This page created 14 September 2014, and last modified: 3 November 2014 (Ammianus reference added)
One of the legiones comitatenses under the Magister Militum per Thracias is listed as the Taanni. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts as below:
The shield pattern has a white main field featuring a red crescent at the 12 o'clock position, cusps upwards. Between the crescent and the edge of the shield (which has no delineated rim) is a partial rosette of 5 red dots (but a full rosette of 6 dots in B, and in which the crescent is larger than in the other manuscripts). The boss is yellow (white in W) and encircled by a blue band (faded to yellow in M, and red in B). The shield pattern is this very similar to that of the preceding unit, the Pannoniciani iuniores, as can be seen below from the following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript; presumably they were brigaded together:
In the Bodleian (O) and Parisian (P) manuscripts, the shield label gives the unit name as Tzaanni, and this must be considered the true name, because Taanni has no apparent meaning, while Tzaanni refers to a people from the south-west of the Caucasus, which might be called the Suani in the 1st century (e.g. Pliny NH 6.12), and Tzanni by the 6th century in Procopius (DB 4.1); they spoke a Zan language. Presumably the unit was recruited from the area they lived in, although the exact region seems to have moved north-east with time; in Pliny's day they lived in the Pontus, near modern Trabzon, but in Procopius' day, near what is the modern Turkish-Georgian border. This unit is presumably the Legio Zianni mentioned by Ammianus (25.1.19), and whose commander was killed during Julian's Persian invasion.
Another unit named after the people in the Notitia is the Cohors nona Tzanorum, a (presumably auxiliary) cohort under the Dux Thebaidos. That it is the "ninth" such cohort need not imply there were another eight cohorts so-named, as newly-raised units were often numbered in a sequence that ignored names but took into account the numbers of the units already stationed in the province to which they were being sent.
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