This page created 3 August 2014, and last modified: 29 October (Frankfurt fragment image added)
One of the auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster is called the Honoriani Atecotti seniores; it is assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command under the name Atecotti Honoriani seniores. Its shield pattern in various manuscripts, under the label Atecotti seniores, is as shown below:
The pattern is very simple, with a white boss (yellow in B, perhaps in Ff), a red rim, and a purple main ground (more indigo in P, and faded to maroon in M, W; white in Ff). The pattern is thus identical to that ascribed to the Tertia Iulia Alpina, a unit of legiones comitatenses in the Magister Peditum's Italian command; and very similar to those ascribed to the Comites seniores, a unit of vexillationes palatinae, also in the Magister Peditum's Italian command; the Honoriani Atecotti iuniores, another unit of auxilia palatina in the Magister Peditum's Italian command; the Fortenses, a unit of legiones comitatenses under the "Comes Hispenias"; the Undecimani, another unit of legiones comitatenses under the "Comes Hispenias"; the Secunda Flavia Constantiniana, a unit of legiones comitatenses under the Comes Tingitaniae; the Prima Flavia Gallicana Constantia, a pseudocomitatenses unit under the Magister Equitum's Gallic command; the Martenses, another pseudocomitatenses unit under the Magister Equitum's Gallic command; the Atecotti iuniores Gallicani, assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, and presumably a unit of auxilia palatina; and the Secundani, a unit of legiones comitatenses in the eastern half of the empire, under the Magister Militum per Illyricum.
While it is evident that the patterns for many of the western auxilia platina units may been shifted from their proper place (or, to be more exact, their labels may have been shifted), the fact that the Honoriani Atecotti iuniores and the Atecotti iuniores Gallicani also both have similar patterns would seem to indicate that these patterns may well be in their correct places. Another unit of Atecotti, so-named, and also a unit of auxilia palatina, is found in the eastern half of the empire, under the Magister Militum per Illyricum. A comparison of the following patterns taken from the Parisian manuscript shows the relationship between the patterns of the four Atecotti units; that of the eastern unit bears no strong relationship, although it does at least share the main field colour:
The name Atecotti is a tribal one, indicating an obscure people from the north of the British Isles; Ammianus records they raided Roman Britain in the late 4th century; while St Jerome, a contemporary of Ammianus, notes that they took their wives in common.
The name Honoriani refers to the emperor Honorius, who succeeded his father Theodosius I in 395, around the time the Notitia was first compiled. Note that Honorius had however, been declared co-Augustus two years earlier, at the age of 7, so the presence of units bearing the name Honorius does not therefore prove they must have been entered into the document so-named at 395 at the earliest. Nonetheless, the presence of large numbers of units named after Honorius in the western half of the Notitia, compared to very few in the east, is one of the clearest indications the eastern portion was not amended much, or even at all, after the death of Theodosius, while the western half was extensively updated.
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