Legio XIII Gemina

Legio XIII Gemina

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Legio XIII Gemina

caption=Sestertius minted in 248 by Philip the Arab to celebrate the province of Dacia and its legions, V "Macedonica" and XIII "Gemina". Note the eagle and lion, symbols on the reverse, respectively of legio V and legio XIII.
dates= 57 BC to sometime in the 5th century
country= Roman Republic and Roman Empire
type= Roman legion (Marian)
role= Infantry assault (some cavalry support)
size= Varied over unit lifetime. Approx. 3,500 fighting men + support at the time of creation. Expanded and given the cognomen "Gemina" in 31 BC.
garrison= Burnum, Illyricum (1st century BC) Emona, Pannonia (1st century) Augusta Vindelica, Germania Superior Poetovio, Pannonia (1st century) Roman Dacia (106 - "c." 270) Dacia Aureliana (since 270) Babylon in Egypt (400s)
nickname= "Gemina", "The twin" (since 31 BC)
"Pia Fidelis", "Faithful and loyal" [cite book |last=Steiner |first=Johann Wilhelm C. |title=Codex inscriptionum romanarum Danubii et Rheni |year=1851 |pages=p. 253 ]
mascot= Lion
battles=Gallic Wars (58-51 BC) Battle against the Nervians (57 BC) Battle of Gergovia (52 BC) Battle of Alesia (52 BC) - "uncertain" Battle of Dyrrhachium (48 BC) Battle of Pharsalus (48 BC) Battle of Thapsus (46 BC) Battle of Munda (45 BC) Battle of Actium (31 BC) 1st and 2nd Battle of Bedriacum (69) Dacian Wars (101-102,105-106) Vexillationes of the 13th participated in many other campaigns.
notable_commanders= Julius Caesar, Marcus Salvius Otho, Marcus Antonius Primus

Legio XIII, known after 31 BC as Gemina (the "twin legion"), is one of the more historically remarkable Roman legions. It was one of Julius Caesar's key units in Gaul, and in the civil war, and was the legion with which he famously crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49 BC. The legion appears to have still been in existence in the 5th century; its symbol was the lion.


Under the late Republic

Legio XIII was levied by Julius Caesar in 57 BC, before marching against the Belgae, in one of his early interventions in intra-Gallic conflicts.

During the Gallic wars (58-51 BC), Legio XIII was present at the Battle against the Nervians, the siege of Gergovia, and while not specifically mentioned in the sources, it is reasonable to assume that Legio XIII was also present for the Battle of Alesia.

After the end of the Gallic wars, the Roman senate refused Caesar his second consulship, ordered him to give up his commands, and demanded he return to Rome to face prosecution. Forced to choose either the end of his political career, or civil war, Caesar brought "Legio XIII" across the Rubicon river and into Italy. The legion remained faithful to Caesar during the resulting civil war between Caesar and the conservative Optimates faction of the senate, whose legions were commanded by Pompey. Legio XIII was active throughout the entire war, fighting at Dyrrhachium (48 BC) and Pharsalus (48 BC). After the decisive victory over Pompey at Pharsalus, the legion was to be disbanded, and the legionaries "pensioned off" with the traditional land grants; however, the legion was recalled for the Battle of Thapsus (46 BC) and the final Battle of Munda (45 BC). After Munda, Caesar disbanded the legion, retired his veterans, and gave them farmland in Italy.

Under the Empire

Augustus reconstituted the legion once again in 41 BC to deal with rebellion of Sextus Pompeius (son of Pompey) in Sicily.

Legio XIII acquired the cognomen "Gemina" ("twin", a common appellation for legions constituted from portions of others) after being reinforced with veteran legionaries from other legions following the war against Mark Antony and the Battle of Actium. [cite journal | last = Birley | first = E.B. | year = | title = A Note on the Title 'Gemina' | journal = Journal of Roman Studies | issue = 18 | pages = pp. 56–60 ] Augustus then sent the legion to "Burnum" (modern Knin), in Illyricum, a Roman province in the Adriatic Sea.

In 16 BC, the legion was transferred to "Emona" (now Ljubljana) in Pannonia, where they dealt with local rebellions.

After the disaster of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, the legion was sent as reinforcements to "Augusta Vindelicorum" (Augsburg), Raetia, to prevent further attacks from the Germanic tribes.

Emperor Claudius sent them back to Pannonia around 45; the legion camped at "Poetovio" (modern Ptuj, Slovenia).

In the year of the four emperors (69), XIII "Gemina" supported first Otho and then Vespasian against Vitellius, fighting in the two Battles of Bedriacum.

Under Trajan the Legion took part in both Dacian wars (101-102, 105-106), and it was transferred by Trajan in 106 to the newly conquered province of Dacia (in Apulum, modern Alba Iulia, Romania) to garrison it.

"Vexillationes" of the XIII "Gemina" fought under Emperor Gallienus in northern Italy. The emperor issued a legionary "antoninianus" celebrating the legion, and showing the legion's lion (259-260). [Cowan, p. 17.] Another "vexillatio" was present in the army of the emperor of the Gallic Empire Victorinus: this emperor, in fact, issued a gold coin celebrating the legion and its emblem. [Cowan, p. 26.]

In 271, the legion was relocated when the Dacia province was evacuated, and restationed in "Dacia Aureliana".

In the 5th century, according to the "Notitia Dignitatum", a "legio tertiadecima gemina" was in Babylon in Egypt, a strategic fortress on the Nile at the traditional border between Lower Egypt and Middle Egypt, under the command of the "Comes limitis Aegypti". ["Notitia Dignitatum", "In partibus Orientis", XXVIII]

Fictional accounts

* A fictionalized account of the actions of Legio XIII "Gemina" during the struggle between Julius Caesar and the Optimates faction under Pompey can be seen in the joint HBO/BBC/RAI television production "Rome", most notably two of its soldiers: Tribune Lucius Vorenus and Legionary Titus Pullo, based on real-life Centurions Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo.

See also

* Roman legion
* List of Roman legions



Primary sources


econdary sources


External links

* [http://www.legxiii.at. LEG XIII GEM] , Austrian re-enactment group
* [http://www.romanarmy.net/index.htm Legio XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix (Roman Military Research Society)]

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