The Auxiliarii sagittarii

This page created 10 May 2014, and last modified: 12 December 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Auxiliarii sagittarii is the only pseudocomitatenses unit listed (12.43 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence; it is the last unit is his list. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts (but see notes below) 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 shield pattern is essentially blank. It shows a pale blue ground with lines quartering it, but no boss or actual colour divisions. Note that I have rather arbitrarily shown above the pattern (11#15) labelled (11.p) Felices Arcadiani iuniores (except in the Froben edition, B, where no pattern is shown at all!); the shield pattern in the position (11#16) corresponding to the textual entry Auxiliarii sagittarii is actually labelled (11.q) Quarti Theodosiani; the reasons for this should be clearer when looking there. This makes little visual difference anyway, for the "pattern" shown in the adjacent position 11#16 is (except in the Froben edition as noted above) essentially the same blank quartered pattern.

The correspondingly positioned unit under the command of the other Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence is a unit of auxilia palatina, the Felices Theodosiani Isauri (9.41), which, unlike most units under his command, does not have any similarity in name to its similarly positioned unit under the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence. Not only does the Auxiliarii sagittarii have a blank shield pattern, but its name is essentially a cipher too, a generic description saying "an auxiliary archer unit" - as if when this section of the Notitia was compiled the scribe knew there was an auxiliary archer unit that was supposed to be assigned here, but didn't know the details of its name, let alone its shield pattern. See here for more details. Indeed, according to Seeck, the Bodleian manuscript (which I have not been able to see) omits the unit from its listing (while having an entry for its shield pattern, essentially blank though it may be).


1. Ingo Maier; "Appendix 4: Numeration of the new edition of the compilation 'notitia dignitatum' (Cnd)"; last accessed 7 December 2015. See also for here for numbering examples. Return
2. Otto Seeck (Ed.); "Notitia Dignitatum accedunt Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae et Latercula prouinciarum", Weidmann, Berlin, 1876; available here (last accessed 26 October 2015). Return


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