A brief history of the VIth Legion

The VI Legion was raised by Julius Caesar for his Gallic wars probably in 53-52 BC, and began its career at the famous siege of Alesia in 52 BC. The Legion fought in both Spain and Greece during Caesar's Civil War. It moved with Caesar to Alexandria in Egypt, where the size of the Legio VI was reduced to all but 1000 men. The Legion sailed with Caesar to Syria, provided victory at Zela in 47 BC, when Caesar declared, 'Veni, vidi, vici.'

After Caesars’s assassination, the VI went to the East with Antony. During the civil war between Octavian and Antony, Octavian raised his own VI legion from retired veterans of Caesars old legion, and after Actium in 31 BC, Antony's legion returned to Syria and became the VI Ferrata and Octavian, now Augustus, sent his Legio VI to Northern Spain. Here it earned the title Victrix - the Victorious. It later moved its base to Novaesium in Germania. In the reign of Domitian (81-96 AD), the Victrix was honoured with the titles, Pius et Fidelis - Pious and Faithful - after crushing a revolt by the Rhine legions.

In the reign of Hadrian, the Legio VI Victrix was transferred to Britannia. It landed at Newcastle in 122 AD, and based itself at Eboracum (York). It was commissioned with the construction of the eastern section of the Hadrian's Wall frontier

In the reign of Antoninus Pius, the legion pushed north and erected the Antonine Wall as a new Northern Frontier (139 and 142 AD). The VI Victrix was responsible for administering much of the north of Roman Britain. In 155 AD, the Roman troops withdrew to back to Hadrian's Wall.

In 208 AD, the emperor Septimus Severus came to reassert control of the frontier. For their successful part in this hard-fought war, the VI Victrix received its final battle honour, Britannicus. The Legio VI Victrix officially remained in Britain until the full Roman withdrawal was ordered in 410 AD.


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