This page created 8 April 2014, and last modified: 13 April 2014
In the eastern half of the empire, there is a unit of pseudocomitatenses called the Fortenses auxiliarii, under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:
The unit's name means "the Fortenses' assistants", and as it turns out, the 8-pointed star shield pattern of the Fortenses is similar to that of the Fortenses auxiliarii, as can be seen from following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript:
This strongly implies the Fortenses auxiliarii were at one point brigaded with the Fortenses, at which time the Fortenses auxiliarii received its name and shield pattern. However, the Fortenses itself is a senior palatine unit under the command of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence, and as can be seen above, its shield pattern is even more similar to that of its next-closest-ranked unit, the Nervii, implying it was these two units that were normally brigaded together.
Thus it would appear that the Fortenses auxiliarii was at some point brigaded with the more senior Fortenses, hence its name and pattern, but was later posted elsewhere. Given the pseudocomitatenses status of the Fortenses auxiliarii, this implies a recent posting to the Magister Militum per Orientem from a limitanei command, and not a palatine army like that of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence. If this is the case, it implies the Fortenses (and by extension, the Nervii) were a paired brigade before the formation of the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem was organised.
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