History

There was a small army post at Lambaesis around AD 81, manned by detachments from the Third Legion, properly called Legion III Augusta. Although the legion built a colony at nearby Timgad in AD 100, it built its main military base here in the late 120s, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. The legion was the only Roman force stationed in Numidia at the time, made up of some 5000 men, all Roman citizens, and their local support teams. The Emperor Septimus Severus gave the legion the title, ‘Faithful Avenger’. The base at Lambaesis had two functions: the legion had responsibility for maintaining the Pax Romana along the Saharan fringe, from Numidia (southern Algeria) across what is now Tunisia and southern Libya, and it was expected to control traffic and collect tax along the important trade route.