The Tubantes (East)

This page created 3 April 2014, and last modified: 24 April 2014 (commentaery added to)


The third unit of auxilia palatina under the command of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence is called the Tubantes. Its shield pattern as shown in various manuscripts is as below:

Shield patterns

Disclaimer: remember, I'm not an expert in the field of Notitia studies, so take my comments with a grain of salt...

The shield pattern shows a red ground with a yellow boss; a blue pillar or similar extends down from the boss to the bottom of the shield, while at the top, while a small purple disc is positioned right at the top of the shield. This would appear to be an imago (imperial portrait), as the traces of two heads can just be made out in the Bodleian (B) picture, and the positioning is just right, as can be seen from, e.g. the shield ascribed to the Mattiaci iuniores under the same commander (and whose own imago is also shown in the Bodleian manuscript).

It is not clear that this is the true shield pattern of the Tubantes, as there is evidence that some of the patterns of the second Master of the Soldiers in the Imperial Presence are mismatched in similar ways to some of those of the Magister Peditum: there are two names that could go with this pattern: the Tubantes, and the Constantiniani (see under the Sagittarii seniores Orientales for some discussion of this pattern mismatch).

It should also be noted that there is another auxilia palatina unit called the Tubantes, in the western half of the empire under the Magister Peditum and assigned to the Comes Hispenias. The name Tubantes is a tribal one, belonging to a people that lived in what is now the Netherlands; the tribe was also called the Tui(h)anti, whence modern Twente likely derives its name.


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