Legio XV Primigenia was originally levied by the emperor Caligula in 39 AD, for the germanic campaigns. The legion was stationed in the Rhine frontier until 70 AD, when it was destroyed during the Batavian rebellion with the Legio V Alaudae. The cognomen Primigenia is derived from the goddess Fortuna.

After the first campaigns, XV Primigenia was stationed in Mainz. In 43 AD, the redeployment of units following the Roman invasion of Britain leads the XV Primigenia to Xanten, in a camp shared with the V Alaudae. In 47 both legions were involved in the war against the Frisians and in the constrution of the Corbulo’s canal in the Rhine.

During the year of the four emperors XV Primigenia and the other german border legions supported the claim of Vitellius to the throne, first against Galba and afterwards against Otho. When Vespasian is finally acclaimed undisputed emperor, the legions XV Primigenia and V Alaudae return to the Xanten camp, where the Batavian rebellion was already on the loose.

Both legions are besieged in their winter camp in 69 AD by a rebel army commanded by Civilis. They finally surrender in 70 by hunger and leave the camp orderly with promises of safe conduct. But the rebels chase the legions and kill the surviving legionaries. After this disaster, neither the XV Primigenia or the V Alaudae were ever reconstituted.

See also: List of Roman legions, Roman legion