Late Roman Shield Patterns

Dux Palaestinae

This page last modified: 26 July 2015 (Ammianus reference updated)


Frontpiece showing towns
Frontpiece from the Bodleian manuscript (O).
The stations depicted are:
Menoida, Berosaba,
Zodocatha, Sabaia, Chermula, Zoara,
Robatha, Hauare, Birsama,
Veterocania, Mohaila,
Aila, Aelia.
Note that not only is the ordering very different from
the textual list, but Robatha has no corresponding entry
in the textual list.
The following units or detachments of units, and a prefect and his legionary unit, are listed as being under the command of the Duke of Palestine (the numbers in front of the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):
59.2 Equites Dalmatae Illyriciani, at Benosabae
59.3 Equites promoti Illyriciani, at Menochiae
59.4 Equites scutarii Illyriciani, at Chermulae
59.5 Equites Mauri Illyriciani, at Aeliae
59.6 Equites Thamudeni Illyriciani, at Birsama
59.7 Equites promoti indigenae, at Sabiaea
59.8 Equites promoti indigenae, at Zodocathae
59.9 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Hauanae
59.10 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Zoarae
59.10.1 [(... ..., at) Robatha] (see notes)
59.11 Equites primi felices sagittarii indigenae Palaestini, at Sabure or at Veterocariae (see notes)
59.12 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Moahile
59.13 Praefectus legionum decimae Fretensis, at Ailae
along with the following units from a "lesser register":
59.15 Ala prima miliaria Sebastena, at Asuada
59.16 Ala Antana dromedariorum, at Admatha
59.17 Ala Constantiana, at Toloha
59.18 Ala secunda felix Valentiana, near Praesidium
59.19 Ala prima miliara, at Hasta
59.20 Ala Idiota constituta (i.e. the Ala stationed at Idiota; no unit name given)
59.21 Cohors duodecima Valeria, at Afro
59.22 Cohors decima Carthaginensis, at Cartha
59.23 Cohors prima agentenaria, at Tarba
59.24 Cohors quarta Frigum (Frygum in Seeck), at Praesidio
59.25 Cohors secunda Gratiana, at Iehibo
59.26 Cohors prima equitata, at Calamona
59.27 Cohors secunda Galatharum, at Arieldela
59.28 Cohors prima Flavia, at Moleaatha
59.29 Cohors IIII Palaestinorum, at Thamana
59.30 Cohors secunda Cretensis, by the Jordan river
59.31 Cohors prima salutaria, between Aeliam and Hierichunta

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

Note that Seeck interpolated (OR.XXXIV.27) an entry reading Equites sagittarii indigenae Robatha after 59.10 Equites sagittarii indigenae Hauanae, and bracketed the "sagittarii indigenae" in 59.11 for deletion, to produce:

Equites promiti indigenae Zodocathae
Equites sagittarii indigenae Hauanae
Equites sagittarii indigenae Zoarae
[Equites sagittarii indigenae Robatha]
Equites primi felices sagittarii indigenae Palaestini Sabure siue Ueterocariae
Equites sagittarii indigenae Moahile
presumably because a fort called Robatha appears in the frontpiece; but why he felt that meant "sagittarii indigenae" should be deleted I have no idea; perhaps he thought the inclusion of another unit of Equites sagittarii indigenae at 59.10.1 in addition to 59.11 would be one such unit too many.

The Dux Palaestinae controls the only unit of dromedarii (camel-mounted soldiers, in other words) listed in the Notitia outside Egypt; the other three units are under the Dux Thebaidos.

The men under the Praefectus legionis decimae Fretensis are the old Legio X Fretensis, stationed at Ailae (modern Aqaba in Jordan on the Red Sea), where they had been transferred in the 3rd century; previously they had been based in Jeruslaem. It is possible that the Decimanique Fortenses that Ammianus records (18.9.3) as being destroyed at Amida in 359 AD were a detachment of this unit, having arrived there by forced marches before the siege (Ammianus' text as it has come down to us may have been corrupted, for apparently 8 units are listed, not the 7 he states: the Legiones V Parthica, Magnetiaci, Decentiaci, Tricensimani, Decimani, Fortenses, Superventores, & Praeventores; accordingly, many have taken "Decimanique Fortenses" to refer to a single unit, and not two); it has been proposed that the text be amended to "Decimanique Fretenses", thereby reducing similarly the number of legions by one, as none of the legions numbered X are otherwise recorded as being styled Fortenses. Another less likely possibility is an otherwise unknown Tenth legion of 3rd century origin called the Fortenses (not beyond the realms of possibility, given an apparent Legio XII Victrix known only from bricks from Strasbourg dating to the 3rd/4th century).

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

Frontpiece showing forts Frontpiece showing forts

Note how some text from the previous list, that of the Dux Thebaidos, overflows on to the page in P. 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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