Legio IV Scythica


Legio IV Scythica

Legio IIII "Scythica" ("from Scythia") was a Roman legion levied by Mark Antony around 42 BC, for his campaign against the Parthian Empire, hence its other "cognomen", "Parthica". The legion was still active in Syria in the early 5th century. The legion's symbol was a capricorn [Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971-2000 By L. J. F. Keppie page 128 ] .

Origin

In its first years, the whereabouts of IIII "Scythica" are uncertain, although it is probable that it took part in Antony's campaign against the Parthians. The name suggests that it fought against the Scythians. After the battle of Actium and Antony's suicide, Octavian transferred IIII "Scythica" to the Danube province of Moesia. The legion is reported to have taken part in civilian tasks, such as the building and keeping of roads. In his youth, future emperor Vespasian served in this legion.

Campaigns in the east

King Vologases I of Parthia invaded Armenia, a client kingdom of Rome, in 58. Nero ordered Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, the new legatus of Cappadocia, to manage the matter. Corbulo brought IIII "Scythica" from Moesia, and with III "Gallica" and VI "Ferrata" defeated the Parthians, restoring Tigranes on Armenian throne. In 62, IIII "Scythica" and XII "Fulminata", commanded by the new legatus of Cappadocia, Lucius Caesennius Paetus, were defeated by the Parthians at the Battle of Rhandeia and forced to surrender. The legions were covered with shame and removed from the war theatre to Zeugma. This city would be the base camp of IIII "Scythica" for the next century.

In the Year of the Four Emperors (69), the legion, like the rest of the Eastern army, sided with Vespasian immediately. Despite the demonstrated loyalty, IIII "Scythica" was not involved in actual fighting because it was not considered a high quality legion. This has to do with another defeat years earlier in the Jewish rebellion. In the 2nd century, it participated in the suppression of another Jewish rebellion, this time with more success.

ince 2nd century

IIII "Scythica" participated in all campaigns of the 2nd century against the Parthian Empire. Between 181 and 183, the commander of the Eastern legions was Septimius Severus, who become emperor relying on his legions power.

The legion disappears from the sources after 219, when their commander, Gellius Maximus, rebelled against Emperor Elagabalus and proclaimed himself emperor, only to be defeated by Elagabalus. However, according to "Notitia Dignitatum", in the early 5th century, IIII "Scythica" was still in Syria, camped in Sura.

ee also

*List of Roman legions

External links

* [http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/iiii_scythica.html livius.org account of Legio IIII Scythica]


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