This page created 13 May 2014, and last modified: 12 September 2014 (manuscript naming updated)
One of the legiones comitatenses listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster is called the Praesichantes. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts as below:
The pattern shows a white boss (quartered in O, P, W; plain in M, B), a red ground, and an indigo rim (faded to maroon in M; white in W); most of the red is overlain by an indigo star (faded to maroon in M, W) of 10 (O, P, M), 11 (W) or 16 points (B) reaching to the rim (except in O). If thus looks somewhat similar to the next unit in the Magister Peditum's list, the Ursarienses, as can be seen by comparing their patterns, using the appropriate Parisian manuscript pictures, as shown below:
Both of these units are assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, although in this list, the Ursarienses come first, and the Praesichantes are called the Praesidienses, which must be considered as the true spelling (the two look much closer in medieval handwriting than they do in modern printed fonts; furthermore, in the Parisian manuscript, the shield label is Praesidiantes, half-way between the two). "Praesichantes" seems to have no known meaning, while "Praesidium" means, among other things, "garrison", and several localities around the Roman empire can be found bearing the name.
The Praesidienses may simply have taken their name form their job description, being a garrison, but they have usually been identified with the locality Praesidium that is mentioned under the Dux Britanniarum as being the station of a Praefectus equitum Dalmatarum, and which is perhaps to be equated with the Humberside's Bridlington (coastal erosion may have destroyed the site). This is not implausible, but there is no direct evidence for it, either. If they did come from the British Praesidium, they had presumably been withdrawn from Britain earlier than most of the other British units that later found their way into the Gallic field force, as the Praesidienses had had time to be promoted from pseudocomitaneses to comitatenses in the intervening period.
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