The Equites primo sagittarii

This page created 24 August 2014, and last modified: 7 December 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Equites primo sagittarii is listed (102/5.28 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the 16th of the 32 vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; it is assigned (102/5.239) to the Comes Africae as the Equites primi sagittarii (Equites sagittarii primi in O). Its shield pattern (101#6) as shown in various manuscripts, under the label (101.f) Primo sagittarii, 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 has a red rim (but white in P, W, and pink in M, i.e. a faded indigo-purple); a white band inwards from the rim (yellow in W); a red main ground; and a white band encircling an indigo boss (purple in B; faded to pink in M, W, and to blue in O). The simple combination of a mainly red shield with white bands is unique in the Notitia.

The name sagittarii implies (but does not establish) the unit was bow-armed; while secundo establishes the unit as the second in a series of similarly-named units recorded in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster, other members of which are the Equites secundo sagittarii (102/5.29), the Equites tertio sagittarii (102/5.30), and the Equites quarto sagittarii (102/5.231); their shield patterns are not particularly similar, although a comparison of their patterns, as taken from the Parisian manuscript below, shows only those of the 3rd and 4th regiments have any degree of similarity to each other:

Shield patterns

Note that an Equites primi sagittarii, with an adjectival primii rather than the adverbial primo, is listed (15.11) under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem in the eastern half of the empire. The (non-exclusive) usage of the adverbial form primo as opposed to the adjectival primi here is notable, and is far from unique to the Notitia.


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
2. Philip Rance; "The Third Equites Stablesiani at Cyrrhus"; Chiron 42 (2012), pp 347-360; available here, especially at page 357 (last accessed 7 December 2015). Return


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