The Regii

This page created 29 April 2014, and last modified: 31 August 2014 (Concordia commentary updated)


In the eastern half of the empire, the most senior ranked auxilia palatina under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence is the Regii; 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 pattern shows a red ground with a broad indigo or purple rim (faded towards red in M & W) separated from the red ground by a thin yellow ring. The boss is yellow, surrounded by a blue ring, another thin yellow ring, and finally a multi-pointed indigo or purple star pattern (11 points in P, 13 in O, 14 in M, and 19 points in W and B) projecting onto the red. Many other shields have such star-like patterns, although few have so many points, and most also project further from the boss. Perhaps the most similar pattern is that given to the Daci, a legio palatina unit under the same commander.

The name Regii means "the kings", or alternatively "the king's", and is shared with a legio comitatenses unit in the Magister Peditum's Italian command. Since the Regii that fought for Julian at the battle of Argentoratum in 357 were brigaded with the Batavi, which must be an auxila palatina unit, the Regii at that that battle were presumably also the auxilia palatina unit and not the legionary unit.

The eastern Regii has been linked with an inscription (CIL 5, 8764) from the cemetery at Colonia Iulia Concordia (modern Portogruaro in Veneto, Italy), which mentions a num Reg Emes Iuderu, which was been expanded to "num(ero) Regi(orum) Emes(enorum) Iud(a)e(o)ru(m)"; see here for Hoffmann's 1963 analysis (in German). However, this interpretation has not found universal favour: see M.P. Speidel, Raising New Units for the Late Roman Army (1996), available here, and in any case might refer to the other Regii, which after all, is found in an Italian command. Speidel himself, however, prefers an interpretation where this inscription does refer to the auxiliary palatina unit (although allowing it may refer to the other Regii), and in particular, to being the men of Crocus, a king of the Alamanni who, according to the Epitome de Caesaribus (41.3), proclaimed the young Constantine I as Augustus at York, in 306; he dates the raising of the Regii (and likely the Batavi as well) to the winter of 288/289.


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