This page created 23 August 2014, and last modified: 20 November 2014 (name commentary amended and Maier reference numbers added)
The Equites Constantiani feroces is listed (102/5.21 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the ninth of the vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; it is assigned (102/5.229) to his Gallic command as the Equites Constantiaci feroces. Its shield pattern (100#19) as shown in various manuscripts, under label (100.t) Constantiaci, is as below:
Note that Seeck accidentally listed (OC.VI.62) the unit as the Equites Constantiani felices; this was later corrected in an addenda.
The pattern has a white rim and main ground, and features a red cross with curved arms giving the impression of a wheel, the wheel's tyre is blue rather than red (broader in P and W than in O, B and M). Accordingly, the shape of the pattern, but not the colours, is somewhat similar that of the Equites prima Gallia, also in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, as a comparison of the following patterns taken from the Parisian manuscript shows:
The pattern is somewhat similar to that ascribed to the infantry unit the Honoriani ascarii seniores, also in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, as can be seen by examining its shield pattern, as found in various manuscripts:
The name Constantiani/Constantiaci would appear to refer to the Tetrarchic emperor Constantius Chlorus, or perhaps a later member of his family - Constantinus I, Constantinus II, Constantus II, or Constans. Due to the prolific nature of the Imperial dynasty established by Constantius Chlorus, the name Constantiani, or variations thereof (e.g. Constantiaci, Constantini, Constantii, Constantaci, Constantiniani...), is shared with many other units in the Notitia. However, the name need not be directly derived: many places were named after members of the dynasty, and some units may have taken their names from being stationed at such a place (see the Prima Flavia Gallicana Constantia for one such example).
The name feroces means ferocious, and is seemingly an apt name for a military unit, but is not a common one in the Notitia: the only other unit sharing the name is the previous one in the Magister Equitum's list: the Equites Mauri feroces.
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