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Legio IIII Martia

Coin of Aurelian at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn (Germany). Photo Jona Lendering.
Coin of Aurelian (Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn)
Legio IIII Martia: one of the legions of the later Roman empire. Its name indicates that the legionaries were especially dedicated to the war god Mars.

This legion is mentioned in the text known as Notitia Dignitatum, a catalogue of officials and Roman army units, as they existed in the late fourth century. It states that the Fourth Martian legion was one of the units commanded by the general responsible for the province Arabia. It was based in Betthorus, modern Lejjun (Jordan).

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The north gate of Lejjun. Photo Marco Prins.
The north gate of Lejjun

The legion was already in existence when the emperor Diocletian (284-305) reorganized the oriental frontier. It may have been created by Aurelian (270-275), who sent western soldiers to the east after the annexation of the Palmyrene Empire.

The number four was the logical choice, because there was already a third legion (III Cyrenaica) in Arabia.
 

Related:

  • J. lander and S.T. Parker, "Legio IV Martia and the Legionary Camp at El-Lejjun", in: Byzantinische Forschungen 8 (1982) 185-210
  • article by Emil Ritterling.
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