The Notitia Dignitatum (Latin for "The List of Offices") is a document of the late Roman Empire that details the administrative organization of the Western and the Eastern Roman Empire. It is unique as one of very few surviving documents of Roman government, and describes several thousand offices from the imperial court to provincial governments, diplomatic missions, and army units. It is usually considered to be accurate for the Western Roman Empire in the AD 420s and for the Eastern or Byzantine Empire in the AD 390s. However, the text itself is not dated (nor is its author named), and omissions complicate ascertaining its date from its content.
There are several extant 15th- and 16th-century copies of the document, plus a colour-illuminated iteration of 1542. All the known, extant copies are derived, either directly or indirectly, from Codex Spirensis, a codex known to have existed in the library of the Chapter of Speyer Cathedral in 1542, but which was lost before 1672 and has not been rediscovered. The Codex Spirensis was a collection of documents, of which the Notitia was the final and largest document, occupying 164 pages, that brought together several previous documents of which one was of the 9th century. The heraldry in illuminated manuscript copies of the Notitia is thought to copy or imitate only that illustrated in the lost Codex Spirensis.
The iteration of 1542 made for Otto Henry, Elector Palatine, was revised with "illustrations more faithful to the originals added at a later date", and is preserved by the Bavarian State Library.
The most important copy of the Codex is that made for Pietro Donato in 1436 and illuminated by Peronet Lamy, now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
For each half of the Empire, the Notitia enumerates all the major "dignities", i. e. offices, that it could bestow, often with the location and specific officium ("staff") enumerated, except for the most junior members, for each. The dignities are ordered by:
The Notitia presents four primary problems as a source for the Empire's army:
See also: Taijitu § Similar symbols
The Notitia contains symbols similar to the diagram which later came to be known as yin and yang symbol. The infantry units armigeri defensores seniores ("shield-bearers") and Mauri Osismiaci had a shield design which corresponds to the dynamic, clockwise version of the symbol, albeit with red dots, instead of dots of the opposite colour. The emblem of the Thebaei, another Western Roman infantry regiment, featured a pattern of concentric circles comparable to its static version. The Roman patterns predate the earliest Taoist versions by almost seven hundred years, and there is no evidence for a relation between the two.