The Pannoniciani seniores

This page created 2 May 2014, and last modified: 2 May 2014


The Pannoniciani seniores is fifth of the Legiones palatinae under the Magister Peditum's list and is assigned to his Italian command. Their shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts, under the simple label "Pannoniciani", 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 pattern shows a red rim (but white in P), a green boss, also rimmed in red, with the rest of the shield being what may best be described as an 8-spoked yellow wheel, with the spaces between the spokes alternating green and red (W has all red, M has red and yellow; it frequently shows yellow where other manuscripts show green).

The name Pannoniciani refers to the two provinces named Pannonia. Presumably the original Pannoniciani were recruited from there or had been stationed there at some point (when the Pannoniciani seniores was differentiated from the Pannoniciani iuniores, which in the Notitia is under the Magister Militum per Thracias, is unknown).

As the next legion in the Magister Peditum's list is the Moesiaci seniores, this means they may well have been brigaded together with the Pannoniciani seniores, and indeed, many have seen Ammianus' mention (29.6.13) of "obviam legiones motae sunt duae, Pannonica et Moesiaca" as conformation of this brigading. But as David Woods says (see note 8), there "are several objections to this identification. The first must be that their titles do not actually match. Ammianus records the names of other palatine legions in the exact form that they have been preserved by the Notitia [...] Finally, it must strike one as a remarkable coincidence that the first two palatine legions to arrive in response to attacks upon the Pannonias and Moesia Prima should have been named after those very regions". It is likely Ammianus is simply referring to one of the limitanei units then stationed in the area. For example, the Notitia lists both Legio V Iovia and Legio VI Herculia as being stationed in Pannonia II. But it is not even sure Ammianus' usage of the word "legiones" means a legionary as opposed to an auxila unit, as he also calls the undoubtably auxila palatina units the Iovii and Victores "legions"..


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