The Tertio Augustani

This page created 27 May 2014, and last modified: 15 September 2015 (Equites stabilisiani Africani commentary added)


The second-last of the 32 units of legiones comitatenses listed (98/9.128 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) the Magister Peditum's infantry roster is the Tertio Augustani; it is assigned (102/5.203) to the Comes Africae. Its shield pattern (97#1) as shown in various manuscripts, under the plain label (97.a) Augustani, 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 yellow boss, a red main ground, and toward the rim, working outward, a yellow band (green in M; preceded by white in B), a red band, and finally a white rim (the last two reversed in P).

The unit's name clearly shows it to be a descendent of Legio III Augusta, long stationed at Lambaesis (in what is now northeast Algeria). In addition to the unit under the Comes Africae, the Notitia has the Dux et praeses provinciae Mauritaniae et Caesariensis commanding a Praepositus limitis Augustensis (137.9), whose men are likely to be a detachment of this unit.

It is notable that the shield pattern is rather similar to that of the Equites stablesiani Africani (102/5.23), one of the vexillationes comitatenses allocated to the Comes Africae, as a comparison of their patterns taken from the Bodleian manuscript, O, shows:

2 shield patterns

Given the possible origins of Equites stablesiani units as ex-legionary horsemen, it might well be possible to see here the origins of the Equites stablesiani Africani as a detachment of Legio III Augusta.


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