The Galli victores

This page created 15 July 2014, and last modified: 3 November 2014 (two links added added)


In the western half of the empire, the Galli victores is listed as one of auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it assigned to his Italian command. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts 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 simple, and consists of a red rim and a green main ground (faded to yellow in M, and white in B), together a yellow band encircling a green boss (white in M, B, and the heavily damaged Ff). Although there is evidence that many labels attached to the shield patterns illustrating the western auxilia platina have been shifted from their proper places, it is not clear that this has happened to this unit; it may well be labelled with the correct shield pattern.

The name Victores means "victorious", a common epithet for a Roman military unit, although is is also particularly associated with Constantine I, who adopted the name "Victor" after defeating Licinius, in place of his former usage of "Invictus" (see Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor; Paul Stephenson, 2009, page 216), after publicly espousing Christianity in place of the worship of Sol Invictus; "invicti" is another common military epithet found in the Notitia. Five other units in the Notitia incorporate the name "Victores", or similar:

Victores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I,
Honoriani victores iuniores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Comes Illyricum,
Victores iuniores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Comes Hispenias,
Victores seniores, a unit in the Magister Peditum's Italian command but not listed in his own infantry roster, and which can thus only be presumed to be a unit of auxilia palatina, and the
Victores iuniores Britanniciani, under the Comes Britanniarum, and possibly the same as the Exculcatores iuniores Britanniciani, a unit of auxilia palatina listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster, but otherwise not assigned,
while two other units have very similar names:
Ala prima Victoriae, a cavalry limitanei unit under theDux Osrhoenae, and
Cohors prima victorum, an auxiliary limitanei unit under the Dux Syriae et Eufratensis Syriae.
Ammianus describes a unit of "Victores" as accompanying Theodosius on his British campaign in 367, but it is not clear which of the various Victores units listed in the Notitia (if any) this refers to.

The name Galli refers to the region of Gaul, and probably indicates the unit was either stationed somewhere there before attached to the Italian-based field army, or else that it was raised there. As the Galli victores comes immediately before the Honoriani victores iuniores in the Magister Peditum's infantry list, and there is no counterpart Honoriani victores seniores unit listed in the Notitia, it is possible that the Galli victores may actually be the otherwise-missing Honoriani victores seniores in disguise.


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