The Lanciarii Stobenses

This page created 7 September 2014, and last modified: 25 July 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Lanciarii Stobenses is listed (18.22 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the tenth of the legiones comitatenses under the Magister Militum per Thracias. Its shield pattern (17#6), under the matching label (17.f) Lanciarii Stobenses, is shown in various manuscripts 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 shield patten is extremely simple, being just plain red with a yellow boss (but white in M, and surrounded by a thin red band); it is identical to that carried by a western cavalry unit, the Equites scutarii (seniores) (102/5.22).

While the name Lanciarii comes from the lancea, a spear suitable for both thrusting and throwing, this does not necessarily imply the Lanciarii Stobenses was equipped with this weapon, since the title lanciarii (or lancearii) had become the designation of elite guards in the later 3rd century; we even hear of mounted lanciarii, as attested by inscriptional evidence (AE 1981, 777) where the gravestone of one Aurelius Gaius describes him (in Greek) as an "ippeus lankiaris". There are a number of lanciarii units listed in the Notitia, some of which are obviously elite units, while some, like the Lanciarii Stobenses, have no such indication.

The name Stobenses comes from Stobi, the major city of the province of Macedonia Salutaris, which in the Notitia is actually split between the dioceses of Macedonia and Dacia; the town is now a ruin in central Macedonia. The Lanciarii Stobenses may have been recruited from Stobi, or perhaps more likely, stationed there prior to joining the Thracian field army (in the Notitia, no troops are identified as being stationed in Macedonia: all the (non-naval) Balkan units given under the Duces are stationed in close proximity to the Danube, so it is clear the Notitia does not record all units stationed in the east). Which legion the Lanciarii Stobenses were originally detached from is unknown.


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