Legio II Traiana Fortis

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Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the Legio II Traiana, stationed at Alexandria (Alexandria, Egypt), in Aegyptus province, from AD 125 until the 4th century

Legio secunda Traiana, (Latin for "Trajan's Second Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded by emperor Trajan in 105, along with XXX Ulpia Victrix, for the campaigns in Dacia. There are still records of the II Traiana Fortis in Egypt in the middle of the 5th century. The legion's emblem was the demi-god Hercules.


Parthian Campaign and Judean revolts[edit]

In 115, II Traiana Fortis was incorporated in the large army used for Trajan's Parthian Campaign. In 117, the legion was allocated in Iudaea, to ensure peace after the rebellion that was just ending. In 125, they were sent to Aegyptus for the first time, to share camp in Nicopolis (next to Alexandria, Aegyptus), together with XXII Deiotariana. Between 132-136 they were again in Iudaea to deal with another revolt.

Siege in Alexandria[edit]

The legion was in its base in Nicopolis when a revolt against Roman rule started in south Egypt. The Bucoli rebels besieged Alexandria for months. Plague and famine recked the city. But the defenders remained calm.

Rescue for the Traiana and the XXII Deiotariana was when Avidius Cassius came with the legions of Syria in 172. The legion was awarded the "Fortis" ("valiant") title for the valiant defense of "Rome's Bread Basket". Cassius was ruler of the east for a time, while Marcus Aurelius was busy in his Marcomannic Wars.

When Cassius got the blessing of Aurelius' wife, Cassius declared himself emperor, thinking his emperor dead, but he was still breathing, the legion learned the legions of the Danube were being led by none other than Aurelius himself to fight the rebels. The legion, with the others, cut off Cassius' head, and sent it to Aurelius, who let the legions be, just sending them back to their proper posts to watch the Parthian Empire.

Syrian Rebellion[edit]

The history of II Traiana Fortis gives an example of the political role of the legions. In 194, Pescennius Niger, governor of the province of Syria, rebelled with the support of, among others, II Traiana Fortis. His rival was Septimius Severus who would become emperor. In the days before the final battle, the legion changed sides and vowed fidelity to Severus. This would prove to be decisive for Pescennius' defeat.

Campaign Against the Germanic Tribes[edit]

In the beginnings of the 3rd century, the legion is involved in Caracalla's campaign against Germanic tribes and receives the cognomen Germanica.

Move to Apollonopolis Magna[edit]

According to Notitia Dignitatum (a c. 400 document), in early 5th century II Traiana Fortis was moved to Apollonopolis Magna, in southern part of Aegyptus, and later it served, at least with some vexillationes, under the Comes limitis Aegypti.

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External links[edit]

Roman Reenactment[edit]