The Felices Arcadiani seniores

This page created 11 May 2014, and last modified: 30 July 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Felices Arcadiani seniores is is listed (15.13 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as one of the units under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern (13#2) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (13.b) Felices Arcadiani seniores, 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 white ground with a red rim. The boss is yellow, surrounded with blue; surrounding this is what appears to be a red ring made of rope, but possibly intending to depict a wreath; if so, it one of very few wreathes shown in the Notitia (the only clearer example is that of the Salii (seniores), 98/9.52). A blue pillar supports the rope/boss; it overlaps the shield's rim in O and W, but not in P, M, and B.

Note that while the unit is clearly meant to be a unit of auxilia palatina, it is not actually listed or otherwise described as such; indeed, it is listed under the heading (15.2) "Vexillationes comitatenses". It would appear that a heading saying either "Auxilia palatina", "Auxilia palatina II", or "Auxilia palatina duo" has been omitted from the list in between entries 15.12 and 15.13. This may have something to do with the fact that entry 15.12 is unusually long: Cuneus equitum secundorum clibanariorum Palmirenorum.

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 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 carried a less common meaning of "fruitful, fertile").

The unit's shield pattern bears no resemblance to that of the Felices Arcadiani iuniores (12.37), which is listed as being under the command of the Magister Militum Praesentalis II; however this is because there is strong evidence that the label that says Felices Arcadiani iuniores (11.n) is attached to the wrong shield pattern (11.n).


Return to the Notitia alphabetical unit list page.
Return to my Notitia index page.