The Tenth Fretensis had its own personlized coins
by Terry Nix

Some of the most unique coins ever used in the Roman Empire were directly related to Legion Ten Fretensis (LXF). Elsewhere in the Empire, when coins were worn smooth, they were melted down, but LXF was given Imperial authority to extend the life of colonial Roman coinage. Why this was done or if this affected the monetary value of the coin is not known for sure.

Not only was the Legion allowed, in effect, to issue its own coinage, but it proudly added information about the Imperial recognition it had received from Octavian as a result of its victories at sea. In a famous naval battle in 36BCE, the Tenth legion under Marcus Agrippa destroyed the naval forces of Sextus Pompey off the coast of Sicily, known at the time as "Fretum Siculum." from which the Legion's honorary moniker of "Fretensis" derives.

So, sometimes the Legion would countermark the coins with a simple X. But other times two or more countermarks would be struck on the same coin, including L.X.F above a boar, a dolphin below the boar, a Roman galley or Neptune standing with a trident. All of these countermarks symbolize the Legion's glorious naval history, and were sometimes accompanied by abust of the ruling Emperor.

No other Roman legion besides Legion Ten Fretensis has ever produced coins of this magnitude or variety. The coins below help one imagine what an LXF vexillum may have looked like.

The left side or front of the coin larger image has been identified as Titus who would have led part of the siege of Jerusalem. The smaller image is of the current emperor that was countermark onto the coin by legion ten but cannot be identified. The image on the right has L X F over a Boar with a Dolphin below.

This next coin was entirely obliterated on front and back, before being counterstruck by LXF. It shows an X with a bar over it. I also has an upside down image of Neptune with foot on rock or small prow of a galley while holding a trident. It also shows an image of the ruling emperor who is believed to be Nerva here.

The coin below shows L X F on one side and L.X.F over a Boar on the other side. That countermark seems to have been over struck even on top of a dolphin countermark.

The coins below shows mixed countermarks. The one on the left has four Legion Ten marks which is the rarest of the rarest. The coin is of Domitian and has a countermark of Domitian on bottom right at an angle. To it's left and upside down, there is a countermark reading X F. The reverse of this coin has L.X.F with a boar beneath and a dolphin under that. To it's lower right is a Roman galley. The drawing to the right shows a drawing of a better grade specimen of the previous type but from another coin.


The Tenth Fretensis and its unanswered origin
by Terry Nix

The above coins are but a few examples countermarked by Legion Ten Fretensis. Oddly enough, I have never seen the bull associated with this legion on any of the many different countermarks they used. Many legions "born" under Octavian use the bull as their symbol, but no LXF coins have been found countermarked with a bull, which is curious, considering the fact that the Tenth was a prized legion of Octavian. Many historians will say LXF used a bull as their symbol as one of their symbols, but this is mostly just assumed. Could it be that the legion did not adopt the bull because it pre-dated Octavian?

Mark Antony had a Tenth legion but they were disbanded after Actium and Octavian probably would not have trusted them. It obviously is not the Tenth Gemina. The only other legion Ten was Julius Caesar's tenth Corps de Elite. His favorite and best. Their eagle bearer lead the invasion of Britin. Their history was one of victory time and time again but at Pharsalus they rebelled and demanded retirement. Caesar was very distressed because of this but ended up retiring them in southern Italy. All the land was owned by wealthy Senators but Caesar managed it.

Upon Caesar's assassination, the first thing the young Octavian did on learning of his adoption by Caesar took the name of Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus. He sailed across from Asia Minor to lower Italy and went to the colonies of Caesar's retired legionnaires there. He needed a loyal army to back him as he was planning to enter Rome and claim his inheritance. He was also willing to pay handsomely to these retired legionnaires to back him. The legionnaires themselves feared what the enemies of Caesar would do with them now that their benefactor was dead. Their one and only hope to protect their lands and rights lay with Octavian.

Octavian had accompanied Caesar on some of his campaigns, so he was known to Caesar's men and it was also known that Caesar was fond of his nephew--now his adopted son. Many of the conspirators who killed Caesar and were now running Rome had served in Pompey's legions. As a result, Caesar's retired veterans probably expected harsh treatement now that Caesar was dead. Thus it would be hard to imagine that retired members of Julius Caesar's Tenth and Corps de Elite would not have been the first to sign up under Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus to enter Rome with him under these dire circumstances. It would have also been to their benefit to stay with him until he was firmly in control of his destiny (as well as theirs!).

There is no archeolgical evidence that the two Tenth legions were connected in this way, but based upon these circumstances, but I believe there is the possibility which cannot be dismissed out of hand.


A Legion Ten Fretensis commander is deified
by Terry Nix

At first glance, the idea of a legionary commander eventually becoming deified is not that surprising. After all, many Emperors were deified after serving as legionary commanders. Well, this may surprise you. Vespasian was commander of the seige of Jerusalem and later left the seige up to his son Titus. Both became Emperors and both were deified.

However, during the Jewish war (67-68C.E.), LXF was commanded by a man named Marcus Ulpius Traianus--the father of the future emperor Trajan. After the war, Marcus Ulpius Traianus became consul. In 73-74C.E. he was made a patrician, then governor of Syria 73-76 and procouncul of Asia 79-80.

Fast forward now to the life of his son, Trajan. When Nerva was Emperor after the assassination of Domitian, he feared the Praetorians and decided to counter this threat by adopting Trajan as his son. At the time, Trajan was the governor of upper Germania and commander of the northern legions. When Nerva died, Trajan became Emperor and--to guarantee his divine right to rule--Trajan had Nerva (his adopted father) and his own real father (Marcus Ulpius Traianus) deified. Thus, he became the son of two gods.

Trajan took the unusual step of consecrating his father and making him a state God. The coin below reads on the reverse...DIVUS PATER TRAIANUS or Divine Father Trajan. The Emperors portrait with his normal titles are on the front. The reverse image with the above wording also shows the seated cult statue figure of a Divus Pater Traianus.

Several years ago I made up a LEGIO DECIMA FRETENSIS display featuring three of my coins as seen above. The overall commander of Legion Ten Fretensis was Vespasian before he became Emperor and who is seen between our LEG X FRE / COH IV signifer and cornicen.


It takes one to know one
by Terry Nix

As political intrigue takes place in Rome during the year of the four Emperors, Vespasian collects endorsements for his own bid for the throne. First by the all-important Egyptian Legions and Province of Egypt which controlled the grain supply to Rome and then by the other Eastern Legions as well. As Vespasian heads towards Rome to lead his armies against Vitellius, he leaves his son Titus in charge of the siege of Jerusalem. At this point, the troops of LXF might have felt a little anxiety--not only about their new overall commander Titus, but also about the also newly-appointed second in all command of the siege of Jerusalem. This new commander--which LXF would and three other legions would have to obey as second only to Titus--was that he himself was a Jew. The Legions must have thought to themselves, was Vespasian sure of what he had done as he was the one who placed him in that position. His name was Tiberius Julius Alexander and he was an Alexandrian Jew who has rose through the ranks of the Roman army. His family had obtained Roman citizenship through his father. The reason Vespasian trusted him so much is that Tiberius Julius Alexander was Prefect of Egypt and made all his legions swear an oath of allegiance to Vespasian. He was the first to do so even before Vespasians legion in Judea. The thought was a Jew would know how to deal with Jews better. A concept still used in many ways today and in many different fields. Alexander's appointment as procurator of Judea in AD 46 by Claudius was because of this as his predecessor Cuppius Fadus tenure had been marked with unrest. Alexander's background marked him as a more acceptable governor of Judea and there was less unrest during his tenure. In AD 66 he was appointed Prefect of Egypt by Nero: 0ne of the two most prestigious posts available, second only to Prefect of the Praetorian Guard. He later even received that post based on some evidence that has been found. Alexander, the offspring of a pious Jewish family, whose own father had donated the gold and silver for the Temple gates, now found himself in a position of command against his former brothers in that very sanctuary after the walls of Jerusalem fell. Alexander attained a position in the Roman Empire that was unparalleled for a man of Jewish birth, not to mention one who suffered from the further stigma of an Egyptian origin. The Romans must have actually thought....It takes one to know one.


Legion Ten Fretensis fulfills Biblical prophecy
by Terry Nix

Could such a statement be true? It is hard to conceive indeed that a single Roman legion could have been used to fulfill the words of Jesus Christ concerning Biblical Prophecy. During the siege of Jerusalem, this legion was stationed on the mount of Olives. On the commands of Titus, the entire city was leveled to the ground after it's fall. The literary and archaeological evidence also indicate that the city was totally destroyed in 70 A.D. Not a single building remained standing. Even the Temple was totally destroyed. This was part of Imperial policy to fundamentally change the cities destiny. Only in this way can we explain the tremendous effort and expense involved in removing all signs of the Jewish past. Josephus says "For the war had ruined all the marks of beauty and no one who knew of it of old, coming suddenly upon it would have recognized the place, but, though beside it, he would have looked for the city. —Mark 13:1-2, NIV As he (Jesus) was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” This same prophecy was repeated in —Matthew 24:1-2, NIV as well as —Luke 21:5-6, NIV. An account says a Roman soldier threw in a torch which caught the temple on fire. It was one of the last buildings standing and many Jews were held up in it making a finale stand. Another story says that the temple had a golden roof or golden dome. When the gold was heated to it's melting point, it started to run down between the cracks of it's stone block walls. The Roman soldiers to get to the gold tore the temple apart stone by stone. So much gold was looted by the Roman soldiers at Jerusalem that it lost 1/3 of it's value for some time afterwards. Vespasians Temple to PAX and the construction of the massive Coliseum was financed by this as well. The stationing of the Tenth legion in Jerusalem marked the beginning of Roman colonization of the city. The tenth Legion built several triumphal columns. Two of these bearing inscriptions have been found. The legion also began it's own building program for it's garrison. It made tiles for both it's roof and it's floors in several areas like baths etc. I have owned several legion ten tiles over the past 25 years but most were fragmented. My finest example is in near mint state. This floor tile even has some of the original mortar on it. The stamp reads LEG X FR and is with in an incuse rectangle and can be seen below.

Jerusalem was being rebuilt in Roman fashion and design and in 130 AD, the Emperor Hadrian celebrated the transformation of Jerusalem into a Roman colony by plowing a traditional furrow around the to mark it's new boundries. Jews were barred on penalty of death, from entering the city. Hadrian renamed the city after his own family name and of Rome's Capital. The Emperors full name was Publius Aelius Hadrianus. The name of Jersusalum was no more and the new cities name was Aelia Capitolina. The Roman coin below shows the very moment when this happened as the Emperor Hadrian is seen plowing the boundries of his new city.

A new temple of Jupiter now set on the old Temple mount. Other types of Legion Ten Fretensis stamps were made. Again the Roman war Galley and Boar are prominent but never a bull.


Legion Ten Fretensis acquires an additional (lesser known) honorary name
by Terry Nix

A triumphal column was found dedicated to Titus who led the siege of Jerusalem. The initials LEG X FRE are seen at the bottom. This column was found incorporated into the foundations of a Moslem palace south of the Temple mount. Although several triumphal columns would have been made over the years, only one more has been found. It is dedicated to an emissary of the tenth legion. " To Marco Junio Maximo, legate, on behalf of the emperors, of the Tenth Legion Fretensis Antonini...prepared by so and so.

The AVGG on the third line down means that there are two Emperors ruling when this was presented. The added Legionary name of Antonini has to mean the two Emperors are Carracalla and Geta who ruled together for a short while. This is confirmed by the honorary name of Antonini as this name was adopted by the Severen Dynasty to show a connection with the good Emperors of the second century. The name continued to be used and is a source of some confusion for new numismatist as there are five different Roman Emperors with the name Antoninus on their coins because of this so called family connection. So starting sometime in the early third century, our legions name became this...Legion Ten Fretensis Antonini and after Geta's murder, the name changed to a singular form. I have seen tiles in the past with the above name in abbreviated form as well.


Vespasian's Pax or Vespasian's Axe?
by Terry Nix

Figure 1 above: Vespasian facing right and cult statue of Pax holding branch seated. This figure would have been the central statue located in the newly constructed Temple of Peace (PAX) built by Vespasian at the end of the civil wars of AD 69.

The issuance by Vespasian of the silver denarius portrayed in Figure 1, was to commemorate the end of one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of Rome, the great Civil War, known to history as "The year of the Four Emperors (A.D. 68-69)". That war ended with the ascension of Vespasian to the emperorship of a nation that was not only traumatized by bloody internecine strife but by the burning and sacking of the city of Rome itself. It was early in his reign (A.D. 70) that Vespasian struck the denarius bearing as its reverse type the seated figure of Pax (Peace) to propagandize to the people that his victory and assumption of the purple had restored peace and prosperity to the empire.

Not since the Civil War of a century earlier had the people of Rome been so weary of war and yearning for peace. That long period of civil strife had ended with the establishment of the Roman Empire under the Julio-Claudian line of emperors and it was nearly a century later that the death in A.D.68 of the last Julio-Claudian emperor, Nero, left the void in the succession which again pitted Roman against Roman in a shorter but equally devastating civil war.

It was the year A.D.69 and Rome was in a state of civil war. As they did a century earlier, legions faced legions once again and consecutive civil wars followed one another. A closer look at A.D.69 and in particular that which brought Vespasian to power will show that Rome had been stretched beyond its limits. The frontiers had been stripped of many of it's legions and auxiliary forces to fight for their competing emperors. There were already five legions with their auxiliaries laying siege at Jerusalem, which had been drawn from their frontier post. Now five more legions took up Vespasian's side and left the North eastern frontiers for Italy to lay siege to Vitellius. Six legions were called out of Gual and Germany to defend Vitellius at Cremona in upper Italy. The greater part of three more legions were withdrawn form Britain to defend Vitellius at Cremona as well but had not made it in time for the second Battle.

All these legions were accompanied by their usual auxiliary forces, consisting of infantry and cavalry. Tacitus says that "By the time of Tiberius, the auxiliary forces equaled the number of legionaries in the Empire." The number of auxiliaries accompanying the legions on the move probably varied in size from a couple cohorts, up to a force of equal the size with the legion. One hundred and twenty auxiliaries cavalry would also have traveled with each legion. A single legion traveling with its cavalry and auxiliaries would total between 9,000 to 10,000 men, says the historian Hans Dellbruck. Edward Gibbons asserted the number would have been 12,000 men. Yann Le Boher in his 1994 book, The Imperial Roman Army , backs up Gibbons's estimate. This number is contested by some to be a lower number but they are usually talking about the actual fighting legionairs and not including all it's support troops or specialty troops which even today can double a fighting a units force in total man power. It is recorded that in the siege of Jerusalem and battle of Cremona, both had used siege weapons. Tacitus states that every legion was assigned 55 mobile ballista. These shot large arrows and had a crew of eleven men each. He also says that each legion was assigned ten Onagri, or catapults which projected stones. Although, Cremona was an open battle field, catapults were said to have taken a toll against Vespasian reconstituted Praetorian guards.

One of the Vitellius's first decrees was to disband most of the Praetorians in Rome. These were replaced by new Praetorian cohorts made out of the German legions. This force of personal bodyguards was probably made permanent by Augustus in 27 B.C. They consisted of nine cohorts, and had generally been thought to have been 500 and 1,000 men per cohort. Caligula later raised them to twelve cohorts. Vitellius's new German Praetorians were constituted of sixteen cohorts, each of which are 1,000 men per cohort. These cohorts of Vitellius were held in reserve mostly at the Castra Praetoria, or Praetorian camp. The previous Praetorians who had been cashiered by Vitellius started reforming and joined Vespasian's legions at Cremona.

At Cremona, fourteen legions and accompanying auxiliary forces lined up to face each other in combat. With the reconstituted Praetorians of Vespasian joining in, the two apposing armies were said to have been about equal in size as they met in upper Italy. No legions were usually based in Italy, so this vacuum of the frontier forces would have left large stretches of Roman Territory unprotected against invasion. Many cities would have made for easy plunder. This number does not even include the sixteen thousand Praetorians still at the Castra Praetoria in Rome who were actually pulled from the German legions three months before.

Figure 2 above: The above map shows the positions of the legions before the opening of the battle according to Tacitus. The map does not however show the positions of auxiliary and cavalry forces present at the battle. Tacitus words "A war of boundless havoc seemed imminent" looks justified.

From studying the organization and termination dates of the legions, it appears that there were thirty legions in the Empire at the time of this battle. With fourteen at Cremona, and five more at the siege at Jerusalem, it would appear that two thirds of the Empire's legions were concentrated in just two places. If the added power of the two opposing Praetorian factions numbering some 28,000 men are included, along with other forces such as a hastily assembled legion in Rome by Vitellius, one can easily see that two-thirds of Rome's top troops were concentrated in just two areas is an easy case to make.

A lengthy seesaw type battle could have easily taken place at Cremora with devastating effects. Recounting the anguish of Augustus, and the shock of Rome, when it learned it had lost three legions at the Teutonberger forest in A.D. 9. So even as Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and said," The die is cast!", there was no turning back now either. The engagement started and lasted through the night of the 24th of October, and on to the following day. As Vitellius legions were mostly from the western and northern part of the Empire, they were taken by surprise when Vespasians' legions from the East let out with shouts as was customary at sunrise to greet the rising sun. Vitellius legions took this for the approach of even more legions arriving for Vespasian and fell back to their camps where they later surrendered.

Most of the remaining cohorts of Vitellius that were held in reserve now either surrendered or went over to the Vespasian's side. Only the German Praetorians continued to fight at the Castra Praetoria. They were said to have gone down almost to the men. Vitellius was later found hiding in a janitors closet at the palace. He was taken to the forum, where he was humiliated, killed and dragged to the Tiber with a hook and tossed him in.

The battle of Cremora in itself seemed almost too easy. The main battle was a night engagement and practically ended in the morning with the surrender of Vitellius's legions at their camps. The scope of the conflict may be gauged in another way though. It is known that the once prosperous colony of Cremora went down to destruction by Vespasian's troops and was not able to revive until the ninth century. The old stuck between a legion and a hard place scenario.

Figure 3 above: Vespasian left let his son Titus hold a Triumph. The carriage design (chariot) shows Titus with his hand upon a mourning, kneeling Jew. The pole is his hand is not a scepter or baton but rather a pike with the head of the leader of the Jewish rebellion placed upon it.

With the civil wars over, the legions returned to the frontiers, still in good shape. The siege at Jerusalem was about to wind down and there had been no Parthian or Germanic invasions. Although it would be nearly a year before he would enter Rome, Vespasian immediately began correcting the problems which had brought about the civil wars. He insisted that the succession would devolve on his two sons, Titus and Domitian. He restored discipline to the armies. Four of the rebellious legions were disbanded, and the rest were regrouped to insure that Vitellian troops occupied none strategic positions. The over sized Praetorian guard of Vitellius returned to its original size. Vespasian conferred Roman and Latin rights to many communities in the Empire after seeing that the Romanization of Gaul had caused it to remain loyal during the civil war. Senators believed disloyal were replaced by both Italian and provincial candidates. Foreign auxiliaries were prevented from serving in their own country, and were required that they be commanded by Italians.

Having put to an end, the recent civil wars, Vespasian for good reason makes Pax, the principal motif on his coinage. But with this commemorative denarius portrayed in figure 1, came a telling revelation-that was, as Tacitus said, "The secret of empire was now revealed, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome." Meaning, that the ascension to the emperorship was no longer based upon the acceptance of the senate and the people of Rome, but rather upon military power, first that of Praetorian Guard and now that of the frontier legions. It was a legacy that was to plague the Roman empire until the end.


Some special notes on the Legati of Legio X Fretensis
by Terry Nix (written early 1990's)

1. Legion X was most likely stationed in Syria after it would have accompanied Octavian to Egypt to replace legions loyal to Mark Antony.

2. Marcus Licinius Crassus is most likely the same as the grandson of the same name sake who was part of the first triumvirate with Pompey and Caesar and who also defeated Spartacus and was killed by the Parthians at Carrhae.

3. Gauis Sentius Saturninus was related to Scribonia who married Octavian in 40 B.C.

4. Quintilius Varas is the same one who was killed along with three legions in Germany in 9 A.D.

5. Publius Sulpicius Quirinius married Aemilia Lepida, a descendant of Sulla and Pompey.

6. Aulus Vitellius is most likely the same as the one that was a friend of Caligula and Claudius and became Emperor in A.D. 69.

7. Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo. One of his step sisters was married to the Emperor Caligula. He was in command under Nero and fought the Parthian Wars. He installed Tigranes as King of Armenia. His daughter Domitia Longina became the wife of Domitian. He was one of the greatest generals of his time.

8. Tiberius Julius Alexander was an Alexandrian Jew. He was also chief of staff under Titus in the siege of Jeruslam. His command of legion ten was either direct or indirect. Some evidents points to both.

9. Ulpius Traianus. Although Vespasianus would have been the supreme commander of Legion X during the Jewish War, Ulpius Trainus was actually commander of Legion X then early in the war. He was the father of the future Emperor Trajan who would declare his father as a god of the Roman state. Imagine, a legate of Legion X decreed a god who was never an Emperor.

10. Flauis Silva lead legion ten in the Siege of Masada 72-73.

(below notes-not in order)

A. Marco Julio Maximo was legate of legion ten A.D. 211-212. His second in command was C. Domitius Sergius Julius Honoratus.

B. Lusius Quietus 115-118 (legate)

C. Gaius Julius Quadratus Barrus was a legate of Legion Ten in the first half of the second century around 117 A.D.

D. Lusius Quietus, legate of legion ten, early second century. Probably the same one as B.

After A.D. 70, the legates of the new imperial province of Judaea were also its governors.

Titus was in command of at least one of the legions during the siege of Jerusalem. Which one, we can not be sure of, although Legion X did make a triumphal column in Jerusalem with the name of Titus as well as there own name. This is not proof however as it may have been put there when he became Emperor.

LEG X FRE takes an unprecedented garissoning step

by Terry Nix

Archaeologists probing for the Tenth's remains are finding that the Roman camp was much more spread out and probably unfortified! The Romans so devestated the Jews that they had no need to protect themselves from a counterattack. When Jerusalem walls were over run by the Romans, the Temple held out a few weeks, after the Temple fell, the area called the Upper City, where the wealthier and most prominant Jewish families live managed to hold out against the Romans for another month.

After Jerusalem fell, Jews were not allowed within 100 miles of the city (on pain of death). However Legion X did not mind taking tribes on the anniversary of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem (only on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Aug.) to let Jews visit the city to pray at the ruins on the Temple mount.

In short, both the literary and archaeological evidence indicate that the city was totally destroyed in 70 A.D. Not a single building remained standing. Josephus says," For the war had ruined all the marks of beauty, and no one who knew it of old, coming suddenly upon it, would have recognized the place but, though beside it, he would have looked for the city."

The stationing of the Tenth Legion in the Jerusalem marked the beginning of Roman colonization of the city. The overall destrcution of the city was obviously part of an imperial plan to fundamentally change the city's destiny. When destroying the fortification of Jerusalem, Titus spared three towers at strategic spots which served as the headquarters of Legion Ten. These towers still exist and are called Phasael (for Herods elder brother) Hippicus (after a friend) and Mariamme (for his wife). Two triumphal columns commemorate the defeat of Jerusalem and mentioning Legion Ten and Titus have been found as well as many tile fragments mentioning Legion X.

During the actual siege of Jerusalem, Legion Ten was stationed on the mount of Olives. Later, in 72-73 under its commander Silva, it was the main Roman force in the battle of Masada. The archaeological data effectively refutes the suggestions that a typical Roman legionary camp was founded at Jerusalem. In summary, no wall has been found that could have enclosed the area of the assumed Roman military camp. Small detachments of the Tenth Legion encamped in strategic locations around Jerusalem.

Although a small Tenth Legion detatchment was part of a Roman garrison in Jerusalem and was commanded there, the bulk of Tenth Legion was encamped at Caesarea. The provincial capital of Palestine during the Roman period. I 130 AD, the Emperor Hadrian decided to establish a Roman colony named Aelia Capitolina (after his family name) on the site of what had once been called Jewish Jerusalem. Not only was Jerusalem renamed Aelia Capitolina but the province name has changed from Judaea to Syria Palaestina in 135 A.D.

So the Jews not only had their city of Jerusalem totally destroyed along with their temple but now it was being rebuilt in Roman fashion. It was renamed a Roman name from Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, after the family of Hadrian and of Romes Capital and they lost their ancient kingdoms tribal name of Judaea to the new name of Syria Palestina.

The banning on pain of death to all Jews and the building of the Temple of Jupiter on top of their own destroyed Temple was more then they could bear. This led to the second Jewish revolt (132-135 A.D.) and would have placed Legion Ten at the century of the fight onmce again. Whether or not Legion Ten was forced out of Jerusalem is still debated. Even if the Jews did take Jerusalem, Legion Ten seems to have not feared any counter attacks as no new walls were built by the Jews or Romans during or after this war. The Tenth Legion was transferred from Jerusalem to Aila (modern Agala) at the end of the third century A.D. to ward off Arab invasion.


LEG X FRE legionnaire paperwork found at Masada sheds light on daily expenses
by Terry Nix

A papryus at Masada A.D. 72 on 75 shows that a Gaius Messius, son of Gaius, of the Fabia tribe, from Berytus received 50 denarii as salary. Many of the details of the papyrus are illegible, but from what we can see, he payed for his barley, other food was 20 denarii, boots 5 denarii, leather straps (?) 2 denarii, linen tunic 7 denarii.

This document proves that Roman soldiers did wear linen tunics instead of wool when stationed in a hot, humid province. Most Roman tunics that have been found in Egypt are linen as well. They could have had a wool one for winter however, this soldier was a Legion X Fretensis cavalryman. An inscription (_ _ _ Aemilius) Junco_? shows that was a tribune of LXF in the 2nd CAD.

Later History of the Tenth Fretensis with extra Legati information
by Terry Nix and D A Mitchell

The Tenth Fretensis was at one point transferred from its garrison at Jerusalem to the ancient part of Aila, modern Flat (Elat), on the Red Sea. This occurred during the reign of of Trajan and was designed to provide a garisson in the new province. I have put together a rough roster of the former Legates, of the Tenth with corresponding dates of tenure. Now, as you may know, this was not easy and is far from complete.

You will also note that these legates served a dual role in the Imperial Provines, as the senior governmental official as well as the senior military officer. The Legati I have listed below, from Crassus to Carbulo are all Legates of Syria, where the Tenth was stationed permanently sometime between 1-30 AD.

Following Corbulo you will notice something unusual.

I went ahead and listed the Prefect of Egypt, Tiberius Julius Alexander as the CO of the tenth for roughly a year. My reasoning is this: just before the start of the First Revolt in Judea, Emperor Nero was planning a campaign agaisnt a tribe in Africa, I don't know which, and used the Tenth, to augment the two legions in Africa at the time. My aim is to list only the Legati who exercised positive command of the legion. After Titus and Vespasian the command of the Tenth fell to the new post of Legati Judacia, (not Syria), since the Tenth would now become the permanent garrison of Jerusalem.

After the fall of Masada in which then the Legati Judacia, Flavius Silva, held the reigns of the Tenth, it becomes extremely difficult to identify the Legati in that region. I will continue to research this.

Former Legatii of Legio X Fretensis:

C. Julius Caesar Octavianus
M. Licinius Crassus-30-27 BC
G. Sentius Saturninus-10-7 BC
Quintilius Varus-7-4 BC
P. Sulpicius Quirinius 6-? AD
L. Pomponius Flaccus
A. Vitellius 35-39 AD
P. Petronius Turpilianus 39-42 AD
C. Vibius MArsus 42-45 AD
C. Cassius Longinus 45-? AD
Ummidius Quadratus 51-60 AD
Cn. Domitius Corbulo 60-66 AD
Ti. Julius Alexander 66-67 AD
T. Flavius Vespasianus 67-69 AD
Titus 69-70 AD
Cerealis Vettulenis 70-71 AD
Lucilius Bassus 71-73 AD
Flavius Silva 73-? AD

For comments or remarks concerning any of the above, you can email me at