The Antianenses

This page created 28 September 2014, and last modified: 22 September 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Antianenses is listed (98/9.136 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the sixth of 18 pseudocomitatenses units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster. Its shield pattern (97#8), as shown in various manuscripts under the matching label (97.h) Antianenses, is as below:

shield patterns

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

The pattern features a white boss (indigo in O) encircled by a red band with a red pillar beneath. The red band and pillar are encircled and flanked with indigo (purple in B; white in P; and faded to pink in M, W); this is in turn encircled by another red band (yellow in B). Next comes a yellow band (white in B), another red band, and finally a white rim (red in B). The colour scheme most closely resembles that of the Tertio Augustani (98/9.128), one of the legiones comitatenses under the Comes Africae, while the pattern resembles that of the next unit in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster: the Pontinenses (98/9.137), under the Magister Peditum's Italian command; the following patterns taken from the Bodleian manuscript shows these similarities:

Shield patterns

Like the immediately preceding unit in the roster, the Taurunenses (98/9.135), the Antianenses is not apparently assigned to any field command in the Notitia. The unit was thought by Jones to be the same as the Auxilia Novensia (141.20) under the Dux Provinciae Pannoniae secundae ripariensis et Saviae, although that unit is said to be stationed at "Arsaciana siue ('or') Novas" in the Notitia (according to Seeck, given as "Arsatiana siue Novas" in the Trento manuscript, T, which I have not seen); Arsaciana is otherwise unknown. However, since a Roman station named Antiana is known, this would seem a better bet as the previous station of the unit: it is mentioned in the Peutinger table, for example. The online Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire gives its location as the modern Popovac, between Beli Manastir in Croatia, and Mohacs in southern Hungary, which would however better fit with a command under the Dux Provinciae Valeriae ripensis than under the Dux Pannonia II, although the border between the two commands appears to be very close to the station's location. In any case, whatever province the Antianenses came from, Valeria or Pannonia II, it was not alone in being removed from its general region of the frontier; as the three units preceding the Taurunenses in the Magister Peditum's infantry list, the Legio Secunda Iulia Alpina (98/9.132), the Lanciarii Lauriacenses (98/9.133), and the Lanciarii Comaginenses (98/9.134), are all assigned to the Comes Illyricum, this suggest the Taurunenses and the Antianenses might also have been so-assigned.

The Notitia gives no clear textual indication whether the Antianenses is a legionary or auxiliary unit; however, the "pillar" of the shield pattern is much more typical of auxiliary units, and what few legionary units carry it in the Notitia are all in the eastern half of the empire, so the balance of probabilities based on this factor would favour auxiliary status. On the other hand, save for the unknown status of the preceding Taurunenses and the following Pontinenses, the other units surrounding the Antianenses in the infantry roster are legionary. A firm conclusion seems impossible.


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