The Victores iuniores

This page created 27 June 2014, and last modified: 16 December 2015 (references rearranged)


The Victores iuniores is listed (98/9.60 in Ingo Maier's numbering scheme) as one of auxilia palatina units in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster; it assigned (102/5.178) to the Comes "Hispenias". Its shield pattern (93#14), as shown in various manuscripts under the plain label (93.o) Victores, 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 shield pattern has a green main ground (faded in M to yellow), along with a red rim. The main feature is a head surmounting a red pole or spike (faded in Ff, white in M); this "head-on-a-stick" motif is common for auxilia palatina units in the Notitia, especially in the western half of the empire (half a dozen examples, not counting further examples where the "pole" is more of a keyhole shape incorporating the shield's boss).

However, it is evident that this is probably the "wrong" shield pattern; like that of some other western auxilia palatina units, it appears to have been shifted from its proper place (or, to be more exact, the label may have been shifted from its proper place). The most likely pattern to have been borne by the Victores iuniores would appear to be that ascribed (93#16) to the Bructeri (98/9.62). The patterns are shown together below, using pictures taken from the Paris manuscript, P:


That of 93#16, showing a winged Victory, would appear to be particularly appropriate for a unit named the Victores, meaning "victorious"; the word is also associated with Constantine I, who adopted the name "Victor" after defeating Licinius, in place of his former usage of "Invictus", after publicly espousing Christianity in place of the worship of Sol Invictus (the related form victrix was formally a common epithet for Roman military units).

Five other units in the Notitia incorporate the name "Victores".

Victores (98/9.38), a unit of auxilia palatina under the first Magister Militum Praesentalis,
Victores seniores (102/5.68), in the Magister Peditum's Italian command), and which is presumably a unit of auxilia palatina,
Galli victores (98/9.89), a unit of auxilia palatina under the Magister Peditum's Italian command,
Honoriani victores (iuniores) (98/9.90), a unit of auxilia palatina under the Comes Illyricum, and the
Victores iuniores Britanniciani (102/5.206), under the Comes Britanniarum but not listed in the Magister Peditum's infantry roster, and which is presumably a unit of auxilia palatina;
while two other units have very similar names:
Cohors prima victorum (65.21), an auxiliary limitanei unit under the Dux Syriae et Eufratensis Syriae, and
Ala prima Victoriae (67.14), a cavalry limitanei unit under theDux Osrhoenae.
Although Ammianus describes a unit of Victores as accompanying Theodosius on his British campaign in 367, it is not clear which of the various Victores units listed in the Notitia (if any) this refers to. In my opinion, the chances are the Victores seniores is meant, since the other units mentioned would appear to correspond to the western units the Batavi (seniores), Heruli (seniores), and the Iovii (seniores), forming a natural group. However, Jones equated the Victores iuniores with the Victores iuniores Britanniciani, rather than having them be separate, and if this equation is accepted, it might be possible to see the origin of the Victores iuniores Britanniciani as a detachment of Ammianus' Victores that was left behind when Theodosius and his force returned to the continent. I myself prefer to equate the Victores iuniores Britanniciani with the Exculcatores iuniores Britanniciani (98/9.02).


1. Maier, Ingo; "Appendix 4: Numeration of the new edition of the compilation 'notitia dignitatum' (Cnd)"; last accessed 26 October 2015. See also for here for numbering examples. Return
2. Stephenson, Paul; "Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor"; Overlook Press, New York, 2010; at p 216. Return
3. "Ammianus" (Ammianus Marcellinus); "Res gestae a fine Corneli Taciti"; 27.8.7, available here in Latin and here in English (last accessed 16 December 2015). Return
4. Jones, A.H.M.; "The Later Roman Empire, 284-602; A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey"; Blackwell, Oxford, 1964 (3 volumes); at p 361. Return


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