Later Years

Detachments from the Legio X Fterensis fought in the Marcomannic war during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Perhaps soldiers from this expeditionary force built the altar that was found in northern Rumania, but their presence in Dacia can also be dated to other moments.

After the murder of the emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax in 193, X Fretensis sided with general Pescennius Niger, who proclaimed himself emperor. However, he was defeated by Lucius Septimius Severus. Almost immediately, civil war broke out and it seems that the X Fretensis might have come to blows with VI Ferrata. However, the interpretation of these events is still not certain .

The tenth legion was still in Jerusalem during the reign of Emperor Caracalla 211-217 AD, but later during the third century, it was transferred to Aila (present day Elat) along the Red Sea, to guard the critical Scorpion Pass. A detetchment of horsemen from the legion was also active in the west during the age of the independent Gallic Empire 260-274 AD.

From now on, the legion begins to disappear from documented sources. Probably at some stage during the late Empire the X Fretensis was awarded the title “Pia Fidelis”. Note that at this time, in the mobile field armies of the late empire following the Deoclitian reforms, a legion only consisted of perhaps 1,000 men and was organised much differently than those of the Classical period. The unit is not mentioned as part of the Roman army of the fourth and fifth centuries AD.

The emblems of this legion were the bull (the common symbol of any legion created by Julius Caesar), a warship, a dolphin, the god Neptune, and a boar.

Further Readings
  • Dabrowa, Legio X Fretensis. A Prosopographical Study of its Officers (I-III C AD) (1993)
  • E. Dabrowa, “Legio X Fretensis”, in: Yann Le Bohec, Les légions de Rome sous le Haut-Empire (2000 Lyon) 317-325
  • Flavius Josephus (Author), Betty Radice (Editor) E. Mary Smallwood (Editor), G.A. Williamson (Translator) The Jewish War: Revised Edition (Penguin Classics).
  • H. Geva, “The Camp of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem: an Archaeological Reconsideration,” in: Israel Exploration Journal 34 (1984) 239-254.
  • Josephus Flavius (Author) by G.J. Goldberg … A Chronology of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome ((
  • M. Gichon, “The siege of Masada”, in: Yann Le Bohec, Les légions de Rome sous le Haut-Empire (2000 Lyon) 541-554
  • Peter Schäfer (editor), Bar Kokhba reconsidered, Tübingen: Mohr: 2003.
  • Eck, ‘The Bar Kokhba Revolt: the Roman point of view’ in the Journal of Roman Studies 89 (1999) 76ff.
  • Y. Meshorer, “Two Finds from the Roman Tenth Legion”, in: Israel Museum Journal 3 (1984), 41-45.
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