Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix

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Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix ("Trajan's Victorious Thirtieth Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. Their emblems were the gods Neptune and Jupiter and the Capricorn. Ulpia is Trajan's own gens (Ulpia), while the cognomen "Victrix" means "victorious", and was awarded after their valiant behaviour in the Dacian wars. The legion was active until disbandment of the Rhine frontier in the beginning of the 5th century.


It was founded in AD 100 by the emperor Trajan for service in the Dacian Wars.[1][2]

The legion's first base camp was in the province of Dacia in the Danube frontier, although it's likely that at least some of its legionaries took part in the Parthian campaigns of Trajan. In 122 they were moved to Colonia Ulpia Traiana (modern Xanten[3][4]) in Germania Inferior, where they remained for the following centuries. Their main tasks were public construction and police affairs.

Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix, stationed on the river Rhine at Castra Vetera (Xanten, Germany), in Germania Inferior province, from AD 122 until the 5th century

In the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century, units of the XXX Ulpia Victrix were allocated in Parthia, as well as Gaul, Mauretania and other Roman provinces, due to the peaceful situation in Germania Inferior. They fought in Antoninus Pious campaigns in Mauritania.[5]

XXX Ulpia Victrix supported Pannonian army commander, Septimius Severus, in his bid for purple. This denarius was struck in 193 to celebrate the legion.

In the civil war of 193, XXX Ulpia Victrix supported Septimius Severus, who granted them the title of Pia Fidelis ("faithful and loyal").[4]

The legion was used by Emperor Alexander Severus in his 235 campaign against the Sassanids.[4] Later the legion would be involved in Alexander Severus' campaign on the Rhine Frontier.[6] It was almost certainly involved in Gallienus's wars against the Franks in the 250s. L. Petronius Taurus Volusianus, who later became Praetorian Prefect in 260 and Urban prefect in the mid-260s, was Primus Pilus of the legion at this time. It supported the Gallic Empire of Postumus (260–274) and no doubt suffered great losses when Aurelian overthrew Tetricus I in a bloody battle at the Catalaunian Fields (Châlons-en-Champagne) in 274.

In Iversheim, part of the town of Bad Münstereifel, North Rhine-Westphalia, the 30th Legion had large lime kilns. This stone was consecrated by the soldier Titus Aurelius Exoratus, master of the lime kilns.

With the re-organization of the Roman Army (Constantius I Chlorus), the legions guarding the border lost their importance to the comitatus, the main, cavalry-based army behind the limes. The collapse of the Rhine frontier after 408–410 marked the end of the legion's history.

Attested members[edit]

Name Rank Time frame Province Source
Lucius Aemilius Carus legatus c. 135 Germania Inferior CIL VI, 1333
Gnaeus Julius Verus[7] legatus c. 144-c. 147 Germania Inferior CIL III, 2732
Gaius Julius Severus[7] legatus c. 147-c. 150 Germania Inferior CIG 4029 = ILS 8829
[...] Egr[ilius Plarianus][7] legatus 161/169 or 177/180 Germania Inferior AE 1969/70, 82
Lucius Saevinius Proculus[7] legatus c. 170-c. 172 Germania Inferior AE 1969/70, 601
Quintus Marcius Gallianus[8] legatus c. 220 Germania Inferior CIL XIII, 8810
Cannutius Modestus[8] legatus c. 223 Germania Inferior CIL XIII, 8607
Quintus Petronius Melior legatus 3rd century Germania Inferior CIL XI, 3367
Gaius Junius Faustinus legatus 3rd century Germania Inferior [4]
Gaius Julius Septimius Castinus Dux 3rd century Germania Inferior [4]
Gaius Cattanius Tertius Legionary 3rd Century Germania Inferior
Titus Caesonnius Quinctianus military tribune c. 125 Germania Inferior CIL V, 865
Petronus Fortunatus Legionary 2nd Century Germania Inferior [5]
Lucius Petronius Taurus Volusianus primus pilus c. 253 Germania Inferior CIL XI, 1836

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hebblewhite, Mark (2016-12-19). The Emperor and the Army in the Later Roman Empire, AD 235-395. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-03430-8.
  2. ^ Wheeler, Everett L. Rome's Dacian Wars: Domitian, Trajan, and Strategy on the Danube, Part II.
  3. ^ Bishop, M. C. (2013-01-08). Handbook to Roman Legionary Fortresses. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-4738-1774-6.
  4. ^ a b c d e Benett, Julian (2008). The Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix Pia Fidelis And Severus' Expeditions Asiana and Mesopotamia. Romish-Germanisches Zentralmuseum.
  5. ^ a b Ezov, Amiram (2007). "The Centurions in the Rhine Legions in the Second and Early Third Century". Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte. 56 (1): 46–81. ISSN 0018-2311.
  6. ^ McHugh, John S. (2017-06-30). Emperor Alexander Severus: Rome's Age of Insurrection, AD 222–235. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-4738-4582-4.
  7. ^ a b c d Géza Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand unter der Antoninen (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt Verlag, 1977), p. 302
  8. ^ a b Paul M. M. Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare in der Zeit von Commodus bis Severus Alexander (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1989), p. 346

External links[edit]