The Lanciarii Stobenses

This page created 7 September 2014, and last modified: 7 September 2014


The Lanciarii Stobenses is listed one of the legiones comitatenses under the command of the Magister Militum per Thracias. 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 red with a yellow boss (but white in B, and surrounded by a thin red band); it is identical to that carried by a western cavalry unit, the Equites scutarii (seniores).

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

The name Stobenses comes from Stobi, the major city of the province of Macedonia Salutaris, which in the Notitia is actually split between the dioceses of Macedonia and Dacia; the town is now a ruin in central Macedonia. The Lanciarii Stobenses may have been recruited from Stobi, or perhaps more likely, stationed there prior to joining the Thracian field army (in the Notitia, no troops are identified as being stationed in Macedonia: all the Balkan units given under the Duces are stationed in close proximity to the Danube, so it is clear the Notitia does not record all units stationed in the east).


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