Late Roman Shield Patterns

Dux Syriae et Eufratensis Syriae

This page created: 1 January, 2003 and last modified: 16 December 2015 (65.17 commentary added)


Frontpiece showing towns
Frontpiece from the Bodleian manuscript (O).
The stations depicted are:
Seriane, Occariba,
Matthana, Adada,
Barbalissus, Neocaesar,
Aratha, Acadama,
Rosapha, Sura,
Acavatha, Oresa.
The following units or detachments of units, and a prefect and his unit are listed as being under the command of the Duke of Syria and Euphratine Syria (the numbers in front of the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

65.2 Equites scutarii Illyriciani, at Seriane
65.3 Equites promoti Illyriciani, at Occariba
65.4 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Matthana
65.5 Equites promoti indigenae, at Adada
65.6 Equites sagittarii indigenae, at Anatha
65.7 Equites sagittarii, at Acadama
65.8 Equites sagittarii, at Acavatha
65.9 Praefectus legionis quartae Scythicae, at Oresa

along with the following units or detachments of units, and a prefect and his unit, in Augusto Eufratensi:

65.11 Equites Dalmatae Illyriciani, at Barbalisso
65.12 Equites Mauri Illyriciani, at Neocaesareae
65.13 Equites promoti indigenae, at Rosafa
65.14 Praefectus legionis sextadecimae Flaviae firmae, at Sura

as well as the following units from a "lesser register":

65.16 Ala prima nova Herculia, at Ammuda
65.17 Ala prima Iuthungorum, at Salutaria (see notes)
65.18 Cohors prima Gotthorum, at Helala
65.19 Cohors prima Ulpia Dacorum, at Claudiana
65.20 Cohors tertia Valeria, at Marmantharum
65.21 Cohors prima victorum, at Ammattha

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

Entry 65.17, "Ala prima iuthungorum salutaria" can be interpreted as the Ala prima Iuthungorum, at "Salutaria" (as it was by Seeck; OR.XXXIII.31), or probably more likely, as the Ala prima Iuthungorum salutaria, meaning the unit is missing a station, name, but has a title that very pausible - "salutaria" being a unit distinction that could be awarded under the Principate for conspicuous service.

The men under the Praefectus legionis sextaedecimae Flaviae firmae are clearly Legio XVI Flavia Firmae, which had since the 2nd century been stationed at Samosata (modern Samsat, Turkey, by the Syrian border, now under a hydroelectric lake), but which in the Notitia is stationed at Sura (Soura, modern Sourriya, between Alhora and Al-Raqqah, Al-Raqqah, Syria).

The men under the Praefectus legionis quartae Scythicae are clearly (part of) Legio IIII Scythica, which was in the early 3rd century stationed at Zeugma (near Belkis in Gaziantep, Turkey, and now partially underwater), but which in the Notitia is recorded as being stationed at Oresa, which is probably to be equated with Oriza (modern Ain Tayibe, Homs, Syria). A detachment of this unit may have been incorporated into the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence at some point, as the Scythae, although units may perhaps more likely have been derived from Legio I Iovia Scythica, under the Dux Scythiae.

Note how in the Bodleian frontpiece shown above, the Dux' territory is divided into two portions, with the left portion corresponding to those units said to be stationed in Augusto Eufratensi, which had been formed in the 4th century from the former territories of Commagene and Cyrrhestica on the west bank of the Euphrates; the right portion corresponds to the units stationed in Syria proper. The same division is observed in the other manuscripts. 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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