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Legio XI Claudia

Legio XI Claudia
Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO XI CLAUDIA, stationed on the river Danube at Durostorum (Silistra, Bulgaria), in Moesia Inferior province, from AD 104 until the 5th century
Active 58 BC to sometime in the 5th century
Country Roman Republic and Roman Empire
Type Roman legion (Marian)
Role Infantry (some cavalry support)
Size Varied over unit lifetime.
Garrison/HQ Burnum, Dalmatia (9-70)
Vindonissa, Germania Superior (70-101)
Brigetio, Pannonia Inferior (101-104)
Durostorum, Moesia Inferior (104-5th century)
Nickname(s) Claudia Pia Fidelis
Pia V Fidelis V
Pia VI Fidelis VI
Patron Julius Caesar,
Roman Emperors
Mascot Neptune, she-wolf lactating the twins
Engagements Gallic War
-Against the Nervians
Caesar's civil war
Liberators' civil war
Antony's civil war
Second Bedriacum
Batavian rebellion
Dacian Wars
Bar Kokhba's revolt
Vexillationes of the 11th participated in many other campaigns.
Julius Caesar
Septimius Severus

Legio undecima Claudia ("Claudius' Eleventh Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. XI Claudia dates back to the two legions (the other was the XIIth) recruited by Julius Caesar to invade Gallia in 58 BC, and it existed at least until the early 5th century, guarding lower Danube in Durostorum (modern Silistra, Bulgaria). The emblem of the legion is not known; it could have been, as all of the Caesar's legions, the bull or possibly the she-wolf lactating the twins.


  • History 1
    • The caesarean Legio XI 1.1
    • Following Augustus' rise to power 1.2
    • Second half of 1st century 1.3
    • 2nd century 1.4
    • 3rd century and beyond 1.5
  • Known members of the legion 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


The caesarean Legio XI

The XI and XII legions were levied by Caesar for his Helvetii campaign in 58 BC. The legion fought in the Battle against the Nervians, and probably fought at the Siege of Alesia too. During the civil war, the Eleventh legion fought for Caesar at the Battle of Dyrrhachium and at Pharsalus. The legion was disbanded in 45 BC, and its veterans were offered lands at Bojano, which received the name of Bovianum Undecumanorum, "Bovianum of the members of the eleventh".

Following Augustus' rise to power

The XIth was reconstituted in 42 BC by Augustus (at the time known as Octavian), to fight in the civil war against the assassins of Caesar. The XIth fought in the Battle of Philippi, and was then sent back to Italy to quell a revolt at Perugia. It was probably involved in the fight against Sextus Pompeius, who had seized Sicilia.

In 32 BC, the XIth fought for Octavian against Mark Antony, in the civil war ending with the Battle of Actium and Octavian's victory.

The Eleventh was sent to the Balkans, but after the major defeat at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest (AD 9), Augustus redistributed the legions on the Northern frontier, sending the XIth at Burnum, Dalmatia (modern Kistanje), together with the VIIth.

Second half of 1st century

In 42, the governor of Dalmatia, Lucius Arruntius Camillus Scribonianus, revolted against Emperor Claudius. The Eleventh and the Seventh sided with the Emperor, and put down Scribonianus' rebellion. Claudius awarded each of the two loyal legions with the title Claudia Pia Fidelis.

In the Year of the Four Emperors (69), the XI, the VII (which had moved from Burnum in 58) and the XIV Gemina sided with Otho. A subunit of the Eleventh moved to participate to the Battle of Cremona between Otho and his opponent Vitellius, but arrived late on the battlefield, and was sent back to Dalmatia by the victorious Vitellius. When the commander of the Eastern army, Vespasian, claimed the purple, the XIth sided with him, fighting in the Second Battle of Bedriacum, which marked the beginning of the rule of Emperor Vespasian.

The following year, 70, Claudia was led by Cerialis to quell with the Batavian rebellion; after the rebellion was put down, the Claudia was moved to Vindonissa, in the province of Germania Superior, to replace XXI Rapax, while IIII Flavia Felix moved to Burnum.

Towards the end of the 1st century, Claudia fought on the eastern bank of the Rhine (73/74); it also took part in the Domitian campaign against the Chatti in 83.

2nd century

Signum of Legio XI Claudia, simplified reconstruction, Neptune's image is taken from a coin of Gallienus

In 101 XI Claudia moved to Brigetio, Pannonia Inferior, in occasion of the Dacian Wars of Trajan (101-106). In 104, the legion is in Durostorum, Moesia Inferior, to guard the Danubian frontier, and will remain there for the following centuries. The legion was responsible, with the other Moesian legions (I Italica and V Macedonica), for the protection of the Roman-allied Greek colonies of Crimea. The legion is attested togher with legion I Italica at the castra of Drajna de Sus.[1]

Some vexillationes of the XI Claudia were sent to Iudaea to quell the bloody Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135). A Roman inscription mentioning this legion was discovered near the town Betar, a town once besieged by Roman forces.[2]

In 193, after the assassination of Pertinax, several claimants for the purple rose; among them were the governor of Pannonia Superior, Septimius Severus, who gained the support of the XIth. The Claudia did not take part in Septimius' march on Rome, but fought with Severus, together with I Italica, against his rival Pescennius Niger. Severus besieged Byzantium, crossed the Gülek Pass(Cilician Gates), and defeated Niger at the Battle of Issus. It is possible that XI Claudia fought also during the Parthian campaign of Emperor Severus, conquering the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon (198).

3rd century and beyond

During the clash between Emperor Gallienus and the Emperor of the Gallic Empire Postumus, XI Claudia fought for the first, receiving the titles Pia V Fidelis V and Pia VI Fidelis VI ("Five/Six times faithful and loyal").

While still camped in Durostorum, some vexillationes of the Eleventh fought around the Empire: in 295, a mobile subunit is in Egypt, while in 298 another is in Mauretania.

Known members of the legion

Name Rank Time frame Province Soldier located in Veteran located in Source
Lucius Vorenus centurio ? ? ? ? Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Book 5, Chapter 44
Titus Pullo centurio ? ? ? ? Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Book 5, Chapter 44

See also


  1. ^ Vlădescu, Cristian M. & Co. (1992). "Archaeological Excavation Report". CIMEC. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  2. ^ C. Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeological Researches in Palestina during the Years 1873-74, London 1899, pp. 463-470.
  • Lendering, Jona, "Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis", at
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