The Brachiati (iuniores)

This page created 28 October 2014, and last modified: 3 November 2014 (Concordia commentary expanded)


In the western half of the empire, a unit is listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster between the Sabini and the Honoriani Atecotti seniores as the Brachiati, and which is presumably the unit listed in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command as the Brachiati iuniores, albeit in a much higher position in that command than in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster.

Disclaimer: remember, I'm not an expert in the field of Notitia studies, so take my comments with a grain of salt...

No shield pattern is labelled either Brachiati or Brachiati iuniores amongst those accompanying the roster's textual entries. However, I believe there is evidence to suggest that the shield pattern of this unit may nonetheless be illustrated, being that erroneously ascribed to the Sabini, and which is given below as shown in various manuscripts:


The name Brachiati (Bracchiati is often found outside the Notitia) is usually taken to refer to either upper arm bracelets (bracchia), or trousers (brachae), and is shared with five other units in the Notitia: the Equites Brachiati seniores, one of the vexillationes palatinae listed the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster and assigned to the Magister Peditum's Italian command; the Equites Brachiati iuniores, one of the vexillationes palatinae under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II; another unit called the Equites Brachiati iuniores, and assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command but missing from his cavalry list (where it was rather arbitrarily interpolated by Seeck); another unit called the Brachiati iuniores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the command of the Magister Militum Praesentalis I; and the Brachiati seniores, also in the Magister Peditum's Italian command.

Inscriptional evidence for the Brachiati seniores comes from the cemetery at Colonia Iulia Concordia (modern Portogruaro in Veneto, Italy), which produced an inscription (CIL 5, 8740 = ILS 2798; photo here) mentioning a unit in the form of the NVMERI BRACCHIATORVM. This probably refers to the Brachiati seniores, given the Italian location of the cemetery, and the assignment of the (western) Brachiati (iuniores) to Gaul, unlike the Italian assignment of the Brachiati seniores. See here for Hoffmann's 1963 analysis (in German).


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