by John J. Hartwell
Cognomen: EQUESTRIS: "Mounted", after an incident under Caesar (see below). GEMINA: "Twin", joined with members of another legon on reorganization by Octavian.
Additional nomenclature: Pia fidelis, for loyalty to Domitian during Saturninus rebellion, +75(?). Imperial names granted for special service (used only during the Emperors' lifetime) Domitiana (Dimitian), Severiana (Septimus Severus), Antoniniana (either Antoninus Pius or Elagabalus).
Legio X Gemina originated in Caesar's old tenth legion. It was one of four legions he found already in service when he took up his governorship in -59. It served throughout the Gallic Wars, receiving its unofficial cognomen, "Equestris" when some of its legionaries were mounted to serve as escort for Caesar to a conference at which he suspected an ambush. Often spoken of as "Caesar's favorite", the tenth is prominently mentioned in several passages in "The Gallic Wars". The legion participated in both of Caesar's invasions of Britain.
Following the conquest of Gaul, Legio X Equestris accompanied Caesar to Italy, and then to the Balkans during the Civil War. It was engaged at Dyrrachium, and at Philippi held "its customary position of honor on the right of Caesar's line" (DBC. ).
Back in Italy there is recorded an incident ofnear mutiny. Citing their long loyal service, and Caesar's many promises of land and bounties, the men demanded their long-overdue discharge. Caesar angrilly ordered them not discharged but disbanded for insubordination. Shaken by such a humiliation, the men begged forgiveness, and promised to serve as long as Caesar needed them. The tenth went on to serve with distinction in the African War of -47, and participated in Caesar's three-fold triumph the following year.
Finally receiving their discharge in -46, Legio X Equestris was settled in a colony at Narbo (Narbonne) in Gallia Transalpina. But barely had they arrived there (if they actually did) when Caesar called upon them again for service in Spain. With the sons of Pompey finally defeated in the Munda campaign, the tenth legion finally settled into their Colonia at Narbo in -45.
The events of the Ides of March (-44), however, saw yet another return to service of Legio X Equestris. ___ Lepidus the Triumvir within whose authority the province lay, called on the veterans of the tenth to avenge their murdered commander. It is impossible to say how many responded. The tenth legion as reorganized was probably mostly new recruits, built around a hard core of veterans -- but enough to maintain their identity as Caesar's old Tenth.