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Home Gazetteer of Roads Margary's Numbering Itineraries & Sources Glossary/Biography RRRA Website

Collins, R. (1991); Early Medieval Europe: 300 - 1000; the Macmillan Press, London

Hassall, M. W. C. (1976); Britain in the Notitia in Goodburn R. & Bartholomew, P. (Eds. )Aspects of the Notitia Dignatorum: Conference Papers (BAR International series no. 15), Oxford

Holder, P.A. (1997) A Roman Military Diploma from Ravenglass, Cumbria;  Bulletin of the John Rylands Library Vol 79 (1) University of Manchester; pp. 3-42;  available at  Accessed 21/9/17

Holder, P. (2004); Roman place-names on the Cumbrian Coast; in Wilson, R.J.A. And Caruna, I.D., (eds) Romans on the Solway: Essays in Honour of Richard Bellhouse; CWAAS, Kendal, pp. 52-65

Jarrett, M. G. (1994); Non-legionary Troops in Roman Britain: Part One, The Units; Britannia Vol. 25 pp. 35-77

Newcastle University (2014); The Notitia Dignitatum: an extraordinary document in Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier - Future Learn course document, available at

Ratledge, D. (2017); The Roman Road from Ambleside to Ravenglass, Margary 740; RRRA website

Rivet, A.L.F. & Smith, Colin (1979); The Place-names of Roman Britain; B.T. Batsford Ltd., London (2017); Vxelodvnvm/Petrianvm accessed 31/11/17 (2017); The Notitia Dignitatum in Britain.

Available at

Seeck, Otto (Ed.) (1876); Notitia Dignitatum accedunt Notitia urbis Constantinopolitanae et Latercula prouinciarum, Weidmann, Berlin,

available at  accessed 31/10/2017

Ueda-Sarson, L..(2015); Dux Britanniarum (Note 3) available at [accessed 06 November 2017]


The Antonine Itinerary De situ Britanniae - an 18th Century Hoax The Peutinger Table The Ravenna Cosmography Ptolemy's Geography The Notitia Dignitatum


Sub dispositione viri spectabilis vicarii Britanniarum




   Maxima Caesariensis






   Britannia Prima


   Britannia secunda


   Flavia Caesariensis


Dux Britanniarum


Sub dispositione uiri spectabilis ducis Britanniarum


Praefectus legionis sextae

<Praesidio>  written on line 19 in error?



Praefectus equitum Dalmatarum

Praesidio - should be on line 18?

?Newton Kyme?


Praefectus equitum Crispianorum

Dano (Danum)



Praefectus equitum catafractariorum

Morbio  (Morbium)

Scaftworth or less likely Piercebridge?


Praefectus numeri barcariorum Tigrisiensium

Arbeia (Arbeia)

South Shields


Praefectus numeri Nerviorum Dictensium

Dicti (Dictum)



 Praefectus numeri vigilum

Concangios (Concangium)



Praepositus numeri exploratorum

Lavatres (Lavatris)



Praefectus numeri directorum

Verteris (Verteris)



Praefectus numeri defensorum

Braboniaco (Bravoniacum)

Kirkby Thore


Praefectus numeri Solensium

Maglone (Maglonis)

Old Carlisle


Praefectus numeri Pacensium

Magis (Magis)

Burrow Walls?


Praefectus numeri Longovicanorum

Longovicio (Longovicium)


Should be between lines 24 and 25


Praefectus numeri supervenientium (?) Petueriensium

Derventione (Derventio)



Item per lineam valli

Along the line of the Wall


Tribunus cohortis quartae Lingonum,

Segeduno (Segedunum)



Tribunus cohortis primae Cornoviorum,

Ponte Aeli (Pons Aelius)



Praefectus alae primae Asturum

Conderco (Condercum)



Tribunus cohortis primae Frixagorum,

Vindobala (Vindobala)



Praefectus alae Sabinianae,

Hunno (Hunnum)



Praefectus alae secundae Asturum,

Cilurno (Cilurnum)



Tribunus cohortis primae Batavorum

Procolitia (Brocolitia)



Tribunus cohortis primae Tungrorum

Borcovicio (Vercovicium)



Tribunus cohortis quartae Gallorum,

Vindolana (Vindolanda)

Chesterholm / Vindolanda


Tribunus cohortis primae Asturum,

Aesica (Aesica)

Great Chesters


Tribunus cohortis secundae Dalmatarum

Magnis (Magnis)



Tribunus cohortis primae Aeliae Dacorum

missing entry <Banna>


missing entry < Tribunis cohortis secundae Tungrorum>

Amboglanna (Camboglanna)



Praefectus alae Petrianae,

Petrianis error? (Uxelodunum?)


Note - no evidence for entry for Carlisle as Seeck inserted


Praefectus numeri Maurorum Aurelianorum

Aballaba (Aballava)



Tribunus cohortis secundae Lingonum

Congavata  (Congavata)



Tribunus cohortis primae Hispanorum

Axeloduno error? (Maia?)

? Bowness


Tribunus cohortis secundae Thracum

Gabrosenti (Gabrosentum)



Tribunus cohortis primae Aeliae classicae

Tunnocelo (Tunnocelum)


see Iter X


Tribunus cohortis primae Morinorum

Glannibanta (Glannibanta)


see Iter X


Tribunus cohortis tertiae Nerviorum

Ailione (Alone)

Low Borrow Bridge

see iter X


Cuneus Sarmatarum (no officer listed)

Bremetenraco (Bremetanacum)



Praefectus alae primae Herculeae

Oleanaco (Olenacum)

?Elslack or Ilkley


Tribunus cohortis sextae Nerviorum

Virosido (Virosidum)


suggests RR730 does exist

The Notitia Dignitatum survives in several medieval manuscript copies, four of which were used by Seeck for his edition of the document, upon which the following entries are largely based. All four were probably copied from a manuscript known as the Codex Spirensis (from the cathedral library of Speyer) (Rivet & Smith, 1979, p.216), which was last heard of in the 16th century. It is in two parts, the Notitia Orientis for the Eastern Empire, and the Notitia Occidentis for the Western.

The Notitia Dignitatum is a register of all offices and ranks both civil and military, but for what purpose really isn’t clear. It isn’t even certain that it was an official document (ibid, p. 218). It contains details about finance, mints, imperial enterprises such as weaving houses, and lists of stations with names of the garrisons; it seems to date from either the late 3rd century or perhaps as late as AD 425, after the presumed end of Roman Britain (Collins, 1991, pp. 89-90). In which case, would they represent lists current for AD425 or merely the status prior to AD410?

One fact worthy of note is that some sites, such as Catterick, which are known to have been in military occupation at the very end of the Roman period, are not mentioned, however the archaeological record is a bit of a blunt instrument if, for example, units were moving around every few months from one posting to another. Whilst we’re mentioning Catterick, the Praefectus equitum catafractariorum listed on line 21 of Chapter 40, is nothing to do with Catterick despite the last word’s similarity to Cataractonium - it is actually a very rare reference to  unit of equites catafractarii ie extra-heavily armoured cavalry (Ueda-Sarson 2015).

The parts of chapters dealing with sites in Britain are listed below. The line numbers are those ascribed by Seeck (Seeck, 1876). Latin placenames in brackets are what we would now regard as the standard spelling for a place, where known. The modern placenames are given when there is general agreement about identification: If there are doubts, modern names are marked with question marks, and sometimes more than one possible identification is given.

Chapter XXVIII

Chapter XL

Chapter XXIII

By the late 4th century, Britain had been subdivided into five provinces, subdivisions of the Diocese of Britain,  that were under the overall control of the “Vicarius”, probably based in London. It is perhaps worth noting that two were considered more important, and were governed by officials of consular rank. Unfortunately, we are not really sure where they were - the areas of Britain represented by the five Provinces have been the subject of debate for centuries, and will probably never be fully resolved.

Chapter 28 lists the titles of the officers in charge of units under the command of the Count of the Saxon Shore, and their locations. The locations are all part of the late Roman coastal defences, the so called Saxon Shore forts, created along the east and south coasts. All the identifications are certain, with the exception of Gariannonum. This place is usually identified with Burgh Castle, close to of Great Yarmouth, however there is a further Saxon Shore fort of unknown name at Caister-on-Sea, just three miles to the north which is also a candidate, and it is possible the name applied to both sites.

The entries included in Chapter 40 are best looked at in two parts, those listed after the 6th legion, and those listed as being “along the line of the Wall”.

It is clear that the lists in the Notitia Dignitatum follow recognised routes, presumably roads, however it is probable that each list does not necessarily represent a single route , as there are occasional jumps across the country, such as the leap to get from Doncaster to South Shields with only one stop. This knowledge should, at least in theory, help us work out where some of the unidentified names may be. .

The first entry, for the sixth legion, does not have a place name associated with it, although because the legion is known to have been garrisoned at York for well over 200 years previously, it seems reasonable to assume that they were still at York. This brings us to the first unknown, Praesidio, which logically ought to be somewhere between York and Doncaster. It is usually assumed however, that Praesidio equates with the Praetorio of the first Iter of the British section of the Antonine itinerary, as the two names mean essentially the same thing, headquarters. Rivet and Smith did make a suggestion that makes more sense; the entry for the legion has no place associated with it, so perhaps Praesidio should have been on line 18, (which as headquarters makes perfect sense) and the station for the Equiteum Dalmatarum just got accidentally omitted (Rivet & Smith 1979, p. 442). They suggest a tentative attachment to Newton Kyme for the Equitum Dalmatarum, which given the known fourth century fort at Newton Kyme that is not listed elsewhere, is logical. Indeed, there isn’t really another candidate. Having said all that, the manuscripts do illustrate two places, Sextae and Praesidio (see fig. 4), although it is possible, even likely, that the illustrations were a medieval addition - note that on the illustration it is Praesidium and not Praesidio

The next entry is Dano, Doncaster, but then comes Morbium. In attempts to then get to Arbeia (South Shields), Piercebridge has been suggested by many writers, however it makes more sense if we look at York to Morbium as a separate route, with another route then commencing at South Shields. We would now be looking for a known late fourth century fort of unknown name, somewhere reasonably close to Doncaster, and again, there is really only one, the fort at Scaftworth, Nottinghamshire, on RR28a. The writers of suggest Roall Hall (, 2017), but this is not likely given that all the evidence suggest Roall Hall is early, and abandoned early, with no known roads leading to it.

The list of sites from Arbeia now follows a logical chain as far as Maglonis, Old Carlisle. The identification of Magis is not conclusive, but there is general agreement that Burrow Walls,  Workington, Cumbria, is most likely (although some suggest Piercebridge (Newcastle University 2014)): which takes us to Longovicio. This is usually associated with Lanchester in Durham, which is known from Ravenna as Lineoiugla, probably Lincovigla, and has an altar with the abbreviation “LON” (RIB 1074), and it becomes difficult to see a different interpretation, and yet it is over 80 miles by road from Workington. There is a simple solution previous writers seem to have missed, in that the entry should have been between lines 24 and 25, between Chester-le-Street and Bowes, but an early copyist missed it out, realised his omission, and simply added it later. This would also give some support to the claim of a road between Chester-le-Street and Lanchester, which has been suggested before, and given the number X120 by the Ordnance Survey. It would also explain Derventione, since it would then follow Magis and place Derventio in Cumbria. Many writers have tried to associate the entry with the Yorkshire Derventio (Rivet & Smith, 1979), traditionally believed to be Malton but now thought to be Stamford Bridge, which has no known late Roman military site. The removal of longovicio to between lines 24 & 25, leaves Derventione following Magis (Burrow Walls, Workington), which now makes perfect sense, as there is another known Derventio less than seven miles away at Papcastle (Cockermouth, Cumbria) which was  occupied until the end of the 4th century.

Chapter XL part 2, along the Wall

The entries for the forts along the wall cause no problems, until we get to Amboglanna, almost certainly Camboglanna, ie Castlesteads. It is known with reasonable certainty from two decorated Roman souvenirs of the wall, the Rudge Cup and a similar vessel from Amiens that list the forts on the wall, that Camboglanna has to be Castlesteads. However, the unit given as being there, Cohors I aelia Dacorum, is well attested from Birdoswald, not Castlesteads. Hassall suggested that a simple solution was a scriptoral error conflating the entries for both Banna and Camboglanna. He then suggested that the most likely unit for Camboglanna, based on third century epigraphic evidence, is the the Coh. II Tungrorum (Hassall, 1976, p.113).

From this point, interpretation gets very difficult. Seeck, for some unknown reason, inserted a supposed missing line for Luguvallum, Carlisle, even though none of the mansucripts suggest any omission (Ueda-Sarson 2015), and Carlisle wasn’t occupied in the late fourth century (Seeck, 1876 p.211)! The next entry is problematic; Petrianis is not known as a fort name and the logical next fort would be Uxelodunum, Stanwix, just across the river Eden from is now accepted that Ala Petriana, the only extra-sized milliaria unit in Britain, must have been based there since Stanwix is the only fort big enough to hold it. There is also some epigraphic evidence (RIB 2411.84) in the form of lead sealing bearing the letters ALP for Ala Petriana (Jarrett, 1994, p38). In which case, rather than the entry Petrianis being a ghost entry (Rivet & Smith, 1979, p.221), perhaps Petrianum became the adopted name for the fort after it’s unit, an idea which is becoming increasingly accepted ( 2017).

The next two entries of Aballaba and Congavata seem logical, however it would be expected for the entry following them to be Maia (Bowness), the first fort on the Wall, and not Axeloduno. Axeloduno can only really be Uxelodunum , ie Stanwix, which has already been listed as Petrianis. Furthermore, the unit attributed by the Notitia to being at Axeloduno is well attested at Maryport. It is is a clear error which has never been satisfactorily explained although an entry for Maryport here would be logical, since the next entry, Gabrosenti, is unquestionably Moresby, just north of Whithaven, eleven miles further down the Cumbrian coast. Furthermore, the inclusion of Alione four stages further on, may have caused a scribe to omit the very similar Alauna, the probable Roman name for Maryport, as a probable repetition. The presence at this point of Axeloduno is currently inexplicable.

The next entry after Gabrosenti, Tunnocelum, is almost certainly Ravenglass another 28 miles down the Cumbrian coast. This continues to follow a logical progression of sites which is highly suggestive of a coast road that is currently unknown. Tunnocelum is attested as Ravenglass by a lead seal and a diploma found there (Holder, 1997). The next three entries, Glannibanta, Alione & Brenetenraco, all correspond to stages on Iter X of the the Antonine Itinerary. Holder argued persuasively that Glannibanta has to be Ambleside (Holder, 2004), and is on the direct road from Ravenglass (RR740) the missing ends of which were recently established by David Ratledge (Ratledge, 2017). It seems almost certain that Alione is Low Borrow Bridge on the R. Lune, which would have been reached by RR70f from Ambleside to Watercrook and then the currently unlocated but probable road from Watercrook to Low Borrow Bridge. There is clearly much more to learn and understand about the nomenclature of the Roman sites in Cumbria, and their units, along with the roads that link them. Bremetenraco (Ribchester), is directly south from Low Borrow Bridge along RR7.

The list then turns along RR72a towards Oleanaco, which is identified with either Elslack or Ilkley. The current “accepted” identification is that Olenacum is Elslack but there is no firm evidence and Ilkley, the more traditional association with the name, was certainly in occupation in the late 4th century. From our point of view, it makes little difference as they’re both on the same road, RR72a. The next location, however, Bainbridge, is fascinating. The supposed road from Bainbridge southwards, RR730,  has long been disputed, and most of the claimed evidence for it is questionable at best, however if the order of the Notitia does represent road connections, as seems almost certain,  then there must be a road heading up Wharfedale from either Elslack or Ilkley to Bainbridge - we just haven’t found it yet!

Fig. 3.  The command of the Count of the Saxon Shore.1436 copy  © Bodleian Libraries 2017

Fig. 4.  Insignia of the Dux Britanniarum, forces and staff. 1436 copy, Notitia Dignitatum © Bodleian Libraries 2017

Fig. 2. Officials and staff of the Vicarius Britanniarum, 1436 copy of the Notitia Dignitatum  © Bodleian Libraries 2017


Comes litoris Saxonici per Britanniam


Sub dispositione uiri spectabilis comitis litoris Saxonici per Britanniam


Praepositus numeri Fortensium

Othonae (Othona)



Praepositus militum Tungrecanorum

Dubris (Dubris)



Praepositus numeri Turnacensium

Lemannis (Portus Lemanis)



Praepositus equitum Dalmatarum Branodunensium

Branaduno (Branodunum)



Praepositus equitum stablesianorum Gariannonensium

Gariannonor (Gariannonum)

Probably Burgh Castle, possibly Caister-on-Sea or both


Tribunus cohortis primae Vetasiorum

Regulbio (Regulbium)



Praefectus legionis secundae Augustae

Rutupis (Rutupiae)



Praepositus numeri Abulcorum

Anderidos (Anderida)



Praepositus numeri exploratorum

Portus Adurni (Portus Ardaoni)


Fig. 1. The Comes Britaniae, 1436 copy of the Notitia Dignitatum  © Bodleian Libraries 2017

The text of this entry was compiled by Mike Haken, last updated: 8 February 2018