This page created 6 July 2014, and last modified: 28 October (Frankfurt fragment image added)
In the western half of the empire, the Augustei is listed as one of auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:
The shield has a red rim and a white main ground; it is charged with a quadruped of some description in green (brown in M, B, and possibly Ff, but much faded, it may hav been green). The animal turns its head to look back across its rear quarters, and thus faces right (left in B, which, being printed, reverses its pattern facings). The animal appears to be a deer in B and Ff; a canid of some kind in P, probably a hound; while those in M, W, and O are hard to ascribe.
However, it is evident that this might be the "wrong" shield pattern; like that of some other western auxilia platina units, it may have been shifted from its proper place (or, to be more exact, the label may have been shifted from its proper place), although which pattern (if any) among those shown properly belongs to the Augustei is harder to discern; perhaps the most likely candidate is simply the next unit listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster: the Iovii iuniores, under the command of the Comes Illyricum. Accordingly the pattern shown above may well belong to that of the previously-listed unit in the roster: the Invicti seniores, and which is assigned to the Comes Hispenias. These relationships are shown below, using the corresponding patterns taken from the Parisian manuscript, P:
However, these last two identifications must be taken as speculative, as there is no corroborating evidence to support them as with the higher-listed units, such as similar shield patterns for similarly named units, or some tie-in between the putative pattern and the unit's name. This uncertainty is compounded because the Augustei, although listed in the infantry roster, is not assigned to any field command in the distribution part of the Notitia. Whether this is through "simple" omission, or deliberate, because it had been destroyed, for example, or renamed, is hard to say.
The name Augustei means "belonging to the emperor", similar to the way units of the British army were sometimes called "The King's Own...". Exactly which emperor is meant in the case is hard to say. It is the only unit so-called in the Notitia, although there are several units recorded with similar names, such as the Augustenses, one of the legiones comitatenses under the Magister Militum per Thracias; the Augustenses, a limitanei unit under the Dux Mauritania, and which is likely a detachment of the Tertio Augustani, one of the legiones comitatenses under the Comes Africae; the Secundae Augustae under the Comes litoris Saxonici per Britanniam, and likely the same unit as the Secunda Britannica / Secundani Britones, one of the legiones comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command; the Prima Augusta Pannonii, a cohort under the Comes limitis Aegypti; Prima Augusta Coloni, a cavalry ala under the Dux Armeniae; and the Augustenses, an auxiliary unit under the Dux Pannoniae secundae. Perhaps this last unit is the origin of the Augustei, as some of the other auxilia units listed under the Dux Pannoniae secundae also appear in the Magister Peditum's roster, albeit as pseudocomitaneses units.
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