The Secunda Flavia Constantiniana

This page created 23 March 2014, and last modified: 15 September 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The Secunda Flavia Constantiniana is listed (98/9.127 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the 30th of the 32 legiones comitatenses units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster. Its shield pattern (96#20), as shown in various manuscripts, and labelled (96.u) as the Constantiniani, 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 patten is simple, and shows a red rim and an undifferentiated purple (O, B) or indigo (P) ground (faded to pink in M, W); the boss is quartered with colours varying with source: black and purple (O); white and indigo (P); black and white (M); green and green (W); or green and white (B). It is thus very similar to the patterns of several other units in the Notitia; but it most closely matches that born by the Martenses (98/9.139) of the Magister Equitum's Gallic command which not only has the same rim and main field colours, but also has a quartered boss whose colours vary from manuscript to manuscript.

The unit is apparently assigned, as the Constantiniani, to both the Comes Tingitaniae (102/5.190) and the Comes Africae (102/5.201); the two units are likely either one and the same, perhaps separated by time, or perhaps less likely, detachments of the same unit. Ammianus records (29.5.20) that a portion of the infantry of the "Constantiani" had gone over to Firmus during his revolt; given the spelling, this reference is more likely to equate to the Flavia victrix Constantina id est Constantici (98/9.126) than the Secunda Flavia Constantiniana.

The name Flavia Constantiniana would appear to derive from either Constantine I or II; accordingly the unit is apparently not related to the similarly-named Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum (15.22) found under the command of the Magister Militum per Orientem, which is named after Constantius Chlorus. However, the unit may be related to the Secunda Flavia Virtutis (98/9.124), also under the Comes Africa, and likely raised (or reformed) by Constantine I or II, along with the similarly stationed Prima Flavia Pacis (98/9.123), and the Tertia Flavia Salutis (98/9.125). A name derived from Constantine III, western Augustus in 421, and father of Valentinian III, and whose name was Flavius Constantius, would appear to be less likely because one might expect any legionary units bearing his name to have pseudocomitatenses status, and also the name would be expected to have one less "n" in it, like the Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum.

The Dux Mogontiacensis commands a Praefectus militum secundae Flaviae (156/8.7), stationed at Vangiones (modern Worms; Germany) that may be related to the Secunda Flavia Constantiniana / Constantiniani. No unit bearing either of these names is found in the list of units in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command, where most of the units under the Dux Mogontiacensis are listed, and it may be the unit at Worms was destroyed at some point before the Notitia's Gallic list was finally amended. The only other legionary units bearing the name Secunda Flavia in addition to those already mentioned above are the Legio secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum (56/7.11) under the Dux Thebaidos, and parent unit of the previously mentioned Secunda Flavia Constantia Thebaeorum (15.22); and the Secunda Flavia gemina (18.19) under the Magister Militum per Thracias. Both of these are eastern units, and should thus be considered less likely candidates to be related to the unit at Worms, although they cannot be ruled out entirely.

It may be, however, that the Worms unit is unrelated to any of these other "2nd Flavian" legions, and represents the last remaining attestation of a completely separate Legio II Flavia unit; one that would pair nicely with either of the two "1st Flavian" legions attested in the Magister Equitum's Gallic command: the Prima Flavia Gallicana Constantia (98/9.138) and the Prima Flavia Metis (98/9.143).


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