The Equites scutarii

This page created 23 March 2014, and last modified: 7 December 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Equites scutarii is listed (102/5.22 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the tenth of the 32 vexillationes comitatenses in the Magister Equitum's cavalry roster. Its shield pattern (100#20) as shown in various manuscripts, under the plain label (100.u) Scutarii, is as below:

Shield patterns

Disclaimer: remember, I'm not an expert in the field of Notitia studies, so take my comments with a grain of salt...

The shield pattern is extremely simple: a plain red field with a yellow boss, it is shared with the Lanciarii Stobenses (18.22) under the Magister Militum per Thracias.

No unit called the plain Equites scutarii is to be found listed in any of the western field armies; however, an Equites scutarii seniores is listed (102/5.232) under the Comes Africae, while an Equites scutarii seniores comitatenses is listed under the Comes Tingitaniae (102/5.258). These would appear to be no only the same unit as each other, but also the same as the roster's Equites scutarii. These might well represent the same unit listed in different commands corresponding not only to a geographical region but also a different time. They might alternatively represent two different detachments of the same unit, although this kind of duplication seems more likely with infantry than cavalry units.

It is interesting that a unit with such an apparently highly-ranked name as the Scutarii (seniores) is stationed in distant Morocco (whether western - Tingitania, or eastern - Africa), and also listed relatively far down the ranks of the western vexillationes comitatenses units. Perhaps the unit had been demoted at one point, for backing a failed usurper. for example (Gildo comes to mind). But explanation is that the unit is not the Scutarii (seniores), but just a Scutarii (seniores), and the unit's name has been contracted from some longer name: many of the names recorded in the Notitia are revealed to be longer when encountered in other sources, such as gravestones.


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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