The Brachiati iuniores

This page created 29 March 2014, and last modified: 28 November 2014 (Maier reference numbers added)


In the eastern half of the empire, the Brachiati iuniores is listed (9.25 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the second unit of auxilia palatina under the command of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence (i.e. the Magister Militum Praesentalis I). Its shield pattern (7#9) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (7.i) Brachiati iuniores, 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 blue field with a blue rim (but white in W, purple in B). The boss is yellow (white in W), and is pictured as bearing a yellow spike, protruding from the shield. A red fringed pole or pillar is under the boss (although P lacks the fringe), and an 8-rayed device in red is above the boss in the 12 o'clock position, while two birds in red face each other, one on each side of the boss.

The name Brachiati (Bracchiati is often found outside the Notitia; while the Froben manuscripts labels the pattern here Braccati iuniores) is usually taken to refer to upper arm bracelets (bracchia), or trousers (brachae), and is shared with five other units in the Notitia:

Equites Brachiati seniores, one of the vexillationes palatinae in the Magister Peditum's Italian command;
Equites Brachiati iuniores, one of the vexillationes palatinae under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II;
Equites Brachiati iuniores, assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, and presumably a vexillationes palatinae unit;
Brachiati seniores, a unit of auxilia palatina in the Magister Peditum's Italian command;
Brachiati iuniores, assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, and probably the same as the auxilia palatina unit called the plain Brachiati.
The shield patterns for both of the Equites Brachiati iuniores units are not recorded; and no pattern labelled Brachiati (iuniores) is recorded either; those of the other three units are given below, using the pictures taken from the Parisian manuscript, P:


In Ammianus's history, "the" Brachiati are brigaded with "the" Cornuti; the two were famous for their rendition of the "barritus" or war-cry (Ammianus 16.12.43). In the Notitia, immediately before the Brachiati seniores is indeed the Cornuti seniores, whereas in the east, the Brachiati iuniores appears after the (eastern) Batavi seniores. Thus the Brachiati at the Battle of Strasbourg in 357 were likely the western Brachiati seniores and not the eastern or the western Brachiati (iuniores) units. This is reinforced by the fact that while the shield pattern of the eastern Brachiati iuniores looks nothing like that of the Brachiati seniores, nor any of the Cornuti units, it does, however, resemble that of the eastern Batavi seniores, also under the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence, and with which it is likely to have been brigaded.


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