Numerus directorum

This page created 12 November 2015, and last modified: 9 December 2015 (RIB II reference modified)


The ninth officer listed (154.10 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the Dux Britanniarum is the Praefectus numeri directorum, said to be stationed at Verteris.

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

The station of the unit, Verteris, is modern Brough-under-Stainmore in what used to be Westmoreland but is now Çumbria; the Anglo-Norman keep was constructed within the site of the Roman fort.

The entry Praefectus numeri directorum Verteris is is rather puzzling; a reasonable translation would be "the prefect of the unit of straight (men) from Veteris", although 'straight' could be easily replaced with any of 'perpendicular', 'level', 'straightforward', 'direct', and 'arrayed'. Perhaps the sense means "the prefect of those deployed at Verteris", but why they should be "deployed" as opposed to "garrisoned" or some such would still need explaining.

Lead piping from the site has given evidence for both cohors VI Thracum (RIB 2411.152-60) and, especially, cohors VII Thracum (RIB 2411.161-92, 194-240), although this would not fit in very well with a prefect being in charge, as by the time of the Notitia, auxiliary cohorts were commanded by tribunes. On the other hand, although cohors VII Thracum is one of the several units well-attested in diplomata as being in Britain (in the second century at least; diplomata mostly ceased being issued in the 3rd century), it is not listed in the Notitia, at least, under that name; cohors VI Thracum is even less-well attested (but might equate to the cohors I Cornoviorum ; 154.18).

As with all limitanei units in the Notitia, the shield pattern of the numerus directorum 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
2. S.S. Frere, Margaret Roxan, & R.S.O. Tomlin (Eds); "The Roman Inscriptions of Britain", Vol. II, Fasc. I; Allan Sutton, Gloucester, 1990. Return


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