The Equites sagittarii iuniores (east)

This page created 29 October 2014, and last modified: 3 December 2015 (Photo added)


The Equites sagittarii iuniores is listed (19.9 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the third of the vexillationes comitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Thracias. As an eastern cavalry unit, its shield pattern is not recorded in the Notitia.

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

AE 1976,617
AE 1976, 617. Photo by Ortolf Harl.
(C) Bucuresti - Muzeul National de Istorie a Romaniei.
The Equites sagittarii iuniores is, however, apparently recorded outside the Notitia: a gravestone of one Terentius found in Tomis (modern Constanta in Romania) declares in a short inscription (AE 1976, 617; photos here) that he served 25 years in the SAGITTARS IVNIORES. This would seem to refer to the Thracian Equites sagittarii iuniores, as no infantry unit named the plain "Sagittarii iuniores" is known, whether from the Notitia, or any other source as far as I am aware, and especially not one from the Thracian region.

Terentius' gravestone (detail left) is clearly Christian in nature; in addition to the cross at the top, the main round motif looks very similar to the Christian chi-rho monogram. But only similar, however - it lacks the hook of the letter rho. Perhaps this motif actually represents the shield pattern of the Equites sagittarii iuniores that he was so evidently proud to have served in.

Note that there is a unit of equites called the Sagittarii iuniores listed (102/5.36) as one of the vexillationes comitatenses units in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster. This may represent the same unit latterly 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. It is most likely the western units is the same as the Equites scutarii iuniores comitatenses listed (102/5.246) under the Comes Africae rather than the eastern Equites sagittarii iuniores.

The name sagittarii implies (but does not establish) the Equites sagittarii iuniores was bow-armed.


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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