Legio VII Gemina
Legio septima Gemina (Seventh Twin Legion) was a Roman legion; its full name was Legio VII Gemina Felix. It dates back to 69 AD, the Year of the four emperors, when the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, Galba, levied a legion to march on Rome. The legion settled in the city called Legio (modern-day León, Spain) in 74 AD and was still in Hispania at the end of the fourth century. The emblem of this legion is unknown.
Tacitus calls the legion "Galbiana", to distinguish it from the old Legio VII Claudia, but this appellation is not found on any inscriptions. It appears to have received the appellation of "Gemina" on account of its amalgamation by Vespasian with one of the German legions, not improbably the Legio I Germanica. Between 86 and 89 the Legion was commanded by the future emperor Trajan.
After serving in Pannonia, and in the civil wars, it was settled by Vespasian in Hispania Tarraconensis, to supply the place of the Legio VI Victrix and Legio X Gemina, two of the three legions ordinarily stationed in the province, but which had been withdrawn to Germania. That its regular winter quarters, under later emperors, were at Leon, we learn from the Antonine Itinerary, Ptolemy, and the Notitia Imperii, as well as from a few inscriptions; but there are numerous inscriptions to prove that a strong detachment of it was stationed at Tarraco (modern Tarragona), the chief city of the province. The following are a selection, in order of time:
- In the inscriptions the legion has the surnames of "P. F. ANTONINIANA", "P. F. ALEXANDRIANA", and "P. F. SEVERIANA ALEXANDRIANA"; and its name occurs in a Greek inscription as ΛΕΤ. Ζ. ΔΙΔύμη, while another mentions a χιλίαρχον ἐν Ἱσπανίᾳ λεγεῶνος ἑβδόμης. There is an inscription in which is found a "Tribunus Militum LEG. VII. GEMINAE FELICIS IN GERMANIA", from a comparison of which with two inscriptions found in Germany, it has been inferred that the legion was employed on an expedition into Germany under Alexander Severus, and that this circumstance gave rise to the erroneous designation of Γερμανική in the text of Ptolemy.
The station of this legion in the Gallaecia Roman province grew into an important city, León, that after the invasions of 409 AD in Iberia became part of the Suevic Kingdom, which resisted the attacks of the Visigoths til 586, when it was taken by Leovigild; and it was one of the few cities which the Visigoths allowed to retain their fortifications. The Roman bridge over the Tâmega River in Chaves, Portugal, then Aquae Flaviae, was built by the stationed legionaries of the Legio VII Gemina at the time of Trajan.
- Rabanal Alonso, Manuel Abilio (coord.) (1999). La Historia de León, Vol. 1: Prehistoria y Edad Antigua (in Spanish). Universidad de León. p. 192. ISBN 84-7719-817-9. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Caesar B.C. iii. 3
- Julian Bennett, Trajan Optimus Princeps, 2nd Ed, Routledge, 1997, p.25
- Tacitus Hist. ii. 11, 67, 86, iii. 7, 10, 21-25, iv. 39; Inscr. ap. Gruter, p. 245, no. 2.
- Muratori, p. 2037, no. 8, 130; p. 335, nos. 2, 3, 163; p. 336, no. 3, 167; Gruter, p. 260, no. 1, 216
- Orelli, no. 3496, 182; no. 4815; Gruter, p. 365, no. 7.
- C. I. vol. iii. no. 4022
- C. I. vol. i. no. 1126.
- Lehne, Schriften, vol. i. nos. 11, 62; Borghesi, Sulle iscr. Rom. del Reno, p. 26
- Booking, N. D. pt. ii. pp. 1026, seq.; Marquardt's Becker, Röm. Alterthum, vol. iii. pt. 2, p. 354; Grotefend, in Pauly's Realencyklopädie, s. v. Legio.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854–57). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.