Numerus vigilum

This page created 11 November 2015, and last modified: 2 December 2015


The seventh officer listed (154.8 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the Dux Britanniarum is the Praefectus numeri vigilum, said to be stationed at Concangios.

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

Determining exactly what kind of unit the Praefectus numeri vigilum commands is problematic, for the entry translates as "the prefect of a unit of watchmen", an altogether far too generic description. The listing of the unit's officer as being a prefect as opposed to tribune would argue against the unit being an infantry auxiliary unit, but whether this means the unit was otherwise legionary or cavalry is unknown (the third alternative, naval, is unlikely because Concangios is modern Chester-Le-Street, which is well inland). Potential epigraphic evidence for the unit comes from a tile stamp found at Chester-le-Street bearing the letters NV.

Other tiles have been found at the site attesting to an N CON, taken to mean numerus Concangensium, but that is of no assistance, because the phrase just means "the unit at Concangis". The only altar found at the site that mentions anything concrete in terms of military organisation is RIB, from 216 AD, mentioning EQ(uitum), i.e. cavalrymen; however, as this dates to nearly two hundred years before the time of the Notitia's original compilation, it is likely whatever unit these troopers served in had moved on in the meantime (assuming the altar was even dedicated by the fort's garrison in the first place).

Note that the manuscripts actually give vigilium rather than vigilum; this was not only amended by Seeck in his edition of the Notitia (OC.XL.24), and Boecking in his edition, but had been done so by Rhenanus in the printed Froben edition.

As with all limitanei units in the Notitia, the shield pattern of the numerus vigilum 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. M.C. Bishop; "Excavations in the Roman Fort at Chester-le-Street (Concangis), Church Chare 1990-91", Archaeologia Aeliana 5th series, 21 (1993), 29-85; online version available here; last accessed 11 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 866 of volume 3. Return


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