Auxilia Palatina
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Auxilia Palatina

Auxilia palatina (sing. auxilium palatinum) were infantry units of the Late Roman army, first raised by Constantine I as part of the new field army he created in about 325 AD.

Some of the senior and probably oldest of these units had special names such as Cornuti or Brachiati; others were named after the tribes from which they were recruited (many of these in eastern Gaul, or among the German barbarians). These units all became palatine units when a distinction was drawn between palatina and the remainder of the comitatenses around 365. There is no direct evidence for the strength of an auxilium, but A.H.M. Jones (History of the Later Roman Empire, Blackwell, Oxford, 1964 p 682) estimates that it may have been 600 or 700. Some auxilia are attested as limitanei, especially on the Danube. It is not clear whether these were regarded as a different category of unit.

List of auxilia palatina

List of the auxilia palatina included in the early 5th-century Notitia Dignitatum, which depicts also some of the shield patterns of the units.

Further reading

  • A. Alföldi, 'Cornuti: A Teutonic Contingent in the Service of Constantine the Great and its Decisive Role in the Battle at the Milvian Bridge', Dumbarton Oaks Papers 13 (1959) 169-183.
  • M. Colombo, 'Constantinus rerum nouator: dal comitatus dioclezianeo ai palatini di Valentiniano I', Klio 90 (2008) 124-161.
  • D. Hoffmann, Das spätrömische Bewegungsheer und die Notitia Dignitatum ([Epigraphische Studien 7.1-2] Düsseldorf 1969-70).
  • M.J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire: The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople (Amsterdam 1998).
  • O. Schmitt, 'Stärke, Struktur und Genese des comitatensischen Infanterienumerus', Bonner Jahrbücher 201 (2001 [2004]) 93-111.
  • M.P. Speidel, 'Raising New Units for the late Roman army: auxilia palatina', Dumbarton Oaks Papers 50 (1996) 163-170.
  • M.P. Speidel, 'The Four Earliest Auxilia Palatina', Revue des Études Militaires Anciennes 1 (2004) 132-46.
  • C. Zuckerman, 'Les "Barbares" romains: au sujet de l'origine des auxilia tétrarchiques' in M. Kazanski and F. Vallet (eds.), L'Armée romaine et les barbares du IIIe au VIIe siècles (Paris 1993) 17- 20.

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