Legio V Macedonica

Legio V Macedonica

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Legio V "Macedonica"

caption=This coin was issued by Roman emperor Gallienus to celebrate the V "Macedonica", whose symbol, the eagle, is crowned of wrath by Victoria. The legend on the reverse says LEG V MAC VI P VI F, which means "Legio V Macedonica VI times faithful VI times loyal".
dates= 43 BC to sometime in the 5th century
country= Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire
type= Roman legion (Marian) later a comitatensis unit
role= Infantry assault (some cavalry support)
size= Varied over unit lifetime. Approx. 3,500 fighting men + support at the time of creation.
garrison= Macedonia (30 BC-6) Oescus, Moesia (6-62) Oescus (71-101) Troesmis, Dacia (107-161) Potaissa, Dacia Porolissensis (166-274) Oescus (274-5th century)
nickname= possibly "Urbana" and/or "Gallica" (before 31 BC) "Macedonica", "Macedonia" (since AD 6) "Pia Fidelis", "faithful and loyal", or "Pia Constans", "faithful and reliable" (since 185-7) "Pia III Fidelis III" (under Valerian) "Pia VII Fidelis VII" (under Gallienus)
mascot=Bull and eagle
battles=Battle of Actium (31 BC) Corbulo Partian campaign (63) First Jewish-Roman War (66-70) Dacian Wars (101-106) Verus Parthian campaign (161166) "vexillationes of the 5th participated in many other campaigns."
notable_commanders= Paetus (campaign) Corbulo (campaign) Vespasian (campaign) Hadrian ("tribunus militum") Trajan (campaign) Lucius Verus (campaign) Marcus Aurelius (campaign) Clodius Albinus (officer)

Legio V "Macedonica" ("Macedonian") was a Roman legion. It was probably originally levied by consul Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Octavian in 43 BC, and it existed in Moesia at least until 5th century. Its symbol was the bull, but the eagle was used as well. The "cognomen" "Macedonica" comes from the fact that the legion was stationed in Macedonia for a period of its life.


First century BC: Creation and deployment in Macedonia

The Legio V was one of the original twenty-eight legions raised by Octavian. There are two fifth legions recorded: the V "Gallica" and the V "Urbana". It is possible that these both were early names for the V "Macedonica". The legion probably participated in the Battle of Actium (31 BC). It later moved to Macedonia, where it stayed from 30 BC to AD 6, gaining its cognomen, before moving to Oescus (Moesia).

First century: The Great Jewish Revolt

In 62, some "vexillationes" of the Fifth fought under Lucius Caesennius Paetus in Armenia against the Parthian Empire. After the defeat of the Battle of Rhandeia, the whole V "Macedonica", together with III "Gallica", VI "Ferrata", and X "Fretensis" under the command of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, was sent to the east to fight in the victorious war against the Parthians.

The Fifth was probably still in the East when the Great Jewish Revolt in Iudaea Province began in 66. Nero gave the V "Macedonica", the X "Fretensis" and the XV "Apollinaris" to Titus Flavius Vespasianus to counter the revolt. In 67, in Galilee, the city of Sepphoris surrendered peacefully to the Roman army, and later the V "Macedonica" conquered Mount Gerizim, the chief sanctuary of the Samaritans. In the Year of the Four Emperors, 68, the legion stayed inactive in Emmaus, where several tombstones of soldiers of the V "Macedonica" remain. After the proclamation of Vespasian as Emperor and the end of the war under his son Titus, the V "Macedonica" left Iudaea and returned to Oescus (71). In 96, the later emperor Hadrian served the legion as "tribunus militum".

econd century: In Dacia, protecting Danube frontier

In 101, the legion moved to Dacia, to fight in Trajan's campaign against the local populations. After the war ended in 106, the legion remained in Troesmis (modern Iglita), near the delta of the Danube since 107.

When Emperor Lucius Verus started his campaign against the Parthians (161166), the legion moved to the east, but was later returned in Dacia Porolissensis, with a basecamp in Potaissa.

The northern frontier was a hot border of the Empire; when emperor Marcus Aurelius had to fight against the Marcomanni, the Sarmatians, and the Quadi, the V "Macedonica" was involved in these fights.

At the beginning of the reign of Commodus, the V "Macedonica" and the XIII "Gemina" defeated once again the Sarmatians, under the later usurpers Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. The Fifth later supported Septimius Severus, in his fight for the purple.

In 185 or 187, the legion was awarded of the title "Pia Constans" ("Faithful and reliable") or "Pia Fidelis" ("Faithful and loyal"), after defeating a mercenary army in Dacia.

Later centuries: Honors and evolution

While staying in Potaissa for most of the 3rd century, V "Macedonica" fought several times, earning honors. Valerian gave the Fifth the name "III Pia III Fidelis"; his son, Gallienus gave the legion the title "VII Pia VII Fidelis", with the 4th, 5th and 6th titles awarded probably when the legion was used as a mobile cavalry unit against usurpers Ingenuus and Regalianus (260, Moesia). A vexillatio fought against Victorinus (Gaul, 269271).

The legion returned to Oescus in 274, after Aurelian had retired from Dacia. It guarded the province in later centuries, becoming a comitatensis unit under the Magister Militum per Orientis. It probably became part of the Byzantine army.

The cavalry unit created by Gallienus was definitively detached by Diocletian, and become part of his comitatus. This unit was sent to Mesopotamia, where it successfully fought against the Sassanid Empire in 296, and then to Memphis, where it had to stay until its entering in the Byzantine army.


* [http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/v_macedonica.html livius.org account]

See also

* List of Roman legions

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