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Legio XIII Gemina

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Sign of Legio XIII Gemina.
On Creative Commons Attribution license - On the same terms 3.0.

The history of the XIII Legion is very long and dates back to the Gallic War. Legio was formed by Gaius Julius Caesar himself in 57 BCE and participated in many of his campaigns. His symbol was a lion. The legion fought at Gergovia in 52 BCE, Pharsalus in 48 BCE, with Utyka in 47 BCE, and Thapsus in 46 BCE. It is significant that it was legio XIII which first crossed the borders of Italy on the Rubicon in 48 BCE. headed by Caesar, thus starting a war with the Senate.

In 45 BCE Legion XIII’s veterans were released and received land assignments from Caesar, and the unit itself actually ceased to exist, but not for long. Because in 41 BCE Octavian Augustus recreated a legion from some old soldiers and new recruits. The unit took part in the battles against Sextus Pompey and fought against Marcus Antony at Actium in 31 BCE. During August’s reorganization of the Empire’s army, the XIII Legion was nicknamed Gemina. In the years 30 – 16 BCE the legion was stationed in Illyria on the Adriatic Sea. During the conquest of alpine areas, “Trzynastka” was moved to Emona, and in the years 6-9 CE it participated in the suppression of rebellions in Pannonia and Illyria. In 9 CE the legion was transferred to August Videlic and from there in CE 16. he moved to Vindonissa in order to create a base to protect the alpine passes from a possible Germanic threat. When in 43 CE Emperor Claudius set out to conquer Britain legio XIII had another dislocation, this time to Pannonia, to Poetovio. In 69 CE XIII Gemina fought in the Civil War on the side of Emperor Otho against Vitellius.

In 89 CE the stationing of the thirteenth legion in Poetovio ends, he is transferred to Vindobonna, where he builds a military base. The unit fought in 92 CE. in the campaign against the Sarmatians, later took part in the conquest of Dacia by Trajan. It was also quickly moved, to the newly conquered province, where it had its headquarters in Apulum from 106 until 268 CE. In the meantime, the legion fought with Trajan against the Parthians and on the side of Septimius Severus in 194 CE. in the fight for the throne.

Between CE 268 and 271 provinces in Dacia are evacuated by order of Emperor Aurelian and XIII is moved to its former headquarters in Poetovio and then to Ratiarii in the new province – Dacia Ripensis established in the areas of Moesia. The existence of the legio XIII Gemina ended around 400 CE due to a lack of supplies and wages and the general disorganization of the army. The unit was dispersed and its soldiers left their service. To this day, it is not known what happened to the legionary eagle.

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