Legio XXII Primigenia

Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the Legio XXII Primigenia, stationed on the river Rhine at Moguntiacum (Mainz, Germany), in Germania Superior province, from AD 39 until the 4th century
This denarius, struck in 193 under Septimius Severus, celebrates XXII Primigenia, one of the legions which supported the commander of the Pannonian army in his bid for purple

Legio XXII Primigenia ("Fortune's Twenty-Second Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army dedicated to the goddess Fortuna Primigenia. Founded in AD 39 by the emperor Caligula for use in his campaigns in Germania, the XXII Primigenia spent much of their time in Mogontiacum (modern Mainz) up to the end of the 3rd century. The legion's symbols were a Capricorn[1] and the demigod Hercules.


Mosaic with the legion's Capricorn motif.

XXII Primigenia was first stationed in Mogontiacum in the Roman province of Germania Superior, guarding the Rhine border as part of the limes. Along with the rest of the Germanic army, the legion supported Vitellius in the Year of the Four Emperors (69). During the Batavian rebellion, XXII Primigenia, commanded by Gaius Dillius Vocula, was the only Germanic legion that survived rebel attacks and which stayed in its camp, defending Moguntiacum. They remained in Moguntiacum until at least the 3rd century. Hadrian, prior to becoming Emperor, was tribunus militum of the XXIIth in 97–98.

Around 90, units of the XXII were garrisoned in or around the area of modern-day Butzbach, as part of the Limes Germanicus (a series of forts along the Roman frontier of Germania Superior. A stamp of the XXII Legion was found during excavations of a Roman Fort in Butzbach. The 22nd U.S. Infantry Regiment was stationed in Butzbach after World War II, and the stamp of the Legion and the emblem of the American unit were very similar.[2]

The Rhine settlement was their main camp, but vexillationes of the legion participated in the building of the Antonine Wall in Scotland (2nd century) and in the campaigns against the Sassanid Empire (around 235).

They were still in Moguntiacum during the attack of the tribe of the Alamanni in 235, and were responsible for the assassination of Emperor Alexander Severus when he tried to negotiate with the enemy, along with the subsequent election of Maximinus Thrax as new emperor.

In 268, Primigenia probably fought under Gallienus at the Battle of Naissus, winning a victory over the Goths.[dubious ] The following year, the XXII Legion rebelled against Postumus, and proclaimed its commander Laelianus Emperor of the Gallic Empire.[3]

In the beginning of the fourth century the legion was awarded the title "Primigenia CV" (presumably Constantiana Victrix). There is no record of it after the reign of Constantine the Great (r.306–337). One source suggests that it "may have been destroyed during the Battle of Mursa."[4]

Attested membersEdit

Name Rank Time frame Province Source
Gaius Dillius Vocula legatus 69-70 Germania Superior Tacitus, Histories, IV.25, 33, 56, 57
Lucius Catilius Severus legatus between 100 and 105 Germania Superior CIL X, 8291
Aulus Junius Pastor[5] legatus ? 156-? 159 Germania Superior CIL VI, 1435CIL V, 7775
[...] Serenus[5] legatus c. 162 Germania Superior AE 1965, 243
Marcus Didius Serenus Julianus[6] legatus ? 168-? 171 Germania Superior CIL VI, 1401
Lucius Marius Vegetinus[6] legatus between 138 and 180 Germania Superior CIL VI, 1455CIL VI, 1456
Quintus Hedius Rufus Lollianus Gentianus[7] legatus c. 184 Germania Superior CIL II, 4121 = ILS 1145
Quintus Aurelius Polus Terentianus[7] legatus c. 184 Germania Superior AE 1965, 240
Claudius Gallus[8] legatus ? 195-197 Germania Superior AE 1957, 123
Gaius Octavius Appius Suetrius Sabinus[8] legatus 211-213 Germania Superior CIL X, 5398 = ILS 1159; CIL X, 5178; CIL VI, 1551, CIL VI, 1477
Domitius Antigonus[8] legatus c. 220 Germania Superior AE 1966, 262
[...]us L.f. Annianus legatus c. 242 Germania Superior CIL XIII, 6763
L. Titinius L.f. Glaucus Lucretianus tribunus angusticlavius before 66 Germania Superior CIL XI, 1331 = ILS 233
Lucius Neratius Priscus tribunus laticlavius c. 79-c. 80 Germania Superior AE 1969/70, 152
Lucius Caesennius Sospes tribunus laticlavius c. 89 Germania Superior Tacitus, Annales, XV.28
Publius Aelius Hadrianus tribunus laticlavius c. 96 Germania Superior Historia Augusta, "Hadrian", 3
Aulus Platorius Nepos tribunus laticlavius between 90 and 100 Germania Superior
Publius Coelius Balbinus Vibullius Pius tribunus laticlavius c. 120 Germania Superior CIL VI, 1383
Quintus Lollius Urbicus tribunus laticlavius c. 125 Germania Superior CIL VIII, 6706
Marius Maximus[9] tribunus laticlavius c. 175 Germania Superior CIL VI, 1450

Epigraphic inscriptionsEdit

  • - Dis Manibus Avidiae Nice uxori rarissimi exempli Publicius Apronianus hastatus legionis XXII Primigeniae fecit. Tarragona (Tarraco), Spain. CIL II, 4147.
  • - Amoena hic sita est Quintus Antonius Avitus veteranus legionis XXII Primigeniae faciendum (...). Lisboa, Portugal. AE 1981, 491.
  • - (...) tribuno militum legionis XXII Primigeniae praefecto cohortium in Germania / MIL(...). Beja, Portugal. IRCP 235.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ L. J. F. Keppie, Legions and Veterans: Roman Army Papers 1971–2000, p. 128.
  2. ^ Entry on Butzbach in the German edition of Wikipedia.[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ Eutropius, Breviarium IX.9.
  4. ^ "Legio XXII Primigenia". Livius.org. Retrieved Oct 3, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Géza Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand unter der Antoninen (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt Verlag, 1977), p. 301
  6. ^ a b Alföldy, Konsulat und Senatorenstand, p. 301
  7. ^ a b Paul M. M. Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare in der Zeit von Commodus bis Severus Alexander (Amsterdam: J.C. Gieben, 1989), p. 344
  8. ^ a b c Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare, p. 345
  9. ^ Leunissen, Konsuln und Konsulare, p. 382

External linksEdit