The Secundani Italiciani

This page created 29 June 2014, and last modified: 26 November 2015 (Sedecimani label added)


The 12th of the legiones comitatenses units listed (98/9.109 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster is called the Secundani Italiciani; it is assigned (102/5.196) to the Comes Africae. Its shield pattern (96#2) as shown in various manuscripts, under the plain label (96.b) Secundani (except for O, which has Secundani italiciani, and P, which has Sedecimani), 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 has a white boss encircled with a red band; the main field is also white, and the rim is red. A cross-like motif decorates the main field: each arm of the cross is white, delineated with a white border on each side; the each arm has a central row of three red dots (two in B); as a result, the pattern does not bear a strong resemblance to any other in the Notitia.

The unit's name clearly shows it to be derived from Legio II Italica, which had been stationed at Lauriacum (modern Linz in Austria) since the second century, and where a detachment is still recorded in the Notitia (145.27), under the Dux Pannoniae primae et Norici ripensis; other detachments of the same legion are also recorded (145.25-26) as being stationed elsewhere in the province. Also derived from the same legion is the Divitenses seniores (98/9.23), in the Magister Peditum's Italian command; the Lanciarii Lauriacenses (98/9.133), under the Comes Illyricum is also almost certainly yet another detachment. The Divitenses Gallicani (18.21), under the Magister Militum per Thracias may also be descended from the legion; alternatively it may descend from Legio VIII Augusta.

Shield pattern 96#2 is notable for being one of the few patterns illustrated in the Notitia that is also illustrated in another source. In 1928, a silver hoard was unearthed in Marengo (Alessandria) in Italy; one of the items found was a fragment of a gilded silver belt showing a trophy of arms. As can be seen, one of the shields depicted, that to the left, bears essentially the very same pattern.

Marengo trophy
Photo by Enrico Carpegna; (C) Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Piemonte e del Museo Antichita Egizie.


1. Ingo Maier; "Appendix 4: Numeration of the new edition of the compilation 'notitia dignitatum' (Cnd)"; last accessed 26 October 2015. See also for here for numbering examples. Return
2. Museo di Antichita di Torino; "Tesoro di Marengo", Cataloghi 3 (last accessed 28 October 2015); at p 60. Return


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