Late Roman Shield Patterns

Dux Valeriae ripensis

This page created 26 December 2002, and last modified: 2 January 2015 (commentary about lack of civilian officers added)


Frontpiece showing towns
Above: Frontpiece from the Bodleian manuscript, O.
The stations depicted are: Solue, Intercisa, Nuncinercisa,
Conradcuha, Altino,
Odiabo, Crumero, Solua, Ad Herculem, Cirpi,
Constantia, Campona, Matrice, Vetusalina, Intercisa,
Adnamantia, Lussonio, Ripalta, Ad Statuas, Florentia.

Frontpiece showing forts
Above: Frontpiece from the Parisian manuscript, P.

The following units and officers along with their men are listed as being under the command of the Duke of riverine Valeria (i.e. central Hungary; the numbers beside the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

143.2 Cuneus equitum scutatorum, at Solue
143.3 Cuneus equitum Dalmatarum, at Intercisa
143.4 Cuneus equitum Constantianorum, at Lusiono, now at Intercisa
143.5 Cuneus equitum stablesianorum, at Ripa Alta, now at Conradcuha
143.6 Cuneus equitum Fortensium, at Altino
143.7 Equites Dalmatae, at Odiabo
143.8 Equites promoti, at Crumero
143.9 Equites Mauri, at Solua
143.10 Equites Dalmatae, at Ad Herculem
143.11 Equites Dalmatae, at Cirpi
143.12 Equites Dalmatae, at Constantiae
143.13 Equites Dalmatae, at Campona
143.14 Equites promoti, at Matrice
143.15 Equites Dalmatae, at Vetusalinae
143.16 Equites sagittarii, at Intercisa
143.17 Equites Dalmatae, at Adnamantia
143.18 Equites Dalmatae, at Lussonio
143.19 Equites Dalmatae, at Ripa Alta
143.20 Equites Dalmatae, at Ad Statuas
143.21 Equites Dalmatae, at Florentiae
143.22 Equites sagittarii, at Altino, and now in the town opposite Florentia
143.23 Equites Flavianenses, at Militare
143.24 Auxilia Herculentia, at Herculem
143.25 Auxilia Ursarentia, at Pone Navata, now at Ad Statuas
143.26 Auxilia vigilum, contra Acincotras in barbarico (i.e. in the frontier, opposite Acinco)
143.27 Auxilia Fortensia, at Cirpe
143.28 Auxilia insidiatorum, at Cardabiaca
143.29 Praefectus legionis primae adiutricis cohortis quintae partis superioris, at Bregtione
143.30 Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis cohortis partis superioris, at Aliscae
143.31 Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis partis inferioris, at Florentiae
143.32 Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis tertiae partis superioris, at Acinco
143.33 Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis, in the fort opposite Tautantum
143.34 Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis, at Cirpi
143.35 Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis, at Lussonio
143.36 Praefectus classis Histricae, at Florentiae
143.37 Tribunus cohortis (no unit name given), at Vincentiae
143.38 Tribunus cohortis (no unit name given), at Quadriborgio
143.39 Tribunus cohortis (no unit name given), at Iovia
143.40 Tribunus cohortis (no unit name given), at borgum Centenarium
143.41 Tribunus cohortis (no unit name given), at Alescae
143.42 Tribunus cohortis (no unit name given), at Marinanae
143.43 Praefectus legionis (no unit number or name given), at Transiacinco
Frontpiece showing towns
Above: Frontpiece from the Munich manuscript, M.
The imagery is typical of the mid-16th century Germany.

Frontpiece showing forts
Above: Frontpiece from the Munich manuscript, W.
See below for a discussion.

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

Unlike all the other provinces mentioned in the Notitia, Valeria ripensis does not appear to have a civil governor. The province is listed (85/6.42) as being one of twelve provinces in the west that has an associated Duke (Dux), but there is no corresponding entry for the province under the list of the provinces controlled by the Italian Praetorian Prefect, who is in charge of the civilian Diocese of Illyricum, and which would otherwise cover the geographical area concerned. The Duke himself is likewise listed (98/9.13) as being under the control of the Magister Peditum, but there are no civilian officers (e.g. Procurators of weaving houses or mints) listed as being in the province. One of the western fabricae (military manufacturing arsenals) is listed (107.16) as being Acinensis scutarie, i.e. located at Acincum, and manufacturing shields; but it comes under the control of the western Magister Officiorum, who is not a civilian officer.

Note that in his 1876 edition, Seeck added (OC.XXXIII.52) a "quintae" between cohortis and partis superioris for the detachment of Legio II Adiutrix stationed at Aliscae, and bracketed (OC.XXXIII.54) the "tertia" in the attachment of Legio II Adiutrix stationed at Acinco for deletion. I do not know why he thought these amendments were desirable or necessary.

The Auxilia insidiatorum would appear to be the Insidatores listed under the Magister Equitum's Gallic command; since they are not listed under the Magister Peditum's infantry roster, they are otherwise unattested. There is an outside chance the Auxilia Ursarensia may similarly be the Gallic command's Cursarienses iuniores, see the Magister Equitum's Gallic command for a discussion.

The men under the Praefectus legionis primae adiutricis are clearly the Legio I Adiutrix Pia Fedelis bis constans, and those under the Praefectus legionis secundae adiutricis the Legio II Adiutrix Pia Fedilis. The name and number of the last legionary detachment is not given, though it is given a station: Transiacinco (i.e. opposite Acinco). It may simply be another detachment of one of the other two, no doubt the first, since while it is listed above as being in part (five cohorts' worth) stationed at Bregtione (i.e. Brigetio, the Komarom-Szony of modern Hungary), the whereabouts of the other part is not otherwise mentioned. This legion was still stationed in Brigetio in the mid 5th century, well after the Nottia was last modified. Note however that the building activities of a detachment from Legio I Martiorum is attested epigraphically (RIU 771 = AE 1999, 1264; RIU 804; AE 2000, 1223, image here) in Valeria from the early 370s; the latter two of these records come from Visegrad (i.e. Aquincum/Acinco) in particular.

Like some other Danubian provinces, the legions in Valeria are split between up-river ("superioris") and down-river ("inferioris") sections; however, unlike those in neighbouring Pannonia, those in Valeria appear to be intact (assuming the un-named detachment at Transiacinco is the inferioris part of Legio I Adiutrix, that is). Nonetheless, some units were withdrawn from Valeria before the Notitia was compiled: inscriptional evidence (RIU 5, 1205, image here) attests the presence of a n eqq scut (numerus equitum scutariorum) at Intercisa (modern Dunaujvaros in central Hungary), but not in the Notitia, and likewise (CIL 3, 3370 = RIU 6, 1365, image here) a militum Histricorum from Aquincum (modern Budapest).

Aurelius Surus
Picture (c) of Ken Grubb, taken from, and used with kind permission.
Note that several of the entries in the troop list for the province are amended with an entry starting nunc ("now at"), which clearly derives from after the time the list was first compiled, e.g. the Cuneus equitum Constantianorum, Lusiono, nunc Intercisa. Exactly when these amendments were made is unknown, however: see Peter Kovacs, The late Roman army in Pannonia (2004), available here.

There is an infantry unit of some description called the Acincenses listed under the Magister Equitum's Gallic command that is not in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster, and whose name clearly derives from Acinco (i.e. Aquincum; modern Visegrad). This may ultimately be derived from either Legio I or II Adiutrix, probably via the command of the Dux Mogontiacensis, which lists a Praefectus militum Acincensium; however, a reposting of the Auxilia vigilum is also a possibility.

To the left is the grave stele of one Aurelius Surus, found in Istanbul, and now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum; he is described in the accompanying inscription (AE 1976, 642) as being a former bucinator (trumpeter) in Legio I Adiutrix. The stele is generally considered to date from the 2nd decade of the 3rd century, since the legion was active in Byzantium during this time - the name "Surus" implies a Syrian origin; many soldiers named "Aurelius Surus" are known from grave inscriptions all over the empire.

His shield is both small and rounded, as befits a non-rank-and-filer; however, this is also the period when such shields seem to have been used more widely by legionaries, such as by lanciarii, so not too much need be read into this. The shield shows a raised boss plus a wider band or flange, as seen with many patterns in the Notitia, and no discernible decoration. Unfortunately, none of the patterns in the Notitia featuring such a boss and surrounding band belong to legionary units entitled Prima: it would seem no link can be drawn between this shield and any of the Notitia patterns.

The Praefectus classis Histricae is in charge of a detachment of the Danubian fleet; other detachments of the same fleet are listed under the Dux Provinciae Pannoniae secundae ripariensis et Saviae, the Dux Moesiae primae, the Dux Daciae ripensis, and presumably the Dux Scythiae (whose fleet detachment is not named) and the Dux Pannoniae primae et Norici ripensis, whose fleet detachments are named after their shore stations, and not after the river.

One of the only five leaves known to remain of the Cambridge manuscript, "C", and which now resides in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England, happens to cover the complete Dux Valeria section. This is the only military section included in any of the five leaves; the recto, showing unit locations in the form of hexagonal forts, is shown below left (the verso is the textual entries), together with the corresponding section from the Froben edition, B (below right).

Frontpiece showing forts Frontpiece showing forts

As can be seen, although the manuscripts vary greatly in terms of their picture styles, although C, B, and W all show hexagonal forts (note that in C, the positions of the forts named Matrice and Vetusalina are reversed compared to the other manuscripts). The hexagonal style is believed to have been present in the lost Codex Spirensis from which all the extent manuscript copies are ultimately derived. Unlike W, those of B and C have the bottom portion of walls battered (sloped); unlike W, B and C also have each fort with but a single gate, and alternate the colours of the forts (the facings of the pictures in B are reversed, being printed). B however, shows no towers, while W and C give each fort two; likewise, B shows no battlements, while both C and W do.

Note that the "name" of the fort on the right of the top row is "Nuncinercisa" (sic, meaning "now at Intercisa") in all the manuscript copies, but "Lussonio" in the Froben edition. That the Froben edition's name makes sense, while the manuscripts' shared label does not, has been taken as evidence of editorial intervention, but it might also be evidence for a superior textual transmission (via the lost Basel manuscript, Bf).


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