The Equites sagittarii iuniores

This page created 28 August 2014, and last modified: 3 December 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Sagittarii iuniores is listed (102/5.36 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the 24th of the vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster. Its shield pattern (101#15), as shown in various manuscripts under the matching label (101.o) Sagittarii 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 small white boss (blueish in M) encircled by a white band, presumably representing the raised portion of a boss and the surrounding boss plate; the main field is red, and decorated with a small crescent at the 12 o'clock position, cusps upwards, in indigo (faded to blue in O, faded to pink in M, and white in B); the crescent is thus very similar to that born by the Equites secundo sagittarii (102/5.29) under the Comes Africae.

No unit named Sagittarii iuniores is to be found amongst the regional field commands of the west. There is an Equites sagittarii iuniores listed (18.9) under the Magister Militum per Thracias, and which may represent the same unit formerly stationed in the east; however, the evidence is tolerably clear that many, perhaps even most, of the east-west duplicated units in the Notitia are genuinely distinct units. Further, there is a unit under the Comes Africae called the Equites scutarii iuniores comitatenses (102/5.246) that is not to be found in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster; the fact that this unit has the same three units listed immediately before and after it in the African lists as does the Sagittarii iuniores in the cavalry roster implies the two units are one and the same. Since the Equites sagittarii seniores (102/5.43) of the cavalry roster would seem to equate to the Equites sagittarii seniores comitatenses (102/5.259) under the Comes Tingitaniae, it would appear that scutarii is simply a scribal error for sagittarii. Nonetheless, it cannot be ruled out that the full name of the unit was the Equites scutarii sagittarii iuniores, because under the eastern Magister Officiorum we do, after all, find a unit of scholares called the Schola scutariorum sagittariorum (23.5).

The name sagittarii implies (but does not establish) the unit was bow-armed; while scutarii might imply it soldiers were quipped with a large shield, a scutum; however, by this date, it seems scutarii had come to have a secondary meaning of "guardsmen", who need not actually have carried shields at all, let alone the large ones implied by the name.


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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