who we are
Legio XIIII Gemina is one of the largest groups reenacting a Roman military unit in North America. It was founded in 2015 and relaunched in 2018. By now our group comprises over 60 equipped legionaries – more than half of a whole imperial centuria – plus people recreating various civilian roles. Our members come from all over the United States and Canada. Our members come from all walks of life and have a passion for Ancient Rome and her legions.
Legio Gemina Martia Victrix, the Fourteenth Legion can trace its origins all the way to the famous Roman proconsul, Gaius Julius Caesar, who raised the unit in 57 B.C during his Gallic Wars.
The Legion was commanded by Augustus’ stepson and future Emperor, Tiberius, in 6 A.D. to fight against the Marcomanii in Czechia, and following the Roman disaster at Teutoburg in 9 A.D., the fourteenth would be employed by another Imperial Roman General, Augustus’ nephew, Germanicus Caesar, where it fought bloody campaigns against the Roman traitor, Arminius and his German forces.
Continuing to serve the Imperial family, the unit would be lead by Emperor Claudius in his invasion and subjugation of Briton in 43 A.D. and nearly two decades later, in 60/61 A.D. that the legion is credited with saving Roman Briton, where the valiant men of Legio XIIII defied all odds and crushed Boudicca’s violent and bloody revolt, annihilating her army despite being outnumbered as many as 20:1.
what we do
Our aim is to recreate and popularize knowledge of military tactics, material culture and everyday life of a Roman legionary from early to mid 1st century AD. You can see us at the largest Roman Reenactment in North America, at many local events or even accidentally somewhere in the field, when we’re on the marching expedition.
We stay loyal to historical to the furthest possible extent, except for safety or legal reasons. If it’s not described in ancient sources or can’t be demonstrated using them, we don’t do or use it. This means extensive research, discussions and constant corrections to our equipment. We’re using hand woven, dyed and stitched fabrics, shoes hand made by premium craftsman, heavy and light gear of all kinds historically proper in shape and composition.
We don’t just dress up, but recreate. This means all modern items are forbidden in our camp, including tents’ interiors. The camp itself is a living scene: we sleep in it, cook and eat on our own, train drill and fighting, conduct military celebrations, keep night watch, and run the command tent. We use commands in Latin restituta – a form closest to one the ancient Romans used.
We use our replicas, not just display them. Weapons, armor, tools, clothes, shoes, tents, utensils – all are tested in various conditions during winter patrols, rivers crossings, marches and camping overnights in forests, and battle reenactments. It’s a way to verify various hypotheses and gain new experiences which – with necessary reservations – can shed light on how combat and non-combat equipment could have been used, worn and carried back then.
Our ambition is to recreate a fully manned, equipped and operational centuria – a basic sub-unit of a Roman legion (with nominal strength of 80 people): with a leading centurion, his deputy, watch commander, standard-bearers, musician, appropriate artillery, adequate number of rank & file legionaries. We take care to avoid unhistorical overabundance of officers.
Our group is divided into sections “stationed” in different states and provinces while gathering members from the nearest vicinity. We called them contubernia (historically, 8-men contubernium was the smallest structural part within a ceturia). Every such section organizes its own drills, takes part in local events, helps its members in gaining knowledge and equipping themselves. Several times a year all contubernia meet during our national events, becoming there a one centuria of Legio XIIII Gemina – raising a big camp, training together, and taking part in battle reenactments