Legio XIV Gemina

Legio XIIII Gemina Martia Vitrix

Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO XIIII G M V, stationed on the river Danube at carnuntum (Petronell, Austria), in Pannonia Superior province, from AD 106 until the 5th century
Active 41 BC to early 5th century at least
Country Roman Republic - 1st & 2nd raising under Caesar, 2nd Triumverate - Roman Empire - 3rd raising was a joining with another understrength legion under Octavian after the Battle of Actium
Type Roman legion (Marian)
later a comitatensis unit
Role Heavy Infantry (occasionally cavalry support when operating independently)
Size Varied over unit lifetime. Approx. 3,500 fighting men + support at the time of creation, ~ 5,000 to 6,000 men when operating independently during Imperial period.]
Garrison/HQ Moguntiacum (9–43)
Vindobona (92–106)
Carnuntum (106–5th century)
Nickname(s) Gemina Martia Victrix, "Twinned Martial and Victorious"
Martia Victrix, "martial and victorious" (added by Augustus)
Pia VI Fidelis VI, "six times faithful, six times loyal" (added by Gallienus)
Mascot(s) Capricorn
Engagements Gallic Wars (58-51 BC)
Caesar's Civil War (49-45 BC)
Post-Caesarian civil war (44 BC)
Liberators' civil war (44–42 BC)
Sicilian revolt (44–36 BC)
Perusine War (41–40 BC)
Final War of the Roman Republic (32–30 BC)
Roman conquest of Britain (43)
Year of the Four Emperors (69)
revolt of Saturninus (89)
Dacian Wars (101–106)
Verus Parthian campaign (161–166)
Marcus Aurelius Marcomannic campaign (168–180)
Septimius Severus rise to power (193–194)
Severus Parthian campaign (198)
vexillationes of the 14th participated in many other campaigns.

Legio quarta decima Gemina ("The Twinned Fourteenth Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army, levied by Julius Caesar in 57 B.C. The cognomen Gemina (Twinned) was added when the legion was combined with another understrength legion after the Battle of Actium. The cognomen Martia Victrix (martial & victorious) was added sequentially following their service in the Pannonian War c. A.D. 9 and the defeat of Boudicca in 43 AD. The emblem of the legion was the Capricorn,[1] as with many of the legions levied by Caesar,[1] their shield device displayed the thunderbolt of Jupiter with wings. It was the only legion to do so in the same manner as the Praetorian Guard.

Under Caesar

The XIV G.M.V was 1st raised by Caesar in Cisalpine Gaul during his raids into, and conquest of, Gaul. Following its first destruction under Caesar it was immediately reconstituted. Their enlistment term was for 16 years, as per the other Republican legions (though Augustus raised that to 20). For years after the Massacre at Atuatuca carried out by the Eburones under Ambiorix together with Cativolcus[2] they were viewed as an unlucky legion, but survived due to the efforts of their Aquilifer, Lucius Petrosidius.[3] They were frequently left behind to guard the camp during battles and raids.

Under Germanicus

The XIV G.M.V fought under General Germanicus Caesar against the German rebel Hermann, better known as Arminius. A decade before this campaign, Hermann succeeded in wiping out three entire legions in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, one of the greatest disasters in Roman military history. They sealed a victory for Germanicus, and earned him a triumph from his adopted father, Emperor Tiberius.

Invasion of Britain

Stationed in Moguntiacum, Germania Superior, since AD 9, XIV Gemina Martia Victrix was one of four legions used by Aulus Plautius and Claudius in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43, and took part in the defeat of Boudicca in 60 or 61. At the stand at Watling Street the 14th defeated Boudicca's force of 230,000, according to Tacitus and Dio, with their meager force of 10,000 Legionaries and Auxiliaries. This act secured them as Nero's "most effective", and kept them garrisoned in Britain during the next few years to keep the uneasy tribes in check. After which, in 68 it was stationed in Gallia Narbonensis.

Rebellion on the Rhine

In 89 the governor of Germania Superior, Lucius Antonius Saturninus, rebelled against Domitian, with the support of the XIVth and of the XXI Rapax, but the revolt was suppressed.

When the XXIst legion was lost, in 92, XIV Gemina was sent in Pannonia to substitute it, camping in Vindobona (Vienna). After a war with the Sarmatians and Trajan's Dacian Wars (101–106), the legion was moved to Carnuntum, where it stayed for three centuries. Some subunits of Fourteenth fought in the wars against the Mauri, under Antoninus Pius, and the legion participated to the Parthian campaign of Emperor Lucius Verus. During his war against the Marcomanni, Emperor Marcus Aurelius based his headquarters in Carnuntum.

In support of Septimius Severus

In 193, after the death of Pertinax, the commander of the Fourteenth, Septimius Severus, was acclaimed emperor by the Pannonian legions, and above all by his own. XIV Gemina fought for its emperor in his march to Rome to attack usurper Didius Julianus (193), contributed to the defeat of the usurper Pescennius Niger (194), and probably fought in the Parthian campaign that ended with the sack of the capital of the empire, Ctesiphon (198).

In support of imperial candidates

In the turmoil following the defeat of Valerian, the XIV Gemina supported usurper Regalianus against Emperor Gallienus (260), then Gallienus against Postumus of the Gallic Empire (earning the title VI Pia VI Fidelis—"six times faithful, six times loyal"), and, after Gallienus' death, Gallic Emperor Victorinus (269–271).

Shield design of the Quartodecimani, a comitatensis legion under the Magister Militum per Thracias, 5th century, according to Notitia Dignitatum.

5th century

At the beginning of the 5th century, XIV Gemina was still assigned at Carnuntum. It probably dissolved with the collapse of the Danube frontier in 430s. The Notitia Dignitatum lists a Quartodecimani comitatensis unit under the Magister Militum per Thracias; it is possible that this unit is XIV Gemina.

See also


  1. 1 2 L. J. F. Keppie, Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971–2000, page 128.
  2. "Atuatuca: provincial town in Gallia Belgica, modern Tongeren". Jona Lendering. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  3. Gaius Julius Caesar (1914). "Book V, Chapter 37". In Holmes, T. Rice. Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Retrieved April 25, 2016.

Legions of Rome. Dando-Collins, Stephen The History of Rome, Volume 1. Mommsen, Theodor The Complete Roman Legions. Pollard, Nigel & Berry, Joanne The Roman Legions. Parker, H. M. D. Roman Britain: A Sourcebook (Routledge Sourcebooks for the Ancient World) 3rd Edition. Ireland, Stanley

External links

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