Until the 1st century BCE, Roman legions were set up for the needs of military campaigns and then disbanded afterwards. Soldiers were enlisted as part of the general and binding census or – since the Marius reforms (end of the 2nd century BCE) – volunteers were recruited. The multitude of military operations and the expanding Empire meant that the legions began to transform into permanent units that remained in specific areas long after the end of hostilities.
The beginning of the Roman legions, which were not disbanded after the end of hostilities, is set to 84 BCE when Pompey the Great recruited for himself, and also for Rome, the first legion. A huge number of legionaries was set up during the civil wars in the years 49 – 30 BCE by rival leaders: Caesar, Pompey, Octavian, Antony, Brutus and Cassius.
When Octavian became the sole ruler of Rome in 30 BCE, following the victorious Battle of Actium, it immediately disbanded about half of the more than 50 legions that existed at the time. The remaining 28 legions became the basis of the Roman army of the principate (years 27 BCE – 284 CE). Most of them have survived for over three centuries. Another reform was the one during the times of Octavian Augustus when the first princeps introduced many improvements and modernizations in the Roman army. The number of cohorts was reduced from 600 to 480 soldiers, which meant more efficient operation and efficiency. Emperor Augustus and his successors converted the legions into permanent units, manned by professional soldiers for 25 years.
During the dominate (late period of empire, 284 – 476 CE) legions were still professional in nature, but knowledge of them is much less, compared to the previous period. What is certain is that the legions of the late empire were completely different in size, structure and tactics from their predecessors. This was due to the military reforms of the emperors Diocletian and Constantine the Great and the evolution of fighting in the 4th century CE. Mobile and manoeuvrable troops, especially cavalry, gained great importance due to numerous threats at the borders and the possibility of quick support.
The greatest revolution in the number and composition of the legion took place during the tetrarchy – more broadly from Diocletian to Constantine – when the legion’s size fell to about 30% of its predecessor; however, the number of individual units has increased significantly. Not only were the new recruited, but also the old were shared, hence the names of the seniores or iuniores type. Also, the numbering system does not help us organize the situation at all. We must remember that previously two republican consular armies consisted of 2 legions each, i.e. we dealt with Legio I, Legio II, Legio III and Legio IV. The next ones bore correspondingly higher numbers or only names without them. It is worth mentioning that no data on the republican legions have survived. It is also difficult to talk about any continuity, as the legion was recruited for a certain period of time and then dissolved. In the event of destruction of the unit, it was dissolved and another one was appointed.
The system changed during the Civil Wars of the First and Second Triumvirates when supplements were used instead of disrupting bleeding units. However, each winner was left with a powerful army – his and the opponent’s – and had to dissolve at least part of the army. For example, the Pompeians had more than 30 legions, and about 51 passed through the ranks of Caesar. Characteristically, both avoided the creation of units numbered I-IV when they were not consuls. However, the rest were mostly repeated.
The situation was similar in the next civil war, with the three great armies of Octavian, Antony and Lepidus. This gave a total of over 60 legions to be “managed” by the winner, ie, as we know, Octavian Augustus. The army that remained after demobilization consisted of legions from each of the triumvirs, hence the often-repeated numbers. During the empire, both during the principate and later after Diocletian, the general numbering was not guarded, but subsequent numbers were assigned within the name – e.g. I, II, III, IV, V, VI Parthica – formed from Septimius Severus after Diocletian.
It was similar to nicknames. As time passed, others were broadcast or changed and, for example, we have Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis, which suggests it was created for the times of Claudius, and not like Caesar was. The legion received the nickname from Claudius for participating in the suppression of the rebellion – one hundred years after the creation of the unit.
Penalties for legions
The greatest punishment the legion could face was the complete dissolution of the unit. This happened, among others three rebellious Rhine legions: I and IV Macedonica and XVI Gallica. These legions joined the uprising of Julius Civilis (69-70 CE) in Galli. After Petilius Cerialis quashed the uprising, Emperor Vespasian disbanded these legions. In place of the disgraced legions, he and his son Domitian set up new troops. Some of them consisted of rebellious soldiers, but these legions already had other names. Two new legions were sent away from Germania.
Another severe punishment was decimation (or decimation from decimatio) which was applied to a cowardly or rebellious group of soldiers in the Roman army. The unit condemned to decimation (eg a cohort) was divided into groups of ten soldiers. Everyone drew lots (the so-called sortition) and the one who failed (he had the shortest straw) was killed by his nine companions by stoning or killing them with clubs (the so-called fustuarium). The survivors received barley instead of wheat and were punished with additional quarters outside the fortified camp until they cleared their sins in battle.
List of Roman legions
Legions arose, fought, and stationed at different times, in different areas of the Empire and beyond. I focused on gathering as much as possible all knowledge about them and creating a complete list.
When considering the names, numbering or even the composition, armament and tactics of the legions, we must remember that depending on the period we are dealing with, we will always talk about units of different numbers, composition or even appearance, related primarily to tradition and history. We cannot deny the soldiers of the Legio V Macedonica, who fell in the Battle of the Yarmuk River in 636 CE, to be called Roman legionaries, but we do not know what impression they would have made on their predecessors from 43 BCE
Legions were identified by Roman numeration, which at times differed from the standard spelling of Roman numerals and numbers known to us. For example, in addition to the spelling “IV”, “IX”, “XIV”, “XVIII” and “XIX”, the designations “IIII”, “VIIII”, “XIIII”, “XIIX” and “XVIIII” were also commonly used.
Roman legions numbered I
- Classica CEIUTRIX Pia Fidelis Constans – formed in 68 CE by Nero or Galba.
Emblem: Capricorn, Pegasus.
- ARMENIACA – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” on comitat east.
- BRITANNICA – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” west comitat.
- GERMANICA – formed by Octavian Augustus. He most likely descended from one of the four consular legions established by Caesar during the consulate in 48 BCE Disbanded after the rebellion of Civilis in 69 CE
- FLAVIA CONSTANTINA – created during the reign of Constantine the Great or one of his sons (comitat east).
- FLAVIA GALLICANA Constantia – Created during the reign of Constantius II. Occurs at “Notitia Dignitatum” in the west comitat of Gaul.
- FLAVIA GEMINA – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” west comitat. Maybe it was split off from Flavia Minervia.
- FLAVIA METIS / MARTIS? – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” on comitat west in Gaul.
- FLAVIA MINERVIA PIA FIDELIS / Domitiana? – created in 87 CE by Domitian. The legion was defeated in Singara 359 CE MARTIA VICTRIX
- FLAVIA PACIS – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” in comitat west Africa.
- FLAVIA THEODOSIANA – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” west comitat.
- ILLYRICORUM – Created by Aurelian.
Occurs at “Notitia Dignitatum” in the east of Palmyra.
- IOVIA – Created by Diocletian.
Occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” in the limitanei west.
Most likely, new ones were created or separated from its division
units: Legio Ioviani Seniores (west) and Iuniores (east).
- ISAURA SAGITARIA – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” west comitat.
- ISAURICA – created by Probus.
- ITALICA – formed on September 20, 66 CE by Nero. Occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” on the west comitat. It still existed at the beginning of the 5th century CE, and was stationed at the Danube border. The legion’s emblem was a boar.
- IULIA ALPINA – performs in “Notitia Dignitatum” in comitat west in Italy.
- MACRIAN LIBERATRIX – formed in 68 CE by Lucius Clodius Macer, commander-in-chief of African troops (during the “year of the four emperors” events) in Africa.
The goal of the legion was to join legion III Augustus and support Galba (governor of Hispania Terraconensis) against Emperor Nero. When Galba became emperor, he decided to get rid of Macer, seeing him as a rival to the throne. He was killed in 69 CE and the I Macriana Liberatrix legion was disbanded. The legion’s emblem is unknown.
- MARTIA – Created by Julius Caesar and destroyed on board ships on the way to Pharsalus. However, there are references to legio I MARTIORUM / Martii ? which existed in 371 CE. Occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” west comitat.
- MAXIMIANA – performs in “Notitia Dignitatum” in limitanei east in Egypt. There was also a legion I MAXIMIANA THABAEORIUM that occurs in the “Notitia Dignitatum” west comitat.
- MINERVIA – formed in 82 CE
by Domitian. Probably the same as Flavia Minervia Domitiana.
- NORICORUM – occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” in limitanei west.
- PARTHICA – formed in 197 CE
by Septimius Severus, and smashed in Singar in 359 CE. It may have been reconstructed as it occurs in the “Notitia Dignitatum” in the west limit.
- PONTHICA – perhaps created by Diocletian, found in “Notitia Dignitatum” to the west limit.
- PRIMANI – appears in “Notitia Dignitatum” as legio palatina to the east.
- PRIMANI IUNIORES – served under Julian the Apostate.
- PRIMANI SENIORES – he served under Julian the Apostate. Occurs in “Notitia Dignitatum” as west comitatenses.
- TRAIANA – contracted by Emperor Trajan for the Dack War in 100
ne Disbanded by Emperor Hadrian in 120 CE
- VALENTINIANA – performs at “Notitia Dignitatum” in the limitanei east in Koptos, Egypt.
Roman legions numbered II
- CEIUTRIX – formed in 70 CE by Vespasian.
- CEIUTRIX PIA FIDELIS
- AUGUSTA – legion founded by Pompey the Great in 84 BCE. Endowed by Emperor Octavian Augustus with the nickname Augusta, meaning “Belonging to Augustus”, around 25 BCE
- FLAVIA CONSTANTINA
- FLAVIA VIRTUTIS
- GALLICA – formed by Julius Caesar to fight on his side in the civil war with Pompey.
- ITALICA – founded by Marcus Aurelius in 165 CE when Rome fought the Parthians and the Germans. His emblem was the Capitoline she-wolf. In 260 CE added to the she-wolf as a mark of the Remus and Romulus legions. The name of the legion comes from the place of recruitment – Italy. The legion’s theatre of operations was the Noricum region, south of the Danube. The legion was stationed in 180 CE in Lauriacum, the modern city of Lorch. In 193 CE, this legion marched to Rome with Septimius Severus, who was seizing power. Later, Emperor Severus in return for his support nicknamed him Fidelis (“Loyal”). The legion also fought against the rebellions of Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus, and against the Parthians. In the 3rd century CE, during the civil wars, the legion was nicknamed VII Pia VII Fidelis (“seven times faithful, seven times loyal”) to keep his support. There is evidence that the legion was still present in Noricum in the early 5th century CE
It is certain that the legion camped in the province of Noricum, but it is not known exactly where. Traces of his presence are scattered from today’s Split to Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicum), the provincial capital. Only after 171 CE did he stay in Regensburg, where Castra Regina – a fortress on the Regen River – a legion’s camp was built.
- IULIA ALPINA
- PARTHICA – founded by Septimius Severus in 197 CE to increase his forces during the campaign against the Parthian kingdom. The legion’s emblem was a bull and a centaur. After the victorious campaign in the east, the legion was stationed near Rome, in Castra Albana. It was the first legion stationed in Italy in the last two centuries. The unit took part in Severus’ military campaign in Britain (208-211 CE) and in the Caracalla campaign against the Germans (213 CE). The legion was then sent back to the eastern front against the Parthians. There he supported Elagabalus in the battle of Antioch in 218 CE, for which the emperor later nicknamed him Pia Fidelis Felix Aeterna (“eternally faithful, loyal and pious”). In 231 CE, the legion fought under the command of Alexander Severus against the Sassanid Empire, and then against the Germans. In 238 CE, Maksymin Trak, previously supported by the legionaries of this unit, was murdered by his own soldiers. In the decades that followed, this legion was used in several provinces as reinforcements and took part in battles for the throne. In the 3rd century CE, Emperor Galien gave him the nickname for helping him to win the throne: V Fidelis V Pia and VI Fidelis VI Pia (“five” and “six times faithful and loyal”). At the beginning of the 4th century CE, the legion was transferred from Italy to Mesopotamia. There, in 360 CE, King Shapur II of Persia attacked and captured the Roman fortified city of Bezabde (present-day Cizre, Turkey), which was defended by the 2nd Parhtica Legion. The legion was still active in the 5th century CE
- SABINA – created by Gaius Vibio Pansa in 43 BCE
- TRAIANA – founded by Emperor Trajan in 105 CE to participate in the campaign in Dacia. The legion’s emblem was the demigod Hercules. He was nicknamed Fortis, meaning “brave”. In 115 CE, the legion took part in a military expedition against the Parthians. In 117 CE, a branch was set up in Judea to ensure peace in the region. In 125 CE he was sent to Egypt. He was stationed in Nicopolis, where a revolt broke out against Roman rule. In 194 CE, Pescennius Niger, governor of the province of Syria, rebelled and at the head of the army that included the Traian II Legion fought against his rival to the throne, Septimius Severus. At the beginning of the 3rd century CE, the legion took part in battles with the Germans during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla. It was then that he was nicknamed Germanica. There is documentation showing the presence of a legion as early as the middle of the 5th century CE
Roman legions numbered III
- AUGUSTA – legion founded by Pompey the Great in 65 BCE. Endowed by Emperor Octavian Augustus with the nickname Augusta, meaning “Belonging to Augustus”, around 25 BCE
- GALLICA – probably descended from one of the four consular legions established by Caesar during the consulate in 48 BCE. Later he was in Antony’s army. He was stationed in Syria during the governorship of Quirinius (6 CE).
- ITALICA – established in 165 CE by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The name of the legion comes from the place of recruitment – Italy. The legion was permanently stationed at Lauriacum (now Enns, Austria) in Recja. The squad was nicknamed Concors (“harmonious”). Its symbol was a stork, a symbol of piety.
- APLIN’S JULY
- FLAVIA SALUTIS
- PONTICA – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. It was commanded by Rufin, son of Caesar’s liberator, a lowly man who enjoyed his trust.
Together with the legion XXVII Pontica he took part in the Alexandrian War (Julius Caesar’s campaign in Egypt in 48-47 BCE). He was a Pontic legion, and therefore not Roman. Trained on the Roman pattern by Dejotarus (Galatian tetrarch), a faithful Roman ally. Awarded by the Senate with a royal crown. He supported Pompey, for which Caesar took part of the kingdom from him. Dejotarus, however, kept the crown. This legion suffered enormous losses during the Alexandrian War and almost ceased to exist.
Roman legions numbered IV
- FLAVIA FIRMA – founded in 70 CE by order of Emperor Vespasian. It was formed to replace the disgraced legion that had suppressed the Civilis rebellion. Vespasian placed this troop in Dalmatia.
- MACEDONICA – legion later called legio IV Scythica. Founded by Pompey the Great in 65 BCE; he was one of four consular legions from 48 BCE. He was nicknamed Macedonica – “Macedonian” around 33 BCE when his recruiting area was moved from Spain to Macedonia. It is believed that the title Scythica – “Scythian” was received from Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 179 CE for his victory over the Scythian tribe of Cotinians.
- SCYTHICA – founded by Marcus Antony during the second triumvirate; successor of legio IV Macedonica.
- SORANA – created by Gaius Vibio Pansa in 43 BCE
Roman legions numbered V
- ALAUDAE – was created in 51/52 BCE by Julius Caesar with his own money. It is possible that this legion was originally named V Gallica.
The legion’s emblem was an elephant that was bestowed on him for bravery at the Battle of Thapsus in 46 BCE, when the legionaries resisted the elephant charge. The name of the branch is of Gallic origin. The term Alaudae comes from the high spine of the Gauls helmet which made them look like larks (Alaudae means “larks”).
The legion consisted of Gauls from the Transalpine Gaul. Later, the troops of the detachment were given Roman citizenship by Caesar for their faithful service. The legion fought in the wars in Gaul until 49 BCE. Then it was transferred to Spain. He fought at Actium (31 BCE) as Marcus Antony’s legion. During the demobilization of Augustus, it was preserved. He participated in the rebellion on the Rhine in 14 CE. In 86 CE, he was defeated and eliminated in the battles with the Dacians. The last commander was the Praetorian Prefect Cornelius Fuscus.
- MACEDONICA – legion founded by Pompey the Great in Spain in 65 BCE Reconstructed in Moesia in 60 BCE The nickname Macedonica obtained in 80 CE, when his recruitment district moved from Moesia to Macedonia. The legion’s commander in 67-70 CE was Vettulenus Cerealis. After the Jewish War (66-73CE), the unit was sent back to Moesia, where it was stationed on the Danube.
Roman legions numbered VI
- FERRATA – formed by Julius Caesar in 52 BCE After Caesar’s death, he was under the command of Marcus Lepidus, and then Antony. During the demobilization of Augustus, it was preserved. During his reign, he was stationed in Syria under Quirinius (6 CE).
- HISPANA – legion founded by Pompey the Great in 65 BCE Endowed with the title Hispana – “Spanish” by Emperor Octavian Augustus around 25 BCE After Julius Caesar’s death in 44 BCE he was an imperial legion, so his emblem could be a bull.
His last recorded activity in Britain was in 108/109 CE, when a fortress in York (Eburacum) was built. In 118/119 the legion was supposed to be destroyed, but that’s not true. New research confirms that the 9th Legion moved to the continent in 121 CE. After being dislocated from Britain, where he was changed by the VI Victrix legion, he stayed briefly in Nijmegen in Germani Inferior. The name of a Roman officer is known, who could not have served in the IX Legion until 122 CE, and the legion was said to no longer exist. It was Lucius Aemilius Carus, governor of Arabia in 142/143 CE. This evidence confirms that the legion still existed under Emperor Hadrian. The rest is pure speculation. Many believe that the detachment was lost in Judeia during the uprising of Simon ben Kochba in 132-136 CE (reign of Emperor Hadrian). Others, that in Cappadocia in 161 CE or during the fighting on the Danube in 162 CE, the list of legions from the time of Marcus Aurelius from 161-180 CE no longer contains information about this legion.
Roman historians were very reserved in recording the fate of the legions that had disgraced themselves. At the same time, information about legions that were “destroyed” in battle was either hidden or omitted. This was probably due to the desire to uphold morale and stability in the country. Interestingly, the tombstone of Titus Flavius Virilis was found at Lambaesis in North Africa, adding even more uncertainty to the fate of this legion. The mentioned Titus Flavius was to be the centurion of this and another legion. He was reportedly killed at the age of 65 while in service and was training recruits. This is evidence that part of the IX Hispana legion may have been stationed in Africa for some time. CONCLUSIONS: This would mean that the legion could not fight on the Danube in 162 CE Rising it was too loud in Judea for no one to mention the legion. Cappadocia remains, and in my opinion it is the most likely. A very sensitive and dangerous border region with the Parthian Empire. The legion must have been in Syria. At least this is what some scientists dealing with Roman subjects say about it. I am also inclined to do so, and for good reason. I myself heard the statement of the Professor of Ancient History (I do not remember the name – the Discovery program) that the legion had just been in Syria before it was lost. Rome constantly clashed with the Parthians in this area, and most likely the legion ended its life right there, far from Roman civilization, without undue publicity. It is enough to look at the map of that region to not be surprised why it could have looked like that. Where far away from everything. The Parthians were a very difficult opponent for Rome, as was proved many years earlier by Marcus Licinius Crassus, the conqueror of Spartacus, who lost his head in the war with the Parthians in 53 BCE. Trajan conquered Mesopotamia and created two provinces: Assyria and Mesopotamia, but in a relatively short time. Hadrian gave these provinces to the Parthians. Rome lost this province pretty quickly. Therefore, I believe that Legio IX Hispana became extinct during the battles with the Parthians in Cappadocia around 161 CE, or at least everything points to it. I think that final deliberations on this subject will end with new discoveries by historians.
- VICTRIX – a legion founded by Julius Caesar in 58 BCE Gifted with the title Victrix – “The Conqueror” – around 25 BCE by the Emperor Octavian Augustus.
Roman legions numbered VII
- GEMINA – he was nicknamed Felix (Happy).
- GALBIANA – stationed together with the XIII Gemina Legion in Pannonia under Vespasian. In the time of Emperor Vespasian, it was commanded by Antony Primus. It was also commanded by the legate Tampius Flavianus.
- MACEDONICA CLAUDIA PIA FIDELIS – formed before the reign of Octavian August in 59 BCE Legionaries were re-incorporated as evocati in 53 BCE After the battle under Pharsalus in 48 he was nicknamed Macedonica. Later in Octavian’s army. Nickname Claudia Pia Fidelis given for loyalty in 42 CE by Emperor Claudius.
Roman legions numbered VIII
- AUGUSTA – legion founded by Pompey the Great in 65 (or 59) BCE Re-established in 53 BCE Later in Octavian’s army with the surname Mutinensis. Gifted by Emperor Octavian Augustus with the nickname Augusta, meaning “Belonging to Augustus”, circa 25 BCE
Roman legions numbered IX
- HISPANA – the exact date of the legion’s formation is of course unknown. He appears for the first time in history during Rome’s war with the allies 91-88 BCE, where he takes part in the siege of the city of Asculum under the command of Legate Pompey Strabo (father of Gnaeus Pompey the Great).
Roman legions numbered X
- FRETENSIS – stationed in Syria during the governorship of Quirinius (6 year CE). Before the Jewish War (66-73 CE), the legion was stationed on the Euphrates and took part in the war against the Parthians led by Corbulo.
- GEMINA – formed around 61 BCE This unit probably it was formed during the pacification of the Gallic Allobrogs uprising.
- EQUESTRIS/VENERIA – Formed by Julius Caesar around 61 (or 59) BCE when he was governor of the province of Hispania Ulterior. Legio X Equestris was Caesar’s first appointed branch. Hence it is believed that he was his most trusted legion. The name Equestris literally means “equestrian”.
Participated in the conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar in 58 BCE. The legion played a key role in the victorious battle of the Sabis River in 57 BCE. In 45 BCE, the legion was disbanded and the veterans settled in southern Gaul. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BCE, Marcus Lepidus called up a legion again to support the triumvirs in the civil war (43 BCE). After the Battle of Philippi in October or November 42 BCE, veterans settled in Cremona and Brescia. Later the unit fought under Marcus Antony in Armenia against the Parthians. During the civil war between Octavian and Antony, the legion fought under the command of the latter. After the battle of Actium in 31 BCE, the unit became part of Octavian’s army. The veterans settled in Patras (Greece). When the legion revolted under Octavian’s rule, it was decided to liquidate it. The remaining legionaries were admitted to the X Gemina legion. The nickname Veneria probably comes from the goddess Venus and was given after Lepidus reformed the entity. Venus was most revered by the Julius family, especially in the time of Julius Caesar, as the goddess was believed to be the progenitor of Julius. The legion’s emblem was a bull.
Roman legions numbered XI
- CLAUDIA PIA FIDELIS – Established in 58 BCE, demobilized 52 BCE, but then re-created in 45 BCE as evocati. Re-called in 43 BCE by Octavian. During the empire he adopted the name of Legio XI CLaudia Pia Fidelis.
Roman legions numbered XII
- FULMINATA – stationed in Syria during the governorship of Quirinius (6 CE) and took part in the war in Armenia. He then returned to Rafanea under the command of Cestius Gallus.
- VICTRIX – established in 58 BCE, demobilized in 53 BCE, but then reconstituted with evocati and served until 45 BCE. Marcus Lepidus in 44 BCE Then in the army of Antony. The nickname was taken over by the second legion of the VII appointed simultaneously by Octavian. In Antony’s army, he was called Antiqua, in turn during the empire it was known as Legio XII Fulminata.
Roman legions numbered XIII
- GEMINA – Formed in 57 BCE by Julius Caesar. During the Gallic Wars, he participated in the battles with Nervia, the siege of Gergovia and Alesia, he also supported Caesar in the civil war (Caesar crossed the Rubicon). The legion was highly appreciated by him. In 45 BCE, Caesar disbanded the legion, rewarding veterans with land grants in Italy. Octavian Augustus re-appointed LEG XIII, which survived until the last Notitia Dignitatum census (probably ended around 410 CE), when the Tertiadecimani were stationed in Babylon (a fortress in the Nile Delta) in Egypt.
Roman legions numbered XIV
- GEMINA – was created by Caesar in 57 BCE for the fighting in Gaul. The legion supported Caesar during the Gallic and Spanish wars, and in the African campaign and the civil war, possibly disbanded as was LEG XIII. After Augustus took power, the XIIII (XIV) legion was reconstructed and took part in the civil war on the side of Augustus. In 43 CE he took part in the invasion of Britain, and in 60 CE he was awarded the title MARTIA VICTRIX (Victorious, Blessed by Mars) for his key role in suppressing the Boudica uprising. Nero called him his best legion. He participated in the suppression of the Batava uprising (Civilis’ uprising) in 1970. He was stationed in Mainz and Vindobon (today’s Vienna), and during the Dacian wars, he was transferred to Carnuntum. He was one of the legions proclaiming Septimius Severus as emperor in 193, after Severus took the throne, the legion was honoured with a golden aureus with the numbers and symbols of the legion. According to the Notitia Dignitatum census, the Quartodecimani legion was still stationed at Carnuntum.
Roman legions numbered XV
- APOLLINARIS – after the Jewish war (66-73 CE), the legion was sent to Pannonia.
- PRIMIGENIA – founded by Emperor Caligula in 39 CE as a support for the campaign against the Germans. The legion’s nickname Primigenia comes from the Roman goddess of Fortuna. After the first military campaign, the legion was stationed at Moguntiacum (now Mainz, Germany). In 43 CE, in connection with the planned invasion of Britain, there was a regrouping of troops. Legio XV Primigenia was located in Castra Vetera (now Xanten, Germany), where he stayed with the V Alaudae legion. In 47 CE, both legions were involved in the war against the Frisians and the construction of the Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo canal, connecting the Rhine with the Meuse. During the events of the “year of the four emperors”, the legion and the rest of the troops on the Rhine supported Vitellius in his quest for an imperium. The legions fought first against Galba and then against Oton. When Vespasian unquestionably won the throne of Rome, he appointed the legion Castra Vetera as the base. He was also stationed there until 70 CE, when he was defeated, along with legio V Alaude, during the Batava uprising (69-70 CE). In 69 CE, the insurgent army, led by Civilis, besieged the legions in the winter camp. Eventually, in 70 CE, due to starvation, the legionaries were forced to surrender. As promised by the insurgents of good treatment, they left the camp. However, the rebels caught up with the remaining legionaries and slaughtered them.
Roman legions numbered XVI
- FLAVIA FIRMA – founded in 70CE by order of Emperor Vespasian. It was formed to replace the disgraced XVI Gallica legion. Vespasian placed this unit in Cappadocia. The legion’s emblem was a lion. Some of his soldiers were the remnants of the previous legion. The branch was still active in the 4th century CE, when it secured the borders on the Euphrates. He had his camp in Sura (present-day Syria).
- GALLICA – formed in 41/40 BCE by the future emperor Octavian. The legion’s emblem was probably a lion. The legion was disbanded due to the disgraceful surrender to the enemy during the Batava uprising (69-70 CE). Emperor Vespasian replaced this legion with a new XVI Flavia Firma.
Roman legions numbered XVIII
- LIBYCA – disbanded in 31 BCE by Marcus Antony. Most likely he operated in Africa.
Roman legions numbered XIII
- legions defeated in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 BCE during the reign of Emperor Octavian Augustus. As “unlucky” they were never recreated again.
Roman legions numbered XV
- XV – formed in 53 BCE by Julius Caesar with the reconstructed legio XIV. Destroyed in Africa in 49/?BCE
Roman legions numbered XVI
- XVI – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Destroyed in Africa in 49/?BCE
Roman legions numbered XVII
- XVII – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. He took part in the siege of Marseille. Demobilized in 41 BCE
Roman legions numbered XVIII
- XVIII – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. He took part in the siege of Marseille. Demobilized in 41 BCE
Roman legions numbered XIX
- XIX – Formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Demobilized in 41 BCE
Roman legions numbered XX
- XX – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Demobilized.
- SICILIANA – probably created during the civil war (49-31 BCE). The nickname Siciliana comes from the battles of this legion, under the command of young Augustus and Agrippa, fought in Sicily against Sextus Pompey in 36 BCE
- VALERIA VICTRIX – probably by order of Octavian Augustus between 31 BCE and 26 BCE The legion’s emblem was a boar. The legion could have earned its nickname Valeria for merits in the Marcomannic Wars of 166-180 CE, which took place in the territories of Pannonia Valeria (today’s Croatia and Hungary).
The legion took part in the Cantabrian war of 25-13 BCE. Then the legion was sent to the province of Illyricum (today’s Croatia) and took part in the hostilities undertaken by Tiberius in 6 CE against the Marcomanni. Then the legionaries were sent to suppress the uprising in Pannonia, which took place between 6-9 CE. At that time, the legion was commanded by Marcus Valerius Messalla Messallinus. It is suspected that from his gens (ancestral organization in ancient Rome) the nickname of the legion – Valeria. Despite the fact that the legions fought the more numerous enemy troops, led by Bato I Daesitiates, the Illyrian leader, they managed to win. After the defeat of Varus in 9 CE in the Teutoburg Forest, legio XX Valeria Victrix was transferred to the province of Germania Inferior and placed in the camp Oppidum Ubiorum (present Cologne, Germany). During the reign of Emperor Tiberius, he was transferred to Novaesium (present-day Neuss, Germany). This legion was one of the four that accompanied Emperor Claudius in the invasion of Britain in 43 CE. The Legion, along with other legions, defeated the Britons led by Caractacus at the Battle of the River Severn in 50 CELegion built the camp Camulodunum (now Colchester, England), where most of the detachment was stationed. Some units were stationed at Kingsholm, Gloucester, and a garrison at Wroxeter. In the 60-61 CE, the legion helped crush Queen Boudica’s revolution. Then the legion “settled” in the Deva Victrix camp. During the events of the “year of the four emperors” the legions supported Vitellius. Some of the units accompanied him on the march to Rome. In 78-84 CE, the legion took part in the war campaign of General Gnaeus Julius Agricola in northern Britain and Scotland. The legion built
Inchtuthil camp, called by the Romans Pinnata Castra (“the fortress on the wing”) or Victoria. In 88 CE the legion returned south and settled for two centuries in the Deva Victrix camp. Legio XX Valeria Victrix was involved in the construction of Hadrian’s Wall; it is possible or not in the construction of the Antonin Wall. During the usurpation of Carausius (286-293 CE) and Allectus (293-296 CE), the legion was still operational. It is believed that the 20th Valeria Victrix Legion was still stationed in Britain until the usurpation of Constantine III (407-409 CE). Then, in 407 CE, the self-proclaimed emperor moved the unit to the contingent and used it in his war campaign. The fate of the legion is not entirely clear.
Roman legions numbered XXI
- XXI – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Demobilized.
- RAPAX – it was formed in 31 BCE by Octavian Augustus, probably from soldiers previously deployed in other legions. It is believed that the emblem of the legion was Capricorn.
The newly formed legion was sent by August to Hispania Tarraconensis to fight in the Cantabrian War of 29-19 BCE Legio XXI Rapax in 16-15 BCE was one of the five legions, fighting under Drusus the Elder, who pacified the rebellion in Retia. From 15 BCE the legion was stationed at Castra Regina (now Regensburg, Germany) in the new province – Retia. After the defeat in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE, the legion was sent as reinforcements to the province of Germania Inferior. There, together with the legion V Alaudae, he was stationed in Castra Vetera (now Xanten, Germany). Both legions took part in the revolt in 14 CE. In 43 CE they were transferred to Vindonissa (now Windisch, Switzerland), in the province of Germania Superior. From 46 to 69 CE, the legion in Vindonissa was stationed in force: two cohorts of auxiliaries (III Hispanorum and VI Raetorum ; then VII Raetorum equitata and XXVI voluntariorum civium Romanorum).
In 69 CE, like the rest of the legions on the Rhine, the legion aided Vitellius in his bid for power in Rome. In 70 CE, the legion was part of the Roman army sent to deal with the Batava uprising. The Roman army also managed to free four Roman legions, imprisoned by the leader of the uprising, Gaius Julius Civilis. Following the successful Batawa campaign, the legion was dispatched to the Germania Superior province where it shared the Moguntiacum camp (now Mainz, Germany) with the IV Gemina legion. In 88 CE, both legions supported their commander (Lucius Antony Saturninus) in his rebellion against Emperor Domitian. Saturninus took advantage of the problems on the lower Danube – the war with the Dacians and the threat of an invasion by the Yazygas, Marcusomann and Kwad tribes. The rebellion was easily suppressed in 89 CE. Domitian punished the senators conspiring with Saturninus and introduced the principle of stationing only one legion in one camp (in the Germania Superior – Górna province).
After this rebellion was crushed, the legions were separated and XXI Rapax was transferred to Pannonia. The legion was sent specifically to Lower Moesia (Moesia Inferior).
In 92 CE, the legion, as a result of battles with the Dacians, Roksolanami and Sarmatians, was completely destroyed near the Roman camp Civitas Tropaensium (now Adamclisi, Romania).
Like every legion, the XXI Rapax collaborated with the auxiliaries auxiliami. The XXI Rapax Legion stationed in Vindonissa had auxiliary cohorts under its command. First a cohort: III Hispanorum and VI Reatorum ; followed by the VII Reatorum Equitata and XXVI Volontariorum Civium Romanorum cohort.
Roman legions numbered XXII
- XXII – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Demobilized.
- DEIOTARIANA – was established around 48 BCE by order of Deiotarus, the Celtic king (hence the nickname of the legion) of the Tolistobogii tribe. The legion’s emblem is unknown, but it could have been a symbol of Galatia (present-day Turkey).
Deiotarus became an ally of the general of the Roman Republic, Pompey the Great, in 63 BCE Pompey appointed Deiotarus king of all the Celtic tribes in Asia minor. The king formed and trained an army with the help of the Romans. The army consisted of 12,000-foot soldiers and 2,000 horsemen. Cicero mentions that the army was divided into thirty cohorts that had roughly the number of three Roman legions of the period. This army supported the Romans in a victorious war against Mithridates VI Eupator, king of Pontus. After their heavy defeat against Pharnakes II, near Nicopolis, the surviving soldiers formed a single legion that later took part in the victorious campaign against Julius Caesar’s Pont. During the war, the legion fought at the Battle of Zela in 47 BCE. As the legion was trained by the Romans and commanded by Roman commanders, it eventually became an integral part of the Roman army. As Emperor Octavian Augustus had 21 legions, this legion was given the number XXII and stationed in Nicopolis. The legion, along with the III Cyrenaica, was to maintain stability in the Egyptian province. In 26 BCE, Gaius Aelius Gallus, Prefect of Egypt (praefectus Aegypti) led a campaign against the Nubian kingdoms in which the legion was believed to have participated. The legion’s soldiers were also used in construction works. During the reign of Emperor Nero, the XXII legion took part in the campaign against the Parthian Empire (55-63 CE). In 67 CE, a vexillatio of 1,000 legionaries assisted Vespasian in putting an end to the Jewish revolt. The last information about the legion comes from 119 CE. In 145 CE, the legion census said nothing about XXII Deiotarian. The legion is believed to have been disbanded during the Bar-Kochba uprising in 132-135 CE.
- PRIMIGENIA – created in 39 CE by Emperor Caligula for military operations in Germania. The emblem of the legion was Capricorn. The legion was stationed at Mogontiacum (now Mainz, Germany) in the Germania Superior province. The legion, along with the rest of the Roman army on the Rhine, supported Vitellius in the events of the “year of the four emperors” (struggle for power in Rome) in 69 CE. During the Batavian uprising in 69-70 CE, the legion XXII Primigenia, led by Gaius Dillius Vocula, he was the only one to survive the Batavian attack. He was in a camp during the war, defending Moguntiacum. In the years 97-98 CE, the military tribune (tribunus militum) of the legion was the future Emperor Hadrian. In the 2nd century CE, this legion participated in the construction of the Antonin Wall, and in 235 CE in the war campaign against the Sassanids. The legion fought off attacks by the Alaman tribe in the same year. He was also responsible for lynching Emperor Alexander Severus when he tried to negotiate with the enemy. He was present at the election of Emperor Maximin Trax. In 268/?CE, the legion probably fought in the Battle of Niš, where the Romans defeated the Goths. During 268 and 269 CE, the commander of the legion XXII Primigenia, Laelianus became ruler of the Gallic Empire. There is evidence that the legion was still stationed at the end of the 3rd century CE in Mogontiacum.
Roman legions numbered XXIII
- XXIII – Formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXIV
- XXIV – Formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXV
- XXV – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. Took part in Caesar’s African campaign in 46 BCE Demobilized in 41 BCE
Roman legions numbered XXVI
- XXVI – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. He took part in Caesar’s African campaign in 46 BCE. In Africa, the legion remained until 43 BCE. In 42 BCE, the unit fought under the command of the triumvirs (Octavian, Marcus Antony and Marcus Lepidus) at the Battle of Philippi. The following year, the veterans settled near the town of Luca (now Lucca, Italy) and the legion was demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXVII
- XXVII – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. He took part in the Battle of Philippi on the side of Caius and Brutus.
- PONTICA – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar.
Together with the III legion, he took part in the Alexandrian War (Julius Caesar’s campaign in Egypt in 48-47 BCE). He was a Pontic legion, and therefore not Roman. Trained following the Roman pattern by Dejotarus (Galatian tetrarch), a faithful Roman ally. Awarded by the Senate with a royal crown. He supported Pompey, for which Caesar took part of the kingdom from him. Dejotarus, however, kept the crown. This legion suffered enormous losses during the Alexandrian War and almost ceased to exist.
It was commanded by Rufin, son of Caesar’s liberator, a lowly man who enjoyed his trust.
He took part in the battle of Dyrrachium in 48 BCE. He was also present during the battle of Pharsalus. At the turn of 48 and 47 BCE, he was present in Alexandria, where he was finally located. He was to take part in Caesar’s planned campaign against the Parthian Empire. Eventually, Caesar’s death blocked the plans. He probably took part in the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE. on the side of the republicans (Octavian Augustus).
Roman legions numbered XXVIII
- XXVIII – formed in the summer of 49 BCE by Julius Caesar. He fought in Spain. He took part in the African campaign under Julius Caesar. Perhaps in 45 he fought in the Battle of Munda. He probably took part in the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE. on the side of the republicans (Octavian Augustus). Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXIX
- XXIX – established in the summer of 49 BCE. He took part in the Battle of Philippi on the side of the triumvirs. Then demobilized.
- ULPIA – drawn to the Dack War by Emperor Trajan in 100
CE Disbanded by Emperor Hadrian in 120 CE
Roman legions numbered XXX
- ULPIA – Created by Emperor Trajan in 105 CE for the military operations in Dacia. His emblems were the gods: Neptune and Jupiter and Capricorn. After the victorious Dacian war, the legion was nicknamed Victrix (“Victorious”).
The first base of the branch was Dacia, on the front on the Danube. Some of the legionaries of this legion also participated in Trajan’s war campaigns against the Parthians. In 122 CE, the legion was transferred to Colonia Ulpia Traiana (present city of Xanten, Germany) in Germania Inferior. There, too, the legion stayed for the next centuries. Their main task was construction work and keeping order.
In the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century CE, units from the legion were placed in Parthia, Gaul, Mauritania and other Roman provinces due to the stability of the Germania Inferior province. In 193 CE, the XXX Ulpia Victrix legion was given the title of Pia Fidelis (“faithful and loyal”) for supporting Septimius Severus in his rise to power. In 235 CE, Emperor Alexander Severus joined the legion in the army taking part in the military campaign against the Sassanids. The legion also took part in the wars against the Franks in the 50s of the 3rd century CE. The legion also supported the self-proclaimed usurper Postumus, who established the Gallic Empire between 259 and 260 CE. It consisted of the Roman provinces of Gaul, Spain, Betica and Britain. The legion also took part in the bloody Battle of Châlons-en-Champagne in 274 CE, which marked the end of the Gallic Empire. With the reorganization of the Roman army under the Emperor Constantius I Chlorus, the legions lost their importance against the comitatenses, mobile troops, mostly cavalry. The legion ended its existence at the beginning of the 5th century CE (probably between 408-410 CE) as a result of the collapse of the border on the Rhine.
- CLASSICA – established in the summer of 49 BCE. Most likely he operated in Africa. Given the nickname Classica is meant to mean “sea”. Probably the legion operated mainly in the seas. He took part in the Battle of Philippi on the side of the triumvirs. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXI
- XXXI – formed by Julius Caesar in the first weeks of 48 BCE. He served in Crete. It is possible that he fought in the army of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi (42 BCE).
Roman legions numbered XXXII
- XXXII – formed by Julius Caesar in the first weeks of 48 BCE. Maybe he fought in the army of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi (42 BCE).
Roman legions numbered XXXIII
- XXXIII – formed by Julius Caesar in the first weeks of 48 BCE. Maybe he fought in the army of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi (42 BCE). Veterans were deployed to central Italy in 41 BCE
Roman legions numbered XXXIV
- XXXIV – formed by Julius Caesar in 48 BCE, after Pompey’s defeat, from his troops.
Roman legions numbered XXXV
- XXXV – Formed by Julius Caesar in 48 BCE, after Pompey’s defeat, from his troops. He was to take part in Caesar’s planned campaign against the Parthian Empire. Eventually, Caesar’s death blocked the plans. In the summer of 44 BCE, the legion served under the command of Marcus Antony. On April 21, 43 BCE, at the Battle of Mutina, the legion was liquidated.
Roman legions numbered XXXVI
- XXXVI – Formed by Julius Caesar in 48 BCE, after Pompey’s defeat, from his troops. He fought at the Battle of Zela on August 2, 47 BCE. He was to take part in Caesar’s planned campaign against the Parthian Empire. Eventually, Caesar’s death blocked the plans. It is likely that the unit took part in the Battle of Philippi in 42 BCE on the side of the republicans (Octavian Augustus). The governor of Asia, Gnaeus Domitius, later joined the legion.
Roman legions numbered XXXVII
- PONTICA – formed by Julius Caesar from Pompey’s broken armies around 48 BCE
He took part in the Alexandrian War with the XXXVI and III legions. They were led by Rufin, son of Caesar’s liberator, a lowly man who enjoyed his trust. The legion XXXVII sailed to Alexandria from Achaia (according to Suetonius). The legions of XXXVI and III summoned Caesar from Asia. They were brought by the governor of Asia – Gnaeus Domitius.
He fought in the Battle of Zela, on August 2, 47 BCE. Gifted was to be nicknamed Pontica. He was to take part in Caesar’s planned campaign against the Parthian Empire. Eventually Caesar’s death blocked the plans and the legion was demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXVIII
- XXXVIII – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE to replace veteran legionaries. The unit fought in the Battle of Philippi (42 BCE) on the side of the triumvirs: Octavian, Marcus Antony and Marcus Lepidus. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXX
- XXXIX – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE to replace veteran legionaries. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXIX
- XXXIX – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE to replace veteran legionaries. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXX
- XXXX – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE to replace veteran legionaries. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXI
- XXXXI – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE to replace the veteran legionaries. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXII
- CLASSICA – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE to replace veteran legionaries. Then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXIII
- XXXXIII – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXIV
- XXXXIV – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXV
- XXXXV – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXVI
- CLASSICA – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, then demobilized.
Roman legions numbered XXXXVII
- XXXXVII – Formed by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, then demobilized.
Marcus Antony’s Legions
- Legio Praetoriarum Legio Speculatorum Legio Prima Legio II Legio III Legio IV / IIII / Legio V Legio VI Legio VII Legio VIII / IIX / Legio IX / VIIII / Legio X Legio XI Legio XII ANTIQUAE Legio XII Legio XIII Legio XIV / XIIII / Legio XV Legio XVI Legio XVII CLASSICAE / XVII / Legio XVIII LIBICAE / XVIIII / XIIX / Legio XIX / XVIIII / Legio XX · Legio XXI · Legio XXII · Legio XXIII · Legio XXIV? Legio XXV? Legio XXVI? Legio XXVII? Legio XXVIII? Legio XXIX? · Legio XXX?1