This page created 24 August 2014, and last modified: 24 August 2014
The Equites primo sagittarii is listed as one of the vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; it is assigned to the Comes Africae, as the Equites sagittarii primi. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:
The pattern has a red rim (but white in P, W, and pink in M, i.e. a faded indigo-purple); a white band inwards from the rim (yellow in W); a red main ground; and a white band encircling a purple-indigo boss (faded to pink in M, W). Its simple combination of a mainly red shield with white bands is unique in the Notitia.
The name sagittarii implies (but does not establish) the unit was bow-armed; while primo establishes the unit as the first in a series of similarly-named units recorded in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster, succeeding members of which are the Equites secundo sagittarii, the Equites tertio sagittarii, and the Equites quarto sagittarii; their shield patterns are not particularly similar, although a comparison of their patterns, as taken from the Parisian manuscript below, shows those of the 3rd and 4th regiments to be somewhat more similar to each other than to the others:
Note that an Equites primi sagittarii, with an "i", is listed under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem in the eastern half of the empire. The (non-exclusive) usage of the adverbial form primo as opposed to the adjectival primi here is notable, and is far from unique to the Notitia. See: Philip Rance, "The Third Equites Stablesiani at Cyrrhus", Chiron 42 (2012), 347-360, available here, especially at page 357.
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