Updated  August 12,  2004

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10 Contubernium (8 man squad-units) = 1 Centuria (+ 80 men)

2 Centuria = 1 Maniple ("Handful") Unit (+ 170 men)

3 Manipulus  or  6 Centuria = 1 Cohors (+ 510 men)

10 Cohors = 1 Legio (+ 5200 men)

LEGIO / LEGIONIS - meaning "conscription or chosen" in latin,  was the term applied to the largest  Roman Army unit,  due to the fact that,  during the early "Republican" Period,  they were initially composed only of  conscripted, "land-owning" Roman Citizens.  The premise being that a land-owning citizen would fight more vigorously to defend his "holdings" and property.  The term "Legion" dates to circa 400 BC.  The early Republican Period Legions (up to c. 300BC) were termed "Phalanx" Legions consisting of  3000 to 4000 men drawn into a unit six to eight ranks deep and some 500 men wide, with 300 calvary attached.  The first four to six ranks called "hoplites" were heavily armed,  while the last one or two ranks  were termed "velites" and were only lightly armed.   Marcus Furius Camillus is traditionally regarded as the great organizer of the legion army formation.  Under Camillus,  the hoplites were divided into three groups:  the "hastati" (youngest men),  the "principes" (prime middle-aged) and the "triarii" (oldest men).   The later Republican Period "Manipular" Legion (c. 300BC - 106BC) had  10 "Cohorts" with each Cohort being composed of one "Maniple" (two Centuries) each of Hastati, Principes and Triarii; (total 3 Maniples - 480+ men)  plus 120 Velites and a cavalry unit about 30 strong.   In Caesar's time,  each legion had a Commander (Legato) responsible to the Senate plus six Tribunes,  a Legate,  a Prefect and 60 Centurions.  

The training was hard,  with difficult drilling to prepare the soldier "legionaries" in shock tactics and rapid marches.   The standard weapons were the javilin-spear (pilum) and the short thrusting sword (gladius).    The "gladius",  then in use by the Celt-Gauls,  became the primary hand weapon after Scipio Africanus Major conquered Hispania (Spain) during the Second Punic War,  circa 206 BC.   The characteristic emblems of the legions were "eagles" carried on a standard and enscribed with "SPQR" (Senatus Populusque Quiritum Romanorum  -  The Senate and People of Rome).    These Eagles were carried in triumph over the far reaches of the Empire for hundreds of years and upon the Legions rested,  to a large extent,  the Glory that was Rome.   A legion would be disgraced if its Eagle had been lost or captured in battle.  

The  Consul Gaius Marius,   in 105 BC,  removed the "land-owning" requirement,  allowing any Roman citizen,  regardless of wealth,  to serve as a legionary soldier.    Under his direction,  the Roman Legions became the first professional,  government supported army in history   with standardized wages,  armor,  weapons,  equipment,  tactics and benefits.  The legionary soldiers of that time became known as "Marius's Mules" and  Rome went on to become the  Super Power of the Ancient World !

The "Cohortal" Legions (c.106BC thru Imperial Period) varied in size from 4000 to well over 5000 legionaries,  depending on the number (500 to 1000) of auxiliary soldiers, attached to them and the sizes of the Cohorts and Centuries of which they were composed.   From the middle of the First Century AD,  the First Cohort was expanded to about 800 men and reorganized into five "Double-Centuries".   Cohorts 2 thru 10 had the usual six Centuries.   The Maniple "Double-Century" formation fell out of favor by the mid 1st Century AD.   About 120 horsemen were normally attached to the Legion to serve as scouts and dispatch riders.   Attached auxiliary units composed of non Roman Citizens (archers, slingers, "Ala"-cavalry)  could bring the manpower of a mid to late First Century Legion to about 5400 men.

Diagram belows shows make-up of a typical  Mid  1st Century AD  Imperial "Cohortal" Legion

Cohort   I                II         III         IV          V          VI         VII      VIII        IX         X legcohdigrm.jpg (20387 bytes)

Cohort I had 5 double-centuries with 5 Centurions (Primi-Ordines).  Cohorts II thru X  had 6 standard centuries and 6 Centurions each,  resulting in a total of 59 Centurions ( 1 per Century) serving in a Legion. 

Many of the lower numbered Legions were spawned as rival units during the Civil Wars between 50 and 30 BC;  hence some legion numbers were duplicated.   The legions were numbered from  I  to  XXII.  Emperor Trajan formed  Legion XXX  in 105 AD;  but after the time of  Vespasian,   legions were generally designated as  I  to  III.   At one time there were five legions numbered  III.   Legions adopted or were given names (nomen) in addition to their numbers.  These names could derive from the Emperor who founded them,  their place of origin  or stationing,  or be given for valour in battle or loyalty to a specific Emperor.   Several Legions were disbanded and some were later reinstated with the same designation.

A legionary recruit had to be a Roman citizen,  and until 197 AD,   he could not be married.   Due to the smaller  number of Roman Citizens residing in the Eastern Empire,  a recruit there might be granted "Citizenship" upon his enlistment.   The term of legionary service was originally fixed at 16 years,  with some soldiers staying on as veterans with more privileges and reduced duties.  Later the service term was extended to 20 years plus an optional five year term as a veteran;  resulting in the standard term of service becoming  25 or 26 years,  as discharges were only carried out every other year.


Bronze military diploma of discharge for a Roman soldier dated March 7, 913AUC / 160AD.  Go to  Diploma  for an enlargement, translation and details of the text.

 There were several basic levels of rank and pay.   "Milites"   who were ordinary soldiers with little or no skills or qualifications.  They received the basic rate of pay and did all the routine and dirty tasks.   "Immunes" were the Technicians,  Specialists and Clerks  who still received basic pay,  but were exempt or immune  from the routine jobs.   There were two levels of   "Principales" which composed the Junior Staff Officers,  who were paid  "Sesquiplicarii" or  "pay and a half"  and the  "Optiones",  the Standard Bearers and Senior Staff Officers,  who received   "Duplicarii"  or  "double-pay".   The Immunes and Principales of the "Equites" (cavalry)  also received a special allowance for the maintenance of their animals  in addition to their   Sesquiplicarii  or  Duplicarii  pay.

The "Unit" officers in the ancient Roman Army were the Centurions,   who having generally  "risen through the ranks"   were akin to our modern senior non-commisioned officers ("non-com's") or "first" sergeants,  and were in charge of a Century of about 80 men.  They would be equal to a Captain or Platoon Leader today.  The most senior Centurion was termed the Primus-Pilus "First Spear" and he was in command of the First (double size) Century of the Legion.  The other Senior Centurions serving under him in the First Cohort, composed of four additional "double centuries",  would be, in descending rank, the Princeps, Hastatus, Princeps-Posterior and Hastatus-Posterior.  These five Senior Centurions out-ranked all the other more "Junior" Centurions of the Legion and were known as the Primi-Ordines "First (top) Line/Order". 

The other more Junior Centurions each commanded one of the six standard size Centuries in the 2nd through 10th Cohorts and were termed, in descending rank, as  Pilus-Prior, Preceps-Prior, Hastatus-Prior,  Pilus-Posterior, Princeps-Posterior and Hastatus-Posterior.  The number of the Cohort was placed before each of these titles; such as  Secundas-Pilus-Prior,   Secundas-Preceps-Prior,  Secundas-Hastatus-Posterior (2nd Cohort);   Sextus-Pilus-Posterior (6th Cohort) or Decimus-Hastatus-Prior (10th Cohort).  The attainment of the rank of Primus-Pilus was the aim of every "career" legionary soldier.  The position was generally held for one year, when the Primus-Pilus, who could then be over 50 years old, would retire as a Primipilaris (ex Primus-Pilus) from military service or be appointed as a Tribune or Prefect of the Camp.  Consult the Centurion Page for photos and further details on Imperial Legion Centurions.   

The other senior officers were the Tribunes in charge of the Cohorts and the Legatio in command of the Legion.   The  Legatio and Tribune,  along with a  Legate and  Prefect,  were generally appointed by the Senate and may or may not of had much military experience.  Their respective ranks today would be  General,  Colonels and Majors.

Legionary soldiers were primarily heavy infantry ground troops and were therefore vulnerable to quickly moving cavalry and archers,  as was shown in the defeat of Marcus Lucinius Crassus at Carrhae (53 BC);  and to guerrilla fighters,  demonstrated in the famous ambush and destruction of the three Legions (XVII, XVIII, XIX) by the Cherusi  in the Teutoburger Vald (forest) in the Grotenburg region of Germany in 9 AD.   In the later empire,  the legions had become basically "armies of occupation" and with the Germanic invasions of the 4th and 5th Centuies AD; the legions having not fought a war of conquest in over 100 years,  had lost their  "battle hardness" and  proved unable to match the barbarian horseman,  rendering them obsolete.

Legions were stationed in fortified camps termed a "Castra".   Permanent fortresses were normally "winter camps" termed as "Castra-Stativa", "Castra-Hiberna" or more simply "Hiberna" to distinquish them from the more temporary "summer camps" called a "Castra-Aestiva",  that were built at "days-end" during campaigns.  The Legions prepared and trained for battle during the colder weather while quartered in their Castra-Hiberna and then embarked on their campaigns when the weather got warmer,  constructing a Castra-Aestiva whenever they took up defences during a campaign or camped for the night.  The permanent Castra were built to a fairly standard plan (below) over an area of from 17 hectares (42 acres) to 28 hectares (70 acres),  while the temporary camps could be more varied in their smaller and more compact layouts comprising less than 10 acres.  Some "Hiberna" camps housed two legions;  such as those at  Haltern, Oberadan, Mayence (Mogontiacum) and Xanten (Vetera),  and covered an area of 35 hectares (88 acres) to 125 hectares (313 acres) at Xanten (Vetera).

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The plan of the Castra-Hiberna (permanent winter legionary camp) at Novaesium (Neuss) on the Rhine River frontier in Northern Germany.  This encampment,   housing one legion, covered an area of about 24 hectares (60 acres) surrounded by a   wall and a trench and berm  rampart .

1. Principia (Officers quarters)   2. Workshop    3. Granaries   4. "Immunes" quarters   5. &   6. Shops   7. Baths   8. "Immunes" quarters    9. Scholae? (school-lecture hall) of 1st Cohort   10. "Immunes" quarters   11. 1st Cohort's barracks   12. Shop    13. Praetorium (Commander's quarters)   14. A barracks for a "Century" unit, with five similar layouts to the right and many more around the perimeter of the encampment.    15. Shop   16. "Immunes quarters   17. Shop   18. Hospital   19. Baths    20. Barracks   21. Officer's quarters   22. An Auxiliary unit's quarters, with similar layouts to the left and right across the compound.    23. Auxiliary unit commander's headquarters

From "Imperial Roman Army", Yann Le Bohec, 1994 - Based on H. von Petrikovits, Die Innenbauten Romischer Legionslager, 1975

***  S.P.Q.R  *  S.P.Q.R  *  S.P.Q.R   *  S.P.Q.R  *  S.P.Q.R  *  S.P.Q.R  *  S.P.Q.R   ***

LEGIO  I  AUGUSTA GERMANICUS   Formed most likely by Julius Caesar.  From 16BC to 9AD,  it was stationed in Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany).   It was deprived of its noman (title-name) in 19BC.   During the Civil War of 69AD,  the Legion was quartered in Bonna (Bonn) in lower (north) Germania and was disbanded in 70AD when it was found to be in collusion with a rebel element.

LEGIO  I  ADIUTRIX ("Helper")    Raised by Nero in 66 or 67 AD at Misenum,  on the Bay of Naples,  along with Legion II Adiutrix;   both of which were composed of sailors.  The Legion was officially recognized by Galba in 69 AD.  Known assignments were:   Moguntiacum (Maintz) in upper (Alpine) Germania, 70 to 86 AD  -  Pannonia (Yugoslavia) and Moesia (Serbia-Bulgaria) in 86 AD  -   Brigetio (Komarom-Szony, Hungary) in Pannonia ,  97 AD and permanently in Brigetio from 120 AD onwards.    The Legion was active in the Civil Wars of 69 AD,  the Dacian Wars of 101 & 102 and 105-107 AD and it is thought to have also served in the Parthian War of 114-117 AD in Arabia. 

LEGIO  I  ITALICA   Raised by Nero in 66 AD?   for a planned campaign in the Caspian region.   In 68 AD, it was stationed in Gallia at Lugdunum (Lyon in south-central France).  Emperor Vespasian transferred the Legion to Novae (Svistov) in Moesia (Bulgaria) where it took part in the Civil War of 69 AD.

LEGIO  I  MACRIANA LIBERATRIX   Instituted by the rebellious governor of Africa,  L.Clodius Macer in 68 AD;  it was subsequently disbanded by Galba a year later in 69 AD.

LEGIO  I  MINERVA   Raised by Emperor Domitian in 83 AD,  the Legion was stationed in Bonna (Bonn) in Lower (north) Germany.   It took part in the Dacian Wars (101-102 AD) and the Parthian (Arabian) Campaign (162-166 AD) under Co-Emperor  L.Verus.  

LEGIO  I  PARTHICA   Formed by Emperor Septimius Severus prior to 197 AD,  it was stationed at Singara (Tabriz, Iran) in Mesopotamia and took part in his Parthian Campaign in Arabia.

LEGIO  II  ADIUTRIX ("Helper")    Raised by Nero in 66 or 67 AD at Misenum,  on the Bay of Naples,  along with Legion I Adiutrix;   both of which were composed of sailors.  The Legion was officially recognized by Vespasian  in 70 AD.  Known assignments were at Lindum (Lincoln) in Britain, 71 AD and in Danube area of Germany after 87 AD.  In 92 AD,  it was sent to Moesia (Romania) and later to Aquincum (Budapest) in Lower Pannonia (Yugoslavia).  The Legion was active in the Dacian Wars (101-102 AD) and the Parthian (Arabian) Campaign (162-166 AD) under Co-Emperor L.Verus.

LEGIO  II  AUGUSTA   Reconstituted by Augustus in 43 BC;  the Legion dates to 30 BC in Spain.  Legion II went to Germany following the Teutoburger Vald (forest) disaster of  9 AD,  where Legions XVII, XVIII & XIX were lost.  From 17 AD,  the Legion was based at Argentorate (Strasbourg) on the Rhine and then took part in the invasion of Britain in 43 AD.  It was permanently stationed at Isca Dumnonio (Exeter),  circa 75 AD.

LEGIO  II  ITALICA   Raised by Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD,  it was stationed at Albing in Noricum (Austria) and was subsequently moved by Commodus,  circa 185,   to  Lauriacum (Lorch),  on the Danube (Donau) River, west of Vindobona (Vienna). 

LEGIO  II  TRAIANA FORTIS  ("Traianic Brave")   Formed by Emperor Traian, circa 105 AD.  The Legion later went to Syria and then to Nilopolis,  near Alexandria in Egypt in 125.

LEGIO  III  AUGUSTA   Thought to have been raised by Octavian, circa 41 BC.  The Legion served in Africa at Ammaedara (Tunisia),   then at Theveste (Tebessa, Algeria) under Emperor Vespasian and finally,  circa 97 AD,  permanently at Lambaesis - Numidia (Algeria).   Legion III had been victorius under Emperor Augustus.    It was later disbanded by Emperor Gordianus in 218,  due to its support of its rebellious Legato,  but was reinstated by Emperor Valerian in 253. 

LEGIO  III  CYRENAICA   Formed prior to 30 BC by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus or Marcus Antony.  The unit served in Egypt at Nicopolis (Alexandria) with Legion XXII Deiotariana early in the reign of Augustus.  The Legion was sent to Arabia when it was annexed in 106 AD.   It took part in the Parthian (Arabian) Campaign of Trajan from 115 to 117,  when it  returned to Egypt.    Finally in circa 140,  the Legion was permanently stationed in  Syria at Bostra (Busra),  northeast of  Hierosolyma (Jerusalem).     

LEGIO  III  GALLICA   Raised by Julius Caesar,   the Legion served in Gaul,  48-42 BC.  In 30 BC it was moved to Syria.   The Legion was stationed in Moesea (Serbia-Bulgaria)  68 - 70 AD,  when it returned permanently to Syria at Raphaneae (Hamath).  Legion III took part in the civil war of 69 AD for Emperor Vespasian.   The Legion was cashiered for sedition against   Elagabalus in 218-219;  but was reconstituted by Emperor Severus Alexander,   circa 230,  and was quartered at Danaba near Damascus.  

LEGIO  III  ITALICA   Formed by Marcus Aurelius,  circa 165 AD,  it served in Raetia (southern Germany) at Castra Regina (Regensburg, Bavaria).

LEGIO  III  PARTHICA   Emperor Septimus Severus brought this Legion into existence prior to 197 AD.   It served in Mesopotamia (Syria-Iraq),  most likely at Rhesaena (eastern Turkey).

LEGIO  IV  FLAVIA FELIX  "Flavian Fortunate"  was raised by Vespasian in 70 AD from the former Legion IV "Macedonica".   It served at Burnum in Dalmatia (Croatia-N.Yugoslavia),  circa 86-101.   The following year it moved east into Upper Moesia (Serbia) at Singidunum (Belgrade) to take part in the First Dacian War, 101-102;  and then north into Sarmizegethusa (Colonia Ulpia Traiana) after the second invasion of Dacia (Hungary) 105-107.   With the reign of Hadrian,  the Legion moved permanently back to Singidunum in Moesia (Serbia-Bulgaria).         

LEGIO  IV  MACEDONICA   Raised by Julius Caesar in 48 BC it served in Spain until circa 43 AD and then moved into upper Germany.   Its name would indicate early service in Macedonia (northern Greece).  The Legion took part in the Civil War of 69 AD.  The Legion was disbanded by Vespasian in 70 AD and replaced by Legion IV Flavia Felix. 

LEGIO  IV  SCYTHICA   Thought to have been instituted by Marcus Antony prior to 30 BC;  it served in Macedonia (northern Greece) until  9 AD,  then in Moesia (Serbia-Bulgaria) till 56-57.  The Legion then served permanently in Syria at Zeugma (Birecik, Turkey) on Euphrates River.

LEGIO  V  ALAUDAE  "Larks"    Formed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC from the native people of Transalpine Gaul (southern France).  It served in Spain from 30 BC to circa 19 BC and afterwards on the Rhine frontier until 14 AD;  when it moved into Lower Germany.  The Legion was reconstituted by Marc Antony in 44 BC and was disgraced when it lost its "Eagle" in Gaul in 17 BC.   The Legion took part in the Civil War of 69 AD  when it supported Emperor Vitellius.   The Legion was probably disbanded by Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD) or later by Domitian (81-96 AD).

LEGIO  V  MACEDONICA   Raised in 43 BC?   or by Octavian in  41-40 BC it served in Macedonia (Greece) from 30 BC until 6 AD;  when it was transferred to Moesia (Romania) from  41 to 61 AD;  then to Armenia (61-62).   The Legion was restationed from 71 till 86 AD at Oescus (Dacia Ripensis - S/E Germany) and at Troesmis after Traian's (Trajan's) Dacian Campaign of 105-107.   The Legion was in Dacia (Romania) from 167 into 275 and afterwards returned to Oescus.   It also was involved in the Jewish War and took part in the  Parthian Campaign (162-166) of  co-Emperor Lucius Verus.

LEGIO  VI  FERRATA  "Ironclad"    Created by Julius Caesar in 52 BC in Cisalpine Gaul (S/E France);  it was reconstituted in 44 BC,  taken over by Marc Antony in 43 BC and later by Octavian.  The Legion was part of Octavian's army in Syria at Raphaneae (Hamath).    It took part in the 69 AD Civil War and marched as part of Flavian's army on Italy.   From 72 AD was probably at Samosata in northern Syria on the Euphrates River and for a time was the garrison of the new province of  Arabia, after 105 AD;  and subsequently was in  Judea (Syria-Palaestina).   The Legion supported  Emperor  Septimus Severus against  G. Pescennius Niger in 194 AD. 

LEGIO  VI  VICTRIX  "Victorious"    Formed by Octavian  41 BC,  the Legion served in Spain from 30 BC to 69 AD and then at Novaesium (Neuss-Dusseldorf) in Lower Germany from 69 till 105 AD;  when it moved to Vetera (Xanton-Wesel) on the Rhine River.   In 122 it was transferred to Britain and permanently based at Eboracum (York).   The Legion  remained loyal to Emperor Domitian in the revolt of Lucius Antonius Saturninus in 89 AD.

LEGIO  VII  (no name)   This unit is thought to have come into existence in 59 BC or earlier.  It was reconstituted by Octavian in 44 BC and probably was stationed in the Balkans region.  From 9 AD,  it was in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia) at Tilurium.   In 56 AD?,  the Legion was transferred northward into Moesia (Hungary) and from the reign of Vespasian onward,  it was at Viminacium (Kostelec, s/e of Prague, Czech).  Legion VII remained loyal to Emperor Claudius in the revolt of Scribonianus, governor of Dalmatia and took part in the Civil War of 69 AD in support of Emperor Vespasian.

LEGIO  VII  HISPANA  later  GEMINA "Twin"   Raised in Spain (Hispana) by Galba in 68,  the Legion was nicknamed "Galbiana".   It moved to Rome and then was sent to Carnuntum (Petronell, north of Vienna) in Pannonia (Austria - Hungary).   In circa 70 AD,  the Legion was permanently restationed back to Spain at Legio (Leon),    where it was reconstituted using soldiers from Legion I,  already at Legio,  and was given the name "Gemina".   VII-Hispana was involved in the 69 AD Civil War and accompanied  Emperor Galba back to Rome.  It later fought for  Emperor Vespasian.

LEGIO  VIII  AUGUSTA   was created circa 59 BC and reconstituted by Octavian in 44 BC.   It was stationed in the Balkans after 30 BC and in 9 AD,  went to Poetovio (Ptuj) in Pannonia-Slovenia (Austria - Hungary).   The Legion was victorious under the command of Augustus and went to Novae (Svistov)  in Moesia (Hungary) circa 49 AD,  and from 70 AD,  was at Argentoratum (Strasbourg) France. 

LEGIO  IX  HISPANA   could have been descended from Caesar's Legion IX,  disbanded in  46-45 BC  or was a new formation by Octavian in  41-40 BC.  The Legion was in Spain from 30 to 19 BC and was subsequently sent to Siscia? (Sisak)  in Pannonia (Croatia-Austria-Hungary) after 9 AD.   It was sent to Africa in 20-24 AD to take part in the war against Tacfarinas and later participated in the invasion of Britain in 43,  where it suffered heavy losses in Boudicca's rebellion.  The Legion was quartered in Britain at Lindum (Lincoln) and later moved north to Eboracum (York).  Its base at  Eboracum was taken over by Legion VI Victrix  circa 122 and it survived to about 126;  but its fate is unknown.

LEGIO  X  FRETENSIS  "Fretum-Channel"    Raised by Octavian in 41-40 BC;  it served in Macedonia (Greece) after 30 BC and by 14 AD was stationed in Syria at Cyrrhus (N/E of Antioch) and later at Zeugma (north of Cyrrhus),  and after the Jewish Wars,  was stationed in Jerusalem (Hierosolyma).   In the later 3rd Century AD,  it went to Aelia on the Red Sea Coast.

LEGIO  X  GEMINA  "Twin"   came into existence in 59 BC or earlier and was reconstituted in 44 BC.   After the Battle of Actium in 31 BC,  the Legion became a part of Octavian's Army, hence the title of Gemina "Twin".   From 30 BC, it was in Spain,  probably at Petavonium.   By 64 AD it had been restationed to Carnuntum (Petronell S/E of Vienna) in Pannonia (Austria-Hungary);  but was sent back to Spain in 68.   The Legion soon found themselves in Lower Germany at Noviomagus (Neumagen-Drohn, Rhineland) in 70 AD.   The Legion kept its allegiance to Emperor Domitian in the rebellion of Saturninus in 89 AD.   Circa 103,  it went back to Pannonia,  first at Aquincum (Budapest) and later in Vindobona (Vienna).

LEGIO  XI  (no name)   was possibly descended from  Caesar's Legion XI raised in 58 BC;  but may have been formed by Octavian in 41-40 BC.  The Legion was stationed in the Balkans and from 9 AD was at Burnum in Dalmatia.  It maintained its loyalty to Claudius in the revolt of Scribonianus,   governor of  Dalmatia (Yugoslavia) in 42 AD and supported Vespasian in the Civil War of 69.   In 70 AD,  it went to Vindonissa (Windisch, Switzerland) in upper (Alpine) Germania to assist in the suppression of the rebellion by Iulius Civilis;  and in 101,  moved to Brigetio (Komarom-Szony) in Pannonia (Austria-Hungary) and still later into lower Moesia (Bulgaria) at Durostorum (Silistra).  

LEGIO  XII  FULMINATA  "Thunderbolt Armed"  most likely had its origins in the 12th Legion founded by Julius Caesar in 58 BC and was reconstituted in  44-43 BC.   The Legion served with Antony in the East and is thought to have been sent to Egypt by Augustus;   however, by the end of his reign the Legion was in Syria.   It took part in the failed invasion of Armenia in 62 AD and was disgraced by its capitulation to the Parthians at Rhandiea.   It also fought in the Jewish Wars and may have temporarily lost its "Eagle" in the retreat from Jerusalem in  66.   After 70 AD,   the Legion  was stationed at Melitene (Malatya) in Cappadocia (eastern Turkey) and took part in the campaigns of Marcus Aurelius against Quadi in the 170's AD.

LEGIO  XIII  GEMINA  "Twin"    Its origin is uncertain and it may have come out of Caesar's 13th,   raised in 57 BC or was formed by Octavian in  41-40 BC.   It was amalgamated with another legion after the Battle of Actium.  It was stationed in Illyricum (coastal Balkans) in the early Empire and after 9 AD  was moved to the Rhine at Vindonissa (Windisch, Switzerland) in upper (Alpine) Germania.   It was transferred to Vindobona (Vienna, Austria) by Emperor Domitian circa 85 AD.   After the Dacian Wars,  in which it took part,  it was based at Apulum (Alba Iulia, central Romania) as part of the first garrison of Dacia and when Dacia was abandoned in 274 AD,  the Legion moved to Ratiaria in the new Province of Dacia Repensis (Austria).

LEGIO  XIV  GEMINA  "Twin"    Its origin is uncertain and it may have come out of Caesar's 14th,   raised in 57 BC or was formed by Octavian in  41-40 BC.   It was perhaps amalgamated with another legion after the Battle of Actium.   It was stationed in Illyricum (coastal Balkans) in the early Empire and after 9 AD  was moved to Mogontiacum (Mainz) in Upper Germany.   It took part in the invasion of Britain in 43 AD and later served in suppressing the rebellion of Boudicca in 60-61,  being based at Viroconium (Shrewsbury) and in  67  was moved by Nero for his intended eastern campaign;   but was sent back to Britain by Emperor Vitellius in 69 AD.   It participated in the campaign against Iulius Civilis in 70 AD and supported the rebellion of Saturninus in 89.  During the years 70 into 93,  the Legion was mobile going to Mogontiacum (Mainz) on the Rhine River and then to Mursa? (Osijek, Croatia) on the Danube River in Upper Moesia.   In 101 the Legion moved to Vindobona (Vienna) where a detachment took part in the Dacian Wars (101-102 & 105-106 AD) of Emperor Traian (Trajan) and by 114 was based at Carnuntum (Petronell, S/E of Vienna) in Upper Pannonia (Hungary).

LEGIO  XV  APOLLINARIS  "Apollo's"   was formed by Octavian in 41-40 BC or maybe earlier.  It was in Illyricum (coastal Balkans) in the early Empire and after 9 AD,  was stationed in Pannonia (Austria-Hungary) at Emona? (Ljubljana/Laibach) in Slavonia,  western Yugoslavia,  then at Saveria and during the reigns of Tiberius? and Claudius,  maybe at Carnuntum (Petronell near Vienna).  It fought in the Jewish Wars (66-70).   The Legion or a detachment was probably transferred to the East for the Parthian Campaigns (101-102 & 105-106) of Emperor Traian (Trajan) and after 117 AD was based at Satala in Cappadocia (eastern Turkey-Iraq). 

LEGIO  XV  PRIMIGENIA  "First Born"    was the first of a new group of legions formed by Emperor Gaius in 39 AD for his intended German Campaigns.   The Legion was stationed at Moguntiacum (Mainz) on the Rhine frontier;  then moved to Bonna (Bonn) and finally to Vetera (Xanten) in Lower Germania.   A detachment took part in Emperor Vitellius's invasion of Italy in 69 AD.   The remainder of the Legion surrendered to the rebel  Iulius Civilis in 69 and the Legion disappeared from the Army lists. 

LEGIO  XVI  GALLICA   Raised by Octavian in 41-40 BC;  the Legion,  from 30 BC onwards,  was stationed on the Rhine frontier.   It spent some time in Gaul (France) and after 9 AD,  was at Moguntiacum (Mainz) in Upper Germania,  then was moved by Emperor Claudius  to Novaesium (Neuss-Dusseldorf) in Lower Germany.   A portion of the unit took part in Emperor Vitellius's invasion of Italy in 69 AD.  The remainder of the Legion surrendered to the rebel Iulius Civilis in 69 and was subsequently disbanded by Emperor Vespasian and reconstituted as Legion XVI Flavia Firma "Flavian Steadfast".

LEGIO  XVI  FLAVIA FIRMA  "Flavian Steadfast"   Reconstituted circa 71 AD by Emperor Vespasian from the remains of Legion XVI Gallica following its surrender to the rebel  Iulius Civilis in 69 AD.   The Legion was in Syria in 75 AD and later was at Satala in Cappadocia (eastern Turkey-Iraq).   After the Parthian Campaigns of Traian (Trajan),   114-117;  the Legion was permanently stationed at Samosata in northern Syria on the Euphrates River.

LEGIO'S  XVII  -  XVIII  -  XIX    These three Legions were probably created by Octavian in 41-40 BC.   As of  30 BC,  all three were most likely stationed along the Rhine frontier and took part in the invasion of Germany between the Rhine and Elba Rivers.   In 9 AD all three of the Legions (20,000 men) were ambushed and destroyed by the forces of Arminius (Hermann) a German barbarian chief of the Cherusi  in the Teutoburger Vald (forest) in the Grotenburg region.   The legions were on march from summer to winter quarters.   Their commander,  Publius Quinctilius Varus committed suicide and the Legion's Numbers were retired and not used again.    The "Eagles" of  Legion XIX and one of the others were subsequently recovered by Germanicus in 15-16 AD and the remaining one in  42 AD.    The Teutoburger Vald disaster was largely the result of treachery and treason of Arminius,  a Germanic who had obtained the trust of Rome;  and that the Legions were attacked in a forest swamp,  a closed-in and restricting environment where the Roman Army was unaccustomed to doing battle.

LEGIO  XX  VALERIA VICTRIX  "Valour Victorius"   Raised by Octavian in 41-40 BC possibly after Actium,  it served in Spain from 30 to 20 BC;  then at Burnum in Illyricum (coastal Balkans) until 9 AD.   The Legion was restationed to Ara Ubiorum in Lower Germania and later,  during the reign of Tiberius,  to Novaesium  (Nuess-Dusseldorf).    The Legion took part in the invasion of Britain in 43 AD,  being based at Camulodunum (Colchester) till  49 AD,  when it moved to  Glevum (Gloucester).    After 80 AD,  it was in Scotland and took part in the campaigns of  Agricola  and may have constructed the fortress of   Inchtuthil (Perth) in Scotland circa 83-87.   After the withdrawal of Legio II Adiutrix from Britain in 87,  the Legion was at Deva (Chester). 

LEGIO  XXI  RAPAX  "Predatory"    Created in 41-40 BC or after Actium by Octavian,  the Legion is thought to have served in Raetia (upper Germania) in the early Empire.   After 9 AD,  it was transferred to Vetera (Xanten) in lower Germania and in circa 46,  to Vindonissa (Windisch, Switzerland) in upper (Alpine) Germania.   The Legion was involved in the invasion of Italy by Emperor Vitellius in 69 and a year later fought against Iulius Civilis being based at Bonna in lower Germania.   In 89,  it supported the rebellion of Lucius Antonius Saturninus after which it was stationed on the Danube (Donau) River.

LEGIO  XXII  DEIOTARIANA   Was formed by King Deiotarus of Galatia and was trained and equipped on the Roman model and incorporated by Augustus into the Roman Army probably before 25 BC.   The Legion was in Egypt at Nicopolis after 25 BC.  Its fate is unclear.  It may have been destroyed in the Jewish Revolt of 132-135 AD. 

LEGIO  XXII  PRIMIGENIA  "First Born"    Was formed along with Legio XV "Primigenia" circa 39 AD.    From 43 AD,  the Legion was located at Moguntiacum (Mainz) in upper (Alpine) Germania and from 69 to71 was at Carnuntum, (Petronell-Altenburg) near Vienna; and then in a new station at Vetera (Xanten) in lower Germania.   "Primigenia" took part in the march of Emperor Vitellius to Rome in 69 AD.   In 92-93 AD it was transferred back to Mogontiacum following the transfer of Legio XIV "Gemina" to the Danube River frontier.

LEGIO XXX  ULPIA VICTRIX  "Ulpian Victorius"    was created in 105 AD by,  and named for  Emperor Trajan (Traian).    The number XXX indicates it was the 30th legion in chronological order to be formed in the Roman Army.    It was at Brigetio (Komarom-Szony) in upper Pannonia (Austria-Hungary) and then in Dacia during the Second Dacian War (105-106).   In 122,  it was transferred to Vetera (Xanten) in lower Germania when  Legio VI  was sent to Britain. 


Primary references:  Oxford Classical Dictionary  1996  -  Penquin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome  1995




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Legionary to visit with the Legions of Imperial Rome