This page created 22 June 2014, and last modified: 22 June 2014
The Equites promoti seniores is the second of the vexillationes palatinae listed in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster in the western half of the empire, and is assigned to the Magister Peditum's Italian command. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts, under the simple label Promoti, is as below:
The shield pattern is very simple, with plain red main field, and a boss quartered white and blue. As a result it looks very similar to some other shield patterns in the Notitia; in particular, that of the Equites sagittarii Parthi iuniores, and among the infantry, the Taurunenses, differ only in having black and white boss quarterings, for example. The Equites promoti iuniores is also similar, but with a purple main field.
The name Promoti means 'advanced, promoted', and seems to have originally been applied to individual soldiers, but as time went on, groups of such select legionaries appear to have been given training as horsemen. This gave rise, especially during the 3rd century, to the formation of legionary cavalry units, which seem to have then been increasingly detached for use as independent units, leading to the large numbers of Equites promoti units found in the Notitia - albeit mostly in limitanei roles rather than serving with field armies.
"The" Equites promoti seniores (another identically named unit is the highest-ranked unit serving in the eastern half of the empire under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I) may have originated as the mounted portion of the legionary component of the original emperor's comitatus in the 3rd century. As with all eastern cavalry units, shield pattern of the eastern Equites promoti seniores is not recorded (an Equites promoti iuniores also features in the command of the Magister Militum Praesentalis I).
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