The Taurunenses

This page created 28 September 2014, and last modified: 22 September 2015 (garrison location commentary heavily updated)


The Taurunenses is listed (98/9.135 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as the 5th of the 18 pseudocomitatenses units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster. Its shield pattern (97#7), as shown in various manuscripts under the matching label (97.g) Taurunenses, 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 is extremely simple, with a plain red field (white in B; the "rays" visible are actually from a pattern on the other side of the page, and partially visible through the page; in M, only the rim is red, while the main field is pink, and therefore probably representing a faded indigo), and a boss quartered white and green (white and white in M). Accordingly, several other units have near identical patterns: that of the Superventores iuniores (98/9.144) differs only in the quartering being yellow and white; that of the Equites promoti seniores (102/5.4) differs in having the quartering being blue and white; while that of the Equites sagittarii Parthi iuniores (102/5.32) has the quartering being black and white.

The Taurunenses does not appear to be assigned to any field command in the Notitia. Since the three preceding units in the Magister Peditum's infantry list, the Legio Secunda Iulia Alpina (98/9.132), the Lanciarii Lauriacenses (98/9.133), and the Lanciarii Comaginenses (98/9.134), are all assigned to the Comes Illyricum, this suggest the Taurunenses might also have been so-assigned.

The name Taurunenses evidently refers to a place named Taurunum, and where the unit was presumably stationed in the not-too-distant past; there are, however, two plausible candidates for this location. The most obvious is what is now Zemun in Belgrade, Serbia; and which in the Notitia would presumably have fallen under the military jurisdiction of the Dux Moesiae primae; it served as the harbour of the city of Singidunum (central Belgrade proper).

The second location is that listed in the Notitia as being the station of both a unit of Equites promoti (141.18) and a unit of Auxilia ascarii (141.23) under the Dux Provinciae Pannoniae secundae ripariensis et Saviae; this last unit is said to be stationed at both Tauruno and Marsonia (modern Slavonski Brod on the Sava in Croatia). The Barrington Atlas / Pleiades mapping project does not seem to recognise this second locality as a different place, nor does Michael DuBois in his commentary (Auxiliae, Vol 1, p 218), who states the Auxilia ascarii were stationed on the road running south from Zemun/Taurunum to Marsonia. Unfortunately for this hypothesis, not only does the road between them run due west from Belgrade, not south, its length is some 200 km! According to the the Itinerarium Antonini (242.1), the road from Zemun/Tauruo is connected to "Atiminci" (Acumincum; modern Stari Slankamen in Serbia) via "Ritti" (i.e. Rittium, modern Surduk in Serbia) with its length being just 36 miles (or similar, depending on the manuscript). Similarly, the Tabula Peutingeriana gives Tauruno-(10 miles)-Burgenis-(13 miles)-Bittio-(8 miles)-Acunum, for just 31 miles. DuBois is not alone in equating the Moesian Taurunum and the Notitia's Pannonian Tauruno; so does e.g. Florin Fodorean, Pannonia in the Peutinger Map, in Der obere Donauraum 50 v. bis 50 n. Chr. (2015), at p 119; indeed, I have yet to see a commentator that does not, and yet, if the Marsonia = Slavonski Brod identity is safe (and I have not seen anybody doubt it), the conflation of these two Tauruni must be rejected, and a location for the western Taurunum found elsewhere, though where I do not know.

Since the Notitia gives (78.20) a Praefectus legionis quartae Flaviae as being stationed at Singiduno, if the Taurunenses originated from the Moesian Taurunum (i.e. Zemun), then they would most likely be a legionary unit derived from Legio IV Flavia. On the other hand, if they originated from the Pannonian Taurunum, and this would seem to be more likely, given Pannonia II is a western province, unlike the eastern Moesia I, their status as legionary or non-legionary is harder to discern; likewise, what older unit they may have descended from, if any, is equally unclear.


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