The Funditores

This page created 8 April 2014, and last modified: 26 July 2015 (many changes, including addition of Froben image; Maier reference numbers; links, etc.)


The Funditores is listed (15.29 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the fourth of the pseudocomitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern (14#10), as shown in various manuscripts under the matching label (14.k) Fortenses auxiliarii, 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 pattern has a yellow boss (white in W, B), encircled by a yellow band (blue in W, B). The shield has an outer rim in red (white in O, P) with an inner band in yellow (white in M, B). The main field is white, with an red 8-pointed star. As a result of the 8-pointed star, the pattern is somewhat similar to that of the previous unit listed (15.28) under the same commander, that of the Fortenses auxiliarii, but not very similar (the shape of the star of the Fortenses auxiliarii is much more like that of the Fortenses (9.20) under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I). Rather, its closest likeness is the Ursarienses (98/9.118) in the west, and assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, as can be seen below from the following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript:

Shield patterns

The name Funditores means "the slingers", but that need not imply they were armed with the sling, as it was standard Roman practice to train soldiers to have a certain degree of proficiency with the sling - the cheapest of all weapons beyond a bare stick or stone. Perhaps the Funditores were just a normal unit that just happened to have actually used slings profitably in some now-unknown action, and the unit gained the title as a nickname commemorating the occasion. The unit cannot be classified as auxiliary or legionary based on just its name, but its listing order in the section of the Magister Militum per Orientem would argue against auxiliary status - to have a unit of auxiliaries placed between two legionary units would be unique departure from the norm. Given their adjacent positions in the list, and their similar shield patterns, it is likely the Funditores and the Fortenses auxiliarii were brigaded together. The bare descriptiveness of the name Funditores precludes any conclusion as to which legion the unit may have been detached from.


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