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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
LEGION. This term, which means literally ‘a gathering,’ looks back to the early days of the Roman citizen army. In the time of the Empire it indicated a force of about 6000 infantry, together with complements of other arms. The infantry proper were divided into ten cohorts (the word is tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘ band ’ [wh. see] in Matthew 27:27 , Mark 15:16 , John 18:3; John 18:12 , Acts 10:1; Acts 21:31; Acts 27:1 ), each containing about 600 men, and each commanded on occasion by a military tribune. Of these tribunes there were six to a legion. A cohort was itself subdivided into ten centuries, each commanded by a centurion. It is not necessary to remember all these facts in studying the NT use of the word ‘legion’ ( Matthew 26:53 , Mark 5:9; Mark 5:15 , Luke 8:30 ). What chiefly impressed Semites was apparently the size of the legion, and ‘legion’ appears to have become a proverb among them for a large number of persons in orderly combination.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Legion'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/l/legion.html. 1909.