Late Roman Shield Patterns

Dux Pannoniae primae et Norici ripensis

This page created 27 November 2002, and last modified: 28 July 2015 (Lanciarii Augustenses commentary added)


The following units, and tribunes or prefects commanding units, are listed as being under the command of the Duke of first Pannonia and riverine Noricum (i.e. western Hungary and Danubian Austria; the numbers beside the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

Frontpiece showing towns
Above: Frontpiece from the Bodleian manuscript (O).
The stations depicted are:
Flexo, Arrabona,
Arrabona, Quadriburgio, Alanova, Aequinoctoiae,
Ad Hercules, Gerolate, Flexo, Quadrato.
The names correspond to the first ten entries in the text.
145.2 Cuneus equitum Dalmatarum, at Flexo
145.3 Cuneus equitum stablesianorum, at Arrabonae
145.4 Equites promoti, at Arrabonae
145.5 Equites sagittarii, at Quadriburgio
145.6 Equites Dalmatae, ala Nova (i.e. "new squadron"; no location given unless "ala Nova" is taken as a place name, which it is in the frontpiece...)
145.7 Equites Dalmatae, at Aequinoctoiae
145.8 Equites Dalmatae, at Ad Herculem
145.9 Equites sagittarii, at Gerolate
145.10 Equites promoti, at Flexo
145.11 Equites Mauri, at Quadrato
145.12 Tribunus gentis Marcomannorum (no location given)
145.13 Praefectus legionis decimae, at Vindomarae ("decimae geminae" in Seeck)
145.14 Praefectus legionis quartaedecimae geminae militum liburna[rio]rum cohortis partis superiors, at Carnunto
145.15 Praefectus legionis decimae et quartaedecimae geminatae militum liburna[rio]rum, at Arrabonae
145.16 Praefectus classis Histricae, Arrunto siue Vindomanae a Carnunto translata (i.e. "the prefect of the Danubian fleet, stationed at Arrunto or Vindomanae, and transferred from Carnuntum")
145.17 Tribunus cohortis (no name given), at Arrianis
145.18 Tribunus cohortis (no name given), at Caratensis
145.19 Equites promoti, at Mauros
145.20 Equites sagittarii, at Lentiae
145.21 Equites sagittarii, at Lacufelis
145.22 Equites Dalmatae, at Arlape
145.23 Equites Dalmatae, at Augustianis
145.24 Equites promoti, at Comagenis
145.25 Praefectus secundae Italicae militum liburnariorum, at Ioviaco ("Praefectus legionis secundae" in Seeck)
145.26 Praefectus legionis Italicae partis inferioris, at Lentiae ("legionis secundae Italicae" in Seeck)
145.27 Praefectus legionis secundae, at Lauriaco ("secundae Italicae" in Seeck)
145.28 Praefectus legionis primae Noricorum militum liburnariorum cohortis quintae partis superioris, at Adiuvense
145.29 Praefectus legionis liburnariorum primorum Noricorum, at Favianae
145.30 Praefectus classis Arlapensis et Maginensis
145.31 Praefectus classis Lauriacensis
145.32 Tribunus cohortis (no name given), at Boiodoro
145.33 Tribunus cohortis (no name given), at Austuris
145.34 Tribunus cohortis (no name given), at Cannabiaca

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

The men under the prefects commanding detachments called "legionis decimae" are clearly detachments of Legio X Gemina Pia Fidelis - causing Seeck to rather arbitrarily add "geminae" to the name of their Vindomarae detachment in his edition (i.e. the one at modern Vienna in Austria, where the legion had been based since the early 2nd century). Another detachment, the Decima gemina, appears listed as one of the legiones comitatenses under the Magister Militum per Orientem; a(nother?) detachment of the legion may have been the Decimanique Fortenses mentioned by Ammianus (18.9.3) as being overwhelmed at the siege of Amida in 359 (but see the discussion under the Dux Palaestinae).

The men under the two praefecti legionis quartaedecimae geminae militum liburnariorum are two detachments of Legio XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix, and are apparently equipped with naval boats (liburnia). One of the detachments is stationed at Carnuntum (modern Petronell in Austria), where the legion had been based since the 2nd century; the other detachment is at Arrabona, modern Gyor in Hungary. Another detachment, the Quartodecimani, appears listed (18.17) as one of the legiones comitatenses under the Magister Militum per Thracias. What differentiates (if anything) legionary militum liburnariorum naval squadrons from the classes ('fleets') also listed under the Dux is not clear.

The men under the three praefecti legionis secundae Italicae are three detachments of Legio II Italica Pia Fidelis, which was created by Marcus Aurelius, and had been stationed on the Danube since 171 AD. It is possible, if not perhaps likely, that the Secundani, one of the legiones comitatenses (21.19) under the Magister Militum per Illyricum, is another such detachment. The Lanciarii Lauriacenses (98/9.133), under the Comes Illyricum, would more clearly appear be such a detachment, as Legio II Italica's primary base was Lauriacum, modern Linz in Austria. Other such detachments are the Divitenses seniores in the Magister Peditum's Italian command (see the discussion there), the Secundani Italiciani under the Comes Africae, and quite possibly the Divitenses Gallicani under the Magister Militum per Thracias.

The men under the two praefecti legionis primae Noricorum are two detachments of Legio I Noricorum. This legion appears to have been a Tetrarchic creation, as it is first attested in the last decade of the 3rd century. It does not appear to have provided any detachments to the field armies listed in the Notitia, or, to be more accurate, none of the units listed in the Notitia have an obvious connection (e.g by name); however, see the discussion under the Lanciarii Sabarienses, which clearly comes from a Pannonian legion, even if it is not clear which one, as do the Lanciarii Comaginenses and the Lanciarii Augustenses.

One of the tribunes, stationed at Caratensis, commands a cohort that might possibly be one and the same as the pseudocomitatenses unit listed under the Comes Illyricum as the Catarienses; such spelling mistakes are by no means uncommon in the Notitia.

One of the Equites Dalmatae detachments listed might well be the unit mentioned in a well-preserved votive altar (CIL 3.5565 = ILS 664) dated to 311-313 from Putting in southern Germany in the form EQQ DALM AQUESIANIS COMIT, i.e. "Eqq(uitum) Dalm(atarum) Aqu[a]esianis comit(atensium)"; see also the photos here. The muscled cuirasse and hexagonal shields depicted are likely to be deliberate archaisms, but it is just possible they were still in use at this time. Note that this unit is described as a comitatenses unit (an early date for such a mention), unlike the Dalmatae units under the command of the Dux, which are all limitanei units.

The following shield patterns may thus be connected with units under the Dux Pannoniae primae et Norici ripensis:


Those under O come from the Bodleian manuscript in Oxford, those under P from the Paris manuscript, thoset 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. None of these is likely to have been a pattern born by the detachments still in Pannonia I and/or Noricum, however, as units transferred to a field army from a garrison station seem to have been given new shield patterns. This is particularly obvious in the examples of the units unambiguously derived from Legio II Italica, which bear shield patterns that are very different from one another.

Below are the frontpieces from the Froben edition (B) and the first half of the Munich manuscript (M).

Frontpiece showing towns Frontpiece showing towns

Unlike most forts illustrated in B, those shown here do not show the hexagonal style of fort illustrations that is believed to have been present in the lost Codex Spirensis from which all the extent manuscript copies are ultimately derived. The M pictures also do no show the hexagonal style; the imagery displayed is typical of the mid-16th century Germany. Below are the corresponding frontpieces from the Parisian manuscript (P) and the second half of the Munich manuscript (W).

Frontpiece showing towns Frontpiece showing towns

The similarity in style, if not in details, of the P pictures to those of O 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 style is 15th-century Italian, or Savoyard to be more exact. In contrast, the pictures from W evince a simple hexagonal style. It is believed the original drawings in W were copied with a reasonable degree of fidelity; unfortunately, the subsequent inking was done with a remarkable lack of care.


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