The Tungri

This page created 23 March 2014, and last modified: 30 October 2014 (Frankfurt fragment image added)


The Tungri is listed as one of the units of auxilia palatina in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it is assigned to the Comes Illyricum. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:


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 very simple: an unadorned red main field, and a blue boss (white in B) encircled by a yellow band (white in M and possibly Ff). Although there is evidence that many labels attached to the shield patterns illustrating the western auxilia platina have been shifted from their proper places, it is not clear that this has happened to this unit; it may well be labelled with the correct shield pattern (see more below).

The Tungri might well be the same unit as the men commanded by the Tribunus cohortis primae Tungrorum, at Borcovicio (Vercovicium, modern Housesteads) under the Dux Britanniarum; see under the Seguntienses, another apparently ex-British unit.

The name Tungri ultimately derives from a people that lived in the Belgic region of Gaul, and whose name lives on in many modern names, most notably the city of Tongres/Tongeren. However, the units name is more likely derived via an intermediate source - the Roman district name of the Civitas Tungrorum, which was in the 4th century part of the province of Germania Secunda.

It is of some interest to note that the Tongrecani seniores, one of the legiones palatinae in the Magister Peditum's Italian command, and whose name has the same origin, also has a similar shield pattern, albeit somewhat more decorated, as a comparison of the patterns shown below taken from the Paris manuscript show:

Shield patterns

This relationship increases my confidence that the Tungri has the correct shield pattern associated with its label. However, if these patterns are genuinely "related", it raises the question of what the relationship between the two units was; for they would not have been brigaded together, one being legionary and the other auxiliary. I would suggest that the Tungri were drafted initially into the Magister Peditum's Italian command after leaving Britain, and only later moved into the command of the Comes Illyricum, and they picked up a similar, albeit simpler, shield pattern to the similarly-named Tongrecani seniores that happened to be in the same command as a token of respect or similar for the senior unit.


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