Late Roman Shield Patterns

Dux et praeses provinciae Mauritaniae et Caesariensis

This page last created 18 January 2003, and last modified: 29 December 2014 (Frontpiece pictures added)


Frontpiece showing towns
Above: Frontpiece from the Parisian manuscript (P).
The stations depicted are: Columnatensis, Vidensis,
Inferioris, Fortensis, Muticitani,
Audiensis, Caput cellensis, Augustensis.
The following commanders and their limitanei units or detachments of units are listed as being under the command of the Duke & Governor of the Provinces of Mauretania and Caesaria (the numbers beside the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

137.2 Praepositus limitis Columnatensis
137.3 Praepositus limitis Vidensis
137.4 Praepositus limitis inferioris
137.5 Praepositus limitis Fortensis
137.6 Praepositus limitis Muticitani
137.7 Praepositus limitis Audiensis
137.8 Praepositus limitis Caput cellensis
137.9 Praepositus limitis Augustensis
No names are given to these detachments, only their locations, and being limitanei units, no shield patterns are given either.
Frontpiece showing towns
Above: Frontpiece from the Munich manuscript (M).
Unlike in P, which shows anachronistic 15th-century Italianate
influences, the anachronisms of M originate in 16th-century

Disclaimer: Remember, a lot of what comes below is speculation. Hopefully informed speculation, but speculation nonetheless. Comments welcome! (lukeuedasarson "at"

The men under the Praepositus limitis Fortensis would appear to be (a detachment of) the Fortenses under the Command of the Comes Africae, another detachment of which is under the Dux Tripolitanae. Similarly, the men under the Praepositus limitis Augustensis would appear to be a detachment of the Tertio Augustani of the Comes Africae. Further, "another" Praepositus limitis Caputcellensis is listed under the Comes Africae, and similarly for the Praepositus limitis Columnatensis; these may very well be the same officer and his men, but separated in time rather than space.

The shield patterns of the Fortenses and the Tertio Augustani are given below:



Those under O come from the Bodleian manuscript in Oxford, those under P from the Paris manuscript, those under M from the first portion of the Munich manuscript, those under W from the second portion of the Munich manuscript, and those under B from the Froben edition. Neither of these is likely to have been a pattern born by the detachments while under the command of the Dux, however, as units transferred to a field army from a garrison station seem to have been given new shield patterns.

Below are the frontpieces from the Bodleian manuscript (O); the second half of the Munich manuscript (W); and the Froben edition (B).

Frontpiece showing towns Frontpiece showing towns Frontpiece showing towns

The similarity of the O pictures to those of P is clear. That the details are executed with a little less care in P is evidence that the artists were not one and the same, even if they did belong the same "school" (see Maier, I.G., The Barberinus and Munich codices of the 'Notitia Dignitatum omnium': Latomus 28 1969 pp. 960-1035; available here; at page 1022 in particular). The W pictures bear very little resemblance to those of M; it is thought they are closer in style to the now-lost Codex Spirensis than those of O, P, or M, as they contain little in the way of contemporary anachronizing features, and because they are known to have been partially traced (albeit indirectly) from the Codex. Those of B preserve the hexagonal arrangement of the forts' walls found in W, but have renaissance stylistic embellishments.


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