Legio I Italica

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de:Legio I Italica

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Denarius-Septimius_Severus-l1italica-RIC_0003.jpg
Denarius issued in 193 by Septimius Severus, to celebrate I Italica, which supported the commander of the Pannonian legions in his fight for the purple.

Legio I Italica ("the Italian legion") was a Roman legion levied by emperor Nero on September 22, 66 AD (the date is attested by an inscription), for a campaign in Armenia that never took place. The sources mention the peculiar fact that the original legionaries were Italics all over six feet tall. There are still records of the I Italica in the Danube border in the beginning of the 5th century AD. The legion's emblem was a boar.

Gaul broke out in revolt early in 68, and I Italica was redirected there from the East. In the year of the four emperors (69 AD), they sided with Vitellius until his defeat by Vespasian. The new emperor sent I Italica to the province of Moesia in 70. They encamped at Novae (modern Sishtov), and remained there for centuries.

During the Dacian wars of Trajan, the legion was responsible for bridge construction in the Danube. Building activities seem an expertise of the legion. Around 140 a centurion from I Italica is responsible for the construction of a section of the Antonine wall. Again, in the 3rd century the legion took part in the construction of the Limes Transalutanus, a defensive wall along the Danube.

During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, I Italica was surely involved in the wars against the Germanic tribes that threatened to cross the Danube.

See also: List of Roman legions

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