Roman legion(s) (from Latin legio "military levy, conscription", from legere "to choose") normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of up to 5,400 soldiers, originally divided into 10 maniples and later into cohorts each with 480 soldiers. Maniples or cohorts were divided into 6 centuries of 80 men each.
For most of the Roman Imperial period, the legions were a part of the Imperial army and formed its elite heavy infantry, recruited exclusively from Roman citizens (provincials who aspired to citizenship gained it when honorably discharged from the auxilia). Each legion always included a small cavalry attachment. The Roman army (for most of the Imperial period) consisted mostly of "auxiliary" cohorts, who provided additional infantry, and the vast majority of the Roman army's cavalry. Because of the enormous military successes of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, the legion has long been regarded as the prime ancient model for military efficiency and ability.
Roman Legion in Give Me Back My Legions!
In AD 9, three Roman Legions (XVII, XIIX, and XIX) under the command of the Military Governor of Germania, Publius Quinctilius Varus, was making their way through the Teutoburg Forest, their mission being to pacify the region to bring it more into the Roman Empire, when they were ambushed by Germanic tribes organized by Arminius, a man Varus had trusted.
Arminius, himself the son of the leader of the Cherusci, had rallied other German tribes to rise up against the Romans, who he feared where invading Germany. He set his warriors to building a disguised turf rampart both as a fortification and to conceal his forces. When the legions began marching past, he restrained his warriors until the vanguard had gone by. Then he ordered several cast of spears as the main body began to pass.
Thousands of spears flew, cutting down many Romans. At this location, the path had narrowed between the forest and a swamp preventing the Romans from deploying. The Germans then attacked with swords and thrusting spears cutting down individual fighters who could not form to support each other. The ranks broke, some trying to escape through the swamp others back the way they had come but were blocked by their own rear who were thrown into confusion. The Germans fell on them all and only a few survived resulting in one of the largest Roman defeats ever. Varus himself died in the battle.
Upon learning of the slaughter, Emperor Augustus screamed out, "Varus, give me back my legions!" For some time after, he would yell the phrase out, without much concern for anyone who might hear.
Roman Legion in "The Great White Way"
Two virtual Roman legions faced off during the Sondheim-Webber battle - Miles Gloriosus' command from Sondheim's Funny Forum versus the Jerusalem garrison from Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. The Sondheads triumphed, but were subsequently gunned down by a deployment of Argentinian presidential guards from Evita.
Roman Legion in Household Gods
The town of Carnuntum, close to the border with Germania, was invaded by Germanic tribes, who drove out the Roman legion stationed there. This shocked Nicole Gunther, a time-traveler in the body of a tavernkeeper, who was dismayed that the Roman Empire couldn't defend its borders properly.
The town was later liberated by the Romans, for whom Gunther was rooting. Ironically, she was later raped by a legionary. This caused her to ask the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, for compensation.
Roman Legion in Videssos
During an encounter with a Lexovii force in Gaul, three cohorts of a Roman legion was magically transported to another world when the two opposing leaders' swords touched. The Roman force and the Gaulish leader Viridovix found themselves in the Empire of Videssos. The Empire employed the Romans as a mercenary force to help defend their lands from an enemy nation, Yezd.
It quickly became apparent to the leader of the legionaries, Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, that the Empire was rife with political intrigue. With steadfast loyalty to the Emperor and a certain bull-headedness, Marcus managed to safely navigate the particularly dangerous political landscape and advance the place of himself and his men.