The Lanciarii Comaginenses

This page created 22 June 2014, and last modified: 27 November 2014 (Maier reference numbers added)


The 4th of the 18 pseudocomitatenses units listed (98/9.134 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster is called the Lanciarii Comaginenses; it is assigned (102/5.110) to the Comes Illyricum. Its shield pattern (97#6) as shown in various manuscripts, under the plain label (97.f) Comaginenses, is as below:

Shield patterns

Disclaimer: Remember, a lot of what comes below is speculation. Hopefully informed speculation, but speculation nonetheless. Comments welcome! (lukeuedasarson "at"

The shield patten features a red rim, an indigo main field (faded to a pinkish maroon in M and W), and a green (faded to yellow in M) cross-shaped device with somewhat mushroom-shaped ends; this particular motif is not found elsewhere in the Notita.

While the name Lanciarii comes from the lancea, a spear suitable for both thrusting and throwing, this does not necessarily imply the Lanciarii Comaginenses was equipped with this weapon, since the title "lanciarii" (or lancearii) had become the designation of elite guards in the later 3rd century; we even hear of mounted lanciarii, as attested by inscriptional evidence (AE 1981, 777) where the gravestone of one Aurelius Gaius describes him (in Greek) as an "ippeus lankiaris". There are a number of lanciarii units listed in the Notitia, some of which are obviously elite units, while some, like the Lanciarii Lauriacenses and the Lanciarii Comaginenses, have no such indication.

The name Comaginenses comes from Comagenis (modern Tulln an der Donau, in Austria) in the province of Pannonia Prima, which in the Notitia is given as the location of a unit of Equites promoti rather than a legionary unit. Note that two other units of lanciarii also seem to have originated in Pannonia Prima: the Lanciarii Lauriacenses, also under the Comes Illyricum; and the Lanciarii Sabarienses, in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command. Since the Lanciarii Lauriacenses most likely originated as a detachment of Legio II Italica (still stationed at Lauriaco in the Notitia), the Lanciarii Sabarienses and Lanciarii Comaginenses probably also orginated as detachments of one or more of the other legions stationed in the same command: Legio X Gemina, Legio XIIII Gemina, and/or Legio I Noricum. It seems on the balance of probabilities that it was Legio I Noricum that was the origin of the Lanciarii Sabarienses and/or Lanciarii Comaginenses, given units elsewhere in the Notitia clearly named after the legiones decimae et quartaedecimae geminatae, while there are no units clearly named after Legio I Noricum.


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