The Equites Batavi seniores

This page created 23 May 2014, and last modified: 8 August 2014 (Eq. Batavi iuniores link added).


The Equites Batavi seniores is listed as the fourth of the vexillationes palatinae in the western half of the empire in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; it is assigned to his Gallic command. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts 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 features a white boss surrounded by a dark blue band (yellow in M). The interior of the main ground is purple (faded in M, W), and is separated from the red exterior of the main ground by a thin yellow band (the Froben edition is missing this particular shield pattern).

The name "Batavi" is tribal, coming from a Germanic tribe that lived in what is now the Netherlands; they provided the empire with many units of auxiliaries in the early empire in particular. Thus a number of other units in the Notitia incorprate the "Batavi" name, including two more units of Batavi seniores; one is the senior-most ranked auxilia palatina unit in the eastern half of the empire, under the command of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence; the other is the sixth-most senior auxilia palatina unit in the western half of the empire, assigned to the Magister Peditum's Italian command. The shield patterns of these three units do not appear to have any obvious similarities (other than the two infantry units basically being "boss and pillar" designs, albeit distorted in the western unit's case). See also the Equites Batavi iuniores, also assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command.

Inscriptional evidence for the Equites Batavi seniores comes from the cemetery at Colonia Iulia Concordia (modern Portogruaro in Veneto, Italy), which produced an inscription (ILS 498) mentioning an officer from the Batavis equ sen, which expands to the "Batavis equ(itibus) sen(ioribus)". See here for Hoffmann's 1963 analysis (in German).


Return to the Notitia alphabetical unit list page.
Return to my Notitia index page.