a Gaulish word, the prototype of the modern French
denoting a small crested bird of the lark kind,
which the Latins in allusion to its tuft denominated Galerita.
The name alauda
bestowed by Julius Caesar on a legion of picked men, which he raised at his
own expense among the inhabitants of Transalpine Gaul, about the year B.C.
55, not, as erroneously asserted by Gibbon, during the civil war; which he
equipped and disciplined after the Roman fashion; and on which, in a body,
he at a subsequent period bestowed the freedom of the state. This seems to
have been the first example of a regular Roman legion levied in a foreign
country and composed of barbarians. The designation was, in all probability,
applied from a plume upon the helmet resembling the “apex” of
the bird in question, or from the general shape and appearance of the
head-piece. Cicero in a letter to Atticus, written in B.C. 44, states that
he had received intelligence that Antonius was marching upon the city
“cum legione alaudarum” (ad Att.
from the Philippics we learn that by the Lex Judiciaria of Antonius even the
common soldiers of this corps (Alaudae--manipulares ex
) were privileged to act as judices upon
criminal trials, and enrolled along with the veterans in the third decuria
of judices, avowedly, if we can trust the orator, that the framer of the law
and his friends might have functionaries in the courts of justice upon whose
support they could depend (Phil.
That the legion Alauda was numbered V. is proved by several inscriptions, one
of them belonging to the age of Domitian in honour of a certain Cn.
Domitius, who among many other titles is styled TRIB.
MIL. LEG. V. ALAUDAE. It had however disappeared from the army list
in the time of Dio Cassius,--that is, in the early part of the third
century; for the historian, when giving a catalogue of such of the
twenty-three or twenty-five legions which formed the establishment of
Augustus, as existed when he wrote, makes no mention of any fifth legion
except the Quinta Macedonica.
24; Caesar, B.C.
1.39; Plin. Nat. 11.121
; Cic. Phil. 5.5 § 12
§ 3, 18 § 37; Gruter,
Corp. Inscrip. Lat.
CCCCIII. 1, DXLIV. 2,
DXLIX. 4, DLIX. 7;
Orelli, Inscr. Lat.