Late Roman Shield Patterns

Magister Militum per Illyricum

This page last modified: 4 November 2014 (various links added)


26 units are listed as being under the command of the Master of the Soldiers in Illyricum:

2 vexillationes comitatenses:

Equites sagittarii seniores
Equites Germaniciani seniores

1 legio palatina:

Britones seniores

6 auxilia palatina:

Ascarii seniores
Ascarii iuniores
Petulantes iuniores
Sagittarii lecti
Invicti iuniores

8 legiones comitatenses:

Matiarii constantes
Germaniciani seniores
Lanciarii Augustenses
Lanciarii iuniores

9 pseudocomitatenses:

Timacenses auxiliarii
Felices Theodosiani iuniores
Secundi Theodosiani
Balistarii Theodosiani iuniores

Disclaimer: remember, I'm not an expert in the field of Notitia studies, so take my comments with a grain of salt...

Note that the Munich manuscript inserts a Balistarii Theodosiani between the Secundi Theodosiani and the Balistarii Theodosiani iuniores (while still stating there are 9 pseudocomitatenses units listed and not 10). Of the listed units, neither the shields of the 2 cavalry units nor those of the pseudocomitatenses units are illustrated. The shields of the 15 other infantry units are illustrated below from top to bottom, left to right, in the order given above, using the Bodleian manuscript pictures.

Insignia Insignia

The eastern Illyrian command, like that of the western equivalent, under the Comes Illyricum, appears to reflect the turmoil in the Balkans at the time the Notitia was compiled: it appears to have suffered heavy losses in the relatively recent past as evidenced by the very high proportion of pseudocomitatenses units that have presumably been drafted into the force to bring it up to strength. The Scupenses, Ulpianenses, and the Merenses, for example, would appear to represent ex-garrison units from Scupi (modern Skopje in Macedonia), Ulpiana (in Kossovo), and Merion (modern location unsure), all three of the cities of 6th century Dardania according to the Byzantine geographer Hierocles' Synekdemos.

Below are the same 15 units as illustrated in the Parisian manuscript.

Insignia Insignia

Below are the corresponding pictures from the Munich manuscript: first portion on top; second portion below.

Insignia Insignia

Insignia Insignia

And below are the same units as illustrated in the Froben edition.

Insignia Insignia


Return to the Notitia index page.