Appendix 4: Decorated Soldiers

The ad hoc Republican system of awards, largely for specific acts of valour (e.g. corona vallaris awarded to the first soldier over the ramparts), became refined in the early Imperial period into a more standardised set of decorations. The basic level of award, available to all, consisted of the torques, armillae and phallerae (torcs, armlets and medallions). Next came the corona aurea, then the corona muralis and corona vallaris, generally awarded to centurions and above. Finally there were the hasta pura and vexillum available to equestrians and senators and often awarded in multiple combinations, determined by the rank of the recipient and the munificence of the awarding emperor. Dona ceased to be given much after the end of the 2nd century, being replaced with more practical forms of reward in the form of cash payments, increased rations or promotion.


Only three of the men listed here appear to have been awarded their dona during service with the XXth (and in one case the decorations are probably honorary).

L. Antonius Quadratus was twice awarded the torques, armillae (and probably also phalerae, as all three are depicted on his tombstone) by Tiberius, either during Augustusí northern wars, or during the Pannonian uprisings of 6-9BC, perhaps for his part in the celebrated exploits under Valerius Messalinus. Since Messalinus himself received triumphal ornaments, one would expect some members of the legion to have been awarded dona at this time.
Maxfield, V., 1981, The Military Decorations of the Roman Army. 53, 216

Ti. Claudius Balbillus is discussed in more detail elsewhere. His awards (the hasta pura and perhaps corona aurea) were given by Claudius during the Triumph to celebrate the conquest of Britain in 44AD. As a friend and part of the Emperorís retinue, his awards, as much as his military rank, are likely to be entirely honorary.
Maxfield 1981, 160-161

Ti. Claudius Vitalis was a directly commissioned career centurion, and was decorated twice in Dacian wars. He started his career with leg V Macedonica and then moved to leg I Italica where he gained his first award of torques, armillae and phallerae along with the corona vallari. He then moved to leg I Minervia and was again decorated with the same awards. Legio XX Victrix was his next posting after which he served with leg IX Hispana and leg VII Claudia pia fidelis, where he ended his career. These were probably the Dacian wars of Domitian, AD92, rather than the second Dacian war of Trajan in 105-106. The inscription to Vitalis studiously avoids naming the awarding Emperor, as was often the case, after the damnatio memoriae, for those given dona by Domitian.
Maxfield 1981 186, 191-2

L. Valerius Proculus started his career as miles in leg V Macedonica, was promoted as beneficiarius to the Legate, then optio and centurion in the same legion receiving the torques, armillae and phalerae probably in the same Dacian wars as Vitalis. Thereafter he served as centurion in leg I Italica, leg XI Claudia, leg XX Valeria Victrix and leg IX Hispana.
Maxfield 1981 186, 191-2

Blandius Latinus served as centurion in leg I Italica, leg II Augusta, leg IX Hispana, and a leg XX[.. likely to be the XXth as he was clearly serving in Britain. The level of his award is not recorded, nor is the date or context of the award clear. It cannot date much after the loss of leg IX c.???.

M. Pompeius Asper praefectus castrorum of the XXth has the torques, armillae and phalerae shown in relief on his memorial, though they are not mentioned in the text. They were probably awarded during Domitianís wars in the east (?86-92). His service with the XXth therefore falling at the close of the 1st century.
Maxfield 1981 187, 192-3

Q. Albius Felix cornicularis to the Praetorian prefect and then centurion with the XXth, was twice decorated, receiving torques, armillae and phalerae from the Emperor Trajan in the Parthian wars of 114-117 and then a further award of the hasta pura and corona aurea in an unspecified Hadrianic campaign. The scale of this latter award implies a rank amongst the primi ordines and probably therefore relates to his legionary service with the XXth.
Maxfield 1981 187, 194-5

P. Aelius Romanus was centurion successively in leg III Augusta, leg VII Claudia, leg XX Valeria Victrix and leg I Italica. He received dona for service in the Spanish campaigns of the 170s and against the Mazices, probably while serving with leg III. The level of his award is not specified.
Maxfield 1981 113

M. Tillius Rufus after completing his 16 years' service in the ranks of the Praetorian Guard was retained as evocatus Augustus and then moved on to a series of commands at Rome. First as centurion of the XIIth Urban cohort and of cohort I of the Vigiles, followed by return to the Guard as princeps castrorum with cohort IIII Praetoriae pia vindex. After service in these three Rome centurionates, Rufus qualified, as trecenarius, for a legionary centurionate held with legio XX VV around 208 and was possibly thereafter primus pilus of leg XXII Primigenia in Germany. Rufus was decorated and raised to equestrian status by the emperors Severus and Caracalla in the 2nd Parthian war of 197 receiving the hasta pura and corona aurea apparently while princeps.
Maxfield 1981 187, 199


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