The Invicti seniores

This page created 27 June 2014, and last modified: 27 October (Frankfurt fragment image added)


In the western half of the empire, the Invicti seniores is listed as one of auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it assigned to the "Comes" Hispenias. Its shield pattern, as shown in various manuscripts under the plain label Invicti, 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 has a red main ground, along with a red rim and a yellow band (white in M, B; in B it is doubled) separating the rim from the main ground. The main feature is a head, perhaps representing a solar visage, surmounting a white pole or spike; this "head-on-a-stick" motif is common for auxilia palatina units in the Notitia, especially in the western half of the empire (half a dozen examples, not counting further examples where the "pole" is more of a keyhole shape incorporating the shield's boss).

However, it is evident that this is the "wrong" shield pattern; like that of some other western auxilia platina units, it has been shifted from its proper place (or, to be more exact, the label has likely been shifted from its proper place), although which pattern (if any) among those shown properly belong to the Invicti seniores is not immediately apparent; the most likely candidate is simply the next unit listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster: the Augustei.

The name Invicti means "invincible, indefatigable, unconquerable"; it was frequently paired with the divinity Sol in the time of Constantine I as "Sol invictus", "the unconquerable sun"; indeed Constantine used the name for himself before he espoused Christianity, when he changed his name to "Victor" (see Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor; Paul Stephenson, 2009, page 216).

Other units bearing the name Invicti are the Invicti iuniores under the Magister Militum per Illyricum in the eastern half of the empire; and in the west, the Invicti iuniores Britones, under the "Comes" Hispenias. Both are auxilia palatina units like the Invicti seniores, but neither bear a similar shield pattern to that of the Invicti seniores, nor to each other.


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