The Victores iuniores

This page created 27 June 2014, and last modified: 3 November (limitanei links added)


In the western half of the empire, the Victores iuniores is listed as one of auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it assigned to the Comes Hispenias. Its shield pattern, as shown in various manuscripts under the plain label Victores, 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 has a green main ground (faded in M to yellow), along with a red rim. The main feature is a head surmounting a red pole or spike (faded in Ff, white in M); this "head-on-a-stick" motif is common for auxilia palatina units in the Notitia, especially in the western half of the empire (half a dozen examples, not counting further examples where the "pole" is more of a keyhole shape incorporating the shield's boss).

However, it is evident that this might be the "wrong" shield pattern; like that of some other western auxilia platina units, it may have been shifted from its proper place (or, to be more exact, the label may have been shifted from its proper place), although which pattern (if any) among those shown properly belongs to the Victores iuniores is not immediately apparent.

The name Victores means victorious, a common epithet for a Roman military unit. although is is also associated with Constantine I, who adopted the name after defeating Licinius, in place of his former usage of "Invictus" (see Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor; Paul Stephenson, 2009, page 216), after publicly espousing Christianity in place of the worship of Sol Invictus.

Five other units in the Notitia incorporate the name "Victores".

Victores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I,
Honoriani victores (iuniores), a unit of auxilia palatina under the Comes Illyricum,
Galli victores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Magister Peditum in his Italian command,
Victores seniores, a unit in the Magister Peditum's Italian command but not listed in his own infantry roster, and which can thus only be presumed to be a unit of auxilia palatina, and the
Victores iuniores Britanniciani, under the Comes Britanniarum, and possibly the same as the Exculcatores iuniores Britanniciani, a unit of auxilia palatina in the Magister Peditum's list but otherwise not assigned;
while two other units have very similar names:
Ala prima Victoriae, a cavalry limitanei unit under theDux Osrhoenae, and
Cohors prima victorum, an auxiliary limitanei unit under the Dux Syriae et Eufratensis Syriae.
Ammianus describes a unit of "Victores" as accompanying Theodosius on his British campaign in 367, but it is not clear which of the various Victores units listed in the Notitia (if any) this refers to.


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