The Sexta Parthica

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


The Sexta Parthica 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 is has a red rim and a blue main field. The boss is yellow, with a yellow "pillar" underneath; the "keywhole" shape thus produced is a common motif in the Notitia. Also in yellow is a version of the twin-headed zoomorphic motif that is extremely common in the Notitia, especially amongst auxilia palatina. In addition to its numerous appearances in the Notitia, the twin-headed zoomorphic motif is known from a range of sources in northern Europe, such as on the ca. 6th century Torslunda bronze die from Sweden shown below:

Torslunda die
Public domain image taken from 1903 book

The version carried by Sexta Parthica is the only one borne by an apparently legionary unit, however. What makes the shield pattern of the Sexta Parthica unique are the two loops in yellow below the boss. It might be tempting to see these as tails of the two "serpents" depicted above, but many other explanations could no doubt be advanced.

Legio VI Parthica was probably established at the same time as Legiones IIII & V Parthica, under the Tetrarchs, a hundred years before the Notitia was compiled. Its station before joining the field army is unknown, although Cepha, later the station of Legio II Parthica, and now Hasankeyf on the Tigris in Turkey, has been hypothesized; in the Notitia, this fort and its garrison is under the control of the Dux Mesopotamiae.


Return to the Notitia alphabetical unit list page.
Return to my Notitia index page.