This page created 6 April 2014, and last modified: 13 April 2014
The Prima Flavia Constantia is listed as one of the legiones comitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts as below:
This shield pattern is clearly related to other units under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem, as a side-by-side comparison of the Paris manuscript shields shows:
The related Legio Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum is a detachment from Egypt that was moved to Macedonia during the start of Theodosius' reign, as related by Zosimus (IV.27). That the pattern of the Balistarii seniores is differentiated from the that of the Legio Prima Flavia Constantia purely by the addition of a small 8-pointed start, the primary symbol of Macedonia, is very suggestive that the Balistarii seniores, at least, gained its shield pattern in Macedonia, and probably the Prima Flavia Constantia as well. Accordingly, these shield patterns should be dated to very early in Theodosius' reign, when the Egyptian units arrived in the Balkans; and at some later time the Legio Prima Flavia Constantias was moved east, to join what became the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem, which, contrary to Zosimus' statements (IV.27), most scholars agree (see Burns, page 313, note 49, and pages 98-100) cannot have been formed until 386 at the earliest.
However, the origins of the Prima Flavia Constantia are harder to pin down than those of the Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum. There is a Prima Flavia Gallicana Constantia in the western empire, one of the pseudocomitatenses units under the Magister Peditum and assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, but its shield pattern is not particularly similar, and it is reasonably clear this unit takes its name from the town of Constantia (modern Coutances, in France). The name Constantia favours Constantius Chlorus rather than either Constantine I or II (for which we would expect Constantiniani, as in the Secunda Flavia Constantiniana), but that is about all that can be said.
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