This page created 5 April 2014, and last modified: 13 December 2014 (Froben image added)
The Visi is the 13th out of 18 units of auxilia palatina listed (9.36 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence (i.e. the Magister Militum Praesentalis I). Its shield pattern (8#11) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (8.l) Visi, is as below:
The shield pattern features a yellow boss supported by a red pillar; the rim is also red, and the main ground is yellow. Above the rim is a human (?) head in yellow (pale yellow in M, and light brown in P, W); the foreparts of two canids depicted in light brown (yellow in B, pale yellow in M) are shown leaping outwards from the boss/pillar.
The name Visi is a name associated with the Gothic peoples, as is that of the Tervingi, which is the name of another auxilia palatina unit, under the command of the other Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence (i.e. the Magister Militum Praesentalis II). Its shield pattern is clearly related to that of the Visi, as the following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript should help to illustrate:
Presumably these two units were brigaded together before being split when the two different but parallel eastern Praesental armies were formed. The motif of two leaping canids' forequarters is used by only three other units in the Notitia: the Valentinianenses, the Prima Flavia Theodosiana, and (the unit said to be) the Sagittarii seniores Orientales. Perhaps these three units may also have had some Gothic connection. It is notable that Theodosius I employed many Gothic soldiers in his campaign against Eugenius. Not all will have been enrolled in regular regiments (i.e. the kinds recorded in the Notitia), but even so, those that were would likely have been far too numerous to have been absorbed by just the two units named Visi and Tervingi. Of course, if the Valentinianenses had a Gothic connection, it it is unlikely to have anything to do with Theodosius I, since the unit is named after Valentinian I, who died four years before Theodosius I became emperor.
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