The Auxiliarii sagittarii

This page created 10 May 2014, and last modified: 7 September (Seeck commnet added)


The Auxiliarii sagittarii is the only pseudocomitatenses unit under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence; it is the last unit is his list. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts (but see notes below) is as below:

Shield patterns

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

The shield pattern is essentially blank. It shows a pale blue ground with lines quartering it, but no boss or actual colour divisions. Note that I have rather arbitrarily shown above the pattern labelled Felices Arcadiani iuniores (except in the Froben edition, B, where no pattern is shown at all!); the shield pattern in the position corresponding to the textual entry Auxiliarii sagittarii is actually labelled Quarti Theodosiani; the reasons for this should be clearer when looking there. This makes little visual difference anyway, for the "pattern" shown in the adjacent position is (except in the Froben edition as noted above) essentially the same blank quartered pattern.

The correspondingly positioned unit under the command of the other Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence is a unit of auxilia palatina, the Felices Theodosiani Isauri, which, unlike most units under his command, does not have any similarity in name to its similarly positioned unit under the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence. Not only does the "Auxiliarii sagittarii" have a blank shield pattern, but its name is essentially a cipher too, a generic description saying "an auxiliary archer unit" - as if when this section of the Notitia was drawn up the scribe knew there was an auxiliary archer unit that was supposed to be assigned here, but didn't know the details of its name, let alone its shield pattern. See here for more details. Indeed, according to Seeck, the Bodleian manuscript (which I have not been able to see) omits the unit from its listing (while having an entry for its shield pattern, essentially blank though it may be).


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