The Notitia Dignitatum – The British Section

Known only from an 11th century copy called the Codex Spirensis, the Notitia Dignitatum or ‘Register of Dignitaries’ was a document produced in the late fourth century which listed all of the official posts and military units of the divided later Roman empire. The notitia was effectively two separate documents, the first one dealing with the disposition of commands in the Western Empire, while the second one dealt with the situation in the East; the data appertaining to Roman Britain is to be found, therefore, in the first half of the Notitia.

The two documents were arranged in much the same format. Appearing first were listed the official titles of all civil and military posts within the Roman Imperial administration. This was followed, in the case of the military positions, with a complete breakdown of the military units assigned to each command, including the names of the forts where the units were stationed. An absolute gold-mine of information!

References to Britain appear throughout the document, and are here reproduced mostly in translation. The latter section containing the names of the units and their garrison posts is provided in Latin and English, with links through to the appropriate RBO place-page provided.

The following text includes some degree of HTML formatting, in an attempt to improve clarity. This websites’ translations of the text and any explanatory notes are [highlighted and enclosed in square brackets]. Chapter Numbers and some lines of text have been highlighted to act as headings. All of the quoted paragraphs have references to Britain emboldened, to act as eyecatchers.


Register of the Dignitaries Both Civil and Military In the Districts of the West

Six vicars: of the city of Rome; of Italy; of Africa; of the Spains; of the Seven Provinces; of the Britains.

Six military counts: of Italy; of Africa; of Tingitania; of the tractus Argentoratensis; of the Britains; of the Saxon shore of Britain.

Thirteen dukes: of the frontier of Mauritania Caesariensis; of the Tripolitan frontier; of Pannonia prima and ripuarian Noricum; of Pannonia secunda; of ripuarian Valeria; of Raetia prima and secunda; of Sequanica; of the Armorican and Nervican tract; of Belgica secunda; of Germania prima; of Britannia; of Mogontiacensis.

Twenty-two consulars: … in the Britains two: of Maxima Caesariensis, of Valentia. …

Thirty-one presidents: … in the Britains three: of Britannia prima; of Britannia secunda; of Flavia Caesariensis.


The Praetorian Prefect of the Gauls

Under the control of the illustrious pretorian prefect of the Gauls are the dioceses mentioned below: The Spains; the Seven Provinces; the Britains.

Provinces: … of the Britains five: Maxima Caesariensis; Valentia; Britannia prima; Britannia secunda; Flauia Caesariensis.


The Master of Foot in the Presence

Under the control of the illustrious master of foot in the presence:

The counts of the frontiers mentioned below: Italy; Africa; Tingitania; Tractus Argentoratensis; the Britains; the Saxon shore toward the Britains.

The ten dukes of the frontiers mentioned below: Mauretania Caesariensis; Tripolitanus; Pannonia secunda; ripuarian Valeria; Pannonia prima and ripuarian Noricum; Raetia prima and secunda; Belgica, secunda; Germania prima; the Britains; Mogontiacensis.


Distribution of the Forces Above Named Among the Various Provinces

… In the Britains with the worshipful count of the Britains: One palatine auxilium, One legion of the line, One unclassified body.

Also squadrons of cavalry: … In Britain with the worshipful count of the Britains. Three of the line, Two unclassified. …


The Count of the Sacred Bounties

Under the control of the illustrious count of the sacred bounties: … The accountant of the general tax of the Britains.

Provosts of the storehouses: … In the Britains: The provost of the storehouses at London.

Procurators of the weaving-houses: … The procurator of the weaving-house at Winchester in Britain.


Vicarius Britanniarum

[The Vicar of the Britains]

Under the control of the worshipful vicar of the Britains: Consulars; of Maxima Caesariensis, of Valentia. Presidents; of Britannia prima, of Britannia secunda, of Flavia Caesariensis.

The staff of the same worshipful vicar is as follows: a chief of staff from the school of confidential agents the first class, a chief deputy, two receivers of taxes, a chief clerk, a custodian, a chief assistant, a keeper of the records, assistants, secretaries, notaries, a curator of correspondence and the rest of the staff.


Comes litoris Saxonici per Britanniam

[The Count of the Saxon Shore in Britain]

Othona [Bradwell],
Dubris [Dover],
Lemannis [Lympne],
Branoduno [Brancaster],
Garriano [Burgh Castle],
Regulbi [Reculver],
Rutupis [Richborough],
Anderidos [Pevensey],
Portum Adurni [Portchester].

Sub dispositione uiri spectabilis comitis litoris Saxonici per Britanniam

[At the disposal of the Right Honourable Count of the Saxon shore in Britain]

Praepositus numeri Fortensium, Othonae [= Othona = Bradwell, Essex]
Praepositus militum Tungrecanorum, Dubris [= Portvs Dvbris = Dover, Kent]
Praepositus numeri Turnacensium, Lemannis [= Portvs Lemanis = Lympne, Kent]
Praepositus equitum Dalmatarum Branodunensium, Branoduno [= Branodvnvm = Brancaster, Norfolk]
Praepositus equitum stablesianorum Gariannonensium, Gariannonor [= Gariannvm = Burgh Castle, Norfolk]
Tribunus cohortis primae Baetasiorum, Regulbio [= Regvlbivm = Reculver, Kent]
Praefectus legionis secundae Augustae, Rutupis [= Rvtvpiae = Richborough, Kent]
Praepositus numeri Abulcorum, Anderidos [= Anderitvm = Pevensey, East Sussex]
Praepositus numeri exploratorum, Portum Adurni [= Portvs Ardaoni = Portchester, Hampshire]


Dux Britanniarum

[The Duke of the Britains]

Sextae [York],
Praesidium [nr. Bridlington?],
Dano [Doncaster],
Morbio [Ilkley?],
Arbeia [South Shields],
Dictim [unknown],
Concangios [Chester-le-Street],
Lauatres [Bowes],
Uerteris [Brough Castle],
Braboniaco [Kirkby Thore],
Magloue [Old Carlisle],
Magis [Burrow Walls],
Longouicio [Lanchester],
Derventione [Malton].

Sub dispositione uiri spectabilis ducis Britanniarum:

[At the disposal of the Right Honourable Duke of the Britains]

Praefectus legionis sextae [= Ebvracvm = York, North Yorkshire]
Praefectus equitum Dalmatarum, Praesidio [?= Praesidivm = nr. Bridlington, Humberside?]
Praefectus equitum Crispianorum, Dano [= Danvm = Doncaster, South Yorkshire]
Praefectus equitum catafractariorum, Morbio [?= Verbeia = Ilkley, West Yorkshire?]
Praefectus numeri barcariorum Tigrisiensium, Arbeia [= Arbeia = South Shields, Tyne & Wear]
Praefectus numeri Nerviorum Dictensium, Dicti [?= Dictivm = nr. Whitby, North Yorkshire?]
Praefectus numeri uigilum, Concangios [= Concangis = Chester-le-Street, Durham]
Praefectus numeri exploratorum, Lauatres [= Lavatris = Bowes, Durham]
Praefectus numeri directorum, Uerteris [= Verteris = Brough Castle, Cumbria]
Praefectus numeri defensorum, Braboniaco [= Bravoniacvm = Kirkby Thore, Cumbria]
Praefectus numeri Solensium, Maglone [= Maglona = Old Carlisle, Cumbria]
Praefectus numeri Pacensium, Magis [?= Magis = Burrow Walls, Cumbria?]
Praefectus numeri Longovicanorum, Longouico [= Longovicivm = Lanchester, Durham]
Praefectus numeri superuenientium Petueriensium, Deruentione [= Derventio = Malton, North Yorkshire]

Item per lineam Valli

[The route along the line of the Wall]

Tribunus cohortis quartae Lingonum, Segeduno [= Segedvnvm = Wallsend, Tyne & Wear]
Tribunus cohortis primae Cornouiorum, Ponte Aeli [= Pons Aelivs = Newcastle, Tyne & Wear]
Praefectus alae primae Asturum, Conderco [= Condercvm = Benwell, Tyne & Wear]
Tribunus cohortis primae Frixagorum, Uindobala [= Vindobala = Rudchester, Northumberland]
Praefectus alae Sabinianae, Hunno [= Onnvm = Halton Chesters, Northumberland]
Praefectus alae secundae Asturum, Cilurno [= Cilvrnvm = Chesters, Northumberland]
Tribunus cohortis primae Batauorum, Procolitia [= Brocolitia = Carrawburgh, Northumberland]
Tribunus cohortis primae Tungrorum, Borcouicio [= Vercovicivm = Housesteads, Northumberland]
Tribunus cohortis quartae Gallorum, Uindolana [= Vindolanda = Chesterholm, Northumberland]
Tribunus cohortis primae Asturum, Aesica [= Aesica = Great Chesters, Northumberland]
Tribunus cohortis secundae Dalmatarum, Magnis [= Magnis = Carvoran, Northumberland]
Tribunus cohortis primae Aeliae Dacorum, Amboglanna [= Camboglanna = Birdoswald, Cumbria]
Praefectus alae Petrianae, Petrianis [= Vxelodvnvm = Stanwix, Cumbria]
Praefectus numeri Maurorum Aurelianorum, Aballaba [= Aballava = Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria]
Tribunus cohortis secundae Lingonum, Congauata [= Concavata = Drumburgh, Cumbria]
Tribunus cohortis primae Hispaniorum, Axeloduno [?= Castra Exploratorvm = Netherby, Cumbria?]
Tribunus cohortis secundae Thracum, Gabrosenti [= Gabrosentvm = Moresby, Cumbria]
Tribunus cohortus primae Aeliae classicae, Tunnocelo [?= Tvnnocelvm = nr. Calder Bridge, Cumbria?]
Tribunus cohortis primae Morinorum, Glannibanta [= Glannoventa = Ravenglass, Cumbria]
Tribunus cohortis tertiae Neruiorum, Alione [?= Calvnivm = Lancaster, Lancashire?]
Cuneus Sarmatarum, Bremetenraco [= Bremetenacvm = Ribchester, Lancashire]
Praefectus alae primae Herculeae, Olenaco [?= Olenacvm = Elslack, North Yorkshire?]
Tribunus cohortis sextae Neruiorum, Uirosido [?= Virosidvm = Brough by Bainbridge, North Yorkshire?]
  • The Notitia Dignitatum Page from the website of Halstein SjølieThe entire Latin text of the N.D.. Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries) c.400 from the Internet Medieval SourcebookA good English translation of the N.D. text. Notitia Dignitatum – British Section (ca. AD395-430) from very good review and illustrated text.

References for The Notitia Dignitatum

Roman Britain – a Sourcebook by S. Ireland (Routledge 1992).