X Legion Aquilifer
1st Century BC
(St. Petersburg Collection 3312)
The single most important possession of a Roman legion was its AQUILA, its eagle. The eagle represented the spirit and soul of a legion and was to the legionnaires a sacred object. The gold eagle was secured in a shrine at legion headquarters and guarded. When the legion marched the aquilifer with the eagle would always be located at the head fo the legion. The aquilifer whose duty was the responsibility for the eagle was an office of the legion ranking just below a centurion. The loss of an eagle to the enemy was for a legion the ultimate disgrace and usually resulted in the elimination of that legion from the Roman Army.
To distinguish itself from the other legions, a bull emblem was selected to become the symbol of the X Legion. The bull was painted on each legionnaire's shield as well as on legion standards.