The Quarta Italica

This page created 6 September 2014, and last modified: 6 September 2014


The Quarta Italica is listed as one of the pseudocomitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts 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 has a blue rim (red in W), another blue band immediately inside the rim (lighter blue in M, and absent in B), a yellow main field, a yellow boss, and a blue band encircling the boss with a blue "pillar" underneath. The pattern is thus similar to several other units in the Magister Militum per Orientem's list: the Prima Isaura sagittaria, the Transtigritani, and the Prima Italica. However, the basic "keyhole" shape produced by a boss with a "pillar" underneath is a very common motif in the Notitia, so perhaps not too much should be read into these similarities.

The only direct evidence for a Legio IV Italica would appear to be this entry in the Notitia; however, J.C. Mann, in A Note on the Legio IV Italica (1999, available here), notes that inscriptional evidence (CIL 5, 7989, image here) suggests that a "new Italian" legion was raised by Severus Alexander (reigned 222 - 235), and this could well be a reference to the Quarta Italica. Where the Quarta Italica was stationed before joining the Oriental field army is unknown.


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