The Celtae iuniores

This page created 29 June 2014, and last modified: 29 October (Frankfurt fragment image added)


The Celtae iuniores is listed as one of the auxilia palatina unit in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster (in most mansucripts in the form Celte iuniores); it is assigned to the Comes Africae. Its shield pattern is shown in various manuscripts as below:

Shield patterns

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

The pattern is simple, and shows a white boss encircled by a red band and then an indigo band (more purple in B, faded to maroon in M, and to white in Ff). The main ground is plain white, and the rim is red. As a result, the pattern is somewhat similar to those of a number of other units in the Notitia; in particular, the Heruli seniores in the Magister Peditum's Italian command and the Abrincateni in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command. Although there is evidence that many labels attached to the shield patterns illustrating the western auxilia platina have been shifted from their proper place, it is not clear that this has happened to this unit; it may well be labelled with the correct shield pattern.

In the history of Ammianus, "the" Celtae are found brigaded with "the" Petulantes (e.g. 20.4.2, 21.3.2, 22.12.6). In the Notitia, the Celtae seniores is immediately preceded by the Petulantes seniores in both the Magister Peditum's infantry roster and his Italian command list, whereas the Celtae iuniores under the Comes Africae does not appear to have any obvious partner, as it is the only unit of auxilia palatina under his command (the Petulantes iuniores is listed under the Magister Militum per Illyricum). It would thus appear that the Petulantes and Celtae in Ammianus correspond to the Notitia's Petulantes seniores and Celtae seniores rather than the iuniores units; although when they were split between seniores and iuniores is unknown.

The name Celtae is tribal, referring to "the" Celts; a rather generic name by the time of the Notitia.


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