Catervae Britanniarum – The Irregular Auxiliary Units of Britain

The size of the Roman military forces in Britain increased from roughly 40,000 in the mid-1st century AD to a peak of around 55,000 in the mid-2nd century. The percentage of auxiliaries (non-citizen soldiers) in Britain grew from around 50% before 69 AD to over 70% around 150 AD. This resulted in around 70 auxiliary regiments in Britain, comprising over 40,000 men, which outnumbered the 16,500 legionaries (citizen soldiers) by a ratio of 2.5 to 1. This was the highest concentration of auxiliaries in any Roman province, indicating ongoing security challenges. This is supported by historical accounts, as emperors such as Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Constantius I, and Septimius Severus continued to conduct major military operations in Britain after Agricola’s campaigns.

Cunei, Equites, Numeri, et Vexillationes or Formations, Mounted-units, Companies and Detachments

Cuneus Armaturum – The Armoured Formation

  1. Ribchester (Notitia Dignitatum),

Cuneus Frisiavonum Aballavensium – The Formation of Frisians from Aballava

  1. Burgh by Sands (unattested but implied in unit title),
  2. Papcastle (RIB 882 altar 19-20 Oct 241AD; 883 altar 244-249AD),

Cuneus Frisiavonum Vercovicensium – The Formation of Frisians from Vercovicium

  1. Housesteads (RIB 1594 altar),

Cuneus Frisiorum Vinoviensium – The Formation of Frisians from Vinovia

  1. Binchester (RIB 1036 undated),

Cuneus Sarmatarum – The Formation of Sarmatians

  1. Ribchester (Notitia Dignitatum),

Equites catafractariorum – The Heavily-Armoured Horsemen

  1. Ilkley (Notitia Dignitatum),

Equites Crispianorum – The Crispian Horsemen

  1. Doncaster (Notitia Dignitatum),

Equites Dalmatarum – The Dalmatian Horsemen

  1. Bridlington (Notitia Dignitatum),

Equites Dalmatarum Branodunensium – The Dalmatian Horsemen of Branodunum

  1. Brancaster (Notitia Dignitatum),

Equites stablesianorum Gariannonensium – The Horsemen from the Stables at Gariannum

  1. Burgh Castle (Notitia Dignitatum),

Milites Tungrecanorum – The Soldiers of the Tungrecani

  1. Dover (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Abulcorum – The Company of Abulci

  1. Pevensey (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Defensorum – The Company of Guards

  1. Kirkby Thore (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Directorum – The Company of Upright Men

  1. Brough Castle (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Equitum Sarmatarum – The Company of Sarmatian Horsemen

  1. Ribchester (RIB 583; dedicatory inscription to Apollo; 241AD),
  2. Catterick (RIB 2479; tiles stamped: BSAR),

Numerus Exploratorum Bremenio – The Company of Scouts from Bremenium

  1. High Rochester (RIB 1262 altar 238-241AD; 1270 base),
  2. Portchester (Notitia Dignitatum),
  3. Bowes (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Exploratorum Habitanco – The Company of Scouts from Habitancum

  1. Risingham (RIB 1235 213AD; 1243; 1244),
  2. Portchester (Notitia Dignitatum),
  3. Bowes (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Fortensium – The Company of Brave Men

  1. Bradwell on Sea (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Hnaudifridi – The Company of Hnaudifridius

  1. Housesteads (RIB 1576 altar),

Numerus Longovicanorum – The Company from Longovicium

  1. Lanchester (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Magnesium? – The Company from Magnis

  1. Carvoran (RIB 1825),

Numerus Maurorum Aurelianorum – The Company of Aurelian’s own Mauri

  1. Burgh-by-Sands (RIB 2042; Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Nerviorum Dictensium – The Company of Nervii from Dictium

  1. Dictium? (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Pacensium – The Company of Pacenses

  1. Burrow Walls (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Solensium – The Company of Solenses

  1. Old Carlisle (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus superventientium Petueriensium – The Company of Newcomers from Petuaria

  1. Malton (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Syrorum Saggitariorum – The Company of Syrian Archers

  1. Kirkby Thore (RIB 764 altar to Fortuna),

Numerus barcariorum Tigrisiensium – The Company of Tigris Bargemen

  1. South Shields (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Turnacensium – The Company of Turnacensi

  1. Lympne (Notitia Dignitatum),

Numerus Vigilum – The Company of Watchmen

  1. Chester-le-Street (Notitia Dignitatum),

Venatores Bannienses – The Hunters from Banna

  1. Birdoswald (RIB 1905 altar),

Vexillatio Classis Britannicae – A Detachment of the British Fleet

  1. Benwell (RIB 1340 122-126AD),

Vexillatio Germanorum Voredis – The Detachment of Germans from Voreda

  1. Old Penrith (RIB 920 altar),

Vexillatio equitata provincae Germaniae – The part-mounted Detachment from the German provinces

  1. Ribchester (RIB 589 c.163-169AD),

Vexillatio Raetorum et Noricorum – The Detachment from Raetia and Noricum

  1. Manchester (RIB 576 altar),

Vexillatio Raetorum et Gaesatorum – The Detachment of Raeti and Gaesati

  1. Cappuck (RIB 2117 altar),
  2. Risingham (RIB 1216 altar?; 1217 altar; 1235 213AD),
  3. Great Chesters (RIB 1724 altar),

Vexillatio Sueborum Longovicanorum – The Detachment of Suebi from Longovicium

  1. Lanchester (RIB 1074 altar; Notitia Dignitatum),

Unplaced Inscriptions

Ambleside, Cumbria

Corbridge, Northumberland

Gloster Hill, Northumberland
1206 (altar) CAMPESTRIBVS COH I ...

Risingham, Northumberland
  • See: Non-legionary troops in Roman Britain: Part One, The Units by M.G. Jarrett, in Britannia Volume XXV (1994 pp.35-77);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);