This page created 8 May 2014, and last modified: 8 May 2014
The Felices Theodosiani is a unit of auxilia palatina under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence; it is the 14th unit of auxilia palatina is his list. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:
The shield pattern shows a light blue ground. The boss is yellow with a red pillar beneath. Above the boss is a face surrounded by red hair or flames, and thus presumably representing the sun. Many other shield patterns in the Notitia feature a visage atop a pole/pillar, but not look quite so sun-like as this one does; others tend to look more like heads upon stakes.
Unlike almost all the other auxilia palatina under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II, the equivalently-positioned unit under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I does not appear to be some sort of "sister" unit or some such. The equivalently-positioned unit under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I is the Felices Honoriani iuniores, whose nearest relation is the Felices Honoriani seniores, under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Further, the next four units under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II show signs of some sort of manuscript confusion. The text of the list says they are the Felices Arcadiani iuniores, the Secundi Theodosiani, the Quarti Theodosiani, and the Auxiliarii sagittarii, whereas the shield labels proclaim them to be the Felices Arcadiani iuniores, the Secundi Theodosiani, the Felices Arcadiani iuniores (again), and finally the Quarti Theodosiani. Furthermore, the shield patterns for the last two are essentially blank, each showing just a quartered but plain disc.
The name Theodosiani refers to the emperor Theodosius, who died in 395, not long before the Notitia was first compiled; Felices means "fortunate" or "lucky", and was a common moniker for Roman units; over twenty units in the Notitia incorporate it into their name. In particular, in addition to this unit of Felices Theodosiani auxilia palatina, there is also a limitanei ala called the Felices Theodosiani under the Dux Armeniae, and another called the Prima felices Theodosiani under the same commander, a limitanei cohort called the Prima felices Theodosiani under the Dux Thebaidos, a pseudocomitatenses unit called the Felices Theodosiani iuniores under the Magister Militum per Illyricum, and a unit of auxilia palatina called the Felices Theodosiani Sauri under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I. Thus units named after Theodosius make up a significant proportion if the units entitled "felices" in the Notitia; units named after his sons Honorius and Arcadius account for nearly half the remainder.
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