Codex Alera Wiki
Centuriom by soaresgr at deviant art

Centurion (by Soaresgr)


Based on the military machine of their ancestors in the historic Roman Empire, the Legions are Alerans’ sword and shield. They have protected the people for two thousand years, since the missing Ninth Roman Legion walked through the mists into Carna, long before Gaius Primus. They are considered by many to be the perfect fighting machine.

“For two thousand years, the Legions have stood as our sword and shield against those who would destroy us.” (FLF chapter 6)

However, the Legions have become less effective due to centuries with few serious threats, lazy overindulged High Lords and Citizenry, and political infighting. (See Roman Empire references in this series)

Required Service[]

Garrison on cover Furies of Calderon

Each Aleran must serve a “required three-year term with the Legions” (Cursor’s Fury prologue). Young men must enter at basic legionare level, as “fish” / rookies. After three years, they may strive to advance to officer level. This is required across Alera. However, one fellow, Rufus Scipio, began as an officer, third subtribune to the tribune logistica, without first serving a three-year grunt term.

“You’re going in as an officer.”
“But I haven’t even served my compulsory term. No one makes officer their first tour.” (Cursor’s Fury chapter 1)

Many Citizens ensure that their offspring serve easy terms, in quiet locations.

What’s this? Some young Citizen’s puppy thinks he’s better than us enlisted men ’cause he’s taken one turn around the rose garden with a Legion that never marched out of sight of his city?” (Cursor’s Fury ch 4)

Women also must serve a limited term, supporting the troops in various ways. Some become knights, fewer become foot soldiers/ legionares, and many provide auxiliary support, reporting to the tribune logistica working in the kitchens, the laundry, etc.

"Perhaps two hundred [of the women] had been freemen who won their Citizenship through the formal duel of the juris macto, or who had served in the Legions, mostly in service as Knights, though half a dozen had served as rank-and-file legionares, disguising their sex until after they had proven themselves in battle." (Cursor’s Fury ch 10)
"When Isana went into service in the Legion camps, Alia went with her.” (Cursor’s Fury ch 2)


Roman Legion heavy infantry

Roman Heavy Infantry

The legionares in Alera must learn to fight as a group, rather than as a master duelist. They fight as a unit. They must protect their shield-mate or neighbor in formation; they depend on each other for protection. This allows them to work more cohesively in varied formations depending on need.

  • Open or skirmishing formation
  • Assault formation
  • Speed-march formation
  • Wedge Formation or flying wedge - for cracking or breaking into an enemy
  • Square formation
  • Defense formation
  • Tortoise / testudo formation (mainly a defensive move, or when approaching a highly defended enemy wall)
  • etc.
Roman Legion Wedge Formation

Romans in Tortoise Formation


As with the Roman Empire, the backbone of a Legion is its legionares— infantrymen trained in the use of sword, spear, and bow. Eight legionares comprise a single spear. These eight men do their work together and share a tent when the Legion is in the field. In formation, they stand in a line eight ranks deep with the file leader at the head.

Centurion by Mark Zug

Centurion by Mark Zug

Ten spears form a single century — that’s 80 men. The centuries are kept in order by centurions —senior warriors, but not officers. Centurions carry a baton in addition to their standard arms, used to dress ranks, enforce general order, or to lay out an uncooperative legionare. They have easy-recognizable head gear.

There are four centuries in a cohort — 320 men, except for the Prime Cohort, which is double the size of a standard cohort. Each cohort is commanded by the senior centurion except for the Prime Cohort, which is led by the Legion's Captain, though most of the responsibility and command falls to the First Spear, the most senior centurion in the Legion. First Spears in the series are Valiar Marcus of the First Aleran and Durias of Free Alera. Every Legion has fourteen to twenty cohorts, depending upon the varying needs of each. While all Legions are heavy infantry units, most also have at least one cohort of auxiliaries—scouts and cavalry. Each Legion attempts to have a century of Knights at its disposal, referred to as a cohort for organizational purposes. The Crown Legion is the only Legion with anything approaching a cohort-sized contingent of Knights.

All told, a Legion may number anywhere from 4,000 to 6,500 legionares.

In addition to the legionares, each Legion also has a support staff which includes blacksmiths, cooks, domestics, healers, muleskinners, valets, and other necessary personnel. An engineering corp is also present in each legion, consisting mostly of powerful earthcrafters and overseeing construction of siegeworks. Some of the support staff carry a rank in the Legion, while others are simply hired help. Additionally, a Legion tends to attract a good number of camp followers—peddlers and merchants, musicians, brewers, doxies, dancers, and any other people willing to follow and do business with regularly paid legionares. Camp followers may sometimes outnumber the Legion, though typical numbers range from 3,000 to 4,000.

A sizeable chunk of the Legion followers is typically comprised of Legion families. While legionares are not legally permitted to marry, that does not stop some from forming relationships and families. Many of the unofficial wives (and their all-too-officially-illegitimate children) follow the Legion until their husband completes his term and may legally marry.

Legion Ranks & Knights[]

"Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, descended to the Calderon Valley upon a winged steed of pure fire. Around him flew a full Legion of Knights Aeris, five thousand strong, and the Royal Guard in their scarlet capes, Knights Ferro and Ignus, Knights Aqua and Terra and Knights Fauna, all of them of ancient high blood. Trumpets announced their arrival, and despite the vast numbers of men aloft, the air hardly seemed to stir." (Furies of Calderon ch 47) (in sequels, it is ferrous and flora, not ferro and fauna)

In order, from lowest rank to highest:

  • Legionare: Standard infantryman of a Legion.
  • Centurion: A centurion is a singular soldier in command of a century of legionares within a Legion.
  • Knights: Talented crafters, used as elite troops and tasks requiring their respective discipline.
    • Knight Ignus: Firecrafters, used for large scale attacks on massed enemies.
    • Knight Terra: Earthcrafters, wielding massive weapons with fury-enhanced strength. Used as shock troops.
    • Knight Ferrous: Metalcrafters, used as line soldiers as well as elite or shock troops.
    • Knight Flora: Woodcrafters, used as scouts, rangers and long-range archers. During sieges teamed with a Legionare shield carrier for protection
    • Knight Aeris: Windcrafters, used as aerial forces, messengers, and troop transport via windcoach.
    • Knight Aqua: (designation used in book 1) Watercrafters serve as water engineers and as healers in the legions, as with Tribune Medica Foss in the First Aleran Legion, and Healer Harger at Garrison - "a grizzled old man dressed in a civilian tunic, but with the bearing and mien of a soldier" (FoC chapter 29)
Knights by Fury
  • First Spear: Commanding centurion of the Prime Cohort.
  • Subtribune: Assitant to a Tribune.
  • Tribune: Commanding officer of a single area of the Legion.
    • Knight Tribune: Commands the Legion's Knights.
    • Legion Tribune: Assists the Captain in command of the Legion.
    • Tribune Auxiliaris: Commands the scout and cavalry units.
    • Tribune Tactica: Oversees the organization of fighting units during an engagement.
    • Tribune Medica: Commands the Legion's healers, and is usually a watercrafter of high skill.
    • Tribune Logistica: Manages the Legion's supplies and resources.
    • Tribune Strategica: Oversees long-term strategies of the Legion.
  • Captain: Commander of the Legion.
  • High Lord (of city-state legions): overall commander in chief

Legions Roster[]

Crown & Imperian Legions[]

Crown Legion, House of Gaius Banner
“Gaius is sending Second Imperian to aid them.” (Cursor’s Fury epilogue)
"a space opened between the single surviving Imperian Legion and the First Legion of Aquitaine." (FLF ch 18)

First Aleran Legions[]

Battle Crows banner First Aleran

Battle Crows Flag, First Aleran

High Lord’s Legions[]

Antillus Flag

Each city/province is allowed by law to field three legions, under the command of its respective High Lord. A Civic legion keeps law and order in each city.

Legion by Dusan Markovic

art by Dusan Markovic

Other Legions[]

  • First, Second Senatorial (formed just prior to Captain's Fury), initially led by Senator Arnos
  • The partial legion at Garrison in the Calderon Valley is considered under the purview of High Lord Rivus Grantus at Riva but is more directly managed by the Count in residence at Garrison (first Count Gram, then Count Calderonus Bernard
  • Legion Aeris — Knights Aeris, formed by Aquitainus Attis during the Vord War and existing parallel to the normal legion command structure when needed).
  • Free Aleran - with First Spear Centurion Durias, a former slave. This legion was formed between the events of Cursor's Fury and Captain's Fury). Under advisement by Nasaug of the Canim warrior caste, this legion is formed of freemen and slaves. Castigated as traitors by the duplicitous Senator Arnos and others, it later gains legitimacy as a full fledged legion working in tandem with Canim warriors and the First Aleran legion to battle the Vord.