Late Roman Shield Patterns

Dux Osrhoenae

This page created 1 January 2003, and last modified: 16 December 2015 (67.14 commentary added)


Frontpiece showing towns
Frontpiece from the Bodleian manuscript (O).
The stations depicted are:
Gallaba, Callinico,
Dabava, Banasam, Syna iuddeorum, Oroba,
Thillazamara, Mediana, Rasin, Circesio,
The following units, detachments of units, and prefect and his unit are listed as being under the command of the Duke of Edessa (the numbers in front of the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

67.2 Equites Dalmati Illyriciani, at Ganaba
67.3 Equites promoti Illyriciani, at Callinico
67.4 Equites Mauri Illyriciani, at Dabana
67.5 Equites promoti indigenae, at Banasam
67.6 Equites promoti indigenae, at Sina Iudaeorum
67.7 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Oraba
67.8 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Thillazamana
67.9 Equites sagittarii indigenae Medianenses, at Mediana
67.10 Equites sagittarii indigenae primi Osrhoeni, at Rasin
67.10.1? [(... ..., at) Apatna] (see notes)
67.11 Praefectus legionis quartae Parthicae, at Circesio

along with the following units under a "lesser register":

67.13 Ala septima Valeria praelectorum, at Thillacama
67.14 Ala prima Victoria Iovia, opposite Bintha (see notes)
67.15 Ala secunda Paflagonum, at Thillafica
67.16 Ala prima Parthorum, at Resaia
67.17 Ala prima nova Diocletiana, between Thannurin and Horobam
67.18 Cohors prima Gaetulorum, at Thillaamana
67.19 Cohors prima Eufratensis, at Maratha
67.20 Ala prima salutaria, duodecima constituta (i.e. stationed at Duodecima)

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

Entry 67.14, "Ala prima victoriatovia contrabintha", was interpreted by Seeck (OR.XXXV.28) as the "Ala prima Victoriae, at Tovia, opposite Bintha", but is mor likley to mean the "Ala prima Victoria Iovia, opposite Bintha".

The "sagittarii indigenae" in 67.10 (Equites sagittarii indigenae primi Osrhoeni) was bracketed by Seeck for deletion in his edition (OR.XXXV.23), in a similar manner to the "primi ducatores" in the Equites ducatores Illyriciani primi ducatores under the Dux Mesopotamiae. There may well be a point of textual corruption here (see below).

The men under the Praefectus legionis quartae Parthicae are the Legio IIII Parthica, a Tetrarchic creation, based at Circesium (modern Al-Busayrah in Syria). The unit was still in existence at the end of the 6th century, when it was based at Beroea (modern Aleppo), recorded by Theophylactus Simocatta (2.6, see here, p 78) fighting against the Persians. Seeck interpolated (OR.XXXV.25) an extra missing line under the entry for Legio III Parthica, partly because most (but not all) the neighbouring commands have two legions, and not one, and partly because a fort named Aptana (O) / Apatna (P, M, W, B; modern Tell Fidain, Syria) appears in the frontpiece, but has no associated unit in the textual list. This "missing" legion is assumed, universally as far as I can tell, to be Legio III Parthica, as this previously well-documented unit is otherwise missing from the Notitia.

But while Seeck gives

Equites sagittarii indigenae primi Osrhoeni Rasin
Praefectus legionis quartae Parthicae Circesio

(space; presumably for Praefectus legionis tertiae Parthicae) [Apatna]
Et quae de minore laterculo emittuntur
Ingo Maier points out (personal communication) that other interpretations are possible, for example:
Equites sagittarii indigenae [Apatna
Equites sagittarii indigenae
] primi Osrhoeni Rasin
Praefectus legionis quartae Parthicae Circesio
Et quae de minore laterculo emittuntur
which would similarly supply the missing Apatna, and yet not introduce a missing legion. Note that Apatna also appears in the frontpiece for the Dux Mesopotamiae (as Apadna), and there too, it has no corresponding mention in the following textual list. Further, there seems to be no way of knowing whether a line mentioning Apatna, if interpolated, should be above or below 67.11, or 67.10: the relative positioning of the forts in the frontpiece illustrations in the Notitia is generally in reasonably good agreement with their textual list position - but not always.

Below are shown the frontpieces from the Parisian manuscript, P; and the Froben printed edition, B:

Frontpiece showing forts Frontpiece showing forts

And below are shown the frontpieces from the first set of pictures in the Munich manuscript, M; and the second set, W.

Frontpiece showing forts Frontpiece showing forts


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