The Honoriani victores iuniores

This page created 14 July 2014, and last modified: 3 November 2014 (limitanei links added)


In the western half of the empire, the Honoriani victores iuniores is listed as one of auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it assigned to the Comes Illyricum under the title Honoriani victores. Its shield pattern, as shown in various manuscripts under the plain label Honoriani iuniores, 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 has yellow main ground and a red rim. An indigo band (faded to maroon in M, W, and the heavily damaged Ff) is inset and separated from the rim by a yellow band. 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". Four of these are in the western half of the Empire; the exception is "the" first Victores listed here:

Victores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I,
Galli victores, a unit of auxilia palatina under the Magister Peditum in his Italian command,
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 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 in the western half of the Notitia, compared to very few in the east, named after Honorius is one of the clearest indications the eastern portion was not amended much, or even at all, after he death of Theodosius, while the western half was extensively updated.

There is no counterpart Honoriani victores seniores unit listed in the Notitia - although it is possible that the above-mentioned Galli victores may actually be the Honoriani victores seniores in disguise.


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