This page created 6 April 2014, and last modified: 19 July 2015 (Froben edition picture added)
The Prima Flavia Constantia is listed (15.21 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as sixth of the nine legiones comitatenses units under the Magister Militum per Orientem. Its shield pattern (14#3), as shown in various manuscripts under the matching label (14.c) Prima Flavia Constantia, is as below:
This shield pattern is simple, being a yellow boss with a blue rim, and a white main field with a red rim. This pattern is clearly closely related to that of three other units under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem, as a side-by-side comparison of the Paris manuscript shields shows:
The related Legio secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum (15.22) is a detachment from Egypt that was moved to Macedonia during the start of Theodosius' reign, as related by Zosimus (IV.27). That the pattern of the Balistarii seniores (15.20) is differentiated from the that of the Legio prima Flavia Constantia purely by the addition of a small 8-pointed start, the primary symbol of Macedonia, is very suggestive that the Balistarii seniores, at least, gained its shield pattern in Macedonia, and probably the Prima Flavia Constantia as well. Accordingly, these shield patterns should be dated to very early in Theodosius' reign, when the Egyptian units arrived in the Balkans; and at some later time the Legio prima Flavia Constantia was moved east, to join what became the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem, which, contrary to Zosimus' statements (IV.27), most scholars agree (see Burns, page 313, note 49, and pages 98-100) cannot have been formed until 386 at the earliest.
However, the origins of the Prima Flavia Constantia are harder to pin down than those of the Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum. There is a Prima Flavia Gallicana Constantia in the western empire, one of the pseudocomitatenses units listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster and assigned to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, but its shield pattern is not particularly similar, and it is reasonably clear this unit takes its name from the town of Constantia (modern Coutances, in France). The name Constantia favours Constantius Chlorus rather than either Constantine I or II (for which we would expect Constantiniani, as in the Secunda Flavia Constantiniana, 98/9.127), but that is about all that can be said. Ammianus records (20.6.8) that when the Persians captured the city of Singara (modern Sinjar in Iraq) in 360 AD, the entire defending force was led off in chains; including Legio I Parthica and a Legio I Flavia. Since we find Legio I Parthica listed (69.10) in the Notitia under the Dux Mesopotamiae, evidently either not the entire force was present, not all of it was captured, or it was reconstituted. The same could well be the case with his Legio I Flavia, in which case it would be natural to equate it with the Notitia's Prima Flavia Constantia. However, another eastern legionary unit in the Notitia is also called Legio I Flavia: the Prima Flavia Theodosiana, also listed (15.24) under the Magister Militum per Orientem, so this equation is by no means proved.
Return to the Notitia alphabetical unit list page.
Return to my Notitia index page.