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Roman Legion

Updated on February 4, 2010

The legion was the basic combat organization of the armies of ancient Rome. At various times its numbers ranged from about 3,000 to about 6,000 men. Most of these were infantrymen, armed with javelins and short swords. Often there was a small complement of supporting cavalry. Each legion consisted of 10 cohorts, each cohort had 3 maniples, and each maniple had 2 centuries. This division into units permitted great flexibility. The legion's standard was an eagle.

In modern times the term has been applied to a body of troops recruited for special service. The French Foreign Legion is the best-known example.

The Eagle of the Ninth

In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca, Marcus sets out across Hadrian's Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia - to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father's memory, and retrieve the lost legion's golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth. 

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