The Minervii

This page created 4 November 2014, and last modified: 4 November 2014


The seventh of the eight legiones comitatenses listed (21.21 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) under the command of the Magister Militum per Illyricum in the eastern half of the Empire is called the Minervii. Its shield pattern (20#11) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (20.k) Minervii, is 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 pattern is extremely simple, with a yellow boss, a green main field (faded to yellow in M, and white in W), and a red rim. Accordingly, the pattern resembles that of several other units in the Notitia, but most of all, that of the Propugnatores seniores (98/9.100), one of the legiones comitatenses under the "Comes" Hispenias; indeed, the pairs shown in O, P, and M are essentially identical to each other.

The name Minervii clearly refers to the goddess Minerva, although indirectly, via Legio I Minervia, long stationed at Bonna (modern Bonn in Germany), but which was overrun by the Franks in the early 350s. Detachments of Legio I Minervia are recorded in inscriptions found in many parts of the empire before this date, but not later. Given their identical shield pattern, it may be the western Propugnatores seniores represents another surviving detachment of the same former legion stationed at Bonn. This would be particularly appropriate given propugnatores means "the champions" or "the defenders", and Minerva was the goddess of (defensive) strategy and war (as opposed to the more aggressive and offensive Mars)


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