Legio V Alaudae is a recreated 1st Century CE Roman Legion. We accurately portray all aspects of Roman Legion life. Our utmost goal is to portray Legio V with honor and respect. We owe this to the real Legio V. We honor their memory in all that we do. We participate in reenactments, and outdoor living history demonstrations. We strive to present the Legion as historically accurate as possible. Weapons, Armor and accoutrements are historically accurate, and fit the period. The Legion is commanded by Primus Pilus Centurio, I Cohort, Gaius Atilius Lepidus "aka Cedo Alteram"(Fetch me Another!)
The HISTORY OF LEGIO V ALAUDAE
It's name which was the only one of Rome's legions that was not named in Latin. Alaudae is Gaulish for "The Larks". In 52 BCE Gaius Julius Caesar levied the V Legio while governor of Gaul. They at first legionaries were native Gauls. Caesar paid the troops from his own private funds. Later it was officially recognized by the senate. This step was the beginning of Romanization of the province. The Legions first battles were under Caesar as he conducted his Gallic wars. Their first blood was in the conquest of Alesia, under Vercingetorix's control. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BCE, and marched on Rome. It was because of his political rivals attempting to possibly accuse him of an illegal war in Gaul. He refused to relinquish his loyal legions. Thus began the last Republican civil war. His chief rivals were Metellus Scipio, and Marcus Porcius Cato, and Pompey. This war began in 46 BCE. Caesar won the battles of Dyrrhacium, and Pharsalus. Legio V was with Caesar when he drove the republican armies from Greece to North Africa. Caesar landed in Adrumetum on Dec 28 47 BCE.
BATTLE OF THAPSUS, AND LEGIO V's HEROIC STAND AGAINST ELEPHANTS
Once Caesar drove the Republican armies to Africa, they retreated to the fortified city of Thapsus, in Feb 48 BCE. Here Scipio and Cato allied with King Juba of Numidia. Caesar's dispostions were the classical Roman formations. He placed Legio V in his army's center. The enemy forces had 60 battle elephants. This caused Caesar to reinforce his cavalry on the wings, with 5 additional cohorts. Caesar's archers mercilessly attacked the elephants causing them to panic, and charge the Roman center formations. Legio V Alaudae withstood the charge with such bravery that from that day forward, Legio V was the only Legio with the Elephant as it's symbol. Once Scipio lost his elephants the battle turned in favor of Caesar. Caesar invested Thapsus and it eventually capitulated. Caesar then pacified the rest of Africa. Legio V was also present at the Battle of Munda 17 Mar 45 BCE. Caesar fought another civil war against Titus Labienus, and the sons of Pompey the great, who fled to Hispania(modern Spain)after the African campaign.
THE DEATH OF CAESAR, AND LEGIO V's PART IN THE AFTERMATH
Upon the assasination of Caesar on the Ides of March 44 BCE, civil war broke out once more. Caesar's adjuctant Marc Anthony and Caesar's adpoted son Octavian, both wanted to rule the Caesar's faction. Legio V sided with their beloved Caesar's adjuctant. They fought with him at the Battle of Mutina in 43 BCE. Octavian and Marc Anthony finally decided to form a Second Triumvirate, and defeat the murderers of Caesar. This resulted in the Battle of Philippi. Here Brutus was defeated in 42 BCE. Legio V was present and fought viciously to avenge their beloved founder. Later they went with Anthony to Beirut. Here they participated in Anthony's failed war against the Parthian Empire. Again Anthony fought against Octavian, and the V Legio was by his side. Anthony lost the sea Battle of Actium, and committed suicide.
AUGUSTUS AND LEGIO V UNITE
The Legio was transferred to Merida in Hispania around 30 BCE. Here they participated in the battles against the Cantabrians, in 25 BCE. This was one of the largest wars Rome ever fought. Nine legions were involved, around 54,000 troops, minus auxilliaries. A few years followed and Legio V was transferred to Gallia Belgica, northern Gaul(modern France). This was due to Augustus' friend Agrippa invading Germania. Again they were transferred. This time by Augustus' stepson Drusus. Legio V took part in the Germania campaigns. In 6 BCE Augustus' son-in-law Tiberius, sent Legio V along with 4 other legions on a campaign against the Czechia. Rebellion in Pannonia halted this grand campaign. Soon the Battle of the Teutonburg forest ended the hopes of Roman conquest of Germania.
VETERA, AND THE RISE OF THE FOUR EMPERORS
After the disaster in the Teutonburg forest, Legio V was garriosoned at Vetera(the Netherlands). Here in the early years of the reign of Tiberius they fought in the Germanic campaigns of Germanicus, 14 CE. In 28 CE, Legio V supressed a Frisian revolt, but Tiberius spared the Frisians. In 47 CE Legio V assisted with Legio XV Primigenia extended the Empire to the Rhine. Here emperor CLadius ordered the soldiers to build fortifications along the Rhine. Discontented senators and governors called for the removal of Emperor Nero. This was treason and Legio V participated in the march south, and defeated a supporter of Servius Galba. Galba stated openly he wanted to dethrone Nero. Marcus Salvius Otho a friend of Nero also had aspirations of being emperor. He was banished for taking a liking to Nero's mistress. Otho assisted Galba who recruited the VII Legio and marched on Rome. The senate recognized him as Caesar. Nero in 68CE, committed suicide. Otho killed Galba and was declared emperor. This was seen as an obstruction of the accession of a new emperor. Then the army of Germania proclaimed Vitellius their commander, as emperor and marched on Rome in 69 CE. Again the senate proclaimed a new emperor in Vitellius. Otho then committed suicide. The eastern general Vespasian decided he wanted to be emperor also. Both armies clashed near Cremona(northern Italy) The soldiers of Vitellius were defeated. Vitellius was tortured and killed in 69 BCE. Vespasian was emperor thus ushering in the Flavian dynasty. This ended the brutal civil war. During this time the region of Germania Inferior was brewing disaster.
THE SAD END OF LEGIO V ALAUDAE
The Batavians provided Galba with bodyguards. Galba dismissed them, and the Batavian auxiliaries revolted at this slight upon their honor. They declared Civilis their king. Civilis knew Roman tactics and lured the Roman legions into a trap outside of Batavia. Legio V and Legio XV Primigenia were defeated near Nijmegan. The Legions returned to Vetera. Civilis swore he would destroy the two legions at Vetera. With the War of the Four Emperors raging, the two legions were overlooked. The time was right for the Batavians. Vitellius' eight Batavian auxiliary units were persuaded to join the siege. In Sep 69 CE Civilis attacked Vetera. The fortified camp contained 5,000 legionaries of V Alaudae, and XV Primigenia. It was well supplied and well defended. After several failed attempts to breach the fortress, Civilis decided to starve them out. Civilis was helping Vespasian win his war with Vitellis, whom the 2 legions at Vetera were loyal to. Vitellis was soon defeated. Civilis was no longer fighting for Vespasian, he was fighting for his Batavians. He continued the siege of Vetera. The plight of the Vetera legions finally came to light. Roman General Flaccus moved to break the siege at Vetera. Civiilis heard of the approach of Flaccus. Civilis promptly attacked Flaccus and was soundly beaten. Civilis retreated from Vetera, lifting the siege. When Flaccus arrived at Vetera he began a celebration. He then offered money to the two legions. The two Legions were still loyal to Vitellius, and saw the money as bribe to side with Vespasian. They took offense to this and murdered Flaccus. The two legions were in a state of confusion after killing Flaccus. This is when Civilis returned, and resumed his siege of Vetera. The Legions after many months were forced to eat their mules and horses. With no hope insight Munius Lupercus the commander at Vetera, decided to surrender. This was because of the depletion of the Roman Legions in the civil war. The two legions were promised safe passage. If they left the camp and all the weapons to the Batavian rebels. Legio V Alaudae and Legio XV Primigenia marched out of the camp. After a few miles they were ambushed by Germanci troops and slaughtered. The officers and Centurions were made slaves. Legio V Alaudae was no more. Rome never reconstituted Legio V, or XV Primgenia again. Rome was outraged and conducted a war against Civilis. The Batavians soon sued for peace. Thus ended a Legion who was famed for bravery, along with loyalty. Legio V Alaudae's valor in battle was not forgotten to history.
IT LIVES AGAIN!
THE LEGIO V ALAUDAE TODAY
Legio V Alaudae is a faithful recreation of the brave legionaries who fought for the glory of Rome. All males who feel that this is exciting and enjoyable are encouraged to join. We conduct encampments and set up displays as a living history tool. Members adpot a Roman persona. They take a Roman name and memorize a brief history of the soldier they represent. This is essential to conveying an accurate representation. We eat, sleep, cook and fight, as the Legio did 2,000 years ago. Some members even go as far as to learn some latin, which is essential since all commands from the Centurio are in latin. Membership is open to males 18-45. Women can join and fill the roles of laundry, camp follower, or cook. This is a fun and educational hobby. If this appeals to you, follow the intructions below. I hope you enlist in Legio V Alaudae.
JOINING LEGIO V ALAUDAE
Contact the link below to the email Legio V Alaudae. Please include your address. The Legio Centurio will mail to you a new recruit packet. This packet contains a welcome letter, and a new legionaries handbook. Which contains reference materials, and helpful suggestions. It also contains a listing of required accoutrements, and where to purchase them. Please note, only buy from Legio approved vendors. This will save you grief and money. There are very many inaccurate items made today. We are a Nova Roma sponsored Legio. Nova Roma is a great organization that has recreated all manner of Roman life. Please visit their site, and see all that Nova Roma has to offer. We are proud to be associated with them. The Legio commander is also paterfamilias of gens Atilia, at Nova Roma.
We also have postitions of great honor available. Aquilier (Legion Eagle bearer), Signifer (Standard Bearer). These are vaulted positions and carry with them greater rank, and prestige. If you just want to be a common soldier that is fine. If this seems like the thing for you, please email the Legio below. Thank you and welcome to the Legion!
Ave Atque Frater,
Gaius Atilius Lepidus, Primus Pilus Centurio, I Cohort, Legio V Alaudae