The Comites iuniores

This page created 26 August 2014, and last modified: 6 December 2015 (references rearranged)


The Comites iuniores is listed (102/5.34 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as one of the vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; its shield pattern (101#12) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (101.m) Comites 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 shield pattern has a white boss (yellow in M) divided (except in B) into 8 sectors. It is surrounded by a yellow band, and then a green band (faded to yellow in M, and white in B); the outermost band is the broadest, and is blue. As such, it does not bear a close resemblance to any other shield pattern in the Notitia.

The Comites iuniores is apparently not assigned to any of the western field commands; as its neighbouring units in the cavalry roster are assigned to the Comes Africae, it is quite likely that this unit too belongs there. Note that the Parisian manuscript, P, labels the shield pattern Comittenses rather than Comites iuniores; this reinforces my suspicion the unit should be assigned to an African command, since several African cavalry units have comitatenses appended to their roster names in the distribution part of the unit listing; the scribe was likely looking at an African unit when making this mistake.

The name Comites means "companions"; specifically, companions-in-arms of the Emperor; it is where the aristocratic title "Count" comes from. All units of comites in the Notitia are cavalry; moreover, of the eleven (or twelve, depending on the counting), all but two (or three) are palatine units. The Comites iuniores is thus unusual in being a non-palatine unit of comites, but this just makes its assignment to the provincial Comes Africae, as opposed to one of the western Praesental Magistri, even more likely. Note that comites are never described as being cavalry ("equites") in the Notitia (other then inferentially, die o being under the Magister Equitum); it would appear to be in the 'it goes without saying' category that comites ride horses.


1. Ingo Maier; "Appendix 4: Numeration of the new edition of the compilation 'notitia dignitatum' (Cnd)"; last accessed 26 October 2015. See also for here for numbering examples. Return


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