Sic revenit gloria Mvndi Romani
WHO WE ARE
In case of every empire - size matters. Legio XXI Rapax is one of the biggest groups reenacting a Roman military unit worldwide. It was founded in 2003 and renewed in 2008. By now our group comprises nearly 80 equipped legionaries - that is a whole imperial centvria - plus people recreating various civilian roles. Our members come from Poland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Belarus, Ukraine & Czech Rep. All passionates, among them people with scholar background in ancient warfare, history of Rome & Greece, teachers of Latin.
We refer to the heritage of a real unit – Legio XXI Rapax („21st Rapacious”). It was raised during Avgvstvs reign around ’30 BC, probably in Spain, and lasted until late ’80 or early ’90 AD when it was either punitively disbanded by Domitianvs or destroyed in battles in Pannonia. Stationed mostly in provinces of Germania Inferior and Superior, XXI was known for it’s actions during conquest of Raetia (15 BC), stirring up mutiny of the northern legions and then taking part in retaliation campaigns of Germanicus against Germanic tribes (14-16 AD), important role in the civil war of The Year of Four Emperors (69 AD) or quelling the Revolt of the Batavi (69-70 AD). It was probably one of the most unruly legions Rome has ever raised.
WHAT WE DO
Our aim is to recreate and popularize knowledge of military tactics, material culture and everyday life of a Roman legionary from 2nd half of 1st century AD. You can see us at the biggest ancient reenactment festivals throughout whole Europe, at many local events or even accidentally somewhere in the field, when we’re on the marching expedition.
We stay loyal to historical to the furthest possible extent, except for safety or legal reasons. If it’s not described in ancient sources or can’t be demonstrated using them, we don’t do or use it. This means extensive research, discussions and constant corrections to our equipment. We’re using hand woven, dyed and stitched fabrics, shoes hand made by our members, heavy and light gear of all kinds historically proper in shape and composition.
We don’t just dress up, but recreate. This means all modern items are forbidden in our camp, including tents’ interiors. The camp itself is a living scene: we sleep in it, cook and eat on our own, train drill and fighting, have Latin lessons, organize group games, conduct military and religious celebrations, keep night watch, run legion’s office, field hospital etc. We use commands in Latin restituta – a form closest to one the ancient Romans used.
We use our replicas, not just display them. Weapons, armor, tools, clothes, shoes, tents, utensils – all are tested in various conditions during winter patrols, rivers crossings, marches and camping overnights in forests, battle shows. It’s a way to verify various hypotheses and gain new experiences which – with necessary reservations - can shed light on how combat and non-combat equipment could have been used, worn and carried back then.
What and how we do it you can see in our GALLERY
Before all Legio XXI Rapax is a group of amazing, diligent, committed and helpful people, tied by - properly for the first professional army in history - bonds of true brotherhood. Without them all this wouldn’t be possible.
Our ambition is to recreate a fully manned, equipped and operational centuria - a basic sub-unit of a Roman legion (with nominal strength of 80 people): with a leading centurion, his deputy, watch commander, standard-bearers, musician, appropriate artillery, adequate number of rank & file legionaries. We take care to avoid unhistorical overabundance of officers.
Centvria est omnis divisa in contvbernia…
Our group is divided into sections “stationed” in different cities and gathering members from the nearest vicinity. We called them contubernia (historically, 8-men contubernium was the smallest structural part within a ceturia). Every such section organizes its own drills, takes part in local events, helps its members in gaining knowledge and equipping themselves. Several times a year all contubernia meet during big historical festivals, becoming there a one centuria of Legio XXI Rapax - raising a big camp, training together, taking part in shows, battles or ceremonies dedicated to the gods and emperor.