The Tertiani

This page created 19 July 2014, and last modified: 2 August 2015 (Maier reference numbers added)


The 14th of the 32 units of legiones comitatenses itemized (98/9.111 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster is listed as the Tertiani siue Tertia Italica, i.e "The Tertiani or the Tertia Italica"; it is assigned (102/5.104) to the command of the Comes Illyricum using the name Tertiani. Its shield pattern (96#4) as shown in various manuscripts, also under the label (96.d) Tertiani, 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 shows a green boss (faded to pale yellow in M) encircled by a yellow band. The main field is red, as is the rim; they are separated by a green band (yellow in M), except in B, where it is so much thicker than in the other illustrations it looks like the shield's main colour.

The unit, whose short name in Seeck's edition (OC.V.237) is is bizarrely bracketed for deletion, is clearly derived from a detachment of Legio III Italica, which was raised by Aurelius in the 2nd century, and its main base was Castra Regina (modern Regensburg in Germany) for most of its existence, although detachments are known to have served in many other places. In the Notitia, the rest of Legio III Italica is under the overall command of the Dux Raetiae primae et secundae, and is split between 5 (or 6) prefects stationed in various places in Raetia I & II:

147.5 Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae parti superioris, at Castra Regina (i.e. modern Regensburg), near Vallato:
147.6 Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae parti superioris deputatae ripae primae, at Submuntorio (i.e. Summuntorium, modern Burghoefen Mertingen, Bavaria);
147.7 Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae proparte media praetendentis, from Vimania Cassiliacum to Cambidano (i.e. from modern Isny-Bettmauer to Kempten, Bavaria);
147.8 Praefectus militum Ursariensium, at Guntiae (i.e Guntia, modern Guenzburg, Bavria);
147.9 Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae transvectioni specierum deputatae, at Foetibus (i.e. Foetes, modern Fuessen, Bavaria); and
147.10 Praefectus legionis tertiae Italicae transvectioni specierum deputatae, at Teriolis (i.e. modern Zirl, Tyrol, Austria).
The positioning of the Milites Ursarienses in this list makes it highly likely it is also a detachment of legionaries from Legio III Italica.


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