Numerus Pacensium

This page created 14 November 2015, and last modified: 2 December 2015 (Pacentium textual note added)


The twelvth officer listed (154.13 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the Dux Britanniarum is the Praefectus numeri Pacensium, said to be stationed at Magis.

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

The modern location of the station of the Praefectus numeri Pacensium, Magis, has not been conclusively identified, but is widely considered to be the fort at Burrow Walls in Workington, Cumbria, which has yielded only a couple of inscriptions, and neither yield any details about the identity of its garrison. The numerus Pacensium shares its name with the milites Pacenses (156/8.2) under the Dux Mogontiacensis and stationed at Saletione (Saletio, modern Seltz in Alsace). Given both units are under prefects, and that the Alsatian unit at least is implicitly infantry (being milites), both units are most likely to be a detachment of a legionary unit; quite possibly the legio Prima Flavia Pacis (98/9.123), a legion comitatenses, and assigned to the Comes Africae as the Primani (102/5.198).

The unit may ultimately derive from the important city of Colonia Civitas Pacensis in Lusitania (modern Beja in Portugal). The name Primani is suggestive, given the Primani iuniores (102/5.207) under the Comes Britanniae, which may then be taken as the Dux' (former) numerus Pacensium (newly) drafted into the field army of the Comes. However, see the discussion of the two legiones Valentinianae under the Dux Thebaidos for another hypothesis about the origins of the Primani iuniores.

As with all limitanei units in the Notitia, the shield pattern of the numerus Pacensium is not illustrated. That of the Prima Flavia Pacis is however:

Shield patterns

However, even if the legio I Flavia Pacis => numerus Pacesium derivation is accepted, it by no means follows that the pattern of the unit was as shown above while it served in Britain, as not only are there many indications in the Notitia that field army units derived from limitanei units received new shield patterns upon first joining a field army, in this case it would not be clear if the Dux' unit was a limitanei unit before the African unit was a field army unit, or vice versa. Accordingly, any links must remain very speculative.

Note that the manuscripts actually give pacentium rather than pacensium; this was not only amended by Seeck in his edition of the Notitia (OC.XL.29), and Boecking in his edition, but had been done so by Rhenanus in the printed Froben edition.


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. E.g., with reservations, Guy de la Bédoyère; "Companion to Roman Britian"; Tempus, 1999; see on-line portion regarding "The Roman Army in Britain" here (last accessed 9 December 2015); and also the Pleiades entry (last accessed 20 November 2015). Return
3. Otto Seeck (Ed.); "Notitia Dignitatum accedunt Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae et Latercula prouinciarum", Weidmann, Berlin, 1876; available here (last accessed 26 October 2015). Return
4. Eduard Boecking; "Notitia dignitatum et administrationum omnium tam ciuilium quam militarium in partibus orientis et occidentis", Adolph Marcus, Bonn, 3 Volumes + Index (1839-1853); Volume 1 (the East; 1839) available here; Volume 2 (the West, part 1; 1840) here; Volume 3 (the West, part 2; 1850) here; Index (1853) here and also here (last accessed 1 November 2015); at p 113 of volume 2 & p 875 of volume 3. Return


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