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Legio XX Valeria Victrix

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de:Legio XX Valeria Victrix no:Legio XX Valeria Victrix es:Legio XX Valeria Victrix Legio XX Valeria Victrix was a Roman legion, probably raised by Augustus some time after 31 BC. It served in Hispania, Illyricum, and Germania before participating in the invasion of Britannia in 43, where it remained and was active until at least the beginning of the 4th century. The emblem of the legion was a boar. The Valeria part of Legio XX cognomen is difficult to understand: it might be related to the concept of military value; others suggest a relationship with the Valeria gens, or with the black eagle.

XX Valeria Victrix was part of the great army that campaigned against the Cantabrians in Hispania Tarraconensis from 25 to 13 BC.

The legion then moved to Illyricum, and is recorded in the army of Tiberius operating against the Marcomanni in AD 6. In one battle the legion cut through the enemy lines, was surrounded, and cut its way out again.

After the disaster of Varus in AD 9, XX Valeria Victrix moved to Germania Inferior and was based at Oppidum Ubiorum (Cologne), then moved to Novaesium (Neuss) some time during Tiberius' reign.

The legion was one of the four with which Claudius invaded Britain in 43, after which it encamped at Camulodunum (Colchester), with some units at Kingsholm in Gloucester. In 60 or 61 it helped put down the revolt of queen Boudicca; it is possible that the Twentieth legion was awarded of its Valeria Victrix (Valiant and Victorious) cognomen as a consequence of its contribution in this war.

In the year of the four emperors, the legion sided with Vitellius, some units going with him to Rome. In 78-84, it was part of Gnaeus Julius Agricola's campaigns in northern Britain and Scotland, and built the base at Inchtuthil that they occupied until returning south in 88 and occupying Castra Devana (Chester), where it remained for at least two centuries.

During the reign of the usurper emperors Carausius and Allectus (286-293 and 293-296) the XX Valeria Victrix was still active; no records, however, are present in the 4th century.

This legion has been much studied; at least 250 members of the legion have been identified in surviving inscriptions.


Legio XX Valeria Victrix was the legion featured in the novel Eagle in the Snow; author Wallace Breem postulates that they were annhiliated by the Germanic invasion of 406.


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