The Lanciarii iuniores (in Illyricum)

This page created 25 September 2014, and last modified: 25 September 2014


The Lanciarii iuniores is listed as last of the eight legiones comitatenses under the command of the Magister Militum per Illyricum. 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 patten is extremely simple, being just plain white (blue in M) with a red boss and rim; the pattern (but not the exact colours) is the same as three other units in the Magister Militum per Illyricum's command: the Germaniciani seniores, the Secundani, and the Minervii.

While the name Lanciarii comes from the lancea, a spear suitable for both thrusting and throwing, this does not necessarily imply the Lanciarii iuniores 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 have no such indication.

The exact name Lanciarii iuniores is also born by another eastern unit: one of the legiones palatina under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II; the two units probably are not closely related, if at all. Epigraphic evidence for the Lanciarii iuniores comes from an inscription (AE 1922, 71) dated to the 6th century (picture here, approximately 2/3 down the page) in the form militum lanciariurum iuniorum found in Ulmetum (modern Pantelimon in Constanta, Romania). Which of the two Lanciarii iuniores units this refers to is unknown.


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