Late Roman Shield Patterns

Comes Illyricum

This page last modified: 27 December 2014 (Dioceses frontpiece illustration added)


The following units are listed as being under the command of the Count of Illyricum, and said to be drawn from those listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster (the numbers beside the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

102/5.92 Sagittarii Tungri (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.93 Iovii iuniores (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.94 Sequani (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.95 Reti (an auxilia palatina unit; Raeti in Seeck)
102/5.96 Sagittarii venatores (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.97 Latini (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.98 Valentinianenses felices (i.e. Felices Valentinianenses, an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.99 Honoriani victores (i.e. Honoriani victores iuniores, an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.100 Seguntienses (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.101 Tungri (an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.102 Mauri Honoriani seniores (i.e. Honoriani Mauri seniores, an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.103 Mattiarii Honoriani Gallicani (i.e. Honoriani Gallicani, an auxilia palatina unit)
102/5.104 Tertiani (i.e. Tertia Italica, a legio comitatenses unit)
102/5.105 Tertia Herculea (a legio comitatenses unit)
102/5.106 Pacatianenses (a legio comitatenses unit)
102/5.107 Mauri cetrati (a legio comitatenses unit)
102/5.108 Propugnatores iuniores (a legio comitatenses unit)
102/5.109 Lanciarii Lauriacenses (a pseudocomitatenses unit)
102/5.110 Lanciarii Comaginenses (a pseudocomitatenses unit)
102/5.111 Secunda Iulia (i.e. Secunda Iulia Alpina, a pseudocomitatenses unit)
102/5.112 Valentinianenses
102/5.113 Catarienses
Frontpiece showing 3 personified Dioceses
Above: illustration from the Parisian manuscript (P). The Count of Illyricum
does not have his own section, and thus has no accompanying frontpiece
showing any towns he has under his command. The picture above is taken
from the section pertaining to the Italian Praetorian Prefect, and shows
personifications of the three civil Dioceses he controls: Italia, Illyricum, and
and Africa. In the 4th century civil and military control of most regions was
divided between separate civil and military governors; such was the case with

Disclaimer: Remember, a lot of what comes below is speculation. Hopefully informed speculation, but speculation nonetheless. Comments welcome! (lukeuedasarson "at"

The Valentinianenses was thought by Seeck to be the Valentinianenses iuniores, an auxilia palatina unit, and otherwise unassigned; another Valentinianenses is however listed as being in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command which might also be assumed to be identical with the Valentinianenses iuniores, and it may be that this Illyrian unit is a different unit. See my discussion under the Valentinianenses iuniores for further details.

From its position, the Catarienses should be a pseudocomitatenses unit (or newly raised or transferred from an established field command) unit, and is quite possibly the same unit as the men commanded by the Tribunis cohortis Caratensis under the Dux Pannoniae primae et Norici ripensis. Such spelling mistakes are by no means uncommon in the Notitia.

The shield pattern for the Sagittarii Tungri is missing from the manuscripts. The rest of the units' patterns are illustrated below, using the appropriate patterns taken from the Parisian manuscript, save those of the Valentinianenses and Catarienses, which are also missing. Units whose patterns are presumed to be mislabelled have both the labelled pattern (with the label in quote marks) and the pattern I believe is most likely the correct pattern illustrated (with a question mark beside the supposed label).


Note that a Comes Illyricum does not appear in the western "index" of the Notitia (section 95/6), and there is no illustration showing any towns he controls, nor indeed any other indication that he exists other than the fact a Comes is recorded as controlling the above troops in Illyricum (cf. the Comes "Hispenias"). Jones believed that this is an indication that the office was a recent creation, ca. 420, but notes that commanders in Illyricum are noted before this date; and supposes that the office was abolished only to be revived.

This thesis seems rather strained. Any new Illyrican command of 420 AD would likely have featured more pseudocomitatenses units than this one does, and surely contained more units named after personages of the 5th century, rather than the 4th. The forces given above rather seem to bear the hallmarks of being the forces that took finally over Illyricum under Guneridus in 409 AD after Stilicho's death (see Burns, p 192).

If this is the case, the force would presumably still have been a new creation after the initial composition of the Notitia (Illyricum was part of the East prior to ca. 399 AD, see Burns p 177; it had been overrun by Alaric before then), put together sometime in the first decade of the 5th century. Burns argues for a force that was partially assembled as early as 402 AD, and this has some attractions. Such a force would still be expected to contain some pseudocomitatenses units, if not as many as as would be required after Gaul had been overrun in 407AD.

A pair of such units are the two lanciarii units. As the Lanciarii Lauriacenses would appear to have been a unit stationed in Lauriaco (in Pannoniae primae, see Jones, appendix II, table VII) and the Lanciarii Comaginenses a unit stationed in Comagenis, also in Pannoniae primae; and yet no units called lanciarii are listed under the Dux Pannoniae primae, this suggests to me they might have transferred out of Pannonia quite some time before the Notitia was last amended, since there had been time to delete them from the register (indeed, no infantry units of any sort are recorded as still being present at Comagenis). This would seem to be confirmed by the Seguntienses, which would appear to be a unit from Segontium (Caernarvon in Wales, Burns p 192), which interestingly is not recorded under the Dux Britanniae, even though archaeological evidence attests to the fort's occupation into the 390s (but seemingly not much later); i.e. after the Notitia was first drawn up, but not greatly so.

If the Seguntienses had come from Britain, then quite possibly the next unit did too, the Tungri (given the Roman habit of brigading units in pairs), and indeed, the Dux Britanniarum's command lists a Tribunis cohortis primae Tungrorum, stationed at Borcovicio (i.e. Vercovicium, Housesteads on Hadrian's Wall); in earlier centuries it is attested as an auxiliary cohors millaria. Hence this unit would seem to be the Tungri of the Comes Illyricum, eventually promoted to palatine status (it is a curious feature of the Notitia that no auxilia units are attested as having comitatenses status; they are all either pseudocomitatenses, or palatinae). If this force was only used in Illyricum after Stilicho's death, there would have been ample time for these units to have been promoted to palatine status, as they would have been part of the Italian (i.e. palatine) field army for the best part of a decade.

However, other units in the command also seem to have come from elsewhere. The Tertiani Italica is clearly a detachment of Legio tertia Italica under the Dux Raetiae, while the R(a)eti would appear to be either one of, or an amalgamation of several of, the various units entitled Cohors Raetorum under his command.

Legio Secunda Iulia Alpina, although not listed in any other command, is also a unit drafted in from another force - that of the defunct Comes Italiae, whose existence in the Notitia still remains in his section heading, and the space allocated in the lists for his forces, but who yet seems to control no troops, officers, or towns. As his territory is described as Alpine Italy, he obviously commanded the Prima Iulia Alpina and the Tertia Iulia Alpina as well; these two units are noted as serving in the Magister Peditum's Italian command in the Notitia.


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