THE EMPEROR TRAJAN
Trajan reigned as emperor from 98 to 117 A.D. He was born September 18th, 53 into the Ulpii family in the Baetican city of
Italica (southern Spain), and he traced his ancestry there back to the 3rd Century B.C. His father, a Roman senator who
served under Vespasianus as the legate of Legio X Fretensis, subsequently held several governorships including those of
Baetica and Syria before becoming proconsul of Asia. He passed away before 100 AD and was deified in 113 A.D.
Trajan served as a legate under his father in Syria, and then became a quaestor and a praetor before 84. Hadrian's father
died when he was 9 and one of the two guardians appointed in 86 was his father's cousin, Marcus Ulpius Traianus. Trajan
was subsequently appointed as the legate of Legio VII Gemina. He led his men against the rebel Antonius Saturninus on
the Rhine and then fought under Domitian against the Germans. In 91 he became a consul and thereafter was the
governor of Moesia inferior and then Germania superior. Hadrian was dispatched to Germania in 97 AD to advise Trajan
that the emperor Nerva had adopted him as his heir. On January 27th, 98, Nerva died and Trajan assumed power. Before
heading off to Rome he established the Limes in Germany.
The Dacian king Decebalus was a constant thorn in the side of Rome, and it was in 100 AD that Trajan began his
preparations for the first Danube campaign to deal with him. Legions were redeployed from several provinces including
Germany and Britain. Auxiliary units were transferred into the area and new legions were created to replace two lost in
battle. Legio XXX likely took the place of V Alaudae, which was crushed by the Sarmatians in 92, and Legio II Traiana
replaced the vanquished Legio Rapax.
The offensive against Dacia was launched in 101, after the completion of a new road through the ‘Iron Gates’ and the
erection of a 60 arch bridge across the Danube. Although Decebalus capitulated in 102, he continued to harass the
Romans and incite rebellion. Trajan returned to Dacia in 106 and engaged in a long bitter struggle that involved almost one
third of the Roman army and concluded with Decebalus' suicide. The surviving Dacians were slain or enslaved, and the
new Roman province of Dacia was opened to immigrants from other parts of the empire. The spoils of war financed
massive public works throughout the empire, and the victory was commemorated on Trajan's column.
In 114 Trajan attacked Parthia and captured Babylon and Ctesiphon. The conquered areas proved too difficult to control and
Trajan reluctantly withdrew to the west in 117 AD where he died in Selinus on August 9th. Hadrian was his successor.
LXXX U(LPIA) V(ICTRIX) P(IA) F(IDELIS)
Founded around 100 AD, Legio XXX earned the cognomen Victrix (winner) for its involvement in the Dacian conflict. It was
stationed at Brigetio (Szony) in Pannonia Superior in 105 after XI Claudia was transferred to Oescus (in Lower Moesia).
Stamped tiles discovered at Carnutum and Vindobona testify to Legio XXX's presence there involved in construction
projects, which makes participation in Trajan's Parthian war of 114-117 unlikely. In 118 Marcius Turbo was given the task of
quelling unrest in Pannonia and Dacia following Trajan's death, and he would have acted as Legio XXX's supreme
When VI Victrix was redeployed to Britain in 119-122, Legio XXX occupied its former base at Castra Vetera near Colonia
Ulpia Traiana (Xanten) in Germania Inferior. The fort was strategically placed where the Lippe joins the Rhine making it
ideally suited to control the area and launch raids into Germany.
Soldiers from the XXXth are found posted in Colonia Ara Agrippinensium (Cologne) as clerks in the office of the governor of
Germania Inferior, running lime kilns at Iversheim, involved in construction in Bonna (Bonn) along with Legio I Minervia, and
serving in locations such as Rigomagus (Remagen), Noviomagus and Divitia. Detachments were posted in Gaul and
Legio XXX's name has been associated with Cabillonum (Chalon Saone-et-Loire), Lugudunum (Lyon), Lutetia (Paris) and
A vexillation of Legio XXXth possibly accompanied I Minervia when it participated in Lucius Verus' Parthian campaign in 162.
It supported Lucius Septimius Severus against Clodius Albinus in 196/197 and earned the title Pia Fidelis (faithful and
loyal). Vexillations of XXX served with Iulius Castinus in 206-8 when he quelled dissident Gauls and Spaniards and fought
with Severus in Britannia.
Detachments were active with Severus Alexander in Persia in 235. The lower Rhine was overrun in 240 and then again in
256. Postumus repelled the invaders in 260, established in-depth defences and founded the Gallic Empire with the support
of Legio XXX. Aurelian's reintegration of Gaul into the Roman Empire in 274 AD was accomplished at a significant loss in
life, and the Franks overran the weakened defences as far as Paris. Order was firmly restored by Chlorus around 300, and
he refounded Colonia Ulpia Traiana (Xanten), which had been a ghost town for almost a quarter of a century. Legio XXX
was transferred into the city, which was henceforth known as Tricesimae (thirty). According to Ammianus Marcellinus
“soldiers of the Thirtieth” were present at Amida when the Persians laid siege to and captured the city in 359 AD.
The men who served in Legio XXX originated from such diverse places as Italia, Germania Inferior, Gallia, Belgica,
Britannia, Dalmatia and Thracia. Examination of the coinage of Gallienus suggests a relationship between the legion and
the god Neptune, while those of Victorinus link the god Jupiter, and the astrological sign of Capricorn, with the XXXth.
|Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix is an informal association of Roman re-enactors (from southern Ontario and the north-eastern
USA) established in 2004 with the goal of portraying all aspects of:
- Roman civilian and
- legionary life.
Family participation is welcome and encouraged.
|What is Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix?
|Background History of Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix
L. Aemilius L. f. Cam(ilia)
Karus, legate at the end of
Canutius Modestus, in the
C. Iulius C. f. Fabia Severus,
C. Iulius CN. f. Verus, under
Antoninus Pius around the
Iunius Faustinus ......
Postumianus, third century,
Q. Marcius Gallianus,
Q. Petronius Melior, around
the time of Severus Alexander.
Aelius Carus, third century,
T. Caesarnius Quinctius
T. Marius Martialis, third
C. Sagurus C. f. Clu(stumina)
M. Rossius M. f. Pupinia
Vitulus e(gregius) v(ir),
T. Varius T. f. Clemens
Cl(audia) Celia, in the time of
T. Statilius ... f. Pollia ...in the
Primi Ordines (First
L. Petronius Taurus
T. Pontius M. f. Sept(imia?)
primipil(us), in the year 243.
M. Annius M. f. Quir. Martialis,
Aur(elius) Tertins, third century,
C. Caesius C. f. Ouf(entina)
Silvester, in the time of
T. Fl(avius) Constans,
T. Flavius Super,T. Flavius
Q. Iulius C. f. Quir. Aquila, in
the time of Hadrian or
M. Iulius Martius, in the year
C. Iulius Fab(ia) Procolus,
Priscus, in the year 211,
M. Petronius Fortunatus,
L. Septimius L. f. Pannonius,
d(omo) Ulp(ia) Papir(ia)
Petavione Marcellinus, in the
time of Severus Alexander,
M. Verecundinius Simplex, in
the year 164,
Ulpius Charistus, third century.
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