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 The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it.   The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it. - Page 2 EmptyTue Jul 02, 2019 12:52 am

For people interested in more lore, here is a great write-up on the legion by Cormag778.

“I’ll preface this by saying this is going to be a long post. One of the most common questions this sub sees concerns Caesar’s Legion from Fallout New Vegas, generally along the lines of “what’s the deal with the Legion” or “Why the hell would anyone join the Legion?” So, because I think Caesar’s Legion is one of the most interesting factions (and because I’m incredibly bored at work) I figured I’d give a quick writeup of the history, structure, and philosophy of the Legion. Most lore veterans/fans of the Legion will already know this info, but it should do a good job for people who are new to the series or just haven’t explored the background of the setting. I’m going to go lighter on the history (I’m not going to explain the exact timeline of the Legion such as when they inducted specific tribes), nor am I going to mention how the Legion interacted with specific figures (such as Ulysses or Boone) unless it helps explain the legion structure and culture. This will obviously be spoiler laden. I should also point out that I do not personally thing the legion is a morally good faction, but will try to explain their motives (In other words, I’ll try to explain their philosophy and politics in the way they see it. Don’t take my language as an endorsement of it) [Edit: The comments have some very good discussions on why Caesar's stated goals are hypocritical or failures. I didn't dive into it in the OP, but its worth taking a look at] . In addition, I’m not going to footnote every single piece of evidence I’m using to write this because that would take quite some time and elsewhere isn’t great for citing individual quotes. If something seems fishy here, ask for clarification and I’ll provide the quote. With that said, lets get started.

It’s first important to note that Fallout Vegas was famously rushed to market, and as a result a LOT of content was cut. No one was hurt more than the Legion in this. For a major faction, there are surprisingly few side quests you can really do for them (seriously, compare NCR related quests to Legion ones). But, because this is the lore sub, I’ll be using some of the information provided by JE Sawyer, one of the lead designers on FNV, where he fleshes out some of the Legion. The downside to this is that most of the lore we get from the Legion comes through dialogue and not visuals. The result is that some speculation is required. I’ll try to mark obvious speculation and justify why it makes sense (I’m not going to do rampant speculation, just minor pieces to better explain certain actions).


“Decades of warfare, absorbing lesser tribes, gathering power. Forging the dross into a vast, razor-sharp scythe. My Legion's expansion has never ceased. Much of the Utah and Colorado, and all of Arizona and New Mexico, are mine. We have cities of our own, but nothing compared to Vegas. Finally, my Legion will have its Rome” - Caesar

In 2246 (35 years before the events of FNV) the Followers of the Apocalypse send a team of 9 scientists to Arizona to study the language of the tribes. Along the way, they are joined by a New Canaan missionary who knows the languages of the region. Of these 10 men, two are important: The future Caesar, Edward Sallow, and the man who would become his first Legate, the New Cannanite missionary Joshua Graham. While in Arizona, this group was captured by the Blackfoot tribe, one of the many tribal communities in Arizona, due to an error in translation between the Followers and Blackfoots. While most Followers would have been content to wait for to be free, Edward Sallow was different. An egotistical but vain man, Sallow had studied Ancient Rome, reading The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars. These two books are influential in understanding how the Legion would evolve. The Decline and Fall of Romeargues that Rome fell because it lost the spirit of self service. It claims that Rome was strong because citizens were willing to sacrifice themselves for the common good, and the elite aligned their interests with that of the Empire. When the citizens became weak and self-interested, Rome fell to the stronger barbarians. This will be discussed further below, but it is sufficient to say that Sallow saw parallels between the fall of Rome and the destruction of the Old World. The Gallic Warswould influence the Legion’s fighting style, overall aesthetic, and create the mythos of Caesar.

Sallow, having been captured, recognized that the Blackfoot were a militarily weak tribe. Seeing an opportunity to put his knowledge to use, he offered to train the Blackfoot in advanced warfare tactics. He taught them military tactics, weapon maintenance, explosives, and small unit tactics. But most importantly, he taught them the concept of total war. Prior to Sallow, the tribals engaged in mostly skirmish warfare. The tribals were, in Caesar’s words, “playing at war,” they may have fought over resources, land, or honor, but they did not fight to conquer the other tribes. Sallow decided to change this. Sallow didn’t just wage war, he destroyed an assimilated the other tribes. This led to the Blackfoots promoting Sallow to the head of the tribe in recognition for what he had done for the Blackfoots. Sallow continued to conquer other tribes and absorb them into his new war machine. Each conquered tribe’s culture was destroyed, and the survivors integrated into a new structure and culture. As far as I’m aware, there is no definitive date for when the Blackfoots fully morphed into Caesar’s Legion, but it occurs during this time. By 2271 (10 years prior to New Vegas), Caesar had conquered 86 tribes; no longer were there Blackfoots, Fredonians, no Twisted Hairs – There stood only Caesar’s Legion. His territory covered most of the land East of the Colorado river, controlling all of Arizona and much of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. During this time Caesar had created a new religion, The Cult Of Mars, that taught that Caesar was semi-divine being and that the Old World had been destroyed to allow him to conquer it and forge a new, stronger, world. He also established a temporary capital in Flagstaff. Armed with an army of zealous and fully indoctrinated tribals, The man now known only as Caesar set out to forge a brave new world.

But, Caesar was not content to be just a warlord, he desired something more. He wanted to rebuild the world, and his Legion, into a new paradigm for humanity. This will be discussed in more depth in the philosophy section, but to accomplish this goal Caesar needed a great rival; something that could challenge – and change – the legion through combat. He found that in 2277 when legion forces first encountered the NCR along the Colorado river.

The NCR offered the perfect rival to Caesar. It was a Carthage to his Rome: Where the Legion embraced a new world, the NCR clung to the old institutions. The Legion believed in self-sacrifice and servitude, the NCR prided itself on its individualism and freedoms. To Caesar, defeating the NCR was more than just a conquest of territory, it would be utter proof that his ideals were stronger than that of the Old World. Caesar had finally found the forge to craft his Legion into something new.

But this conquest would not be easy. Caesar recognized that, to defeat the NCR, the Legion would need to evolve past just being a collection of tribal slaves, he would need a capitol that had the culture and infrastructure needed to grow the Legion into something more. New Vegas offered that opportunity.

This brings us to the events that are made more readily apparent in the game.

In 2277, The Legion launched an attack against Hoover Dam. While initially successful, the superior tactics of the NCR rangers were able to defeat the Legion. Rangers units like the 1st Recon prioritized Legion Officers, throwing Legion units into disarray. They used this confusion and innate aggression of the legionnaires and lured the bulk of Legion forces into the the heavily mined Boulder City. Once the Legion was sufficiently trapped in Boulder, the NCR brought the city down, destroying any remaining combat effectiveness of the Legion. Caesar pulled back across the River with the survivors and executed his Legate, Joshua Graham, for his failures. Not only did Caesar show that failure would not be tolerated by anyone, he also removed his last connection to his old life; for Joshua Graham was not just his Legate, he was one of the original 9 Followers of the Apocalypse and the closest thing Edward Sallow had to a friend. While Joshua Graham burned, so did the memory of Edward sallow. In the four years between the First Battle for Hoover Dam and the start of New Vegas, Caesar has not launched another major campaign since. However, his spies have infiltrated across the Mojave and he has established a small beachhead at Camp Cove. He now waits for the opportunity to capitalize on the ever weakening NCR. While the Courier be that catalyst?

Legion Culture and Structure

“My Legion obeys me, even unto death. Why? Because they live to serve the greater good, and they know of no alternatives” - Caesar

To understand the legion philosophy, we first have to understand the Legion’s structure. Broadly, the Legion can be divided into two groups: the members of the Legion and the subjects of the legion.* This portion covers the Legion itself.

*There’s some argument over what to call the people living under the Legion’s rule. Some people would consider them slaves, some would call them subjects. I’m calling them subjects and I’ll explain why in the appropriate section.

Every single member of the Legion (with the presumed exception of Joshua Graham when he was Legate as he predated the “Legion”), are considered property of Caesar. This is the bedrock that the entire Legion is built on; whether you are a centurion, a recruit, or one of the many hunchbacked supply slaves, you are all equally worthless to Caesar. A Centurion may have more benefits than a recruit, but he is only better insofar as he has the experience and intelligence to serve Caesar well. If he were to fail, he is equally likely to end up on the Crucifix as any other Legion soldier. But where do these slaves come from?

Defeated and forced to integrate under the standards of the Great Bull, the 86 tribes conquered by Caesar all serve on Caesar’s behest. The survivors of the conquered tribes were re-educated to believe that the world is Caesar’s birthright (if a demigod such as Caesar can ever truly be “born” that is) and their children are indoctrinated from birth to utterly knowt hat the only meaning in their lives are to fulfill Caesar’s destiny. They recognize that they are but tools in Caesar’s hands, and all tools serve an optimal purpose. Every able-bodied male of the Legion becomes a Legionnaire. They are trained to be strong, self-reliant, tough, willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, and (most importantly) utterly fanatical. The discipline and physical prowess of even a base legionnaire is on par with a Ranger from the NCR (note this is reflected in dialogue and not actual in game stat lines for balance purposes). This gives the Legion an incredible edge over the under supplied and poorly trained NCR troopers, many of whom are conscripted to begin with. An NCR recruit who’s been dragged away from his farm in New Reno might panic at the sight of a legion assault, but a legionnaire will gladly charge a machine gun line with little more than his machete if ordered to.

After all, his only point in life is to serve Caesar and the Centurion is simply carrying out Caesar’s will. This is the role of the men, but what of the women?

We are constantly told that Legion is misogynistic, and to an extent this is true, women are seen as the lowest of the slaves and even women outside the Legion structure (a female Courier) will not be allowed to fight in the legion arena. But, it is important to stress that Caesar views women in this way, not necessarily because he is a misogynist himself (Sawyer stresses in his forumspring discussions that Caesar himself never suggests women are inferior to men in any dialogue), but because he views them as serving a more important roll as support staff. They’re the cooks, medics, sex slaves, and most importantly wives of the Legion. Their purpose is to both maintain the current Legion and raise more fodder for Caesar, and that is something that only they can do. This is also why homosexuality is banned in the Legion. Sex serves to create more soldiers and every legionnaire who sleeps with another man is two legionnaires who aren’t procreating. In short, women are absolutely slaves who are abused, but so are the men of the legion. Men may have more prestige, but it certainly doesn’t make the situation much better. As Sawyer said “If you want to weigh the individual horror of rape and forced child-bearing against forced military service for life, knock yourself out. It's two terrible ways to go through life.”

Lastly, the Legion emphasizes the idea of self-reliance and toughness. Ambient dialogue at the Fort with the youth legionnaires tells us that they’re trained to not seek help and to endure through the hardships. This is commonly reflected in their weaponry throughout the game. Despite what many people seem to believe, Caesar isn’t some luddite who thinks all technology is evil. Instead, Caesar sees technology as a crutch – a way to make life easier and survive it when you otherwise wouldn’t. Technology, in Caesar’s eyes, is what let weak minded men destroy the world ~200 years prior. Caesar is absolutely for technology, but only when one has proven oneself in being able to survive without the technology. Its why Legion recruits tend to carry Machetes while Legion Centurions wield some of the best weaponry in the game (including high end energy weapons). Its also why Caesar has no problem using an auto doc, why his Praetorian guard use powerfists, and why Caesar’s Frumentarii are arranging deals with energy weapon dealing family the Van Graffs. To Caesar, the NCR is weak because the average conscript’s gun affords him the right to be weak. Few in the NCR would survive if they had no ammo or if they ran out of provided rations and supplies (coincidentally, these are the exactproblems that the NCR supply officers complain about in game), while the Legion would be able to scrounge and continue to operate effectively.

Life Under Caesar

***“***Hell, I don't even need to travel with guards most of the time in Legion territory. All the bandits are dead or run off.” – Dale Barton, Merchant at The Fort.

This brings us to the second group, the subjects. I should note that most of our information on this comes from JE Sawyer. Sawyer notes that not all people in Legion territory are inducted to the Legion. Settlements and non-tribals seem to become subjects of the Legion. (if you are confused about the distinction between tribals and non-tribals, I’ve taken a stab at it here). We’re told that they have it decently well off. The lands are incredibly safe (traders are said to be able to cross legion territory without a guard and Raul mentions how dangerous Arizona was before the Legion arrived) and living standards aren’t terrible. They likely have to pay a high tithe to support their Legion overlords, but the fundamental differences between a Legion tithe and the NCR tax system is little more than semantics (Indeed, the trader in Caesar’s camp mentions that Taxes are lower in the Legion lands). In addition, it is made clear that the subjects of the Legion don’t have access to many basic rights (I can’t imagine Caesar would be happy with civilians criticizing his methods) and Legion control is absolute (if the Legion says jump, you jump without asking any question). But there does seem to be at least some concept of private property for the average subject (note, the possession of individual property is why I consider them subjects rather than slaves). We know that the legion produces currency that is used by traders and, presumably, the civilian population), and currency is predicated on the idea that you have the right to own and give away your property. Likewise, subjects are given receipts after some transaction (Jeanie May Crawford has a bill of sale for Boone’s wife) and there even seems to be some sort of bureaucracy to deal with the slave trade (the receipt that Jeanie holds is issued by the Consul Officiorum ab Famulatus – The Leader of the Office of Slaves). In short, legion subjects have it relatively good. JE Sawyer has made it clear that, had they had time to implement Legion territory properly, we would have seen people who felt safe, secure, and in little danger of anything but the Legion.

Philosophy of the Legion.

" Thesis and antithesis. The Colorado River is my Rubicon. The NCR council will be eradicated, but the new synthesis will change the Legion as well, from a basically nomadic army to a standing military force that protects its citizens and the power of its dictator- Caesar

Of all the figures in New Vegas, Caesar is arguably the most interesting. While I feel like I’ve already done a decent job of painting a picture of what Caesar’s end goals are, I haven’t really explained why. Lets start with his biggest (and, if judging by posts on this form are anything to go by) least understood traits. His belief in the Dialectical method. This is oversimplifying it to a massive degree, but broadly Hegel’s Dialectical method postulates that any idea or subject (the thesis) has a direct and opposed opposite (the antithesis). When these two things meet eachother, they clash in such a way that something new and utterly unique emerges (synthesis). This new thing may borrow traits from the thesis and antithesis, but the synthesis is not reliant on it and is often stronger than its constituent parts. To use an imperfect example: The Antithesis of Light is Darkness, so when light and darkness meet and clash, they form something new, such as twilight. To describe that special feeling and appearance of twilight in terms of purely darkness or light would miss the intrinsic characteristic of twilight, and thus it is something entirely new.

So, back to Caesar. As hinted at earlier. Caesar sees the world in terms of Dialectics. He recognizes that the existence of the Legion must necessitate that it has an Antithesis somewhere, and he believes the NCR represents that. Everything that the Legion is, the NCR isn’t. For instance, the Legion is defined by its sole ruler Caesar, while the NCR’s democracy is defined by its ability to exist despite a changing of leadership. While Caesar erases or severely curtails the rights of his subjects, the NCR guarantees it. While the Legion is predominately based on pursuing War and is founded on the backs of tribals, the NCR prides itself on providing peace and “civilization” to its citizens. Most importantly, while Caesar sees the need for a completely new World order and paradigm, the NCR is content with trying to revive the structure of the Old World.

Caesar sees a problem with both his structure and the NCR’s. He recognizes that the Legion is little more than tribal warlords united around a singular and ephemeral figure (himself) and that, in its current state, it could not stand the test of time. He realizes that the Legion isn't a culture or faction, but a wandering army conquering and assimilating everything in its path. While its brutality offers protection to those who live under it, it offers no trappings of the state - no internal security or concept of belonging. Caesar knows that, in its current state, the Legion are nothing more than conquerors and wishes to transform the Legion into an Empire with genuine rulers. Likewise, he looks to the NCR and sees the revification of the Old World – the same world that killed itself through greed, selfishness, and moral bankruptcy. It’s critical to understanding Caesar that he believes the Old World died out specifically because no one had a paradigm to strive for, no common good that united everyone. With nothing to unite people, they turned to pursing their own needs. He sees the same thing in the NCR: Kimball pursues an untenable War in New Vegas because it makes him look strong, Oliver sacrifices Rangers in order to pull off “heroic” victories, Brahmin Barons force the poor off their land. Caesar things that an ascendant NCR will only, in the long run, doom the world again. Caesar therefore believes something new is needed; something that combines the raw selflessness, physical toughness, self-reliance, and endurance of his Legion with the lofty goals, resources, drive, and political power of the NCR. This synthesis would be stronger than either of the former and could actually be strong enough to not only survive this brave new world, but actually thrive in it.

Hoover Dam represents this synthesis. By defeating the NCR, Caesar believes the Legion can learn – and grow – from their enemy. And where better represents this place than a city that, more than any others, was preserved from the old world and represents all of the old world vices. An old world city ruled by New World men. Caesar believes the conquest of New Vegas will finally give his Empire a worthy Capitol and the Legion can transition from being a slave army with the trappings of culture into an actual civilization.

So Why does the Legion Matter?

I don’t mean in terms of gameplay, that’s obvious. It gives a clean enemy that motivates the entire story. But rather why what they represent matters. In Fallout New Vegas, there are basically three major factions to choose from (I’m ignoring the independent ending, since what you believe the independent ending represents is influenced by your interpretation of the Courier): House, the NCR, or the Legion. And each one stands for different things.

The NCR: Represents the rebirth of the old world. They’re a striving, functional democracy filled with basically well intentioned people. However, the lore repeatedly mentions they’re already falling into the traps of the old world: there is a large wealth divide, politics are corrupt and beholden to special interests, and a lot of soldiers are dying far away from home to bolster a politician’s popularity. Siding with them represents the idea of America being reborn, with all the benefits and negatives that entails.

House: Represents the idea that humanity needs to be ruled over. A House ending has House become a near god figure over Humanity: He’s smarter than nearly every other human alive, can be anywhere his securitron army is, and sees humans as little more than tools to accomplish that goal. He has no lofty ambitions to rebuild the world or improve the lives of his subjects, a resurgent New Vegas becomes simply a safe haven in a dangerous world. A place where people can spend their caps and drink their cares away freely and safely. But safe havens require order, and order requires control. House’s New Vegas is just like his snowglobes; safe, perfectly encapsulated, and never changing. Siding with House represents the pursuit of status and wealth. The Courier may be House’s most trusted agent, but the only thing separating you from a securitron is your independence (and your ability to climb tall stairs). Yes, you may retire rich and wealthy, but you’ll die as one of the nameless rich of New Vegas and your life will have meant little in the grand history of humanity. If the NCR represents the political ideals of the old world, House represents the pursuit of selfish individualism. Edit: Thanks u/SergeshD123 for reminding me that House's end goal is to colonize another planet and give up on the earth. I'm not sure the extent it changes the above. House's success is still predicated on the idea that humanity needs to be ruled and shepherded. A new planet would give him the opportunity to guide humanity exactly how he sees fit and shape it in the " Firm ... hands of a technological and economic visionary." And while Caesar acknowledges he's a dictator and warmonger and believes he will change with his Legion, House dismisses any and all criticisms that he might succumb to corruption. When you ask who's to keep check on him, he says "My judgement" and claims he is "impervious to such corrupting ambitions." For a figure who claims to not want to be a messiah, he certainly positions himself as infallible.

Legion: Which brings us to the Legion, whereas the former factions represent a return to the old world in some form or another, the Legion rejects it to try and build a new one. The values of the old world destroyed it, and so a new value system should be created. At first glance, it is one that values strength, toughness, and willing to sacrifice for the greater good. But it also strives for something more. Caesar is fighting the NCR not just because it is there, but because he believes that the clash of cultures will create something greater than the parts. One that combines the old worlds “high culture” and civility with the savagery needed to survive in the new World. We are constantly told that, despite the Legion’s inferior numbers and technology, they’re slowly winning because they have the will to fight while the conscripted NCR troops do not. In addition, their brutality has created a surprisingly prosperous territory where trade can flow freely and most subjects of the Legion have little to fear. They are undoubtably a fascist army of thugs, but their success poses the question: are harsh people needed for this harsh new world?

This is why I find the Legion such an interesting faction, they represent the new way of the world and act as a dichotomy to all the other factions: While House and the NCR defend, the Legion attacks. While they represent the old world, the Legion represents a possible new one. Caesar’s grand vision of the future is a harsh one, but it is one that he genuinely believes will elevate humanity to a state where they are not just surviving but also thriving. The NCR, while their ambitions and beliefs are high minded, struggle outside of California: there is a constant shortage of supplies, conscripted troops die on behalf of Oliver’s ego, civilians are constantly under threat of raiders or other outlaws (the powder ganger and the fiends are prime examples). Meanwhile, the Legion territories are safe, secure, and otherwise prospering. It isn’t just a question of freedom vs security, but whether political freedom can truly exist in a world where giant scorpions, packs of poisonous tarantula wasps, and fire breathing geckos are the norm. Caesar wants to build a new order that takes the best of the old World and fuse it with the realities of the new.

I can’t stress this enough, Caesar says multiple times he does not like the current status of the Legion, but believes that once they can seize a capitol worthy of the Legion (New Vegas) they can transition from being brutal conquerors to harsh, but just, rulers. Of course, there is an irony in this. Caesar’s thesis and antithesis statement is reflected in the paradox of the legion. Caesar wants to build a new culture where people can embrace a new way of life, but to do that he needs unthinking fanatics who would die for the leader. Until New Vegas is conquered, Caesar is the Legion. Without him, there is no higher ideology to keep the legion together. Or, to put it in other terms, the NCR soldiers will cry out “for the NCR” while Legionaries will cry out “for Caesar” Caesar wants to rebuild Rome, but he’s the only architect, everyone else is merely a worker. If the architect dies, so too does Rome.


In short, the Legion is certainly the “evil” faction in Fallout New Vegas, due to both their general severe nature and because the content that would have explicitly showed the “upside” to legion rule ended up being cut. But, they’re more than just the cartoon bad guys (as I would argue the Enclave is), they have a unique culture, and Caesar does not see himself as just another warlord. Of all the factions, they’re the only one that I find goes beyond rehashing old tropes Whether you agree or disagree with the Legion’s motives is ultimately up to you, but I certainly hope this has at least inspired a deeper recognition of what the Legion is beyond “misogynist slavers who wear football gear for some reason.” “

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The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it. - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it.   The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it. - Page 2 EmptyTue Jul 02, 2019 10:38 am

@Destroyiin This breakdown of Legion culture was excellent.

Based off of Cormag's writings, I'd be interested to read either him or J Sawyer to theorize what a post FNV Legion would look like if they had won the Battle of Hoover Dam.

His theory of them transitioning from the nomadic army that they are to a standing civilization is interesting and I'd love to see the theory expanded upon.

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PostSubject: Re: The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it.   The Legion are fascists, let's discuss it. - Page 2 EmptyWed Jul 03, 2019 3:42 am

Caesar did nothing wrong

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