Legio III Cyrenaica

Legio III Cyrenaica

* Notice - The Legion III Cyrenaica living history (www.legioiiicyrenaica.org) group has been doing extensive research on the history of the Legion. Some information in this article is now 'outdated' Updates will be coming soon.

Legio III "Cyrenaica", ("from Cyrenaica", a Roman province), was a Roman legion probably levied by Mark Antony around 36 BC, when he was governor of Cyrenaica. There are still records of the legion in Syria in the beginning of the 5th century. The legion symbol is unknown.


The first historical appearance of the legion is during the campaign of Emperor Caesar Augustus to conquer Egypt in 30 BC. III "Cyrenaica" would remain in Egypt and, in 35 was in Alexandria, sharing camp with XXII "Deiotariana".The main task of both legions was keep the province safe and to maintain peace and order between the different ethnic and religious groups present in Alexandria.

In the internal turmoil of the Roman Empire, III "Cyrenaica" tended to follow defeated candidates to the throne like Avidius Cassius (vs. Marcus Aurelius in 175) and Pescennius Niger (vs. Septimius Severus in 192).

The legion, or subunits of it, probably participated in the following campaigns:
*25 BC – against Arabia Felix, modern Yemen, and 23 BC against Nubia (see XXII "Deiotariana" history)
*63 – against the Parthian Empire for the control over Armenia (see XXII "Deiotariana" history)
*66–70 and 132/136– retaliations on the Jewish rebellions
*162–166 – against the Parthian Empire, commanded by Lucius Verus
*215–217 – against the Parthian Empire, commanded by Caracalla

After the rebellion of Zenobia in 267-272, III "Cyrenaica" was transferred to an unclear location, although the legion was in Bostra (Syria) in the beginning of the 5th century.


New entry: (under revision)Leg. III had a number of Auxiliary units attached to it, as several Roman Legions did. New research has uncovered names and numbers of Auxiliary cohorts that were stationed in Egypt during the same period as Leg III and XXII; some of these cohorts are known to be directly linked to III and XXII (and in the 2nd century, II Trajana) respectively. The titles 'Menapii' and 'Nabatea' were originally created to fill the role of an Auxiliary impression with the Leg. III living history group. New research has led the group to rename the Infantry cohort to COH I Pannoniorum (After Pannonia, a Germanic province), and the archery cohort is being considered renamed to II Petrorum (after Petra, capital of Nabatea). Menapii and Nabatea are both mentioned in Roman records, but as mentioned, new research has pin-pointed specific names attributed to the period and region the living history group seeks to portray.

Old entry:Legio III "Cyrenaica" was known to have had at least two organic auxiliary cohorts attached to it. One of these cohorts consisted of Menapian Celts, who probably served as skirmishers or spearmen, and the other cohort was made up of Nabataean archers.Facts|date=February 2007

ee also

*List of Roman legions


Alston, Richard. "Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt: A Social History", Routledge 1995.
* [http://www.livius.org/le-lh/legio/iii_cyrenaica.html livius.org account of Legio III Cyrenaica]

External links

* [http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/content/view/41/114/ Ritterling's article]
* [http://www.legioiiicyrenaica.org/ Legio III Cyrenaica, Century I, Cohors II] , US re-enactment group

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