Legio XI Claudia
Roman Empire 125.png
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.
Active58 BC to at least 425 AD
CountryRoman Republic, Roman Empire, and Byzantine Empire
TypeRoman legion
RoleHeavy Infantry
SizeVaried: Approximately 4800 men with officers, staff, and 120 man cavalry detachment in the 1st Century AD.
Garrison/HQBurnum (9–68 AD)
Vindonissa (71–83 AD)
Mogontiacum (83–101 AD)
Brigetio (101–114 AD)
Durostorum (114 – after 395 AD)
Pia VI Fidelis VI
Mascot(s)Neptune, she-wolf lactating the twins
EngagementsGallic Wars
Battle of the Sabis
Battle of Alesia
Caesar's Civil War
Battle of Dyrrhachium (48 BC)
Battle of Pharsalus
Liberators' civil war
Battle of Philippi
Final War of the Roman Republic
Battle of Actium
First Battle of Bedriacum
Second Battle of Bedriacum
Revolt of the Batavi
Trajan's Dacian Wars
Bar Kokhba Revolt
Battle of Issus (194)
Battle of Ctesiphon (198)
Julius Caesar
Mark Antony
Septimius Severus

Legio XI Claudia ("Claudius' Eleventh Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. The legion was levied by Julius Caesar for his campaign against the Nervii. 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).


Founding and Service in the Late Republic

Legio XI Claudia, along with Legio XII Fulminata, was a Roman Legion levied by Julius Caesar in 58 BC in Cisalpine Gaul, for his war against the Nervii. They likely were present at the Siege of Alesia.[1] After his campaigns in Gaul, civil war broke out between Julius Caesar and Pompey, both of whom were triumvirs, and in January, 49 BC, Caesar invaded Italy with Legio XI serving in his army. They fought in 48 BC at Dyrrhachium and Pharsalus, but were disbanded in 45 BC and settled in Central Italy around the area of Bovianum Undecumanorum.[2]

Legio XI was reconstituted in 42 BC by Octavian for the civil wars. They served under the command of the second triumvirate consisting of Augustus, Mark Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus against Brutus and Cassius, who had assassinated Julius Caesar. The Legion was present at the Battle of Phillipi in 42 BC, following which they were dispatched to Perugia in Italy to suppress a local revolt. They likely also served with Octavian in Sicily against Sextus Pompeius.[2]

Legio XI participated in the civil war between Augustus and Mark Antony from 32 to 32 BC, and ended with the Battle of Actium. Their participation in the battle was commemorated on the tombstones of soldiers from the Legion.[2]


Afterwards, the XI was sent to the Balkans, where it seems to have stayed for a century or so. The location of its base is uncertain prior to 9 AD, when it is recorded at Burnum (Kistanje) on the coast with Legio VII Claudia, mostly involved in construction and development works such as roads. Vexillationes were stationed at Salona and Gardun as well. In 42 AD, Legio XI was still stationed at Burnum when the governor of Dalmatia, Scribonianus, revolted against Claudius. In response, Legio XI put down the rebellion and was awarded the title Claudia Pia Fidelis. Legio XI Claudia remained at Burnum until around 68 AD, at the time of the death of Nero.[2]

During the Year of the Four Emperors, Legio XI Claudia, alongside Legio VII Claudia and Legio XIIII Gemina, sided with Otho, who had executed Galba against Vitellius. They marched to the Battle of Bedriacum but arrived too late, and Vitellius ordered Legio XI Claudia to return to the Balkans without any punishment. Legio XI then sided with Vespasian and participated in the Second Battle of Bedriacum, which resulted in a victory for Vespasian and his accession as emperor.[2]

In 70 AD, Legio XI was part of the expeditionary force under Cerialis to put down the Batavian Revolt on the Rhine. They were then stationed at Vindonissa (Windisch) in 71 AD. There are reports of Legio XI fighting in on the Rhine in 73–74 AD and they participated in Domitian's war against the Chatti in 83 AD. It is believed to have been stationed in Mainz at the time. Later in 101, it was sent to Brigetio (Szony) in Pannonia. They participated in Trajan's Dacian Wars from 101 to 106 AD, commemorated with a column in Rome.[2]

Legio XI Claudia was then sent to Durostorum (Silistra) before 114 AD, when they are first attested at the site, and would remain headquartered there for at least the next three centuries. Soldiers of Legio XI Claudia were dispatched to occupy the Crimea, build the fortress at Drajna in Prahova, and to serve bureaucratic functions in Tomis.[3] A vexillatio was sent to Judea in 132 under Hadrian to suppress the Bar Kokhba revolt; an inscription bearing the legion's name was found near Betar.[4] In 193, Legio XI Claudia supported Septimus Severus and they fought against Pescennius Niger, besieging Byzantium, forcing their way through the Cilician gates, and fighting against his forces at the Battle of Issus. They also took part in Severus' Parthian campaign, in which they helped capture Ctesiphon in 198.[2]

Crisis of the 3rd Century and Dominate

In 260–268 the Legion supported Gallienus in his war against Postumus of the Gallic Empire, being awarded the title Pia Fidelis for the 5th and 6th times, although unlike other units it never received a 7th recognition. In 273 the Legion participated in road construction in modern Jordan, and in 295 a detachment was present in Egypt. In 298 a detachment of XI Claudia was stationed in Mauretania.Two Christians within the legion named Julius and Hesychius were persecuted by Diocletian in 302, at Durostorum.[2] Aurelius Sudecentius, a soldier of Legio XI Claudia's western detachment, died in Mauretania and was commemorated by a tombstone in Aquileia dating to the 4th century AD. In 395–425, the Legion remained headquartered on the Danube at Durostorum, with field army detachments under the Magister Militum per Gallias and under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II.[5]

Known members of the legion

Name Rank Time frame Province Source
Lucius Vorenus centurio 54 BC ? Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 5.44

N.B. Caesar does not state here or anywhere else the name of the legion concerned in this incident involving Vorenus and Pullo (see next entry). He refers only to Vorenus and Pullo serving 'in that legion' (in ea legione), and that it was commanded by Quintus Cicero. Their attribution to Legio XI Claudia is therefore not grounded in the available evidence.

Titus Pullo centurio 54 BC ? Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 5.44
Titus Flavius Rufus centurio (veteranus) ? Italia, Moesia, Dacia CIL XI, 20 = ILS 2082, CIL III, 00971
Lucius Annius Bassus legatus AD 69 Tacitus, Histories III.50
Lucius Julius Marinus Caecilius Simplex legatus between 91 and 95 CIL IX, 4965 = ILS 1026
Gaius Julius Quadratus Bassus[6] legatus 99-101
Publius Metilius Secundus legatus c. 116 CIL XI, 3718
Gaius Oppius Sabinus Julius Nepos Manius Vibius Sollemnis Severus legatus between 120 and 130 CIL IX, 5833 = ILS 1047
Quintus Caecilius Marcellus Dentilianus[7] legatus c. 142-c. 145 CIL VIII, 14291 = ILS 1096
Tiberius Claudius Julianus[8] legatus c. 145-148 CIL III, 7474
Marcus Claudius Fronto[8] legatus c. 158-c. 161 CIL III, 1457
Cornelius Plotianus[8] legatus c. 161-c. 164 AE 1925, 109
Tiberius Claudius Saethida Caelianus[9] legatus c. 170 CIL X, 1123
Tiberius Claudius Gordianus[10] legatus around 185/186 AE 1954, 138
Marcus Annaeus Saturninus Clodianus Aelianus[10] legatus end 2nd century/beginning of 3rd century CIL VI, 1337
Gaius Eggius Ambibulus military tribune between 100 and 115 CIL IX, 1123
Lucius Minicius Natalis Quadronius Verus military tribune c. 115 CIL II, 4510
Quintus Caecilius Marcellus Dentilianus military tribune before 130 CIL VIII, 14291 = ILS 1096; CIL VIII, 14292
Marcus Magnus Valerianus military tribune c. 170 CIL XI, 2106
Lucius Junius Aurelius Neratio Gallus Fulvius Macer military tribune between 171 and 230 CIL VI, 1433
Marcus Aelius Aurelius Theo military tribune first half 3rd century CIL XI, 376 = ILS 1192
Marcus Aquillius M. f. Felix[11] primus pilus AD 193 ?

See also


  1. ^ Sadler, John; Serdiville, Rosie (2016-12-31). Caesar's Greatest Victory: The Battle of Alesia, Gaul 52 BC. Casemate. ISBN 978-1-61200-463-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Lendering, Jona (26 May 2017). "Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis". Livius.org. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  3. ^ Vlădescu, Cristian M.; Avram, Romeo; Zahariade, Mihai; Teodorescu, Victor (1994). "Drajna De Sus: Archaeological Excavation Report". CIMEC. 65: 70.
  4. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, C. (1899). Archaeological Researches in Palestina during the Years 1873-74. London. pp. 463–470.
  5. ^ Ueda-Sarson, Luke (3 August 2015). "The Undecimani". lukeuedasarson.com. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  6. ^ Edward Dabrowa, Legio X Fretensis: A Prosopographical Study of its Officers (I-III c. A.D.) (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1993), p. 35
  7. ^ Bernard Rémy, Les carrières sénatoriales dans les provinces romaines d'Anatolie au Haut-Empire (31 av. J.-C. - 284 ap. J.-C.) (Istanbul: Institut Français d'Études Anatoliennes-Georges Dumézil, 1989), p. 258
  8. ^ a b c Géza Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand unter der Antoninen (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt Verlag, 1977), p. 300
  9. ^ Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand, p. 301
  10. ^ a b Paul M. M. Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare in der Zeit von Commodus bis Severus Alexander (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1989), p. 342
  11. ^ James H. Oliver, "M. Aquilius Felix", American Journal of Philology, 67 (1946), pp. 311-319 pp. 311–319