The Superventores iuniores

This page created 23 March 2014, and last modified: 25 September 2015 (Commentary about legionary/non-legionary status added)


The Superventores iuniores is listed (98/9.144 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the 14th of the 18 pseudocomitatenses units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it is assigned (102/5.148) to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command. Its shield pattern (97#16), as shown in various manuscripts under the plain label (97.p) Superventores, is as below:

Superventores iuniores 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 is simple, being a plain red field with a yellow boss, quartered (except in B) with white. A number of units bear such a simple plain red pattern, although no others have yellow quartering.

It is tolerably clear these are the same men as formerly commanded by the Praefectus militum superventorum (151.6), stationed at Mannatias under the Dux tractus Armoricani et Nervicani; see under his entry for details (but see below for another possible unit, stationed in Britain). Because these men are commanded by a prefect, and not a tribune, this implies they were legionary troops, and not auxiliaries. Since the Milites superventores (74.11) that appears under the Dux Scythiae is an auxiliary unit, it would thus appear the Scythian unit is unrelated to the Superventores iuniores (note that no Superventores seniores is to be found in the Notitia).

The exact meaning of Superventores is unclear; Ammianus mentions (18.9.3) a unit of Superventores at the siege of Amida, but it is unclear if that unit is the same as any of those listed in the Notitia; another unit that might so-named is a Numerus supervenientium Petueriensium (154.15) under the Dux Britanniarum, but the form "super..." occurs only in the Trento manuscript; see the Dux' page for details.

Whether the Superventores iuniores were a legionary unit or not is also unknown. It is true that Ammianus calls the Superventores at Amida a "legion", but since he uses this word to describe undoubtably auxiliary units, this is not dispositive. A legionary status might be more likely than not given the legionary status of the two units preceding the Superventores in the infantry roster; but thus must be balanced by the observation that the next unit, the Constantiaci (98/9.145), is most likely auxiliary. And the the shield pattern, being so simple, offers little in the way of clues.


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