Mobile field troops, as opposed to stationary frontier troops (limitanei [q.v.]). In practice, comitatenses were often based in one place so long that they became, in effect, garrison troops, like the limitanei. The idea of a select military retinue (comitatus) goes back at least to Diocletian (q.v), if not before. However, it was Constantine I the Great (q.v.) who gave the comitatenses a more final format, consisting of infantry and cavalry divisions, each under a magister militum (q.v.). Constantine I also disbanded the old Praetorian Guard, replacing it with the scholaepalatinae (q.v.), elite troops consisting of five western and seven eastern regiments, each with about 500 soldiers. On campaigns, troops of the scholae palatinae, along with foreign auxiliaries, accompanied the comitatenses.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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