The primary Roman fighters in the Roman Empire were known as legionaries.
A Roman legion was a military unit of the Roman armed forces. By the time of the death of Julius Caesar there were 37 Roman legions.
At the height of the Roman Empire, much of Africa, Western Asia and Europe was ruled by Ancient Rome. The soldiers of the Roman Army were very skilled and took an active part in the wars, and conflicts of the Ancient Roman Empire. You can learn all about these soldiers and their legions right here!
There were about 3000 skilled soldiers in a single legion of the Roman Empire, this was later expanded to 5200 soldiers in each legion, during the Imperial Era. All soldiers were men, each of the soldiers was of height range from 165 cm to 175cm, and soldiers were either legionaries or auxiliaries (of these, legionaries were the most elite soldiers). In spite of the fact that all the legions were numbered, many of them also had names that recorded their set of experiences, roots, or accomplishments. In this list we will introduce you to 25 of these Roman legion names.
25 Of The Most Famous Names of Roman Legions
Whilst, by the time of the death of Julius Caesar there were 37 Roman legions, here we are going to focus on 25 of the best know legions. According to the history of the Roman Empire, Legio IX Hispana was the most feared Roman Legion. Here we have put together a list of the 25 best Roman legions from Roman history, we hope you learn something new and that you are inspired to look further into this fascinating period of history!
1. Augusta Legion, also known by the name Legio II Augusta. One can without much of a stretch presume that this celebrated army got its name from the head of Rome himself, Augustus. The principal known documentation of Legio II Augusta dates back to around 26 BC when it took on the Cantabrians, the Augusta Legion fought at least seven different legions in the Cantabrian Wars of 29 to 19 BC. When the war was won, Augusta legionaries positioned themselves in Spain close to different legions. At the point when the period of the supreme Roman Empire started, Legio II Augusta stood consistent with its name and swore its devotion to Augustus. The legions were an imposing power in the Battle of Actium. The Battle of Actium occurred on 2 September 31 BC in the Ionian Sea. A while later, Legion II Augusta appears to have been part of the enormous portion of the Roman army that was broken up and a large number of its legionaries were sent on leave or into retirement.
2. Legio X Equestris, the legion was established in 61 BC by the Roman general and statesman Julius Caesar, who was then the Governor of the Hispania Ulterior, a region in the Hispania. Caesar was very popular thanks to his Roman principles and policies, and for his service to the Roman people. The thought of serving the people made him think about forming a legion. He then formed the Equestris Legion that was also known as the 10th Legion. The Legion was later named the Legio X Equestris.
3. Germanica Legion, established by Julius Caesar to reinforce his fighting effort against Pompey, the Legio I Germanica (also known as the First Legion) was enrolled in 48 BC. As opposed to the prevalent view that it got the Germanica name since its warriors began in Germany, almost all legionaries of Germanica actually belonged to Rome. At around 41 BC, the army turned out to be essential for Octavian's military and fought in the battle against Sextus Pompeius. The Germanica Legion then took part in long term strife against the Cantabrians under the initiative of Augustus. Along with the Second Augusta Legion, Germanica legions helped construct the entirely different settlement of Acci in Spain. The First Germanica Legion stayed dynamic from the time of its arrangement up until the melting away periods of 70 AD. The legion was disbanded by Emperor Vespasian and whatever of their power that remained was combined with Legio VII Gemina.
4. Hispana Triumphalis Legion, the Hispana legion was first known as Legion IX Hispania. It was among the main legions shaped by Julius Caesar during his missions against the Roman Republic. The Legio IX battled bravely close to its countryman legions VII, VIII and X during the intrusion of Gaul in 58 BC. It has been noted that the Roman authority was especially dazzled by the dauntlessness and heroics of Legio IX in the fight against the Nervians. Administrator Octavian quickly requested that the legion took control of the city of Sicily, which was then heavily influenced by his main foe Sextus Pompeius. The Hispana Triumphalis legion, alongside different legions, enrolled in this mission by Octavian, and before long brought the entire of Sicily under the Roman standard. When Sicily was conquered, Octavian pronounced himself the ruler and became Augustus. He then sent this Ninth Legion to keep up control of the Balkans. It was around 43 AD when this army was brought into battle, once again without hesitation, in the Roman attack of Britain.
5. Macedonica Legion, this legion emerged in 48 BC when Caesar started a common battle by the intersection of the Rubicon River. A considerable amount of moderate Roman conservatives had fled to Greece a year earlier. Caesar was setting up an all-out attack on the conservatives and that is when, alongside a modest bunch of other "first" units, he shaped the Legio IV. The Legio IV got its first activity in the clashes of Dyrrhachium and Pharsalus when Caesar scored a conclusive victory over Pompey. Shortly, Caesar called this Macedonica Legion to battle in his mission against the Parthians.
6. Legio III, (also known as the legion of Third Gallica) this legion was established in 49 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar. He formed this army explicitly to get necessary hostile help with his war against the traditionalist conservative pioneer Pompey. After the fall of Caesar's legions, nearly the whole of the Third Gallica was given over to Mark Antony to help him in his fights against the Parthians. History says that the bold Gallicans battled bravely against the far more grounded army of the Parthians. They ended up withdrawing from battle, yet not prior to sparing the remainder of the Roman legion previously occupied with the fight.
7. Legio III Cyrenaica, this Legion is also known as the Cyrenean Third Legion and was a legion of the Imperial Roman Army. The origin and establishment of the legion are unknown due to the lack of any historical records but is believed that it was formed by Roman politician Mark Antony in 36 BC. Mark was then the Governor of Cyrenaica. The legion was under the command of Lucius Pinarius Scarpus, who was a trusted ally of Mark. The legion had its records in Syria until the beginning of the fifth century. Legio III Cyrenaica was one of the longest-surviving legions in Rome.
8. Legio VI Victrix, the "Victorious Sixth Legion" was established by Octavian (who later proceeded to become Emperor Augustus) around 41 BC. This army is well known throughout the entire existence of the royal Roman legions and was viewed as a twin to the esteemed Legio VI Ferrata. This legion of Rome saw its first activity in 41 BC when it battled alongside Octavian at Perusia in his mission against Mark Antony's sibling. The Victrix then proceeded to help Augustus in his battle against the Cantabrians that lasted for about 10 years beginning in 29 BC.
9. Legio XII Fulminata, Legio Duodecima Fulminata (also known as the Thunderbolt 12th Legion), was a popular army from the times of magnificent Rome. It was additionally known by the names Paterna, Antiqua, Certa Constans and Gallina. The XII Fulminata Roman army was called to battle by Caesar in 58 BC with his sights set on scoring a pounding triumph in the Gallic Wars. The Fulminata Legion battled for Caesar here until 49 BC. Quickly, next came another war that Caesar proclaimed on Triumvir and Pompey around January in 49 BC. The LEgio XII Fulminata was then effectively occupied in the full-scale attack of Italy, and also in the Battle of Pharsalus on August 9, 48 BC.
10. Legio XVIII, Legio Duodecima, or the 18th, was established in 41 BC, again by prospective Emperor Augustus. Historians generally accept that Augustus shaped this army to oppose Sextus Pompeius who was then positioned in Sicily and was one of the last impressive opposers of Augustus' mission. Pompeius had a slight advantage in the contention, since his delayed control of Sicily implied he could hinder quite a bit of Rome's grain gracefully. Legio XVIII, alongside Legio XVII and Legio XIX, faced a devastating thrashing in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. Legio XVIII's Empire was totally demolished, with the last bits of the army's image and name annihilated in this loss.
11. I Flavia Minerva Pia Fidelis, one of six legions to endure the number I under the late Republic and early realm, this army acquired the title 'Pia Fidelis' for its reliability to Emperor Domitian, who established the legion in 82 AD. A dictatorial ruler, Domitian required a legion to confront brutal resistance. Two different legions (XIV Gemina and XXI Rapax) defied him under Saturninus. The other portion of the army's name demonstrates that they were dedicated to the goddess Minerva, whose picture showed up on their norm.
12. II Traiana Fortis, this army bore the name of its author, Emperor Trajan, and proceeded to acquire the title 'fortis', which means "solid". This mirrored the army's impressive military record, specifically their ability to stifle a second century revolt in Egypt, a territory known as Rome's bread bushel. As the primary soldiers in the district at that point, II Trainana held out until fortifications arrived, guaranteeing Rome's control of the region.
13. Legio III Parthica, Legio III Parthica (also known as the Parthian Vanquishing Third Legion) was an army of the Imperial Roman armed forces established in AD 197 by the sovereign Septimius Severus (r. 193–211) for his mission against the Parthian Empire, hence the name Parthica. The army was dynamic in Eastern regions in the mid-fifth century.
14. Legio V Alaudae, this principal army framed by common warriors, Legio V Alaudae was formed by Julius Caesar from Gallic soldiers. They were named 'alaudae' or 'songbirds' in light of the fact that the high peaks of their caps reminded individuals of the flying creatures.
15. VI Ferrata Fidelis Constans, known for being 'The Sixth Ironclad', loyal and constant, this legion acquired the initial segment of their name from their administration during the late Republic, when they battled for Pompey in Spain and served Caesar well in Syria and Pontus, winning the Battle of Zela through merciless fighting. The title 'Fidelis Constans' came from a demonstration of dependability in the main century AD, defeating an uprising against Claudius.
16. Legio VII Gemina, a few legions bore the title 'Gemina', meaning "the twins". For the seventh army, this had two implications. One was that it was formed by uniting two separate legions, joining their individual parts into something more grounded. The was a reference to the twins Romulus and Remus, the organizers of Rome.
17. X Fretensis, this army was established in 41 or 40 by Julius Caesar's beneficiary Octavian, who required it to stop Sextus Pompeius' control of Sicily, which put the grain supply of Rome at risk. The new unit got its number as a token of being Caesar's 10th army. As per the German antiquarian Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903), the new army got its last name Fretensis (meaning "of the sea straits") thanks to tis role in monitoring the Straits of Messina. This legion was also dynamic during the fights at Mylae and Naulochus.
18. XIV Gemina Martia Victrix, the "successful Martian twin" was an army with numerous great titles. Another army formed by joining two legions together, it hence acquired the 'twin' title. 'Martia' came from one of the components that went into this mix, the Martian army, named after the Roman Lord of war. The title of 'victrix' (meaning "successful") came from the legions involvement in one of the most successful activities ever performed by Roman legions in Britain. In 60-61 AD, the XIV confronted Boudicca's revolutionary legions. Inconceivably dwarfed by a huge number of Britons, their preparation and cautious utilization of the land guaranteed triumph and permitted Rome to hold the island region.
19. XV Apollinaris, raised by Octavian (who later became Emperor Augustus) the XV army battled for him in the Civil War that marked the end of the Republic and ascent of the Realm. In 31 BC they faced the Conflict of Actium, a maritime fight wherein Octavian's powers crushed those of Mark Anthony and the Egyptian ruler Cleopatra. It was after this fight that the army was given the title 'Apollinaris' (meaning "Apollo- loving"), partnering them with one of Rome's much adored divine beings, a God with which Octavian also related to himself.
20. XX Valeria Victrix, the XX legion most likely procured their titles while serving in the region of Illyria under their lead representative Marcus Valerius Messalla Messallinus. 'Valeria' has all the earmarks of being a rendition of his faction name, given to the army as a symbol of their service to him, as we have seen that rulers sometimes did lend their names to legions. 'Victrix' alludes to their prosperity under his administration, their success as stifling radicals, a triumph that they proudly accomplished.
21. XXI Rapax, the avaricious 21st army had a somewhat more diagonal title than others, yet one that actually alluded to their military might. Formed in 31 BC by Emperor Augustus, they were comprised of men from different legions. They stifled the Rhaetian insubordination in 16-15 BC. Following the Teutoburg debacle, they were among those sent abroad to fortify the German fringe and to defeat the insubordination there. They wound up on the wrong side of four sovereigns, however, the legion was able to endure this time of political strife. They were presumably demolished battling the Sarmatians in 92 AD.
22. XXX Ulpia Victrix, established in 100 AD by Hadrian, the 30th army was collected to fight in the Dacian Wars. They were so effective in these wars that they ended the genuine Dacian danger to Rome's Danubian areas. The army very quickly procured the title of 'victorious', perhaps the proudest name a Roman army could bear.
23. Legio I Adiutrix, it appears to be that I Adiutrix worked most steadfastly for the "crown sovereign", who granted the army the title Pia Fidelis ("faithful and dependable"). The head Trajan utilized this legion during his triumph of Dacia (101-106). Along with IIII Flavia Felix and XIII Gemina, the legion was essential to the powers that gained this new territory.
24. Legio VII Claudia Pia Fidelis, along with the legions Eight, Nine and Ten, the Seventh was among the most established units in the magnificent Roman legions. Claudia Pia Fidelis fought with Julius Caesar when he attacked Gaul in 58 BCE. The Roman leader specifies the Seventh in his record of the fight against the men of Nervians (57), and it appears to be that the legion also fought during the undertaking through western Gaul driven by Caesar's representative Crassus.
25. Legio I Italica, as per an engraving, the sovereign Nero gave this unit its hawk and different norms on 20 September 66. This is affirmed by the Greco-Roman scholar of history Cassius Dio, who confirms that this unit was established by Nero. Nero had enlisted these legions, which comprised uniquely of warriors six-foot-tall and over, for a mission in Armenia and the Far East, as a development to the successful missions of the Corbulo in previous years. Nero nicknamed the new unit "the phalanx of Alexander the Great", which reflects the task he believed he needed to tackle in East. In any case, as destiny would have it, half a month later, another army, XII Fulminata, was crushed in Judaea, and war broke out inside the Roman realm. The extended Caspian endeavor never occurred.
Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Roman legion names and are interested in learning more about warriors, armies and ancient socieities, then why not take a look at something different like this list of the best Gaul names or female knight names for fierce female warrior characters, or this list of the top Ancient Greek last names with meanings.
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