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Full Version: Britannia legions in Europe post Septimius Serverus
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Hello chaps,

An idle query for those who know the military history of the later empire. I know that the British legions took part in Cldius Albinus's failed bid for the throne in 197ad, which I believe to have been the first time that the province's significant power was wielded in continental Europe. My question is: did 2nd Augusta, 6th Victrix or 20th Valeria Victrix ever take their spears to Europe again? Obviously they did so after the military evacuation of the province, but what about the years between 197ad and the end of the empire?

Thanks for indulging my curiosity.

Tony.
I'm not so sure about after 197 AD but the II AVG and the XX V. V. did leave this province towards the end in the 5th century, however there is record of the VI V. P. F. still here in 429 AD so I think there is no record that they ever did leave at all.
Thanks Philus,

Interesting about the 6th - I didn't know they'd stayed put at the end. My main curiosity is whether the Britannia legions got dragged into any other emperor's (or pretender's) fights - such as Constantine in the war against Maxentius.

Best regards,

Tony.
A third century inscription from Caerleon mentions a Tadius Exupertus of II Augusta who died on a German expedition, but doesn't supply his rank or whether he was part of a vexillation of that legion. Information from here:

[url:55af4tgb]http://www.romanbritain.freeserve.co.uk/Legions.htm#IIAvg[/url]

The coin series issued by Carausius include issues for II Augusta and XX Victrix, so possibly these legions supplied men for his army in Gaul in the conflict against Constantius in 293.

Zosimus (New History 2.15.I) says that the army Constantine led over the Alps to face Maxentius at Milvian bridge included 'levies from Britain' alongside Germans, 'celts' and other barbarians. This quite probably means that vexillations drawn from the British legions featured in his force - as the first troops to acclaim him emperer, they could have been thought especially loyal!

- Nathan
Thanks Nathan, I had found myself wondering if it was likely that Constantine wouldn't have taken some good sized vexillations from the legions that had proven so loyal, and your rather more scholarly take on the matter is very helpful.

Thanks for taking the time.

Tony.
Quote:I'm not so sure about after 197 AD but the II AVG and the XX V. V. did leave this province towards the end in the 5th century, however there is record of the VI V. P. F. still here in 429 AD so I think there is no record that they ever did leave at all.
Parts of II Augusta served in Britain at the time when the Notitia Dignitatum was writen down (c. 394). Some say that the information was still valid when changes were made to that document (up to c. 425) but no-one is ceratin of that. What is certain is that parts of this legion served on the continent, perhaps indicating that the old-style unit was carved up in smaller new units, like many others. It can be argued that such units could have left Britain with magnus Maximus and/or Constantine III, or maybe even earlier.
The XX is never after the 3rd century. Perhaps it was disbanded after the Carausian uprising?
The VI may have been withdrawn by Stilicho, but that's uncertain. perhaps the core resided in York until the end.