The Equites Brachiati iuniores

This page created 12 December 2015, and last modified: 12 December 2015


The Equites Brachiati iuniores is listed (102/5.221 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the fourth of the cavalry units assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command. However, it is not listed in his cavalry roster, and no shield pattern is given for it in the two pages of shield pattern illustrations accompanying his main entry (102/5.1 and following) in the Notitia (but see below).

Disclaimer: Remember, a lot of what comes below is speculation. Hopefully informed speculation, but speculation nonetheless. Comments welcome! (lukeuedasarson "at"

The unit was presumably one of the western vexillationes palatinae. Because the shield pattern of the similarly-named Equites Brachiati seniores (102/5.5) is labelled (100.d) the plain "Brachiati", it is just possible this pattern (100#4) normally assigned to the seniores unit may represent the iuniores unit instead, although this must be considered unlikely given the position of the pattern on the page, which ill-suits the lower-ranked iuniores. This pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:

Shield patterns

Note that an entry for the Equites Brachiati iuniores was rather arbitrarily interpolated by Seeck (OC.VI.46) into the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster to bring the number of western vexillationes palatinae units to to ten, but the missing unit, if any, could as easily have been the Equites constantes Valentinianenses iuniores (102/5.216) assigned to the Magister Peditum's Italian command and equally missing from the cavalry roster.

Akso note that another Equites Brachiati iuniores (12.3) is found in the Notitia: one of the vexillationes palatinae under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II in the eastern half of the empire. This may or may not be the same unit: there is evidence that at least some, and possibly most of the apparently duplicated units in the Notitia were in reality different units that just happened to share a name.

Possible inscriptional evidence for one of the Equites Brachiati iuniores comes from the cemetery at Colonia Iulia Concordia (modern Portogruaro in Veneto, Italy), which produced an inscription (CIL 5,8760) giving the NVMERO EOVIIVM BRACCHIAIORVM, which is interpreted to mean the "numero e[q]ui[t]um Bracchia[t]orum"; this, however, is even mor likely to refer to the Equites Brachiati seniores (102/5.5).


1. Maier, Ingo; "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
2. Seeck, Otto (Ed.); "Notitia Dignitatum accedunt Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae et Latercula prouinciarum", Weidmann, Berlin, 1876; available here (last accessed 26 October 2015). Return
3. Hoffmann, Dietrich; "Die Spätrömischen Soldatengrabschriften von Concordia"; Schweizerische Zeitschrift für klassische Altertumswissenschaft, Vol. 20.1 (1963), pp 22-57; available here (last accessed 8 December 2015). Return


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