ABOUT THE LEGION

The Recreated Legio XI

 

LEGIO XI CLAVDIA PIA FIDELIS, the reenactment group, was founded in 2000 by Doug Cantaral, Gary Heedick, and Paul Montello. The legion presented our impressions for the first time in September of the same year at the Kennesaw Georgia Military Timeline. Since then we have grown in numbers of legionaries and events. Instead of making most of the equipment like we did in the early days authentic period items can now be purchased easily with a click on the internet. Over the years more than 20 soldiers and have been within our ranks and four female Romans have associated with the group.

 

First, 2nd, and 4th Century soldiers have been presented. In recent years a Gladiator School has been spun off from our membership. We have traveled as a group to reinforce our allies in Maryland, New Orleans, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We participated in filming in front of the Parthenon in Nashville. We have assisted comrades in other states launch new legions and events. We stood beneath a replica of Romulus and Remus and the She Wolf in Rome Georgia surrounded by our friends and allies.

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The Historical Legio XI

 

Legio XI seeks to recreate the Eleventh Legion of the Imperial Roman army as it may have looked in the mid-to-late 1st Century AD. As such, it is helpful that new recruits have a basic knowledge of the historical Legio XI, it's activities and locations.

 

The website livius.org gives a bit of their history during that time period. It tells us how the legion earned their title, and the places in which it resided. We begin just after Caesar’s nephew Octavian adopted the name Augustus:

The Eleventh was now sent to the Balkans, where it stayed for almost a century. Its original base is not known, but after the reshuffling of the Roman forces after the disaster in the Teutoburg Forest (September 9 CE), the legion was stationed on the Dalmatian coast at Burnum (modern Kistanje, Croatia), which it occupied together with the seventh legion. The soldiers of the eleventh legion must have been employed on several places, such as the provincial capital Salonae, modern Split. A subunit stayed at Gardun, and other legionaries built new roads, opening the interior for economic development.

 

It was still at Burnum when in 42 the governor of Dalmatia, Lucius Arruntius Camillus Scribonianus, revolted against the emperor Claudius, who had recently come to power. The soldiers of the Seventh and Eleventh, however, immediately put an end to this rebellion. They were awarded the honorary title Claudia Pia Fidelis, ‘loyal and faithful to Claudius’.

 

In c.58, VII Claudia left Burnum, to be redeployed at the Danube. Its twin, our eleventh legion, remained on the Dalmatian coast, where it is mentioned at the time of the emperor Nero’s suicide in the summer of 68. The official new emperor was an old man named Galba, who got into troubles in January 69, when the commander of the army of Germania Inferior, Vitellius, revolted, and a rich senator named Otho declared himself emperor too. Galba was lynched on the Forum and every legion had to choose between Otho and Vitellius. With the Seventh and Fourteenth, our unit sided with Otho. A large subunit was sent to fight against Vitellius at Cremona, but was unable to prevent his victory – the soldiers arrived too late for the battle. The new emperor Vitellius, however, did not punish them and merely ordered their return to Dalmatia.

 

The legion now sided with Vespasian, and was among the victors after the second battle of Cremona (October 69). In 70, it was part of the expeditionary force of general Cerialis, who suppressed the Batavian revolt. Having achieved this aim, the legion was sent to the old base of XXI Rapax, Vindonissa (modern Windisch) in Germania Superior. In Dalmatia, the Eleventh was replaced by IIII Flavia Felix.

 

There is much archaeological evidence for the legion’s stay at Windisch, including the discovery of its kilns at Rupperswil, and several minor posts along the road towards the Alps. The soldiers were also active in construction work at modern Baden-Baden. The Eleventh fought on the eastern bank of the Rhine in 73/74, and in 83, they took part in the war against the Chatti led by Domitian. It must have stayed at Mainz, in peacetime the base of I Adiutrix and XIV Gemina.

This is just a brief summary, and legionnaires are encouraged to research more on their own  A great resource is Section III of "The Roman Army in Moesia Inferior" by Florian Matei-Popescu.  It gives great detail about Legio XI's time in the area.  It can be found at this link.

© 2019 by LEGIO XI CPF

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