Legion X appears in the pages of Roman history around 61 BCE. This unit was probably formed during the pacification of the Gallic Allobroges uprising, led by Critognathus (according to Cicero drawn into Catiline’s conspiracy) revolted in Transalpine Gaul, but were defeated by praetor G. Pontinius at Solona (Solo) over the middle Rhône. The supreme command of the 10th Legion was then given to proconsul Metellus Celer, but the latter, not even reaching his province, fell suddenly ill and died. In this way, Celera’s hopes for conquests in Gaul were taken over by proconsul Gaius Julius Caesar, for whom the X legion turned out to be the best in his entire army. It is significant that from the very beginning the direct command of the 10th Legion was entrusted by Caesar to the highest-ranking legate, Titus Labienus, to whom the Senate granted the empire propraetor. T. Labienus will turn out to be one of the most talented commanders, and the X Legion under his command will be a breeding ground for talented centurions, powering the officer cadre of Julius Caesar’s newly formed legions.
Legion X, like other formations of this type, had about 4,600 men. It had 6 tribunes recruited from the equites, about 60 centurions, each of whom commanded 80/100 legionaries. Six such centuries formed a cohort, which was the basic tactical unit of the army, commanded by the most senior centurion (primi ordines). Since the reform of G. Marius (husband of Caesar’s aunt), recruitment to the legions also took place among the capite censi (poor urban proletariat), for whom service provided an occasional opportunity to participate in spoils, a fixed annual salary of 500 sesterces, and a career in the army, awards and lands for veterans. For many, the 10th Legion became home to which they were bound by a strong sense of pride, loyalty, and devotion to their comrades-in-arms (Commilitones).
Julius Caesar’s hopes for conquest, loot and fame in Gaul were related to the great expedition of the Helvetii. This tribe, together with the Tigurines, Tulingi and Boias (368,000) in March 58 BCE, began to gather on the Rhône, where the 10th legion was stationed. meters, reinforced with forts, and successfully repelled enemy attacks. Then, leaving the defence of the fortification line to the 10th legion, Caesar moved to Aquileia, where he took the experienced 7th, 8th and 9th legions and the two newly formed 11th and 12th legions. With such an army reinforced by 4 thousand. With the allied cavalry of the Gallic Aedui and light auxiliary infantry, Caesar marched on the barbarians whom he had overtaken at the Saône. There, the 10th Legion massacred the Tigurines, striking them pre-dawn as they were crossing the river. The next action of the X legion was an attempt to attack the Helvetii from the hills, which were garrisoned by T. Labienus and he was waiting for a sign to attack by the other legions. Due to the error of the cavalry commander, C. Considius Longus, who took the centuries of the X legion for Helvetian troops, Caesar did not attack. The bloody battle with the barbarians took place only at Bibrakte. The Helvetii, giving a prey to the allied cavalry of the Aedui, went on the offensive themselves. Caesar, accepting the battle, set the legions on the hill. The X Legion took pride of place on the right wing, formed in triplex acies with four cohorts in the front line and three in the second and third lines. The battle began when the Helvetii in the late afternoon in a tight formation of shield bearers moved to the Roman lines. As soon as the barbarians approached within 20 steps, the legionaries threw pila with impetuosity, which pierced the shields and bodies of the Helvetii and chipped the compact phalanx. Then the Romans, swords in hand, charged at the Celts. The fighting lasted a long time, and the 10th Legion accomplished no mean feat when its exposed right flank was suddenly struck by the wild Tulingi and valiant Boi freshly arrived on the battlefield. The Legion regrouped its cohorts and fought on two fronts. Caesar won a victory, which, however, was paid for with significant losses. Although the Helvetii were defeated, they fled, although after three days they returned asking for peace.
As soon as Caesar sorted out the affairs of the Helvetii and their allies, he immediately decided to eliminate the powerful Germans led by Ariovistus, who had been dictating conditions in central-eastern Gaul for several years, from the game for control over Gaul. The X Legion and others were deployed in the Seine city of Vesontio, which, anticipating the Germans, was occupied by the Romans by a forced march. There, idling, the legionaries heard from local and visiting merchants about the huge number, strength, ferocity and incredible size of Germanic warriors. The growing fears among the officers quickly spread to the rank and file, causing a real panic. Those who were ashamed to show weakness hid in tents and wrote wills. Caesar immediately called a consilium, composed of all the centurions, at which min. he declared that, since fear had seized his men, the departure he had planned for a later time, he ordered the fourth watch to see whether a sense of dignity and duty or unworthy cowardice reigned in the Roman army. However, he added that if the latter prevailed, he would go with the X Legion alone, in whose courage and confidence there is no doubt. The effect of this speech was immediate. Legionnaires of the 10th legion quickly sent a delegation, thanking for the distinction, recognition and reporting their readiness. The other legions, shamed, shamed and competitive, rushed their tribunes to Caesar with the assurance that they were no worse, and that their willingness was never in question.
The war with the Germans was the reason for another, quite unusual distinction of the X Legion. Caesar, conducting talks with Ariovistus, was accompanied by riders – the entire X Legion, which he put on horses. Hence the honourable name of Equites stuck to them for several years. When the negotiations came to nothing, Caesar, at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, led the legions into battle. The X Legion traditionally took pride of place on the right wing, formed in a triplex acies formation. Almost without the usual throwing of missiles at the enemy, the legionaries suddenly moved with their swords to the left flank, immediately smashing the swarms of Suebi freshly arrived from across the Rhine. The Germans panicked and ran away. Most died in the pursuit, falling to swords or drowning in the waters of the Rhine.
When Caesar finished with the Germans, it was the turn of the Belgians, who, sitting in the wilds of the northern forests, among the swamps, shunned Roman civilization. Caesar added two new ones to his legions, the 13th and 14th, filling them with centurions from the 10th legion. Having defeated the barbarians led by Galba – the king of the Suessions (the 10th legion slightly cut the Belgians during their retreat from the Axons), Caesar moved on the Nervii, who were lying in wait for the Romans in the thickets on the banks of the Sambra River. On that day, the Roman army was led by the 10th legion, followed by the 9th, 11th, 8th, 12th, and 7th. When the construction of the camp began, the Nervii moved in full force. The first Atrebates forded the river and fell on the surprised Romans, but were unlucky enough to run into the 10th Legion, which, taking advantage of its high position, showered the barbarians with pils, then the compact cohorts pushed them into the valley, beginning the pursuit. The situation was worse on the right wing, where the 12th and 7th legions were bending under the blows of the brave Nervii. Then the thirteenth and fourteenth legions came, but it was the X Labienus, commanding the victorious legion, who pushed his men across the river and, attacking the Nervii from behind, smashed them to pieces.
After massacring tens of thousands of Germanic Usipetes and Tenkretes who had inadvertently crossed the Rhine into Gaul, and having ravaged the settlements of the Sugambri and Suebi in Caesar’s preemptive cross-Rhine tour, the 10th Legion advanced on Britannia. However, this expedition was not to the taste of the legionaries, who were ordered by Caesar to conquer the shore directly from the sea. Ships unsuited to landing could moor far from the beaches where legionaries had to wade through deep sea water; and on land the chariots of the Britons waited. Then the standard-bearer “who carried the eagle of the 10th legion, after invoking the gods for help, that his act would bring happiness to the legion, cried out: Jump, comrades-in-arms if you do not want to give the legion’s eagle to the enemies… When he uttered these words in a loud voice, he jumped straight from the ship and began carrying the eagle towards the enemy.” Seeing this, the legionaries, admonishing one another, followed the example of their standard-bearer, and the 10th Legion was followed by others and took the shore. It is somewhat regrettable that the name of this brave Caesar was omitted from his memoirs. In the interim autumn tides came and Caesar decided to return. Immediately after returning to Gaul, the 10th Legion launched a retaliatory operation against the Moryns, who quickly surrendered.
The second expedition of the 10th Legion to Britain was on a much larger scale (600 ships). This time the sight of hundreds of ships terrified the Britons, and they retreated inland, taking cover in a stronghold. The X Legion took the shore and marched into the siege. Together with the VII legion, the X legionaries formed the famous testudo (turtle) and, using the ramp by the wall, stormed Bigbury Wood stronghold. The Britons, united under the leadership of Kasivelaunus, after several defeats, asked for peace, which Caesar gladly agreed to. The season and the news from the Continent were disturbing.
Legion X returned to Gaul, preparing to revolt. After the 14th legion was slaughtered by the Eburones, the 10th legion wiped out the Treveri by killing their leader and then pacified the Menapii. After capturing Avarikum, the 10th legion moved with Caesar to Gergowo, where he had to cover the retreat of the over-excited legionaries of the 8th legion, who, led by their centurions L. Fabius and M. Petronius, got beyond the city walls too hastily. Then Caesar withdrew to the north and joined the army of Labienus, and then, having broken the cavalry of the Gauls besieged Alesia, where the legionaries, having built over 15 km of ramparts and moats with 24 forts and 8 camps, simultaneously repelled the attacks of tens of thousands attacking from the city and over hundred thousand who came to the city with relief from all Gaul. Alesia capitulated and the Gaulish chief Venrcingetorix was taken prisoner. When Uksellodunum, the last bastion of the uprising, fell, Pax Romana reigned in Gaul, from which the X legion drew handfuls. Caesar, having sold about a million Gauls into slavery, had the means for prizes and to increase the legionaries’ pay from 5 to 10 aces a day.
After the war with the Gauls ended, Caesar began a war with the Romans. The XIII legion moved with Caesar to Italy across the Rubicon, and the legion X on June 49 with 5 others went to Spain, where in the pursuit of Ilerda he successfully discouraged the Pompeians from fighting. After clashes at Dyrrachim failed for Caesar, the tide of the civil war was decided on the plains at Pharsalus in Thessaly. It was the hot ninth day of August 48 CE The great Pompeian army consisted of 110 cohorts, i.e. almost 45,000. soldiers, including as many as 6,400 cavalry. Caesar’s army showed up in the number of 8 legions (22,000), and had only 1,000. riders. Traditionally, the X Legion took the right wing, lined up in three lines. It was commanded personally by Caesar himself. Next to him, the commander placed the cavalry and a separate unit of 6 cohorts arranged in the diagonal fourth line. Opposite X was the entire almost hostile cavalry under the command of their former commander Labienus, who had gone over to Pompey’s side. Caesar gave the order for battle. As the trumpets roared, the centurion primus pilus of the 10th Legion, old Gaius Crastinus, turned to his soldiers: “…behind me… Only this one battle remains; after Caesar will regain his honour, and we will be free. Then he turned directly to the commander:… today I will make you thank me either alive or dead.” After which he ran at the enemy first, and with him 120 selected volunteers from the same century. The veterans of the 10th Legion, giving an impressive display of discipline, after running some distance, seeing the Pompeians hold their ground, stopped, closed ranks, and moved on in good order, to drop a pila from 20 paces and enter a sword fight in full force. Then T. Labienus led the cavalry to attack, but drawn by Caesar’s cavalry into a trap simulating a retreat, he exposed them to a powerful blow of 6 cohorts positioned diagonally hidden behind the helpers. Labienus and his officers completely lost control over their subordinates, and Caesar’s legionaries, mercilessly stabbing the horses and faces of the enemies with saws, caused the cavalry to flee in panic. Now these 6 cohorts in a punitive order struck the exposed left flank of the armies of Pompey and Scipio. At this point, Caesar threw a fresh third line into the battle, which completely broke the enemy ranks, causing the formation to break down and flee. 9 eagles were captured, and over 6,000 were killed. people. Caesar lost 230 soldiers, including 30 centurions. Among them was also Gaius Crastinus. Caesar gave him a ceremonial funeral, and in an unprecedented event, posthumously (this was not custom) bestowed decorations on the first centurion of the 10th Legion.
After Pharsalus, the 10th Legion returned to Italy, where, together with the 9th Legion, they began to demand loot and land. They even stoned some officers who had been sent by Marcus Antony to restore order. Finally, due to the riots in Rome, the 10th legion participated in the restoration of order in the capital, which the Senate authorized it to do by issuing a senatus consultum ultimum resolution. After Caesar’s return to Rome, the mutiny of the army flared up again. From the Campanian camp, the legionaries set off for Rome, chasing away Sallustius sent to them by Caesar among whistles and blows. The legionaries knew that the commander would need them in the campaign in Africa, where Cato, Labienus and Scipio, together with King Juba of Numidia, organized armies against him. Hence, wishing to negotiate land grants and increased rewards, they demanded, on the pretext, that they be released from service and granted lands in Italy. Imagine their surprise when in their camp near Rome, Caesar himself suddenly appeared, who calmly told them that if they wished to leave the service, he would release them! Moreover, Caesar addressed them as “citizens” already treating them as civilians; then he calmly walked away. There was silence and utter consternation. The surprised legionaries, who had not expected such a turn of events and who did not wish to be released from service at all, deprived of the opportunity to gain spoils in the war in Africa, began to call out to one another not to dismiss them, and not to replace their veterans with recruits. Caesar was a master manipulator; pressed by tears and pleas to take them to war in Africa, he said to the legionaries, “I will take all but the 10th Legion, which, though favoured by him for years, has succumbed to the instigation of the troublemakers.” The X legionaries fell into real despair and begged him to decimate them by ordering a draw. Caesar finally relented, but he remembered the names of the leaders of the revolt, and during the African campaign, he tried to get rid of them (including Tribune Avienus).
After the manoeuvres at Ruspina in Africa, where the few veterans of the 10th Legion joined the newly formed XXV, XXVI, XXVIII, XXIX and XXX legions, an interesting event took place during the struggle with the cavalry of King Juba and the cavalry of Labienus. T. Labienus rode by on horseback, cursing Caesar’s recruits. Then one of the enemy soldiers shouted, “Labienus, I am not a recruit, but a veteran of the 10th Legion.” Then, tearing off his helmet to make himself known, he hurled his spears with all his might, impaling Labienus’s horse, and cried: “Abienus, know that it is a soldier of the 10th legion who is aiming at you!” They carried Labienus, wounded after falling from his mount. After some time, ships with legions came from Sicily, including the entire X legion. Before the general battle, the legionaries were a little worried about the number of Juba’s troops, including his 120 elephants! Caesar quickly reassured his subordinates, telling them that their guesses were completely wrong and that the king had only 300 elephants!
The general clash took place on April 6, 46 at Thapsus. The X Legion, as usual, stood on the right wing with the cavalry by their side. The legionaries “wasted” for battle. The elephants advancing on the 10th Legion, under the onslaught of Caesar’s veterans, panicked as a barrage of missiles rained down on them and swooped down on their own troops. Scipio’s left wing collapsed, and the X legionaries decided to take advantage of the opportunity and slaughter the nobles (Caesar usually, showing generosity, forgave and let them go free, but they regained freedom, later they stood against him all the more fiercely). Scipio, Juba and Cato committed suicide, and Labienus fled to Spain, leaving about 10,000 at Thapsus. their soldiers killed. Caesar lost only 50!
After returning to Rome, the 10th legion took part in Caesar’s triumphal marches, during which the legionaries, in accordance with the old custom, mocked the commander and mercilessly yelled, singing: “Romans, guard your wife, we are bringing with us Caesar – a balding gacha, who, having enslaved Gaul, triumph; today Nicomedes is not triumphant, though he has enslaved Caesar.” At the end of the triumphal celebrations, each Caesar’s legionary received 5,000 denarii (he did not earn so much during 16 years of service!). Centurions received 10,000 each and the tribunes and prefects X 20,000 each. However, the legionaries were indignant when Caesar distributed 100 denarii each to the civilians.
The last significant battlefield where the 10th legion fought under Caesar’s command was the heights of Munda in Spain, where Pompey’s sons Gnaeus and Sextus and T. Labienus, having driven away the governor Caesar – greedy Cassius, gathered 13 legions. Caesar fielded 8 against this army. Invariably, since the first battle in Gaul, the 10th Legion took up positions on the right flank. The battle was fierce, and Caesar personally took part in the battle. When Caesar’s formation began to break down, the general himself sprang from his horse and, shield in hand, they would stand in front of their troops, crying: “Will you leave your general here.” Dozens of enemy arrows immediately lodged in his shield, but already the legionaries rushed to him, closing ranks, and did not move another step. The X Legion broke through, making a breach in the Pompeian line. Labienus hurried to the rescue, but Caesar’s cavalry struck his left flank. The X Legion gave a shout of triumph, thinking that Labienus’ displaced cohorts had begun to flee. This, in turn, terrified the Pompeians, and like dominoes, they started to withdraw at first, then panicked and ran away. One of Labienus’ former subordinates, perhaps the African scoundrel, had stabbed him in a sword fight. The X veterans were merciless, slaughtering tens of thousands of enemies. Gnaeus Pompey escaped but was caught and beheaded. After the battle, Caesar and the 10th legion triumphed in Rome.
Veterans of the 10th Legion received bounties and plots of land in Narbo in southern Gaul, but they were soon allowed to enjoy farming. In the Ides of March 44 BCE, their leader was stabbed to death in the Senate by conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius. Soon three triumvirs rose up against them: Marcus Antony, Octavian and Marcus Lepidus, who re-formed the X Legion. The opposing armies met at Philippi. Caesar’s army was commanded by M. Antony, either because of his age and experience or because of Octavian’s illness. Lepidus remained in Rome. On October 23, 42 BCE, the X Legion again smashed the enemy on its left flank, which was too stretched to withstand the blow. After the victory, the veterans of the 10th Legion were settled in Cremona in northern Italy. The 10th Legion was soon transferred to the East and took part in M. Antony’s expedition against the Parthians in Armenia, where he laid siege to the city of Fraaspa. After unsuccessful assaults, a retreat was ordered, at the cost of heavy losses due to fighting, diseases, frost and exhaustion from the march. Finally, there was a clash between Antony and Octavian in the naval Battle of Actium on September 2, 31, the X Legion, grouped under the command of the land army of Canidius Crassus, watched Antony flee from the theatre of battle and escape with Cleopatra to Alexandria. When Canidius himself with a small detachment followed his leader, the legionaries began weekly negotiations on the terms of their inclusion in Octavian’s army. The X Legion bargained for good terms, and its veterans obtained plots of land. Despite this, a rebellion soon took place, and Octavian was forced to punish and disband the unit. In addition, he deprived the 10th legion of the honourable title of Equites, which he obtained under the command of Caesar during the struggle with Ariovistus. Ultimately, however, Octavian, reorganizing the entire army, re-formed the X legion, adding legionaries from other troops to it and sending it to Spain. Since its re-formation, the official name of the legion was Legion X Gemina (Twin, because not the same anymore). In the Iberian peninsula in 25-13 BCE, X took part in campaigns against the Cantabrom (Basques). These were extremely hard and fierce fights, which ended only when M. Agrippa himself took command of the X legion, who, by slaughtering the insurgents and resettling, completed the complete conquest of Spain. After taking over the country, X veterans became the first settlers in Emerita Augusta, founded as a colony for military veterans in the newly organized province of Tarraconensis in Spain. The number of the X legion in its permanent stationing place was raised to the total number of 5,320 legionaries and 120 horsemen, as well as the officer and auxiliary corps (5,500 in total). It was divided into 60 centuries of 80 people each. Among the centurions, the first rank was Primus pilus (primipilus). The centurions were given their deputies: the optio, and the office where they served: librarius, tesserarius and cerarius. Six centuries formed a cohort, and 10 cohorts formed a legion, but the first cohort had 5 double centuries. The legion was headed by a legate and 7 military tribunes, one of whom was the legate’s deputy from the senatorial estate. The legate also had professional staff at his disposal: cornicularius, actuarii and exactores. The camp was managed by praefectus castrorum. The permanent camp included residential buildings for legionaries and officers, as well as baths, sanitary facilities, warehouses, workshops, kitchens, stables, a hospital and a chapel where legionary insignia were kept (aquila, signa, images). Under the temple, there was a treasury, where the savings of legionaries were also stored. The annual pay of a legionary was 225 denarii, and the severance pay for veterans was up to 3,000. denarii. The legionary’s armament still consisted of a pilum that pierced shields, striking enemies, a slightly modified gladius (the sword was shortened from 50-55 to 44-50 cm), and chain mail (lorlica hamata) was replaced slowly by loricae segmentata (especially after 9 year CE). The Montefortino helmet was replaced by the Gallic helmet, and then by the Imperial-Gallic helmet. Finally, the early 1st century CE oval shield was replaced by a modified version in which the oval top and bottom were cut off, leaving a spindle-shaped protuberance. From the heavy equipment in each century there was: 1 ballista, and 1 onager in each cohort. The X Legion was supplied with auxiliary troops (auxilia) recruited from the provincial population. Due to the lack of a reserve army, sometimes several cohorts were separated from the legion, which as vexillationes (1-2 thousand) served away from the legion, supplementing other units. Such troops had their own pennants called vexilla. The Imago of the X Legion worn on these pennants was the taurus (bull).
In 63 CE, when the XV Apoliinaris legion marched with Gnaeus Corbulo to war against the Parthians, its place at the Carnuntum camp in Pannonia (west of Bratislava) was replaced by the X legion.), the 10th legion was sent to Spain, to be joined in 70 CE with 3 legions under the command of Petylus Cerialis. At the head of this army, the rebellion of the Batavians, led by Julius Civilis, who wanted to create a separate Gallic state (Battle of Arenacum, Rigodulum on the Moselle and Colonia Agrippinensis) was crushed in fierce battles. After the victory, the 10th legion was placed in winter quarters in a new camp in Noviomagus (Nijmegen), where for 2 decades it guarded the borders against Sugambra and Usipeti attacks.
The X Legion in 89 CE, together with 3 other legions, took part in the suppression of the rebellion of the governor of Germania Superior – L. Saturnin, directed against the emperor Domitian. The legionaries hurried south to Mainz, where they smashed the rebel forces. Each of the legions received the title Fidelis Domitiana. After returning to the camp in Noviomagus, the 10th legion built fortifications on the Rhine, especially during the reign of Emperor Trajan, who renamed Xanten and Nijmegen in the year 100 as Colonia Ulpia Traiana and Ulpia Noviomagus.
After several years spent in Ulpia Noviomagus, the X legion in 103 CE was moved to Aquincum (Budapest) in Pannonia, and in 114 CE to the permanent camp in Vindobona (Vienna). At that time, the X legionaries took part in the Dacian War. Emperor Trajan sent his legions across the Danube over a bridge near Drobeta (Turnu Severin) and attacked the Dacian capital of Sarmizegetuze. After conquering the stronghold, the Dacian king Decebalus committed suicide, and Rome gained a new province.
Of the 28 legions under Trajan’s successor, Emperor Hadrian, 3 were stationed in Pannonia Superior: Legio I Adiutrix, Legio XIIII Gemina and Legio X Gemina. Another legion, the X Fretensis, was stationed in Judea and suppressed the Bar Kochba Jewish uprising in 132-135. Several cohorts were assigned to the army fighting in Judea from the 10th Gemina legion, serving there as vexillationes (1-2,000). The struggle with the Judeans lasted several years; brought ruin to the country and the people; 50 cities were destroyed, 500,000 people died people, and many were sold into slavery. Vexillationes of the 10th Gemina legion also fought an uprising in Mauritania, which was crushed only in 150. Later, they were sent with the emperor Lucius Verus against the Parthians. The actual command in this war was held by the governor of Syria, G. Avidius Cassius. The Vexillationes of the X legion, after entering Armenia and northern Mesopotamia, participated in the capture of Seleucia on the Tigris, and then captured and destroyed Ctesiphon (capital of Parthia). However, this victory was thwarted by the plague, which destroyed part of the Roman army.
During the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the X Legion fought against the Quadi. As a result of the plague brought from the east, the usual recruitment to the army turned out to be insufficient, and slaves, gladiators and even criminals were called up to the army. Campaigns under the personal command of the emperor were led by: T. Pompejanus (the emperor’s son-in-law, who married his daughter Lucyla) and Helvius Pertynax. The latter, in a campaign conducted with the X legion in 172-173 CE, led to the defeat of Marcomanni and Quadi, killing many thousands of barbarians. Then, after moving the emperor’s quarters from Carnuntum to Sirmimum (near the confluence of the Sava with the Danube) in 175 CE, the Iazyges and Quadi were defeated. After the victory, the legionaries began to oppress the Marcomanni and Quadi lands, leading to a new war in which the vexillationes reached Trenčín in Slovakia, where at the turn of 179/180 they wintered in a fortified camp they founded. By the way, the presence of Roman troops in Laugaricio (Treczyn) was confirmed by a rock inscription.
After the assassination of Pertinax in 193 CE, the X legion supported the governor of Pannonia Septimius Severus, who marched on Rome, where he disarmed the emperor’s killers – praetorians. In their place, he appointed distinguished legionaries of the Danubian army, including the X legion. After defeating and killing Pescenius Niger, proclaimed emperor by the Syrian legions, Septimius Severus moved against another pretender to imperial power: the governor of Britain Clodius Albin. On February 19, 196 CE, in the fields of Lugdunum (Lyon), one of the largest and bloodiest fratricidal battles fought by the Romans took place. The X Legion, together with other 150,000 soldiers and warriors, fought in a ruthless battle, in which Albin’s left-wing fell to the Danube legions, while the right-wing crushed the trapped legions of Severus, who had to save himself by escaping. Eventually, however, the cavalry led by Letus fell on the flank of Albin’s army, forcing them to retreat and flee in disorder. The X legionaries broke into Lugdunum on the back of their necks and slaughtered soldiers and inhabitants ruthlessly.
Severus in 197 CE organized an expedition against the Parthians. Vexillationes of the 10th legion with the emperor captured and looted both capitals of Parthia: Seleucia and Ctesiphon, but in the following year (198/199 CE) they unsuccessfully besieged Hatra twice, whose defenders dropped missiles from burning natural asphalt on the legionaries and oil, and even pots of poisonous scorpions.
After returning to Rome, the emperor enabled his soldiers to be promoted to equestrian ranks through the rank of centurion; moreover, he increased the legionary’s pay from 300 denarii, which had been established by Domitian a century earlier, to 375 denarii. At the same time, Severus sanctioned the marriages of legionaries, which in the socio-legal sphere brought to life the children of the detachment prepared for service in the legions. The children of veterans took over plots of land given to their fathers, provided that they took up military service. Finally, the legionaries obtained the right to live outside the camp during peacetime. When in 212 CE Severus’ son Emperor Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to all the free population of the Empire, recruitment to the X legion was further transformed, consolidating political solidarity and the cives Romani religious community. In the field of armament, rectangular shields were gradually replaced by oval shields with a centre reinforced by umbo; the classic lorlica segmentata was replaced by a simpler armour of the “Newstead” type, in which the two lower encircling plates were replaced with one wide plate; and the fastening leather straps were replaced with buckles, hooks and simpler rivets; finally, the cingulum was reduced, which over time ceased to be studded, and finally was replaced by pteruges. In the 3rd century CE, the X legion permanently stationed in Vindobona was repeatedly commended for fidelity and loyalty by Emperor Caracalla during his battles across the upper Danube in Raetia, and by Emperor Gordian III for the participation of numerous vexillationes in battles with the king of Persia Shapur, who was driven out of Syria and Roman Mesopotamia in 243 CE. The X Legion efficiently dealt with the Carp invasion in 250/1, for which he received praise from Emperor Decius. When the difficult situation on the Rhine enabled the creation of the Gallic state in 260, where the usurper Postumus took power, the X legion actively supported the legal emperor Gallien against him. The emperor awarded him the title Pia VI Fidelis VI (“six times faithful and loyal”). In 285 CE, the X legion participated in the suppression of the revolt of Viceroy Julian, who briefly took control of Pannonia.
During the reign of Emperor Galien, the X Legion underwent profound leadership changes. This reform consisted in removing the senators, in favour of the equites, from exercising command over the legions; at the same time, a full promotion was made possible for an ordinary legionary to command his own legion, including. The most important modification of the army structure was the creation of a powerful cavalry, which from then on was the backbone of a strong reserve army (equites). After the seizure of power by the emperor Diocletian and the tetrarchs, there were quite radical changes in the legions. Finally, Constantine the Great reformed the Roman army quite thoroughly, dividing it into permanent frontier troops (limitanei), which manned the forts and lines of fortifications; and field formations (comitatenses), directed to threatened places as needed. Shock units were still called legions, but their numbers were significantly reduced to 1000-1800. Some legions were reduced and distributed between frontier garrisons and an imperial field army with strong cavalry (cataphracti heavy cavalry vs. infantry, clibanarii vs. cavalry). In addition, after the battle of Adrianople, there is a significant barbarization of the Roman army. Thus, the history of the X Legion is blurred in the complex period of the last century of the Roman Empire.
A very valuable source concerning also the 10th Gemina legion during the late Roman Empire are “Notitia Dignitatum” dated around 400/420, which is a list of dignitaries and the scope of their competence, and the state of the army. In this document, in the part devoted to Pannonia, where the X legion was stationed, we read: “Dux Pannoniae primae… Sub dispositione viri spectabilis ducis Pannoniae et Norici ripensis: Praefectus legionis decimae geminae, Vindomarae. (Occidentis).” “ Legiones comitatenses….: Decima gemina (Orientis).” On one of the pages of a medieval copy of Notitia Dignitatum, showing the shields of Magister Militum Praesentalis II, lower right, there are two shields with the inscription “X Considering the above, it can be assumed that the X legion took part in the fratricidal battle of Mursa, which took place on September 28, 351, between the armies of the Rhine, Danube and Euphrates. The best units at the disposal of the Empire died then, but the Roman state no longer had native and The winner of this struggle, Emperor Constantius II, who defeated the usurper Magnetius, organized punitive expeditions six years later against the Sarmatians and Quadi, the traditional opponents of the 10th legion on the Danube. later, with the threatening Sarmatian invasion of Pannonia again, the 10th legion under the command of Theodosius the Elder pushed back the barbarians from the borders and the progressing barbarization of the army, Emperor Valentinian imposed heavy penalties on deserters and evaders of service, and, interestingly, lowered the height requirements for legionaries to 1.62 m from 1.69 m. probably involved in suppressing the Firmus uprising in Africa. The lack of these troops was used by the Sarmatians and Quadi, who, after crossing the Danube, flooded the Pannonie. Valetian’s reaction was firm. After gathering the legions from the camp at Carnuntum, he set up a base at Aquinkum. From here in the summer of 375, probably also with the X legion, he crossed the Danube by pontoon bridge and invaded the lands of the barbarians, who immediately asked for peace. The X Legion did not manage to take part in the Battle of Adrianople in 378, because, by the time it arrived, Emperor Valens was already dead. In 387, the barbarians invaded Pannonia again, which was used by the usurper Maximus and he moved with his army to Italy, but he was defeated by the Franks, the commanders of Emperor Theodosius: Arbogast and Rychomeres. After their death, the role of magister utriusque militiae of the Western Empire was taken over by Flavius Stilicho, who tried to take over Illyria from the areas of the diocese of Pannonia and earlier fought the Vandals on the upper Danube. Probably the last chord in the history of the X legion is the entry of the Huns in 433 to Pannonia, guarded by the X for centuries. When Aetius “the last Roman” defeated Attila on the plain called the Catalaunian Fields in 451, the camps of the legions in Pannonia (including X) after the Huns were occupied by the Ostrogoths. The remnants of the X legion probably settled in Dalmatia under the leadership of Emperor Marcellinus (associated with Aetius) recognized by Pars Orientis, and then his nephew Emperor Julius Nepos, who in 474 took Rome without a fight. It is not excluded that the remnants of what was once the X legion participated in this expedition. The history of ancient Rome, however, just like the history of the X legion, came to a definitive end.
Among the material traces of the X Legion, we can distinguish coins with a clear marking of the 10th Legion from the time of Marcus Antony and coins with the inscription “LEG X G…” with its bull emblem (Taurus). From Mérida, Spain comes a stone inscription commemorating a legionary of the X Gemina legion; in addition, several finds from the period of the X Legion’s stationing at the camp in Noviomagus (Nijmegen; these artefacts are now in the Valkhof museum). Here, in particular, a bronze plaque commemorating Marcus S…. Strategius; then an inscription on a stone monument of a legionary named Biscius of Brescia; finally, the tombstone of a legionary from Amphipolis. Another stone inscription from Nijmegen is a plate commemorating three relatives serving in the X Gemina legion; in the Valkhof museum you can also see an oil lamp with the inscription Leg[io]XG[emina][P]ia [F]Fidelis (the latter was nicknamed X by Emperor Domitian, and later by Emperor Galien). A very interesting find related to the X legion is a tile with a clear marking Leg(io) XG[emina] from Vienna; It is worth mentioning here that near the camp in Noviomagus there was the town of Holdeurn, which was a centre of significant production of roof tiles and pottery. From Vindobona, the long-time headquarters of the 10th Legion camp on the Danube in the Roman province of Pannonia, also comes the funerary inscription of an officer of the 10th Gemina Legion; later this tombstone slab was converted into a mill wheel for grinding grain! Another memento is quite unusual, depicting the stone head of a legionary in a helmet with “XG[emina]” engraved on the forehead. The manner in which this sculpture was made clearly points to the twilight of the Roman Empire, which makes us think of the extraordinary vitality of the X Legion, whose existence in written sources and artefacts dates back five centuries of history.