Legio II Augusta

Legio II Augusta

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Legio II "Augusta"

caption=Position of Roman legions in 80. II "Augusta" was in Isca Augusta (Caerleon, mark 3)
dates= 43 BC to sometime in the 4th 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= Hispania Tarraconensis (25 BC - AD 9) Germania (9 - 17) Argentoratum (17-43) Britannia (43-66) Glevum (66-74) Isca Augusta (Caerleon) (74 - "c." 208) Carpow ("c." 208-"c." 235) Isca Augusta (235 - after 255)
nickname= "Augusta", "Augustan" under Augustus "Antonina", "Antoninian" under Caracalla or Elagabalus
battles=Philippi (42 BC) Perugia (41-40 BC) Cantabrian Wars (25-19 BC) Invasion of Britain (43-66) Severus Scottish campaign (208)
notable_commanders=Vespasian (commander) Septimius Severus (campaign) Tiberius Claudius Paulinus

Legio II "Augusta", or Second Augustan Legion, was a Roman legion, levied by Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, and still operative in Britannia in 4th century. Its emblems were the Capricornus [Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000 By L. J. F. Keppie page 128 ] , Pegasus [Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000 By L. J. F. Keppie page 129 ] and Mars.

Early History

II "Augusta" was originally raised by Octavian and consul Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, to fight against Mark Anthony; II "Augusta" fought in the battle of Philippi and in the battle of Perugia. At the beginning of Augustus rule, in 25 BC, this legion was relocated in Hispania, to fight in the Cantabrian Wars, which definitively established Roman power in Hispania, and later camped in Hispania Tarraconensis. With the annihilation of Legio XVII, XVIII and XIX in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (AD 9), II "Augusta" moved to Germania, possibly in the area of Mainz. After 17, it was at Argentoratum (modern Strasbourg).

Invasion of Britannia

The legion participated in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43. The future Emperor Vespasian was the legion's commander at the time and led the campaign against the Durotriges and Dumnonii tribes. Although it was recorded as suffering a defeat at the hands of the Silures in 52, the II "Augusta" proved to be one of the best legions, even after its disgrace during the uprising of queen Boudica, when its "praefectus castrorum", who was then its acting commander (its legatus and tribunes probably being absent with the governor Suetonius Paulinus), contravened Suetonius' orders to join him and so later committed suicide.

After the defeat of Boudica, the legion was dispersed over several bases; from 66 to around 74 it was stationed at Glevum (modern Gloucester), and then moved to Isca Augusta (modern Caerleon), building a stone fortress that the soldiers occupied until the end of the 3rd century. The legion also had connections with the camp at Alchester in Oxfordshire; stamped tiles record it in the second century at Abonae (Sea Mills, Bristol) on the tidal shore of the Avon ("Princeton Encyclopedia").

econd and third centuries

In 122, II "Augusta" helped to build Hadrian's Wall.

In 196, II "Augusta" supported the claim for the purple of the governor of Britannia, Clodius Albinus, who was defeated by Septimius Severus. In occasion of the Scottish campaign of Severus, the Second moved to Carpow, to return to Caerleon under Alexander Severus.


In his fantasy novel "Grail", the author Stephen R. Lawhead states that the legion was ensnared by the black magic of the witch Morgan le Fay, doomed to perpetually wander the mists of Lyonesse.

Lindsey Davis' character Marcus Didius Falco and his sidekick Petronius Longus both served in the legion during the Boudicca uprising in 60/61, while they were little more than boys (probably 19/20 years old). Marcus or Petronius have only referred to their service in asides, due to the bad memories of the uprising and the boredom in a cold, unfriendly country. The scenes of carnage and destruction in Londinium left a deep impression on both of them, with neither keen to return to Roman Britain. Novels that most directly refer to their service in Britain are "The Silver Pigs", "A Body in the Bath House" and "The Jupiter Myth".

It is also the Legion in which Centurions Quintus Licinius Cato and Lucius Cornelius Macro serve in during the first five books of the Eagle series by Simon Scarrow. The books also cover Vespasian's career as commander of the legion and the invasion of Britain.

ee also

* List of Roman legions
* Roman legion


* [http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/ii_augusta.html livius.org account]
* "Dorset and the Second Legion", N.Field (1992), ISBN 1-871164-11-7
* Lawrence Keppie: "Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000", Franz Steiner Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3515077448; chapter "The Origins and Early History of the Second Augustan Legion", pages 123 - 147 (in [http://books.google.com/books?id=TLDvWqjSfP8C&d Google Books] ).

External links

* [http://www.legiiavg.org.uk/ LEGIO SECVNDA AVGVSTA] , British 1st - 2nd Century AD ~ Roman Living History Society
* [http://www.spqr.co.nz/ Second Legion Augusta (NZ)] , New Zealand re-enactment group
* [http://icarus.umkc.edu/sandbox/perseus/pecs/page.9.a.php Richard Stillwell, ed. "Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites", 1976:] "Abonae (Sea Mills, Bristol), England"

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