Late Roman Shield Patterns

Magister Militum Praesentalis II

This page last modified: 9 October 2014 (A. M. Kaiser reference added)


36 units are listed as being under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence:

6 Vexillationes palatinae:

Comites seniores
Equites brachiati iuniores
Equites Batavi iuniores
Comites sagittarii Armeni
Equites Persae clibanarii
Equites Theodosiaci seniores

6 Vexillationes comitatenses:

Equites catafractarii
Equites catafractarii Ambianenses
Equites sexto Dalmatae
Equites secundi scutarii
Equites scutarii
Equites secundi clibanarii Parthi

6 Legiones palatina:

Matiarii seniores
Lanciarii iuniores

17 Auxilia palatina:

Mattiaci iuniores
Sagittarii seniores Orientales
Sagittarii iuniores Orientales
Sagittarii dominici
Felices Theodosiani
Felices Arcadiani iuniores
Secundi Theodosiani
Quarti Theodosiani

1 Pseudocomitatenses:

Auxiliarii sagittarii

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

Of these, the shields of the 12 cavalry units are not illustrated. Below are the shields of the 24 infantry units as illustrated in the Bodleian manuscript arranged from top to bottom, left to right, in the order given above, except that the manuscript illustrations labels the last four shields Felices Arcadiani iuniores, Secundi Theodosiani, Felices Arcadiani iuniores (again), Quarti Theodosiani; I have described them as they are ordered in the list rather than by their illustration labels (note that according to Seeck, the Bodleian manuscript list omits the Auxiliarii sagittarii and its pseudocomitatenses heading, and in the Trento manuscript, the list apparently gives the last four auxilia palatina entries as:

Felices Theodosiani
Secundi Theodosiani
Felices Arcadiani seniores (also listed under the Magister Militum per Orientem)
Quarti Theodosiani
(Note that I have not been able to see either the Bodleian or the Trento manuscripts myself.) There is thus some evidence that some of the infantry shield patterns have been mislabelled. See here for more details.

Both the Daci and the Equites sexto Dalmatae are recorded serving in Egypt in the late 5th century: see A. M. Kaiser, Egyptian Units and the reliability of the Notitia dignitatum, pars Oriens (2014), available here, at p 7) and also, in much more detail (in German), here.

Insignia Insignia

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

Insignia Insignia

Below are the corresponding pictures from the two sets in the Munich manuscript: first portion on top; second portion below (note that the first Felices Arcadiani iuniores in both sets is simply labelled Felices Arcadiani).

Insignia Insignia

Insignia Insignia

Below are the same patterns as illustrated in the Froben edition (i.e. the first printed version of the Notitia, copied from the now-lost Basle manuscript). These appear to be mirror-imaged, as if the engraver hadn't known the printing process would reverse them. Note that the last (blank) pattern is missing.

Insignia Insignia


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