About LEGIO VI VICTRIX

There are very few sources to the history of the LEGIO VI VICTRIX PIA FIDELIS. The tradition has been that the Legion was raised by Caesar while he was Governor in Hispania. Others believe that the Legion comes from Pompeys original 6th legion. However, there is consensus that the Legion served Octavian in his showdown with Marcus Antonius as a part of his forces at the battle of Phillipi in 42 BCE. 



When Octavian - who was later called Augustus - had won power in Rome after the death of Caesar, he cut the number of Rome's legions from round 60 to 28. The 6th legion however, avoided being shut down and Augustus placed them in Spain where they probably got the, epithet "VICTRIX" – "the victorious" in their fight against revolts here.  In year 78 AD Emperor Vespasian sent Legio 6 Victrix to Northern Germany in order to create peace. Thereafter the legion got a fixed post at Novaesum (Neuss) on the Rhine River. LEGIO VI VICTRIX took part in the construction of the LIMES fortress, the fortified border between the Rhine and the Danube. 

In the year 122 AD legion 6 was moved to Eburacum (York), Nothern England to replace the 9 legion.

Tombstone for Flavius Agricola MILES (soldier) Legio VI Victrix. At the Museum of London.

vi victrix london tombstone

When Emperor Hadrian in the year 122 visited Britain and Legio 6, he decides that a fortress wall had to be built across Britain and al Roman activity north of that border had to be abandoned. It was therefore also legionaries from Legio 6, that participated in the construction of the vast fortification, later known as Hadrian’s Wall.

During the uprising among the legions against emperor Severus In 196-197 legio 6 experienced their first defeat in 230 years. Severus himself came to England in 208 to make York his HQ, and died there in 211. Legio 6 Victrix would continue to influence Roman history in Britain and Northern Europe for another 200 years.

In the year of 383 battles with local Picts forces Legio 6 Victrix to ask Rome for reinforcements, but are denied. After 407, there were virtually no more Roman troops back in England. The remaining may have defended York, but in year 476 the Western Empire and Roman Britain are dissolved.