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Legio XIII Gemina

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Legio XIII Gemina
Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO XIII GEMINA, stationed at Apulum (now Alba Iulia, Romania), in the province of Dacia, from AD 106 to c. 271
Active57 BC to sometime in the 5th century
CountryRoman Republic and Roman Empire
TypeRoman legion (Caesarian)
RoleInfantry assault (some cavalry support)
SizeVaried over unit lifetime. Approx. 3,500 fighting men + support at the time of creation. Expanded and given the cognomen Gemina in 31 BC.
Garrison/HQBurnum, Illyricum (1st century BC)
Emona, Italia (1st century)
Augusta Vindelica, Germania Superior
Poetovio, Pannonia (1st century)
Roman Dacia (106 – c. 270)
Dacia Aureliana (since 270)
Babylon in Egypt (400s)
Nickname(s)Gemina, "The twin" (since 31 BC)
Pia Fidelis, "Faithful and loyal"[1]
Motto(s)Leo Rugit Rursum (The Lion Roars Again)
EngagementsGallic Wars (58–51 BC)
Battle against the Nervians (57 BC)
Battle of Gergovia (52 BC)
Battle of Alesia (52 BC)–uncertain
Siege of Corfinium (49 BC)
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.
Julius Caesar,
Marcus Salvius Otho,
Marcus Antonius Primus
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.

Legio XIII Gemina,[a] in English the 13th Twin(s) Legion (either "Female Twin" or "Neuter Twins"); was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. It was one of Julius Caesar's key units in Gaul and in the civil war, and was the legion with which he crossed the Rubicon in January, perhaps the 10th, 49 BC. The legion appears to have still been in existence in the 5th century AD. Its symbol was the lion.


Under the late Republic[edit]

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 their native Italy.

Under the Empire[edit]

Augustus reconstituted the legion once again in 41 BC to deal with the 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.[2] 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 it dealt with local rebellions.

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

Emperor Claudius sent them back to Pannonia around 45 and the legion built its legionary fortress at Poetovium (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. After their defeat in the first battle, the victorious Vitellius forced the legion to build an amphitheatre in the city of Bononia.[3]

Stamped brick found at Alba Iulia, Romania

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).[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

Attested members[edit]

Name Rank Time frame Province Soldier located in Veteran located in Source
Aurelius Rufinus [7] beneficiarius 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia Samum
M. Valerius Valentinus [7] beneficiarius 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia Samum - CIL III, 827
Valerius Vibius Valerianus [7] beneficiarius 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia Samum - CIL III, 823
Ulpius Bacchius [8] centurion ? ? ? ? ?
L. Valerius Rufus [9] decurio after 222 AD ? ? Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, Dacia CIL III, 1485
Vedius Aquila legatus 69 Tacitus, Histories, III.7
Aelius Vitalis [10] duplarius 3rd century AD Dacia Apulum Antiochia ad Taurum, Syria?
Aurelius Valerianus [10] duplarius 3rd century AD Dacia Apulum Antiochia ad Taurum, Syria?
Aulus Julius Pompilius Piso[11] legatus c. 173 CIL VIII, 2582 = ILS 1111
Marcus Valerius Maximianus[12] legatus c. 182 AE 1956, 124
Gaius Caerellius Sabinus[12] legatus c. 183 - c. 185 CIL III, 1092
Proculus[12] legatus between 185 and 191
Tiberius Manilius Fuscus[12] legatus 191-c. 193 CIL III, 1172
Aulus Terentius Pudens Uttedianus[13] legatus between 198 and 209 CIL III, 993 = ILS 3923
Quintus Marcius Victor Felix Maximillianus[13] legatus reign of Septimius Severus CIL III, 1118
Lucius Annius Italicus Honoratus[13] legatus reign of Caracalla CIL III, 1071, CIL III, 1072
Rufrius Sulpicianus[13] legatus reign of Caracalla or Elagabalus CIL III, 1129 = ILS 3867
Quintus Servaeus Fuscus Cornelianus[13] legatus c. 225 CIL VIII, 22721 = ILS 8978 = ILTun 33
Marcus Valerius Longinus[13] legatus reign of Alexander Severus CIL III, 1019, CIL III, 1020
Gaius Rutilius Gallicus military tribune c. 52 AE 1920, 55
L. Maecius L.f. Postumus military tribune c. 72 AE 1934, 248
C. Caelius C.f. Martialis military tribune before 106 AE 1934, 2
Sextus Julius Severus military tribune before 110 CIL III, 2830 = ILS 1056
Aulus Junius Pastor military tribune c. 149 CIL VI, 1435
Aulus Julius Pompilius Piso military tribune c. 165 CIL VIII, 2582 = ILS 1111
Quintus Hedius Lollianus Plautius Avitus[14] military tribune c. 192 Dacia CIL V, 4347 = ILS 1149
Publius Catius Sabinus military tribune before 206 Dacia CIL III, 5727
C. Cassio C. f. Volt[inia] [15] military tribune ? ? ? - ?
Caius [8] speculator 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia Apulum - CIL III, 14479; IDR III/5, 426
Cocceius [8] speculator 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia Apulum - CIL III, 14479; IDR III/5, 426
C. Iulius Valerius [9] ? 222 – 235 AD Dacia ? ? Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, Dacia CIL III, 1933
Lucius Dasumius Priscus[9] ? 2nd century AD ? ? Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, Dacia CIL III, 1476
Lucius Furius ? 1st century AD Gallia Aquitania Mediolanum Santonum Aunedonnacum
Lucius Autius ? 1st century AD Gallia Aquitania Mediolanum Santonum Aunedonnacum
Marcus Aurelius Timoni [16] ? 2nd - 3rd century AD Dacia ? Castra of Sânnicolau Mare ? Castra of Sânnicolau Mare, Dacia IDR III/1, 274
M[arcus] Ulp[ius] ? 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia ? Apulum IDR III/5, 180
P. Aelius Valerianus [8] speculator 2nd - 3rd century AD Dacia Apulum - IDR III/5, 721
Publius Urvinus ? ? Raetia Augusta Vindelicorum ? - CIL XIII, 6884
Q. Julius Secundinus [9] ? 2nd century AD Dacia ? ? Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, Dacia CIL III, 1971
Statius Alexander [8] speculator 2nd – 3rd century AD Dacia Apulum - Apulum 40, 2007, 176–177
Ulpius Proculinus [8] speculator Gordian's reign Dacia Apulum - CIL III, 7794b; IDR III/5, 435

Epigraphic inscriptions[edit]

  • - Marco Cornelio Marci filio Galeria (tribu) Nigrino / Curiatio Materno consuli - / - tribuno militum legionis XIIII Geminae (...). Liria, Spain. CIL II2/14.
  • - Caio Iulio Galeria (tribu) Lepido Iessonensi primi pilari centurioni legionis XIII Geminae Piae Fidelis centurioni (...). Lerida (Ilerda), Spain. CIL II 4463.

Fictional depictions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Golfer Jon Rahm called his LIV Golf team Legion XIII after the Legio XIII Gemina.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ XIII is read out as tertia decima. Reconstructed pronunciation of the full name: [ˈlɛɡioː t̪ɛrt̪ia ˈd̪ɛkɪma ˈɡɛmɪna].
  1. ^ Steiner, Johann Wilhelm C. (1851). Codex inscriptionum romanarum Danubii et Rheni. Seligenstadt, der Verfasser. p. 253.
  2. ^ Birley, E.B. (1928). "A Note on the Title 'Gemina'". Journal of Roman Studies. 18 (1): 56–60. doi:10.2307/296044. JSTOR 296044.
  3. ^ Caption of a relief from the Archaeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna.
  4. ^ Cowan, p. 17.
  5. ^ Cowan, p. 26.
  6. ^ Notitia Dignitatum, In partibus Orientis, XXVIII
  7. ^ a b c Cupcea, George (2010). "Professional Officers on the Northern Dacian limes". p. 12. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Cupcea, George (2008). "SPECULATORES IN DACIA. MISSIONS AND CAREERS". Acta Musei Napocensis. p. 18. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  9. ^ a b c d Cupcea, George (2011). "Veteran settlement and Colonia Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa". Scripta Classica. Mega Publishing House. p. 19. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  10. ^ a b Matei-Popescu, Florian (2011). "Territorium Bassianae din Dacia Superior". p. 11. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  11. ^ Géza Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand unter der Antoninen (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt Verlag, 1977), p. 301
  12. ^ a b c d Paul M. M. Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare in der Zeit von Commodus bis Severus Alexander (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1989), p. 342
  13. ^ a b c d e f Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare, p. 343
  14. ^ Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare, p. 376
  15. ^ Matei-Popescu, Florian (2008). "AUXILIARIA - A new equestrian officer from Philippi". Near and beyond the Roman frontier. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  16. ^ IDR III/1, 274
  17. ^ "Jon Rahm Explains Meaning Behind LIV Golf Team Name Legion XIII". Golf Monthly. 30 January 2024. Retrieved 31 January 2024.


Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Legio XIII Gemina at Wikimedia Commons