Ala I Asturum

This page created 14 November 2015, and last modified: 21 November 2015 (ILS 02712 reference added).


The third officer listed (154.19 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the Dux Britanniarum following the subsection headed "along the line of the Wall" (item 154.16, per lineam valli), is the Praefectus alae primae Asturum, said to be stationed at Conderco.

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

The men under the Praefectus alae primae Asturum are more fully known as ala I Hispanorum Asturum, i.e. an auxiliary cavalry regiment. The unit's station, Conderco (i.e. Condercum) is modern Benwell in western Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The unit is attested there from 205-9 AD by the latest (RIB 1337); a prior mention from Arbeia (South Shields; RIB 1064) migh imply it was stationed there at the time, but it must be treated with cution, as it comes not from the tombstone of a trooper from the unit, but rather from a freedman of such a trooper. The unit's latest firmly-dated inscription from Benwell (RIB 1334; photo here) dates to 238, but it presumably garrisoned the site throughout the 3rd century, given its location there in the Notitia.

The unit, as with ala II Asturum (154.22), was presumably originally recruited from the Asturian region of Spain, and although it might be thought likely to have included few, if any men from Spain by the time of the Notitia's compilation, there is evidence that ethnically-named units did try to maintain something of their ethnic identity - see e.g. the ala (I Pannoniorum) Sabiniana (154.21). A tombstone (ILS 2712) from Alcala del Rio (Roman Ilipa) in southern Spain records the deceased as serving in Britain with ala I Asturum, although it is unclear what period this refers to.

As with all limitanei units in the Notitia, the shield pattern of the ala I Asturum is not illustrated.


1. Ingo Maier; "Appendix 4: Numeration of the new edition of the compilation 'notitia dignitatum' (Cnd)"; last accessed 26 October 2015. See also for here for numbering examples. Return


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