Full Version: Legions of Rome by Dando Collins Scutum designs
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I was in a book store today and saw the legions of Rome by Stephen Dando-Collins. In the book was a catalogue of scutum designs from the various legions. I saw quite a few designs I have never seen before. I am a member of leg 13 and his design for legion 13 is with a lion and rays coming from its head. Does anyone know where this was discovered or is this an artist's impression? There were other designs that I have never seen, like ones with bores and bulls. I am hoping someone could shed some light on this.
D-C takes most of his 'legion' shield designs from coin images, as far as I can tell. Various emperors (and commanders like Marcus Antonius) issued coins to honour particular units in their army - legions, guard cohorts, provincial forces. In the third century in particular it became popular to portray totem animals, which were apparently associated with particular legions - Gallienus issued a large series, showing boars, lions, capricorns, pegasus etc.

There are a few for XIII Gemina showing a lion - none as far as I know show the 'radiate' lion (with the sun rays coming out of its head), although this appears on other coins.

Neither is there any evidence at all that these 'totem' animals were used as shield designs. It's perhaps possible that they were carried as standards, like the ram totem that appears on Trajan's column. Since most of these coins are third century, it's maybe plausible that shields like the famous Dura Europos example (which, incidentally, has a lion on it) might have carried totemic iconography related to particular legions.

However, the only known shield design of a specific legion from the principiate (portrayed on the tombstone of a standard bearer from legio XIV) shows the familiar winged thunderbolt. It seems very likely that, as Trajan's column and various other depictions of the era show similar patterns, this was the most common design of the day.

Here's a site showing a variety of legion coin images:

The Roman Legions on Coins

And here's that radiate lion, on a coin issued by Gallienus:

[Image: Leg-Gallienus-Praet.JPG]
The Wings and Thunderbolts both represented Jupiter, as did lightning. It would be sensible to conclude that the design was some kind of invocation to that god to get his approval or impart strength to the soldier carrying it. A victory wreath could look back to past victories, or imply future victories, or both.
Legio VI has several coins from Gordian and Phillip the Arab in the 240's.
Anything at all written by SDC is highly suspect. He makes up so much that nothing else he says can be relied on to be accurate. If you are interested in the subject, I strongly advise that you do your own research and ignore SDC completely.

Mike Thomas