"Augustus' Third Legion" was raised by Octavian in the year 43 BC.It
saw its first major action at Philippi in 42 BC.
Africa - present day Algeria - was considered to be Rome's most peaceful province in the 1st Century AD. In 17 AD, Tacfarinas, a Numidian of the Musulami tribe, had served as an auxiliary in Rome's army as a youth, but had since rebelled and had come to lead his people.
At the Battle of Thala in 18 AD, the Third Augusta triumphed over Tacfarinas, but he and most of his men were able to escape into the desert. The Romans attempted to carry on a frustrating guerilla war with the African chieftain for three more years until the new governor Junius Blaesus led his army to a decisive victory over Tacfarinas. He also announced an amnesty, and many warriors deserted from the Musulamian warlord.
The year 238 AD was one of the most anarchic in Rome's history, and was one of the most fateful in the history of its Third Augustan Legion. A number of rival emperors had sprung up in revolt against Maximinus Thrax, two of whom had been famously selected by the Senate. Another was Gordianus, the governor of Africa. His son, Gordianus Secundus, raised up an army to back the imperial ambitions of his elderly father.
The new governor of Africa, Capellianus, met the younger Gordian's army in Battle in January of 238. The Governor's army was well-led and excellently armed, however, and the Third Augusta Legion formed its vanguard. The Gordian forces were routed; the son was killed and the father hung himself.
In May of 238, however, the thirteen year-old son of the younger Gordian, also named Gordianus, was hailed Caesa. Gordianus Tertius avenged his father and grandfather by disbanding the Third Augusta Legion. Dishonorably discharged legionaries were veritable outcasts in society; many commited suicide while others joined bandit-gangs or rebel leaders.