This page created 7 April 2014, and last modified: 13 April 2014 (commentary slightly updated)
The Balistarii Dafnenses is listed as one of the legiones comitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Thracias. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts as below:
Its name appears to be taken from Dafne, a fort that has not yet been identified archaeologically, unlike many others in Roman Thrace, probably because it has been swallowed by the shifting course of the Danube; the unit was presumably stationed there before joining the command of the Magister Militum per Thracias. The name Dafnenses is shared with the previous unit under the same commander: the Constantini Dafnenses, which presumably also come from the same place.
However, unlike the patterns of the balistarii under the Magister Militum per Orientem, the pattern of the Balistarii Dafnenses does not bear a close resemblance to another legionary unit under the same command, and especially not that of the Constantini Dafnenses. Its seven-fold symmetry is unusual, and is shared with just three other infantry units, all in the eastern half of the empire: the Tertia Diocletiana Thebaeorum and the Solenses seniores, both also under the Magister Militum per Thracias, and the Martii, under the Magister Militum per Illyricum, as the following patterns from the Paris manuscript show:
Of these, it is clearly most similar to that of the Martii. One might postulate the Balistarii Dafnenses originated as a detachment of the Martii, or were brigaded with them at one point, but have become separated after being posted to different commands.
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