MEKHAMADIEV E.A. A Military Unit of the Celtae (the Celts) and Some Peculiarities of Late Roman Military Titles in the 4th C. AD


Evgeniy A. Mekhamadiev

Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Lecturer,

Department of Medieval History, Saint Petersburg State University,

Universitetskaya naberezhnaya St., 7/9, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract. Introduction. The Late Roman administration used to practice many ways of interrelations with the Barbarian tribes, but modern scholarship tended and tends to pay main attention to external perspectives of interrelations, i.e. issues of barbaric invasions and methods of their accomodation within the Roman territory. In contrast, modern scholarship pays little attention to internal perspectives of interrelations, and partly, to one of the point of internal interrelations, which is strictly under consideration in this paper. This point is a meaning of official titles, which Roman administration gave to military detachments composed of the German warriors. Basing on evidence about an elite military unit of the Celtae and the name Celtae itself, the author aims to regard peculiarities of Late Roman military nomenclature and to trace how this nomenclature reflected an official political ideology of imperial supremacy, a system of Romans’ views and opinions about the Barbarians.

Methods. The author studies these matters by comparing the evidence of Ammianus Marcellinus, Greek dedicatory inscription from the city of Stobi (the province of Macedonia) and some panegyrics (the so-called Latin panegyrics, a speech of Julian the Apostate in honor of the Emperor Constantius II and the “Thanksgiving oration” of a prominent Gallic rhetorician Ausonius for the Emperor Gratianus). The author traces how all these texts are treated and meant a word Celtae/Κελτοί.

Analysis. The author proposes and proves an idea that a military unit of the Celtae was composed of the captive Alamanni presumably between the reign of the Emperor Diocletian (284-305) and 351/352.

Results. Having based on the evidence enumerated above, the author concluded that the the unit of the captive Alamanni received an official title of Celtae because the Romans used to name the German captives as more ancient people, over which the Roman won decisive and brilliant victories in previous times. This naming practice was one of the persistent peculiarities of the Late Roman military nomenclature and records management working.

Key words: palace auxiliary detachment, the Celtae, the Alamanni, the Germans, panegyrics, Theodosius the Elder, the Rhine frontier.

Citation. Mekhamadiev E.A. A Military Unit of the Celtae (the Celts) and Some Peculiarities of Late Roman Military Titles in the 4th С. AD. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 165-173. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

A Military Unit of the Celtae (the Celts) and Some Peculiarities of Late Roman Military Titles in the 4th C. AD by Mekhamadiev E.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download this file (14Mehamadiev.pmd.pdf) 14Mehamadiev.pmd.pdf