Information on Leg. II  Augusta


Legio II Augusta 


Bust of Octavian/Augustus as high priest. Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida. Legio II Augusta: one of the Roman legions. Its name means 'the legion of Augustus', but contains a pun on 'august legion'.
This legion may have been recruited by consul Gaius Vibius Pansa and Octavian (the later emperor Augustus) in 43 BCE and was called Sabina ('from the Sabine country'). If this is correct, it first fought against Marc Antony on the eastern plains of the Po, and later, when Marc Antony, Octavian and Lepidus had allied themselves in the Second Triumvirate, against the murderers of Julius Caesar, Cassius and Brutus, in the battle of Philippi (42). A sling stone perhaps mentioning Caesar Leg II seems to prove that the Second was present at Perugia in 41, where Octavian besieged Marc Antony's brother Lucius.
 

Tombstone of Gaius Julius
Niger (Landesmuseum, Mainz)
The Second Sabine legion legion may be identical to the Second legion Gallica; if so, this is a clue to its location in the years before 30 - in Gaul. The settlement of veterans at Orange may confirm this. After 30, it was stationed at an unknown place in the north of Hispania Tarraconensis and took part in Augustus' campaigns against the Cantabrians, which lasted from 25-13 BCE.  This was a very large war: among the other troops involved were I Germanica, IIII Macedonica, V Alaudae, VI Victrix, VIIII Hispana, X Gemina, XX Valeria Victrix, and another legion, perhaps VIII Augusta. In these years, the Second legion and I Germanica were involved in the building of the colonia Acci in Spain. Veterans were settled in Barcelona and Cartenna (in Mauretania).
II Augusta was probably moved to the Rhine after the Roman defeat in the Teutoburg Forest (September 9 CE). It was stationed somewhere in the neighborhood of Mainz. From here, it marched into 'free' Germania, during the campaigns of Germanicus (14-16). Together with the Fourteenth legion Gemina, it is mentioned as one of the units that was threatened by a sudden flood during a naval campaign on the Wadden Sea. After he was recalled, the legion received a new base at Strasbourg in Germania Superior, where the legion protected a strategic crossing point of the Rhine.
 

Arch at Orange
In 21, the Second was involved in a military action against two Gallic rebels named Julius Sacrovir and Julius Florus, which had affected large parts of Gaul. This victory was commemorated with a triumphal arch in Orange. 

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