Legio XV Apollinaris

Legio XV Apollinaris

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Legio XV Apollinaris'
Start a new discussion about 'Legio XV Apollinaris'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Legio quinta decima Apollinaris (Fifteenth Apollonian Legion) was a Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

. It was recruited by Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 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
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 and met its end in North Africa in 49 BC, and a later unit that was present at the Battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

 on the side of the Second Triumvirate
Second Triumvirate
The Second Triumvirate is the name historians give to the official political alliance of Octavius , Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony, formed on 26 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which marked the end of the Roman Republic...

 and then sent east.

History


Octavianus (later Emperor Augustus) raised XV Apollinaris in order to end the occupation of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 by Sextus Pompeius
Sextus Pompeius
Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius, in English Sextus Pompey , was a Roman general from the late Republic . He was the last focus of opposition to the Second Triumvirate...

, who was threatening Rome's grain supply
Grain supply to the city of Rome
In classical antiquity, the grain supply to the city of Rome could not be met entirely from the surrounding countryside, which was taken up by the villas and parks of the aristocracy and which produced mainly fruit, vegetables and other perishable goods...

. After the Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

, the legion was sent to garrison Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

, where it probably remained until 6 BC, though it might have seen action in the Cantabrian Wars
Cantabrian Wars
The Cantabrian Wars occurred during the Roman conquest of the modern provinces of Cantabria, Asturias and León, against the Asturs and the Cantabri. They were the final stage of the conquest of Hispania.-Antecedents:...

.

In 6 BC, Apollinaris was part of the huge campaign by Emperor Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

 against the Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

 that was obstructed by a revolt in Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

. 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
Carnuntum
Carnuntum was a Roman army camp on the Danube in the Noricum province and after the 1st century the capital of the Upper Pannonia province...

.

There the unit stayed until sent to Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

 and possibly Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 by Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 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
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 but soon found itself engaged in the fierce fighting of the First Jewish Revolt, capturing the towns of Jotapata and Gamla
Gamla
Gamla was an ancient Jewish city in the Golan Heights. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, it is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars. The site of a Roman siege during the Great Revolt of the 1st century CE, Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of...

. It was the Fifteenth that captured the Jewish general later to become famous as the historian Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

. During this period the legion was commanded by Titus
Titus
Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

, 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
Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix
Legio trigesima Ulpia Victrix was a Roman legion levied by the Emperor Trajan in 100 for the Dacian Wars. The legion was active until disbandment of the Rhine frontier in the beginning of the 5th century. Their emblems were the gods Neptune and Jupiter and the Capricorn...

. 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
Satala
Located in Turkey, the city of Satala , according to the ancient geographers, was situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, a little north of the Euphrates, where the road from Trapezus to Samosata crossed the boundary of the Roman Empire...

 in northeastern Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

, with elements stationed at Trapezus
Trapezus
Trapezus, Trapezounta, and Trapezounta can refer to:*Trabzon, an ancient settlement on the Black Sea in Turkey.*Trapezus, a city in the province Arcadia in Greece...

 on the Black Sea and at Ancyra, modern-day Ankara. From this base the XVth helped repulse an invasion of Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 in 134.

By 162, Rome and Parthia were at war once more; the campaign, led by Emperor Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus
Lucius Verus , was Roman co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, from 161 until his death.-Early life and career:Lucius Verus was the first born son to Avidia Plautia and Lucius Aelius Verus Caesar, the first adopted son and heir of Roman Emperor Hadrian . He was born and raised in Rome...

 was successful, and the legion occupied the Armenian capital Artaxata. In 175, the general Avidius Cassius
Avidius Cassius
Gaius Avidius Cassius was a Roman general and usurper who briefly ruled Egypt and Syria in 175.-Origins:He was the son of Gaius Avidius Heliodorus, a noted orator who was Prefect of Egypt from 137 to 142 under Hadrian, and wife Junia Cassia Alexandra...

 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
Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia.The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia...

 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
Dux
Dux is Latin for leader and later for Duke and its variant forms ....

 Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

e.

An inscription possibly relating to this legion was found in a cave in eastern Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, 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
    Notitia Dignitatum
    The Notitia Dignitatum is a unique document of the Roman imperial chanceries. One of the very few surviving documents of Roman government, it details the administrative organisation of the eastern and western empires, listing several thousand offices from the imperial court down to the provincial...

    , the document stating XV Apollinaris in 5th century