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XXI

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LEG X

LEG X (later called Gemina) was levied in 59 BC or earlier by Julius Caesar. It was the first legion levied by him personally and was raised in Spain.  It played a major role in the Gallic war featuring prominently in Caesar's "Gallic Wars." Legio X was his most trusted and loyal Legion. In 45 BC the Legion was disbanded and given land grants in Southern Gaul.

During the civil war that followed Caesar's assassination, Legio X was reconstituted by Lepidus in the winter of 44/43 BC making use of many retired legionaries who re-enlisted. It was eventually turned over to Antony and fought for him until the final Battle of Philippi. The veterans obtained lands near Cremona, and an inscription reports that the name of the legion at the time was Veneria, "devoted to Venus."  This alluded to Julius Caesar's claimed descent from Venus.

The newly levied Tenth was then taken by Antony to Armenia for his Parthian campaign.   During Antony's civil war, the legion fought for him until his defeat at the Battle of Actium, after which the legion changed sides and moved into Octavian's army. They were then taken to Egypt to finish off Antony and CleopatraOctavian never fully trusted the 10th Legion as it had been fiercely loyal to both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  After Antony's death Octavian left the legion in the East in Syria. In 29 BC the legion was due to be discharged.   When the legionaries pressed for their release and land grants Octavian was slow in complying.  Suetonius says that the entire legion rioted and Octavian dishonorably discharged the entire legion.

Octavian now recruited new legionaries to fill the 10th Legion in its traditional recruiting grounds of Spain.  Some of the senior Centurions may have re-enlisted for a third term to serve with the 10th.  These men would have been in their late 40's or early 50's.  The new legionaries marched over land to Syria to take up their posting.  The new 10th Legion's home base was on the Euphrates to keep an eye on the Parthians

The next discharge date would be 14-13 BC.  This time the 10th Legion was settled in Beirut and the city was given Colony status.  Ten years later the 10th Legion under Publius Quintilius Varus was marched down to Jerusalem to garrison the city after Herod the Great died.  The 10th Legion would remain in Jerusalem until 6 AD.