pertinax in part, succeeded in the process of selling Germanic invaders from the provinces of Raetia and Noricum.

Primarily the III Italica was only to serve as a strategic reserve but first. 170 AD, the Legion was moved to Tridentum (Trento). You posted in this year (along with the legio II Italica) a department for the development of the fortifications of the Dalmatian port city of Salona / Solin.

vexillationes legionies II Piae ped et III Concordiae (it) CC sub cura P ( ubli ) Aeli Amyntiani ( centurionis ) frumentari leg ( ionis ) II Traianae " (The) Departments of Legions II and III Pia Concors (have) 200 feet (far wall built in), under the supervision of Publius Aelius Amyntianus, the centurion of the Legio II Traiana grain supply of fortis ". By the end of the 170 years, the Legion had no common stock as of and operated only with vexillations. Their headquarters was located probably in Mogontiacum / Mainz . Well after 172 and until 179 AD of the Legion were stationed in the large, temporary fort of Eining parts for around ten years. This was of use with the Marcomanni wars combined.

Presumably there was a vexillation in Alkofen and Regensburg Kumpfmuehl.

From 175, the Legion began according to an inscription at the east gate to build the Castra Regina (Regensburg), which now served as the root fortress and headquarters. From 179 AD, the Legion was also complete stationed in Castra Regina. 182 took the Legion in a military campaign against the Germanic Burer part.

Soon after their arrival in Raetia, the Legion developed a comprehensive construction and was, among other things in the elimination of damage to the Limes forts that had arisen in the course of the Marcomanni wars involved . So at the forts in Ellingen, Pfünz, Künzing, Dambach, Passau and Straubing. For this operation, inter alia, the Legion brickworks in Bad Abbach. A section built in the year 181 AD under the supervision of a centurion, the safety fence of the fort Böhming:

" Transferred soldiers ( vexillarii ) of Leg III Ital have the wall ( vallum ) , built under the supervision of Julius Iulinus , centurion of Leg III Italia . "

The majority of replenishment could cover her from the numerous villae rusticae in Raetia even the Legion initially well . After the catastrophic German invasions from the middle of the 3rd century, many of these farms were again destroyed and not rebuilt . Earlier, the supply was probably partly brought from northern Italy, in Trento an inscription was discovered in the late 2nd century, after a certain Gaius Valerius Marianus annonae there as adlectus legionis III Italicae was used - (literally, selected for the food supply of the Legio III Italica ). However, the route over the Brenner Pass was not the only supply line, also from the Great St. Bernard is a dedicatory inscription ( 200 AD ) of Titus Claudius Severus, describes a frumentarius legionis (Logistics Officer). Maybe he was in the order of the governor as a courier on the road when he donated a bronze votive tablet on the pass Jupiter Poeninus.

Aurelius Silvinus, another frumentarius legionis, left behind in the capital Rome, a dedicatory inscription. He was probably under Severus Alexander official in Rome, and consecrated in the " camp of the strangers" (castra peregrina) on the Caelian a small marble statue of the god.

Severans Dynasty

In the civil war of 193 (so-called Second Year of the Four Emperors), it supported Septimius Severus against Pertinax and Didius Julianus, and later against Clodius Albinus and Niger Pescennius in the struggle for the imperial throne. As a reward for the loyalty of the Legionaries of coins were struck, the lapel one flanked by standards legion eagle and the inscription LEG ( io ) III ITAL ( ica) show .

Their loyalty was Severus'successor and son Caracalla, under whose guidance she took part 213 to a campaign against the Alemanni, 214 against Karpen in Dacia and Syria in 217. From this time she led the honorary title Antoniniana. Two inscriptions from the Dacian garrison city of Alba Iulia validate the presence of two centurions of the III. Legion, Marcus Ulpius Caius and Marcus Ulpius Vitalis. As part of the most battle-worthy army of the Danube was the III. Italica often involved in the conflicts of the so-called soldier emperors in the 3rd century (see also crisis of the 3rd century). Individual must be their departments under the last two Severans Elagabalus (218-222) and Severus Alexander (222-235) repeats have been in use. Alexander Severus gave the Legion the honorary title Severiana.

Soldier Emperors

In an inscription from Celeia (Celje, Slovenia), another name of honor will be handed over Gordiana, suggesting that a vexillation the Legion under Gordian III . proven in a campaign against the Sassanid Empire (242-244).

253 supported the collection of their commander to the emperor Valerian, a vexillation went with him 259/60 again in the East. Also an inscription of Shapur I. Sassanide, the Valerian defeated at Edessa and captured, talks of soldiers " from the people of Raeter " in the Roman army. Meanwhile, she won the West under the leadership of his son and second emperor Gallienus (253 -268) multiple victories against German tribes, for which her Title VI and VII pia pia

It is odd that the III. Italica not mentioned on the historically significant dedicatory inscription of the Augsburger Siegesaltar to 260, which has given rise to speculation about their whereabouts at the time . A complete withdrawal of the Legion of Raetia is probably excluded, as was already marching at this time only with the much more flexible vexillations into the field. The Legion had indeed been repeatedly parked departments for the Persian front, the fight against the usurper Ingenuus and against the Alemanni, a perfect deduction of the Legion would have been unwise in view of the very tense security situation.

In the year 273 it was back in the wake of the War of Emperor Aurelian against the secession of the queen of Palmyra, Zenobia, in the east of the empire in march. On Palmyrenean campaign was also a vexillation her sister Legion, the Norian II Italica, involved . 272 occurred in Emesa decisive battle:

"... The Palmyrene army of 70 000 men strong [ ... ] and gathered in the plain before Emesa . Opposite them is [ Aurelian ] placed with his Dalmatian cavalry , and with the Moesiern , the Pannonians [ ... ] , and the Noriker and Rhaetians , the Celtic legions are ... "

According to the Historia Augusta took Aurelian 275 also an expedition to Raetia to there repulse sunken barbarians again. The Emperor Probus (276-282) was active militarily in Raetia and won am Lech 278/279 a crushing victory over a coalition of Burgundians and Vandals, yet raised their II and III . Italica 282 the usurper Carus as a new emperor on the shield.

Late Antiquity

In the year 285 took a vexillation possibly the campaign Maximian to Africa in part. An existing from selected soldiers of the Legion cohort was as Tertiani by 300 as legionis comitatenses in the field army Comes the Illyrici been incorporated, they were under the command of the Magister Peditum Praesentalis.

Since the end of the 5th century 4./Rhaetian Legion appeared no longer as a cohesive unit. Rather, they had been reorganized under the leadership of sub-prefect in six major vexillations. Approximately 1,000 men were probably still stationed in Regensburg (Castra Regina. Since the main source for this is the (ND), apparently reflects Notitia Dignitatum no longer the original total stock with the pars inferior (section between Regensburg and Passau), can be probably take more vexillations for the early 4th century.

The northern border of Raetia now formed according ND pars superior (upper part), larger departments of the Legion stationed in Submuntorio and Vallato. The western boundary was the pars media (middle part) with the city Cambodunum and border post Vemania to Cassilacum.

The Tertia Italica was now "under the decree of the Most Honourable General of the provinces Raetiae I and II" (Sub dispositione viri spectabilis ducis provinciae Raetiae primae et secundae). It was spread over five locations, where each vexillation was again led by its own Praefectus.

In a passage of the Notitia Dignitatum states:

Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae partis superioris, Castra Regina, nunc Vallato (Manching or world castle) Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae partis superioris deputatae ripae primae, Submuntorio (Burghöfe (Mertingen)) Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae per parte media praetendentis a Vimania (Isny) Cassiliacum usque, Cambidano (Kempten) Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae transvectioni specierum deputatae, Foetibus "prefect of Legio III Italica, department to ensure the replenishment in fort Foetibus" (feet / Tyrol) and a Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae transvectioni specierum deputatae, Teriolis, Department for securing the replenishment in fort Teriolis "(Zirl in Tyrol). The soldiers from Zirl transported and probably secured with supporting animal species to geschafften over the Brenner food and consumer goods to Seefeld saddle and handed them over there the cohort of feet. From the foot of the supply boats could be transported further down the Lech Valley, to provide, for example, the departments in Submuntorio (Burghöfe (Mertingen)) and others units. The road from the foot to the northwest led by Cambodunum / Kempten, where again the forts could be achieved at the Iller.

The vexillation in castle courtyards oversaw probably the section of road to the nearby provincial capital of Augusta Vindelicorum Augsburg Presumably, this unit was also equipped with rowing boats and controlled so that, inter alia, the Danube marshes west and east of the Lech mouth.

With the loss of Dekumatlandes had become a border town Cambodunum (Kempten). From Kempten to Iller mouth of the Empire's border ran along the river. Most likely was (0.7 ha) mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum about 200 men stationed strong Legio III Italica vexillation of the higher grounds of the castle mound. This vexillation was responsible for the defense of the fort chain of Vimania (Isny) to Cassiliacum (Memmingen?)

In the Crisis of the third Century[edit]

Since the cognomen III Italica Gordiana is recorded, vexellations (sub-units) of 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.

Shield pattern of the Tertiani Italica, the comitatensis legion derived from III Italica.

Notitia Dignitatum[edit]

Vexillations 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.

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