Legio VI Victrix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Legio VI Victrix
Roman Empire 125.png
Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO VI VICTRIX, stationed on Eboracum (York, England), in Britannia province, from AD 119 until the 4th century
Active41 BC to after 2nd century
CountryRoman Republic and Roman Empire
TypeRoman legion (Marian)
RoleInfantry assault (some cavalry support)
SizeVaried over unit lifetime.
Garrison/HQPerusia (41 BC)
Nickname(s)Victrix, "Victorious"
EngagementsPerusia (41 BC)
Cantabrian wars (29-19 BC)
Servius Sulpicius Galba

Legio sexta victrix ("Victorious Sixth Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in 41 BC by the general Octavian (who, as Augustus, later became Rome's first emperor). It was the twin legion of VI Ferrata and perhaps held veterans of that legion, and some soldiers kept to the traditions of the Caesarian legion.

In Republican Service[edit]

The legion saw its first action in Perusia in 41 BC. It also served against the Sextus Pompeius, who occupied Sicily and made threats to discontinue sending grain to Rome. In 31 BC the legion fought in the Battle of Actium against Mark Antony.

In Imperial Service[edit]

VI Victrix in Spain[edit]

The legion took part in the final stage of the Roman conquest of Hispania, participating in Augustus' major war against the Cantabrians, from 29 BC to 19 BC,[1] that brought all of the Iberian Peninsula under Roman rule.

The legion stayed in Spain for nearly a century and received the surname Hispaniensis, founding the city of Legio (modern-day León).[2] Soldiers of this unit and X Gemina numbered among the first settlers of Caesaraugusta, what became modern-day Zaragoza. The cognomen Victrix (Victorious) dates back to the reign of Nero. But Nero was unpopular in the area, and when the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, Servius Sulpicius Galba, said he wished to overthrow Nero, the legion supported him and he was proclaimed Emperor in the VI Victrix legionary camp. Galba created VII Gemina and marched on Rome, where Nero killed himself.

VI Victrix in Germany[edit]

For a brief period (approximately 110 AD to 119, the legion was stationed along the Rhine River in the Roman province of Germany Inferior.

VI Victrix in Britain[edit]

RIB 2200. Distance Slab of the Sixth Legion[3] George MacDonald calls in no. 11 in the 2nd edition of his book The Roman Wall in Scotland.[4] It was found at near Cleddans, close to Duntocher on the Antonine Wall. It has been scanned and a video produced.[5]
Dedication to Sol Invictus by a vexillatio of the VIth, (Corbridge, Northumberland, 162-168).
Altar to Hercules, naming Gaius Vitellius Atticanus, Centurion of the Legio VI Victrix, at Whitley Castle. Illustration by Thomas Sopwith, 1833.

In 119, Hadrian relocated the legion to northern Britannia, to assist those legions already present in quelling the resistance there. Victrix was key in securing victory, and would eventually replace the diminished IX Hispana at Eboracum.[6] In 122 the legion started work on Hadrian's Wall which would sustain the peace for two decades.

Twenty years later, they helped construct the Antonine Wall and its forts such as Castlecary[7] but it was largely abandoned by 164.

In 175, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, defeated the Iazyges tribe of Sarmatians. He took them into Roman service and settled 5,500 of them in Britain; it has been claimed without evidence and contrary to legionary recruitment practices that some were assigned to Legio VI Victrix based in York. The only detachment attested in Britain is a unit at Ribchester, south of Lancaster. Less certain is evidence from Bainesse, near Catterick, where lost tiles apparently stamped BSAR may be evidence for the presence of a Sarmatian unit there.

In 185, the British legions mutinied and put forward a commander of their own, named Priscus, to replace the unpopular Emperor Commodus, but the former declined. The mutiny was suppressed by Pertinax, who would later become emperor himself after Commodus was murdered.

The Legate of the legion in the late second century, Claudius Hieronymianus, dedicated a temple to Serapis in Eboracum in advance of the arrival of Septimius Severus in AD208.[8]

An altar to Hercules was dedicated by Gaius Vitellius Atticianus, Centurion of the Legio VI Victrix, at Whitley Castle (Epiacum).[9]


Epigraphic Inscriptions[edit]

  • - Dis Manibus Gai Iuli Galeria tribu Caleni Lugduno veterani ex legione VI Victrice Pia Fideli heres a se memoriae fecit. Lincoln (Lindum), U.K. RIB 252 = CIL VII 182.
  • - Dis Manibus sacrum Nig̣ṛiṇae vixit annos XXXX Aurelius Casitto legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis curavit. Great Chesters (Aesica), U.K. RIB 1746 = CIL VII 740.
  • - Dis Manibus Titi Flavi Flavini legionis VI Victricis Classicius Aprilis heres prius quam obiret

fieri iussit. York (Eboracum), U.K. RIB 675.

  • - Dis Manibus Lucius Bebius Augusta (tribu) Crescens Vindelicum miles legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis annorum XLIII stipendiorum XXIII heres amico faciendum curavit. York (Eboracum), U.K. RIB 671.
  • - Dis Manibus Flaviae Augustinae vixit annos XXXVIIII menses VII dies XI filius Saenius Augustinus vixit annum I dies III vixit annum I menses VIIII dies V Gaius Aeresius Saenus veteranus legionis VI Victricis coniugi carissimae et sibi faciendum curavit. York (Eboracum), U.K. RIB 685 = CIL VII 245.
  • - Dis Manibus Gaius Iulius Gai filius colonia Flavia Ingenuus miles legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis. High Rochester (Bremenium), U.K. RIB 1292 = CIL VII 1057.
  • - Dis Manibus Flavius Agricola miles legionis VI Victricis vixit annos XLII dies X Albia Faustina coniugi inconparabili

faciendum curavit. London (Londinium), U.K. CIL V 25.

  • -Lucio Pompeio Luci filio / Quirina (tribu) Faventino / praefecto cohortis VI Asturum / tribuno militum legionis VI Victricis (...). Astorga (Asturica), Spain. CIL II 2637 = AE 1966, 187.
  • - Lucius Valerius Silvanus / miles legionis VI Victricis / Deo Turiaco / votum solvit libens merito. Porto (Portus), Portugal. CIL II 2374 = AE 1959, 103. ·
  • - Titus Pompeius Titi filius / Tromentina (tribu) / Albinus' domo Vienna / IIvir tribunus militum legionis VI Victricis. Mérida (Emerita Augusta), Spain. AE 2002, 929.
  • - Dis Manibus sacrum Gaius Iulius Severus veteranus legionis VI Victricis annorum LXI Iulia Danae liberta ex testamento (...).Mérida (Emerita Augusta), Spain. CIL II 490.
  • - Marcus Tavonius / Marci filius / Romilia (tribu) / Firmus domo Ateste / miles legionis VI Victricis (...). Mérida, Spain. Museo Nacional de Arte Romano - Mérida.
  • - Dis Manibus sacrum / Gaius Iulius Severus / veteranus legionis VI Victricis / annorum LXI / Iulia Danae liberta ex testamento (...). Mérida, Spain. CIL II 490.
  • - Dis Manibus sacrum Lucius Maelonius Aper veteranus legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis annorum LXX militavit beneficiarius (...). Mérida, Spain. CIL II 491.
  • - Dis Manibus sacrum / Lucius Maelonius Aper / veteranus legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis annorum LXX / militavit beneficiarius (...). Mérida, Spain. CIL II 491.
  • - Legio VI victrix. Moers, Nordrhein-Westfalen. AE 2005, 1069b.
  • - Lucius Helvius Luci filius / Papiria tribu / Rebilus Augustanus / veteranus legionis VI Victricis. Mérida, Spain. AE 2006, 616.

In popular culture[edit]

The legion is mentioned in Robert Heinlein's novel Have Space Suit - Will Travel. and in the book From Scythia to Camelot By C. Scott Littleton and Linda A. Malcor


A modern reenactment group based in Los Angeles reenacts this legion.

Legio VI Victrix, Eboracum reenacts this legion in York.

The Antonine Guard, a living history society based in Scotland, recreates a unit of Legio VI during the Antonine occupation of Caledonia in the 2nd century AD.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rabanal Alonso, Manuel Abilio (coord.) (1999). La Historia de León, Vol. 1: Prehistoria y Edad Antigua (in Spanish). Universidad de León. p. 133. ISBN 84-7719-817-9. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  2. ^ Rabanal Alonso, Manuel Abilio (coord.) (1999). La Historia de León, Vol. 1: Prehistoria y Edad Antigua (in Spanish). Universidad de León. p. 189. ISBN 84-7719-817-9. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  3. ^ "RIB 2200. Distance Slab of the Sixth Legion Valeria Victrix". Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  4. ^ Macdonald, Sir George (1934). The Roman wall in Scotland, by Sir George Macdonald (2d ed., rev., enl., and in great part rewritten ed.). Oxford: The Clarendon press. pp. 384–386. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Distance Slab of the Sixth Legion, Duntocher". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  6. ^ Nitze, William A. (August 1941). "Bedier's Epic Theory and the "Arthuriana" of Nennius". Modern Philology. 39 (1): 1–14. doi:10.1086/388502. JSTOR 434162. This states that VI Victrix was based at Eburacum (York).
  7. ^ "Castlecary". Roman Britain. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  8. ^ De la Bedoyere, G. 2002. Gods with Thunderbolts: Religion in Roman Britain. Tempus, Stroud. pp174.
  9. ^ Robertson, Alastair F. (2007). Whitley Castle; Epiacum: A Roman Fort near Alston in Cumbria (3rd ed.). Hundy. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-954-73394-0.
  10. ^ "Antonine Guard Living History Society". THE ANTONINE GUARD. Retrieved 26 May 2018.

External links[edit]