This page created 5 April 2014, and last modified: 22 November 2014 (Maier reference numbers added)
In the eastern half of the empire, the fourth of the legiones palatina units listed (9.20 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) in the the command of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence (i.e. the Magister Militum Praesentalis I) is the Fortenses. Its shield pattern (7#5) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (7.e) Fortenses, is as below:
The pattern features a red boss encircled by a yellow band. A light blue 8-pointed star (yellow in W) radiates therefrom into an main ground (purple in B, faded to maroon in M, W), which is bordered by a yellow band and finally by a light blue band forming the shield's rim. The star points show an internal line in O, M, and B, perhaps suggesting raised embossing. The pattern is thus very similar to that of the next unit under the same commander, the Nervii, as can be seen from following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript:
Given the similar shield patterns and the adjacent ranking under the same commander, it is likely that these two units were habitually brigaded together. This conclusion is further fortified when one considers that the names Fortenses and Nervii both mean (amongst other things) "steadfast"; see my commentary under the Nervii.
Various other units of Fortenses are listed in the Notitia:
Fortenses auxiliarii, a pseudocomitatenses unit under Magister Militum per Orientem;Of these, the three African units may well be one and the same, if not merely detachments of the same unit. None of these other Fortenses units have shield patterns that are similar to that of the Fortenses under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I, except for that of the Fortenses auxiliarii, and none are of comparable rank either (i.e. none have palatine status). However, the pseudocomitatenses unit under the Magister Militum per Orientem has the very suggestive name of the Fortenses auxiliarii - i.e. "the Fortenses' assistants", which, as can be seen above, also happens to have a shield pattern featuring an 8-pointed star with a similar shape. It may be that this unit was at some point brigaded with the palatine Fortenses unit, hence its name and pattern, but was later posted elsewhere. Given its pseudocomitatenses status, this implies a recent posting to the Magister Militum per Orientem's command from a limitanei command, and not from a palatine army like that of the Magister Militum Praesentalis I. If this is the case, it may well imply the Fortenses and the Nervii were a paired brigade before the formation of the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem was organised.
Fortenses, a legiones comitatenses unit under the "Comes" Hispenias;
Fortenses, a legiones comitatenses unit under the Comes Africae;
Limites Fortenses, a limitanei unit under the Dux et praeses provinciae Mauritaniae et Caesariensis;
Milites Fortenses, a limitanei unit under the Dux Provinciae Tripolitanae;
Numerus Fortensium, a limitanei numerus under the Comes litoris Saxonici per Britanniam;
Cuneus equitum Fortensium, a limitanei cavalry cuneus under the Dux Provinciae Valeriae ripensis; and the
Auxilia Fortensia, a limitanei auxiliary infantry unit under the Dux Provinciae Valeriae ripensis.
Return to the Notitia alphabetical unit list page.
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