The Equites sagittarii iuniores

This page created 28 August 2014, and last modified: 28 August 2014


The Sagittarii iuniores is listed as one of the vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster. 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 has a white boss (blueish in M) encircled by a white band, presumably representing the raised portion of a boss and the surrounding boss plate; the main filed is red, and decorated with a small crescent at the 12 o'clock position, cusps upwards, in indigo (faded in O, faded to pink in W, and white in B); the crescent is thus very similar to that born by the Equites secundo sagittarii under the Comes Africae.

No unit named Sagittarii iuniores is to be found amongst the regional field commands of the west (there is an Equites sagittarii iuniores in the east, under the Magister Militum per Thracias); however, there is a unit under the Comes Africae called the Equites scutarii iuniores comitatenses that is not to be found in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; the fact that this unit has the same three units listed immediately before and after it (the Equites promoti iuniores, the Equites citrati iuniores, and the (Equites) Honoriani iuniores ) as does the Sagittarii iuniores implies the two units are one and the same. Since the Equites sagittarii seniores of the cavalry roster would seem to equate to the Equites sagittarii seniores comitatenses under the Comes Tingitaniae, it would appear that scutarii is simply a scribal error for sagittarii. Nonetheless, it cannot be ruled out that the full name of the unit was the Equites scutarii sagittarii iuniores, because under the eastern Magister Officiorum we do, after all, find a unit of Scholares called the Schola scutariorum sagittariorum.

The name sagittarii implies (but does not establish) the unit was bow-armed; while scutarii might imply they were quipped with a large shield, a scutum; however, by this date, it seems scutarii had come to have a secondary meaning of "guardsmen", who need not actually have carried shields at all, let alone the large ones implied by the name.


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