4 Legions that Conquered Britain

“II Augusta * IX Hispana * XIV Gemina * XX Valeria

The II Augusta was raised by Octavian to fight in the civil wars and won battle honors in Spain and on the German frontier before joining the army that conquered Britain in 43 AD. Despite a troubled time during Boadicea’s 60 AD rebellion, it remained one of the principal garrison legions of Britannia. The IX Hispana was raised by Pompey, fought under both Caesars but was destroyed in 161 fighting the Parthians in the east. The XIV Gemina was raised by Caesar for the conquest of Gaul, fought all over Britain in the years after the conquest and won the title ‘Martia Victrix’ during Boadicea’s revolt before being moved back across the Channel to garrison the Batavian frontier. The XX Valeria was the British legion par excellence, with its garrison headquarters at Chester and the boar as its emblem. Raised by Augustus, it won its name and title ‘Valeria Victrix’ during the conquest of Yugoslavia, after which it was selected by the Emperor Claudius for his conquest of Britain.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

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