This page created 3 April 2014, and last modified: 26 October (Frankfurt fragment image added)
The Leones seniores is one of the auxilia palatina units listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it is assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:
The pattern is simple, showing a red boss (faded to yellow in M; white in W with a small green central disc) encircled by a red band, and a green main field (faded to yellow in M), also with a red rim.
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); this pattern would appear to properly belong to the previously listed unit, the Sagittarii nervi. Rather, the true pattern is that from the next unit in the list, the Leones iuniores, the pattern of which is illustrated by various manuscripts as below:
This pattern, featuring a red rim, boss, and pillar under the boss, a blue ground, and a head at the 12 o'clock position, is similar to that of a number of auxilia palatina units. It is possible that (some of) these apparently human heads are supposed to represent lion heads, and have been somewhat mutated in the transmission process of copying the original Notitia document into the now-lost Speyer manuscript from which all the surviving manuscript copies derive. In particular, if the ones on the shield of the two Leones units are not lion heads, then there is a problem, because the poet Claudian clearly describes in his piece "In Gildonem" that the Leones unit that was fighting in Italy in 398 AD, just the right date for the Notitia patterns in other words, had a shield pattern that reflected its name: "the lions". What are clearly supposed to be lion heads elsewhere in the Notitia do look rather human, it must be said (see in particular, those of the Hiberi and the Thraces). That unit was probably the seniores (see inscriptions below), but even if it wasn't, the problem is the same, given how similar the two shield patterns are.
Inscriptional evidence for the Leones seniores comes from the cemetery at Colonia Iulia Concordia (modern Portogruaro in Veneto, Italy), which produced an inscription (CIL 5, 8755) mentioning the unit in the form of the numero Leonum seniorum, and another (ILS 501) in the form numero Leonum sen. See here for Hoffmann's 1963 paper mentioning these two (in German).
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