Legio XV Apollinaris


Legio XV Apollinaris

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Legio XV "Apollinaris"


caption=Position of Roman legions in 80. XV "Apollinaris" was in Carnuntum (mark 11)
dates= 41/40 BC to sometime in the 5th century
country= Roman Republic and Roman Empire
type= Roman legion (Marian)
role= Infantry assault (some cavalry support)
size= Varied over unit lifetime. Approx. 3,500 fighting men + support at the time of creation.
garrison= Illyricum (48 BC - 6 BC) Carnuntum (9 - 61) Syria (61-"c." 73) Carnutum ("c." 73 - 117 Satala (117-5th century)
ceremonial_chief=
nickname= "Apollinaris", "devoted to Apollo" under Augustus "Pia Fidelis", "faithful and loyal" under Marcus Aurelius
patron=Apollo
motto=
colors=
march=
mascot=
battles=Tiberius Marcomanni campaign (6) First Jewish Revolt (6673) Dacian Wars (105-106) Trajan Mesopotamian campaign (115-117) Lucius Verus Armenian campaign (162) Septimus Severus Parthian campaign (197)
notable_commanders=Titus (officer) Trajan (campaign) Lucius Verus (campaign) Septimius Severus (campaign)
anniversaries=

Legio XV "Apollinaris" ("devoted to Apollo") was a Roman legion. It was recruited by Octavian in 41/40 BC. The emblem of this legion was probably a picture of Apollo, or of one of his holy animals.

XV "Apollinaris" is sometimes confused with two other legions with the same number: An earlier unit which was commanded by Julius Caesar and met its end in North Africa in 49 BC, and a later unit that was present at the Battle of Philippi on the side of the Second Triumvirate and then sent east.

History

Octavianus (later Emperor Augustus) raised XV "Apollinaris" in order to end the occupation of Sicily by Sextus Pompeius, who was threatening Rome's grain supply. After the Battle of Actium, the legion was sent to garrison Illyricum, where it probably remained until 6 BC, though it might have seen action in the Cantabrian Wars.

In 6 BC, "Apollinaris" was part of the huge campaign by Emperor Tiberius against the Marcomanni that was obstructed by a revolt in Pannonia. "Apollinaris" saw a good deal of fighting in the suppression of the revolt. It was most likely this legion that built the Colonia Iulia Aemona. By 9 the legion was headquartered in Pannonia, in the town of Carnuntum.

There the unit stayed until sent to Syria and possibly Armenia by Nero in 61 or 62, these territories newly conquered from the Parthians. After the conclusion of the war with Parthia, the legion was sent to Alexandria but soon found itself engaged in the fierce fighting of the First Jewish Revolt, capturing the towns of Jotapata and Gamla. It was the Fifteenth that captured the Jewish general later to become famous as the historian Josephus. During this period the legion was commanded by Titus, who would later become Emperor.

After the suppression of the revolt, the legion returned to Carnuntum and rebuilt its fortress. Elements of the XVth fought in the Dacian Wars although the main body of the legion remained in Pannonia.

In 115, war with Parthia broke out again and the legion was sent to the front, reinforced with elements of the XXX "Ulpia Victrix". The legion fought in Mesopotamia, which was conquered by the Romans. After the conflict was over the unit stayed in the east with a new headquarters at Satala in northeastern Cappadocia, with elements stationed at Trapezus on the Black Sea and at Ancyra, modern-day Ankara. From this base the XVth helped repulse an invasion of Alans in 134.

By 162, Rome and Parthia were at war once more; the campaign, led by Emperor Lucius Verus was successful, and the legion occupied the Armenian capital Artaxata. In 175, the general Avidius Cassius rebelled against Emperor Marcus Aurelius, but the Fifteenth remained loyal and earned the additional title "Pia Fidelis".

The history of the legion after this point involves more conjecture. As a unit stationed in the Middle East, it is almost certain to have taken part in later campaigns against Parthia, including the sack of its capital Ctesiphon by the Romans in 197, and in wars against the new Sassanid power that arose in Persia thereafter, though there is no direct record of this. At the beginning of the 5th century, the legion reappears in history: it is still quartered at Satala and Ancyra, though having lost its post at Trapezus somewhere along the way, and is under the command of the "Dux Armeniae".

An inscription possibly relating to this legion was found in a cave in eastern Uzbekistan, perhaps carved by soldiers captured by the Parthians and dispatched to their eastern frontier as border guards.

See also

* List of Roman legions
* Roman soldiers in the East
* Notitia Dignitatum, the document stating XV "Apollinaris" in 5th century

References

* [http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/xv_apollinaris.html Lendering, Jona, "Legio XV Apollinaris", livius.org]


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