This page created 7 April 2014, and last modified: 30 November 2014 (Maier reference numbers added)
In the eastern half of the empire, the fifth of the 18 units of unit of auxilia palatina listed (9.28 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the first Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence (i.e. the Magister Militum Praesentalis I) is called the Mattiaci seniores. Its shield pattern (8#3) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (8.c) Mattiaci seniores, is as below:
The pattern shows a white boss encircled by a red band (very thin in B) . This is in turn surrounded what can be best described as a four-spoked wheel in yellow (faded in W); the shield's rim is red. The four sectors between wheel's tyre, spokes, and hub are white (but purple in B); each quarter bears a bird in black facing inwards.
This pattern is very similar to that of another auxilia palatina unit, under under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence; that of the Constantiniani, which differs mainly in having blue quarters (except in W) rather than white. However, there is strong evidence that some of the patterns of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence have been displaced; the label adjacent to that of the Constantiniani is none other than that of the Mattiaci iuniores, and it would appear that the shield pattern labelled Constantiniani should actually bear the label Mattiaci iuniores. The following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript show these relationships:
Note that there is also another auxilia palatina unit called the Mattiaci seniores, in the western half of the empire, in the Magister Peditum's Italian command. Its shield pattern is not particularly similar, but does also feature a cross-shape, a white ground, and a red rim, as the following patterns taken from the Paris manuscript show:
The name Mattiaci is tribal; according to Tacitus in the 1st century, belonging to a German tribe that were neighbours of the Batavians. Many units in the Notitia carry such apparently tribal names inherited from units of auxilia raised centuries in the past, although in many cases, the tribal name had been transferred to a locality; such is the case here, as "Aquis Mattiacorum" was a famous spa town rom the second century; it is now known as Wiesbaden. Which former Cohors Mattiacorum (if any) the eastern Mattiaci seniores may have been descended from is unknown; by far the best attested unit is Cohors II Mattiacorum, which is known from scores of inscriptions and military diplomas dating to the early 2nd century in particular; an example is a statue base from Carnuntum in Austria that bears an inscription (AE 1992, 1431) mentioning a TRIB COH II MATTIACOR M EQ, which expands to "trib(unus) coh(ortis) II Mattiacor(um) m(illiariae) eq(uitatae)" (photos here).
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