The Felices Arcadiani iuniores

This page created 8 May 2014, and last modified: 10 December 2015 (Trajan's column picture added)


The Felices Arcadiani iuniores is a unit of auxilia palatina listed (12.37 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence; it is the 15th unit of auxilia palatina is his list. Its shield pattern (11#13) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (11.n) Felices Arcadiani 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 shows a red ground with a yellow boss. The boss is surrounded by a purple band, a white band, and then a scalloped star-type device of 8 (P), 9 (O), 10 (W), 11 (B), or 12 (M) points. It thus resembles the pattern of the equivalently positioned unit under the other Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence, the Victores (9.38). These scalloped star patterns have a precursor, albeit with only six points, shown on Trajan's column being carried by what appears to be a soldier from a unit of auxilia (see right).

Although the patterns of the Victores and the Felices Arcadiani iuniores match, the names don't bear any resemblance at all. Given the last four units listed under the Magister Militum Praesentalis II are the Felices Arcadiani iuniores, the Secundi Theodosiani (12.40), the Quarti Theodosiani (12.41), and the Auxiliarii sagittarii (12.43), while the labels shield labels proclaim them to be the Felices Arcadiani iuniores (11.n), the Secundi Theodosiani (11.o), theFelices Arcadiani iuniores (again, 11.p), and finally the Quarti Theodosiani (11.q), and furthermore, the shield patterns for the last two are essentially blank (11#15, 11#16), each showing just a quartered but plain disc, it appears there is some sort of manuscript confusion here. Moreover the pattern of the Felices Arcadiani seniores (15.13), under the Magister Militum per Orientem, looks nothing like that (11#13) assigned to the iuniores. The best way of reconciling these observations to my mind is to assume the true position of the iuniores is (or to be more precise, was) that of the second label, which unfortunately shows a blank shield, while the first labelled position's shield pattern belongs to some other unit (that was) paired with the Victores (see also here). The patterns below taken from the Parisian manuscript show these (lack of) relationships:

Shield from scene 114 of Trajan's column.
Public domain image from Cichorius'
1900 book.

Shield patterns

The name Arcadiani in the unit title refers to the emperor Arcadius, who succeeded Theodosius in 395, around the time the Notitia was first compiled, and died in 408; few units bear his name, despite him having been declared co-Augustus as far back as 383, at the age of 5 or 6. Felices usually means "fortunate" or "lucky", and was a common moniker for Roman units; over twenty units in the Notitia incorporate it into their name (it also has another meaning, of "fruitful").


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. Cichorius, Conrad; "Die Reliefs der Traianssäule"; Verlag von Georg Reimer, Berlin (2 volumes, 1896-1900). Return


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