Late Roman Shield Patterns

Magister Equitum

This page last modified: 10 December 2015 (Cuneus equitum promotorum link added)


The following units are listed as being under the overall command of the Master of the Horse (the numbers in the front of the names refer to Ingo Maier's numbering scheme):

10 Vexillationes palatinae: (see notes)

102/5.03 Comites seniores
102/5.04 Equites promoti seniores
102/5.05 Equites Brachiati seniores
102/5.06 Equites Batavi seniores
102/5.07 Equites Cornuti seniores
102/5.08 Equites Cornuti iuniores
102/5.09 Comites Alani
102/5.10 Equites Batavi iuniores
102/5.11 Equites constantes Valentinianenses seniores (but see notes)

32 Vexillationes comitatenses:

102/5.13 Equites armigeri
102/5.14 Equites prima Gallia
102/5.15 Equites octavo Dalmatae
102/5.16 Equites Dalmatae Passerentiaci
102/5.17 Equites Mauri alites
102/5.18 Equites Honoriani Taifali iuniores
102/5.19 Equites Honoriani seniores
102/5.20 Equites Mauri feroces
102/5.21 Equites Constantiani feroces
102/5.22 Equites scutarii
102/5.23 Equites stablesiani Africani
102/5.24 Equites Marcomanni
102/5.25 Equites armigeri seniores
102/5.26 Equites sagittarii clibanarii
102/5.27 Equites sagittarii Parthi seniores
102/5.28 Equites primo sagittarii
102/5.29 Equites secundo sagittarii
102/5.30 Equites tertio sagittarii
102/5.31 Equites quarto sagittarii
102/5.32 Equites sagittarii Parthi iuniores
102/5.33 Equites citrati seniores (cetrati in Seck)
102/5.34 Comites iuniores
102/5.35 Equites promoti iuniores
102/5.36 Sagittarii iuniores
102/5.37 Equites citrati iuniores (cetrati in Seeck)
102/5.38 Honoriani iuniores
102/5.39 Armigeri iuniores
102/5.40 Equites secundi scutarii iuniores
102/5.41 Equites stablesiani italiciani
102/5.42 Equites sagittarii cordueni
102/5.43 Equites sagittarii seniores
102/5.44 Cuneus equitum promotorum

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

Note that there would appear to be only nine palatine units listed instead of the ten expected. It may well be that "Equites constantes Valentinianenses seniores" should be read as two different units: the Equites constantes and the Valentinianenses seniores. But the listing (102/5.216) of an Equites constantes Valentinianenses iuniores under the Magister Peditum's Italian command leaves this in some doubt, which is probably why Seeck decided (rather inconsistently) to look for an alternative to make up the number: he interpolated (OC.VI.46) a unit called the Equites Brachiati iuniores between the Equites Brachiati seniores and the Equites Batavi seniores, as an Equites Brachiati iuniores is listed (102/5.221) as being part of the Magister Equitum's Gallic command (another unit of this name is also found under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II). However, since there are only nine shields illustrated (no Equites Brachiati iuniores!), it may well be that the number "ten" is simply a mistake. Even if a tenth unit should be there, it could just as easily have been the Equites constantes Valentinianenses iuniores, presumably coming at the bottom of the list (see here, page 14, note 68 for some commentary by Ingo Maier).

The Comites iuniores is not assigned to any of the various officers and its name does not appear to be similar to any units from their commands that are missing from this list.

The Cuneus equitum promotorum, being at the bottom of the list, would appear to be a recent addition. It is not assigned to any of the officers of any of the field armies, but a number of detachments of the same name appear under the Dux Moesiae primae and the Dux Pannoniae secundae. The absence of its shield pattern would seem to confirm it is a late addition; the same would appear to be the case for the Equites sagittarii seniores immediately above it, which is presumably to be equated with the unit of the same name listed under the Comes Tingitaniae.

The units are illustrated below from top to bottom, left to right, in the order given above, using the Bodleian manuscript pictures (O), except for those noted above as missing.

Insignia Insignia

Below are the corresponding pictures from the Paris manuscript, P:

Insignia Insignia

Below are the corresponding pictures from the Munich manuscript: first portion (M) on top; second portion (W) below.

Insignia Insignia

Insignia Insignia

Below are the corresponding pictures from the printed Froben edition (B; note that that of the Equites Batavi seniores is missing):

Insignia Insignia


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