The Propugnatores iuniores

This page created 22 June 2014, and last modified: 10 October 2015 (name derivation commentary added)


The Propugnatores iuniores is listed (98/9.114 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the 17th of the 32 units of legiones comitatenses in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it is assigned (102/5.108 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) to the Comes Illyricum. Its shield pattern (96#7), as found in various manuscripts under the plain label (96.g) Propugnatores, is shown 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 patten features a green boss (white in B, pink in M), a red rim, an indigo main field (purple in B; faded to pink in M, W), and a red star of 6 points (8 in M, B) radiating from the boss to the rim; the indigo field does not extend between the points all the way to the rim. This six-pointed star is unique in the Notitia; the closest matching patterns have 7 or 8 points.

The name Propugnatores means "defenders" or "champions"; other units in the Notitia so-named are the Propugnatores seniores (98/9.100), a legio comitatenses assigned to the Comes Hispenias; the Armigeri propugnatores iuniores (98/9.32), a legio palatina, assigned to the Comes Africae; and the Armigeri propugnatores seniores (98/9.27), another legio palatina assigned to the Comes Africae. When "the" Propugnatores was split between seniores and iuniores divisions is unknown; the shield pattern of the seniores unit bears no resemblance to that of the iuniores.

The origins of the Propugnatores iuniores are hard to discern, as the name gives little apparent clue as to the unit's origin. However, the unit may well derive as a detachment of Legio I Minervia, long stationed at Bonna (modern Bonn in Germany), but which was overrun by the Franks in the early 350s; see under the Propugnatores seniores for details.


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