Legionary Military Formation in The Sagas | World Anvil


Together we are a single entity

Honor, duty, and discipline make any true soldier; one that hones their body to become a weapon and a mind that is sharp as steel. Together they create a force that no savage warrior can match in battle and leave all that face them in ruin; that is what it means to be a legionary. - Aurelius the Wise



Most legions consisted of at least six thousand men, with three hundred camp followers being made up of slaves and servants to help some carry their supplies and did their other duties. Supplies chains would be highly organized and have at least five hundred men to make it easier to travel due to advanced and improved wagons to carry much of the supplies needed to support the legion.


Vatian Legionary Armor : Armor given to every legionary to allow them to be well protected in combat as well as mobile.   Survival Equipment: Each Legionary is given all the necessary tools to survive in the wilderness, such as cookware, camping gear, and winter clothing to stay alive.   Carrying Stick: A long stick that carries supplies when marching. Allow relieving some of the legionary's weight to lessen fatigue.   Building Tools: Legionaries are assigned to carry several tools to create entrenchments and buildings, such as a shovel, pickaxe, and weaving basket to move dirt.   Dulabra: A axe with a sharp pick at the end used to cut down trees and remove brush.


Gladius: A balanced short sword that excels in slashing and thrusting. However, it is mainly used in thrusting because it can penetrate armor and is easier to control when in a formation.   Suctum Shield: A rectangular shield made of leather and wood with a shield boss in the middle that is excellent at protecting the soldier from attack. Locked with another scutum in a formation makes it difficult to get past.   Throwing Javelin: Legionaries have up to two each due to their size and were thrown at an enemy before clashing with one another. For the javelin not to be thrown back at them, the metal would bend and be stuck in whatever it hit.   Pugio: A leaf-shaped dagger used when their gladius is lost in confined spaces when a smaller weapon is needed.   Crossbow: A projectile weapon used by a select few skilled marksmen that pick off enemies from a distance at a higher altitude or further back in the formation to support the front line.   Sling: While mainly outdated, a sling is a deadly tool that can shatter bone and damage organs with sharp stones at great speeds, even if a target is armored.


Horses are used by officers and cavalry, during a march and battles, along with delivering messages at great distances. The number of horses varied from legion to legion. Wagons would also be used if any siege weapons and equipment began to be used in the field. Most wagons numbered around a hundred and twenty and were pulled by oxen due to their strength.


Contubernium: This group only consisted of ten men, often making them a squad that slept in the same tent and ate together. Each one was responsible for the other, and bonds were formed between them to make them more effective in battle. The rest were punished to ensure they stayed in line whenever one of them was out of line. Century: A hundred men led by a centurion. By doing this, they would not be overwhelmed or confused if they had an officer to guide them. Obeying orders quickly and efficiently when needed to. Cohort: Made up of five centuries and led by one, the Primus Pilus. Under them, they can be flexible with their officers to exploit enemy weaknesses and positions if the opportunity arises.


Shield Wall: The most common tactic of the Legionary, thanks to their shields, they can lock their shields together and defend each other flanks without being exposed to attack.   Pilum Throw: Legionaries have trained to throw their javelins in volleys before the enemy can reach them. The special metal tips on them bend once they hit a target and are hard to remove once stuck in a shield or an enemy, making them unable to continue fighting.   Testudo: This involves shields being locked together in all directions for protection from enemy projectiles. Often being used to advance while under fire or even to create a ramp to get fellow legionnaires over a higher surface out of reach.   Single Line Defense: is similar to the shield Wall, but in a single line to overlap enemy flanks or meet broader formations and protect the flanks.   Wedge formation: A concentrated center on a charging line made into a wedge to easily break through enemy lines with tremendous force and cause openings.   Square Formation: A tactic used for protection against calvary attacks by forming into a square and reinforcing all sides to avoid breakthroughs.   Fang Formation: Involves funneling enemy forces through a weak center line, and like the fangs of a wild beast, they would meet with a tactical reserve force and be surrounded on both sides.   Rear Defense: If the enemy attempts to outflank a unit's flanks, reserve forces from behind them can intervene to stop them.   Reinforced Charge Formation: Attacking both flanks of a weaker enemy position with reinforced wings simultaneously to overrun them through sheer force.   Line Sweep: Concentrating forces on the right flank to break the enemy’s left flank and the pan attacking their rear, causing chaos behind their lines.   Protected Flank: This involves a natural barrier such as a hill or lake on one flank while the rest of the forces are concentrated on the other flank to allow for better protection without the fear of attack on one or more flanks.   Stinger Wall: Archers or crossbowmen fire on the enemy line while attacking the shield wall. The enemies in the middle of their formation are often the easiest to target since they cannot move to cause large casualties.


Molding of Soldiers

  When citizens join the legions, they are trained to hone and improve their skills as soldiers to become the best of the best. To officially become a part of the army, recruits must undergo physical training to show that they are physically fit to fight and go on long marches for several hours. Those who passed are made into cadets, and those who did not have to try again in three months. This is all designed to weed out the weak, as weakness is not tolerated due to the hard life that will come with years of service and to prove their resolve in the face of hardship. Different specialists are needed for each training phase, and they have experienced veterans of the legion that excel in one or two skills. Cadets are taught basic skills that all legionnaires require for survival. They are taught to cook food from things they never thought were eatable and forage off the land in the most unlikely places. Learning the skills of surgeons and engineers was also mandatory. Most cadets were left in the wilderness to test their survival skills for a week with only a knife! Swimming was also a part of training to strengthen their bodies and build up their resistance to cold weather, making it easier for them to survive in colder climates and combat disease.    

Combat Conditioning

  Once physical and survival training was completed, they would begin weapons training. All equipment and weapons were made of wood rather than a real weapon and were twice as heavy. They were told to practice with them to improve their fighting skills, strength, and endurance. They would also practice throwing their javelins at a narrow wooden pole to improve precision and accuracy. Cadets who were good at this received crossbow training as a reward for skill. Most weapons training would be outdoors to condition them to fight in any weather, except for harsh winters, then it was done indoors that they would build themselves when in the field. Training is to be done several times a day to see improvement. Failure to improve these skills resulted in smaller rations and privileges confiscated. Unarmed combat such as Wrestling, boxing, and other dirty fighting tactics were taught if they found themselves unarmed in battle.   Formations and discipline would be next, with soldiers being put in their squads to work together along with their fellow cadets in tight military formations and long marches that required to march a certain number of miles in several hours in harsh conditions such as rain, snow, mud, and heat wearing legionary armor and carrying all of their equipment. All was to be done with synchronized precision to ensure that all forces could act instantly to a command or a sudden change in the situation. Marches at night and force marches are also common to keep them on guard at any time. They are ordered to do whatever their commanding officer tells them to do in an instant. Anyone who fails to do this is punished along with their squad.  

Skills of the Mind

  After physical training, legionaries were taught to expand their minds to better adapt to their environment and the skills they needed to survive beyond combat. They would learn astronomy and map reading to know the region around them and were to complete objectives and find their way back if they were separated from the unit or the legion. As well as, learning basics first aided in ensuring that nonlethal wounds could to tended to when in combat, with more gifted cadets being taught to become surgeons and healers. Other skills that cadets could be branched into were logistics, engineering, and security. Construction and siege works were required for campaigns to have the advantage against the enemy, and cadets were trained to build forts, bridges, ditches, ramparts, camps, trebuchets, and other siege works. All of these were done in all types of weather to be better suited to work in them. Artillery training was also required in battle. Any cadet who excelled in leadership could be given a position as an officer and move into officer training after completing the rest of their training.  

Trial By Fire

  The final task would be participating in large-scale military exercises and war games to show how much their training paid off. This was done with other batches of cadets to test their skills and knowledge over their time in training to see how well they remembered their training. These often last for days or weeks to test how well they would do a campaign to see when they graduate. The eventual clash of armies would take time as both sides decided to plan and coordinate to gain victory over the other. Once the battle is initiated all that remains is how well both sides can preform. As long as all parties involved preform well it does not matter if they win or lose so long preform well. However no real weapons are used to avoid injury or death and their wooden training weapons are used instead. As soon as that was finished, they are able to graduate and given a graduation medal to show their success as official legionaries. The legionary and his squad would then be transferred to the legion they were assigned to and fulfill their current assignment. The full training criteria last around six months, however those that wish to join much easier can go to a military academy for three years and head straight into the legions after they graduate.


Logistical Support

Wagons and beasts of burden are the only things used to keep the legion going since most legionaries carry their equipment. The wagons and animals carry additional food and heavier equipment that can’t be carried by a single man typically.


Coin Legions: Mercenaries that are under the service of the empire to protect its lands and assets when its legions are unable to do so.   Auxiliaries: Noncitizens that are raised in the service of the empire to fight with their unique skills and are often used as cannon fodders.   Calvary: Imperial Calvary and imperial Knights are often used to allow for flanking and mobility to exploit the enemy's weakness.   Artillery: War weapons built to lay waste to fortifications and enemies alike, allowing the legionaries to crush them more easily.   Battle Mages: Mages under the service of the empire have two dozen or more serving under a single legion us magic to aid them on the battlefield.


A single legionary costs about fifty Imperial Crowns, which adds up to fifty gold pieces. Most equipment is reused as it is taken from dead legionnaires and given to the next man in line, though it is all repaired when received. But new equipment costs ten gold imperial crowns. Food, clothing, and camp equipment cost thirty bronze imperial crowns. The monthly payment for a legionary is five silver imperial Crowns. The rest is for specialists like surgeons and quarter masters to keep the troops in shape.


The requirement to be a legionary is to be a citizen of the empire. All these are fit young men between the ages of sixteen and thirty; any age older is considered a waste of time; older individuals cannot withstand the grueling conditions of military life. They must pass the physical exam to test their strength, stamina, and eyesight to be a cadet and proceed with training. Those living in rural and wilderness regions are favored as they are experienced with living in harsh conditions and are easier to train. Those that are literate are also favored to keep records and write for officers. Height was once a requirement, but it is now considered obsolete. Due to their traditions, women are allowed to enlist depending on the legion they join.


Forging of the Legions

  It all started with a dream to create a soldier that would be trained and forged into a force that would decimate any foe facing them. This dream would come from Aurelius the Wise, one of the greatest military minds of his time, despite never seeing that dream come to pass after his untimely death it would come to pass by those after him. Through the teaching of the Codex Legionis came forth the legionnaires of Vatia that would aid in its rise to glory and power as the legions that made up these skilled warriors crushed all that stood in their way. Trained to master the art of war and equipped with the finest weapons and armor, the legionaries would forever change war in the Western Lands and its history. Through them, the Vatian Empire would be the power it is today and continues to serve it.  

The Empire's Finest

  Where ever the empire has a claim to land, legionnaires are not far behind to keep it that way. The legions of the empire are always the first to be sent in to crush all that stand against the rule of Vatia and the Emperor. These skilled soldiers can be found throughout the empire to keep peace and order across its vast territories. Though their legions are smaller than most other armies, each soldier is trained to fight and be skilled in engineering and building, along with various specializations; they are responsible for creating the roads and fortresses found across the empire when new lands are conquered. Along with their strong cohesion with one another and discipline that made them capable of fighting off forces several times their size and emerging victoriously. Making the pride of the empire and the Vatian people praised and idolized for their heroic deeds and glories over the centuries. For as long as the legions stand, the empire will never fall, no matter the foe that would dare challenge them and give their lives to defend their homeland.  

Masters of War

  There is a reason that the legionary is so feared and respected by so many as they are made to become the ideal soldier in any war, being able to adapt and overcome any situation they are in, for they are trained to endure and suffer to attain victory no matter the cost. That is what they had done in every war they were a part of, with almost all of them being a victory for the empire. They learn to become stronger than ever for their defeats, never to let them happen again. For each of the Imperial Legions comes generation upon generation of tradition to the art of war itself like no other armies to exist. Its legionaries are dedicated and honed in becoming avatars of war itself. One is worth more than a dozen levies or warriors, as they have the skills and training to hold their own in battle.

Historical loyalties

The legionary’s loyalties lied with the Vatian Empire and, at other times, the commanding Legatus that had control over them.
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy
Ranks & Titles


by Midjourney
Most people won’t understand what it’s like if they never joined the legions; we all look out for one another and, through blood and sweat, become brothers - Veteran Legionary
  Once officially joining a legion, legionnaires must serve loyally and faithfully to it for twenty to twenty-five years before retiring. Due to this long period, they commonly bond with their brothers in arms. This is found especially amongst those of a Contubernium that share the same tent and duties, strengthening their ties to one another. Allowing for better cooperation during campaigns and off-duty while socializing. It leads each legion member to aid one another when needed and will give their lives if they must to protect them. If one of them were to fall in battle, they would try their best to ensure their affairs were in order and look after their families if needed.  

Disicpline Above All

by midjourney
You will never find a finer soldier anywhere in the world as each legionary acts together with the effectiveness and proficiency of clockwork, allowing them to achieve feats impossible with most armies. - Vatian Senator
  To many worldwide, the Legionary is respected and feared for their fighting prowess, but what makes them so effective is that they embody discipline that creates strong willpower and the ability to act as a single entity when given an order. An entire system of commands and officers allows for solid coordination and teamwork when working with their fellow legionnaires. It has also allowed them to withstand the worst conditions they may find themselves in as they are trained to ignore and tolerate them to carry out their orders. Making them superior to most other fighting mores that lack the discipline to face them in the field as they often lack discipline.  

Diverse Traditions

by midjourney
By tradition, our legions and their legionaries are bound by the traditions of their forebearers to keep their way of life intact and functional. You will never find one identical legion because each has specialized in themselves to their own rules to fight their enemies. - Consul Hadrian Marcanus
  The empire's legions are many and can be found across its vast territory, defending them with their lives to ensure their control over their assigned regions. However, each legion is far from the same as others as they have developed their traditions in conducting warfare and how to act. This has allowed legionnaires of each legion to acquire particular skills that most other legions cannot access. Allow for diversity amongst themselves and bring forth different equipment and tactics for campaign use, along with better suiting them to specific situations to all for better success in their environment that they are it.

Cover image: by Midjourney


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