This page created 6 April 2014, and last modified: 6 April 2014
The Balistarii Theodosiaci is listed as one of the pseudocomitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts as below:
This shield pattern is clearly related to other units under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem, as a side-by-side comparison of the Paris manuscript shields shows:
The Balistarii Theodosiaci would thus appear to be either a detachment of the Legio Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum, or a former limitanei unit that brigaded with it when it was moved to the field army with pseudocomitatenses status, and given a similar shield pattern to help integrate the two. As the name Balistarii Theodosiaci clearly relates to Theodosius, this unit cannot have gained its name until his reign (from 379 to 395). Zosimus (IV.30-31) records Theodosius mixing up northern troops with the Egyptian garrisons both in Egypt and in Macedon/Thrace, which was currently being devastated by the Goths. The fact that the Balistarii Theodosiaci are differentiated from the Legio Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum purely by the addition of a small 8-pointed start, the primary symbol of Macedonia, is very suggestive that this unit gained its shield pattern in Macedonia. Accordingly, these shield patterns should be dated to very early Theodosius' reign, when they arrived in Europe.
If this is the case, why the Balistarii Theodosiaci is a pseudocomitatenses unit, rather than a legio comitatenses like, for example, the Balistarii seniores that is also in the Magister Militum per Orientem's command, needs explaining. Perhaps it, unlike the Balistarii seniores, was initially assigned a garrison position when it was moved to the east, and only joined the field army much later.
Return to the Notitia alphabetical unit list page.
Return to my Notitia index page.