The Prima Flavia gemina

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


The Prima Flavia gemina is listed (18.18 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the seventh of the legiones comitatenses under the Magister Militum per Thracias. Its shield pattern (17#2) as shown in various manuscripts, under the matching label (17.b) Prima Flavia gemina, 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 shield pattern has a white main field with a red cross and a red rim. The boss is blue and relatively large (but green and small in B), and is encircled by a yellow band. The cross means it looks somewhat similar to the patterns borne by e.g. both the Mattiaci seniores (9.28) under the Magister Militum Praesentalis I and the Mattiaci seniores (102/5.66) in the western Magister Peditum's Italian command: crosses, while not exactly rare in the Notitia, are also far from ubiquitous.

The name Flavia presumably refers to one of the (second so-named) Flavian-dynasty emperors, starting with the elevation of Constantius Chlorus as Caesar in 293, and ending with the death of Julian in 363. Accordingly, many other units in the Notitia carry the same name; among the various legions, those called Legio I Flavia... include not only the Prima Flavia gemina, but also the Prima Flavia Constantia (15.21) and the Prima Flavia Theodosiana (15.24), both under the Magister Militum per Orientem; and in the western half of the empire, the Prima Flavia Pacis (99/9.123), probably to be equated with the Primani of the Comes Africae; and in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, the Prima Flavia Gallicana Constantia (99/9.138) and the Prima Flavia Metis (99/9.143).

The moniker gemina shows the unit was in some way a "twin"; and indeed, the unit immediately following the Prima Flavia gemina in the list of the Magister Militum per Thracias, and with which it was presumably brigaded, is the Secunda Flavia gemina (18.19). However, earlier legions seem to have been given the moniker when they absorbed a large number of men from other legions (e.g. after disbandments), so in what way(s) the Prima Flavia gemina and the Secunda Flavia gemina were "twinned" can only be speculated at.


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