Late Roman Shield Patterns

Magister Militum Praesentalis II

This page last modified: 1 August 2015 (Comites sagittarii Armeni link added)


36 units are listed as being under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence:

6 Vexillationes palatinae:

12.2 Comites seniores
12.3 Equites brachiati iuniores
12.4 Equites Batavi iuniores
12.5 Comites sagittarii Armeni
12.6 Equites Persae clibanarii
12.7 Equites Theodosiaci seniores

6 Vexillationes comitatenses:

12.9 Equites catafractarii
12.10 Equites catafractarii Ambianenses
12.11 Equites sexto Dalmatae
12.12 Equites secundi scutarii
12.13 Equites scutarii
12.14 Equites secundi clibanarii Parthi

6 Legiones palatina:

12.16 Matiarii seniores
12.17 Daci
12.18 Scythae
12.19 Primani
12.20 Undecimani
12.21 Lanciarii iuniores

17 Auxilia palatina:

12.23 Regii
12.24 Cornuti
12.25 Tubantes
12.26 Constantiniani
12.27 Mattiaci iuniores
12.28 Sagittarii seniores Orientales
12.29 Sagittarii iuniores Orientales
12.30 Sagittarii dominici
12.31 Vindices
12.32 Bucinobantes
12.33 Falchovarii
12.34 Thraces
12.35 Tervingi
12.36 Felices Theodosiani
12.37 Felices Arcadiani iuniores
12.38 Secundi Theodosiani
12.39 Felices Arcadiani iuniores (see notes)
12.40 Secundi Theodosiani (see notes)
12.41 Quarti Theodosiani

1 Pseudocomitatenses:

12.43 Auxiliarii sagittarii

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

Items 12.39 and 12.40 would appear to be simple textual duplicates of items 12.37 and 12.38, respectively; they make the list of auxilia palatina units total 19 entries rather than the 17 stated (but see below).

Of these, the shields of the 12 cavalry units are not illustrated. Below are the shields of the 24 infantry units that are illustrated in the Bodleian manuscript, O, arranged from top to bottom, left to right, in the order given above, except that the manuscript illustrations label the last four shields Felices Arcadiani iuniores (11.n), Secundi Theodosiani (11.o), Felices Arcadiani iuniores (11.p, again), Quarti Theodosiani (11.q); i.e. as per the duplicated list, minus the Auxiliarii sagittarii (12.43). Note that according to Seeck, the Bodleian manuscript, O, omits the Auxiliarii sagittarii and its pseudocomitatenses heading (12.42), while the Trento manuscript, T, not only omits these two lines, but also gives the last five auxilia palatina entries as:

Felices Theodosiani
Secundi Theodosiani
Felices Arcadiani iuniores
Felices Arcadiani seniores (also listed under the Magister Militum per Orientem)
Quarti Theodosiani
There is thus some evidence that some of the infantry shield patterns have been mislabelled as well as duplicated; see here for more details.

Insignia Insignia

Below are the same units as illustrated in the Parisian manuscript, P.

Insignia Insignia

Below are the corresponding pictures from the two sets in the Munich manuscript: first portion (M) on top; second portion (W) below (note that the first Felices Arcadiani iuniores (12.37) in both sets is simply labelled Felices Arcadiani).

Insignia Insignia

Insignia Insignia

Below are the same patterns as illustrated in the Froben edition, B (i.e. the first printed version of the Notitia, copied from the now-lost Basel manuscript). These appear to be mirror-imaged, as if the engraver hadn't known the printing process would reverse them. Note that the second-last (blank) pattern (11#15) is missing.

Insignia Insignia

In addition to the units enumerated above, the Notitia gives the Magister's staff as follows:

12.46 Two chiefs of staff (princeps)
12.47 Two accountants (numerarii)
12.48 A custodian (commentariensis)
12.49 A chief assistant (adiutor)
12.50 Clerks (scriniarios)
12.51 Secretaries (exceptores) and other attendants (apparitores)
The Magister's staff are, like those of the Magister Militum per Orientem, said to be permanent; this differs from the staff of the Magister Militum Praesentalis I, the Magister Militum per Thracias, and the Magister Militum per Illyricum, whose staff are said to be drawn from those enrolled in their respective forces.


Return to the Notitia index page.