Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Castra Design and Layout

The design of castra is axial. Two central roads divide a square into four sections. For the Romans, each castrum was an image of Rome.1 The walls of castra were more symbolic than they were practical.2 They demarcated the space inside as that of Rome. Basic ideal plan of a Roman castrum.
(2)Via Praetoria
(3)Via Principalis
(4)Porta Principalis Dextra
(5)Porta Praetoria (main gate)
(6)Porta Principalis Sinistra
(7)Porta Decumana (back gate)3

The following plans and drawings of various castra.

Legend: Red-Headquarters
Blue- Legate's/Tribune's/Perfect's Quarters

The Castrum at Viminacium: A major city of the Roman province of Moesia, Viminacium started out as a base camp of Legio VII Claudia. Constructed in 86 AD and destroyed in 440 AD. Site measured 17 Hectares. Modern day Serbia.4 The Castrum at Novaesium (Neuss): The oldest Roman military base in Germania Inferior; built in 16 BCE and destroyed in 70 AD. Site measured 24 Hectares. Modern Day Netherlands.5
The Castrum at Segedunum: The Eastern most fort on Hadrian's Wall. Built circa 122 AD and abandoned in 400AD. Site measured 1.6 Hectares. Modern day United Kingdom.6
The Castrum at Valkenburg (Praetorium Agrippinae): Founded by Calligula. Built in 40 AD, rebuilt in 175 AD and abandoned in 271 AD. Site Measured 1.6 Hectares. Modern Day Netherlands.7 The Castrum at Inchtuthil: Built in 83 AD and abandoned in 87 AD. It is believed that Legio II Adiutrix (the occupying unit) was called to Moesia and this is what caused the brief inhabitance. Site measured 21.5 Hectares and construction of this large base took more than one season, therefore it started out as a "summer camp" near the location for the permanent base before it was finished. Modern day Scotland.8 The Castrum at Vindolanda: Fort guarded vital east to west supply route. Fort originally built of wood which required replacing it every approximately 7 years. Built in 122 AD and abandoned in 410 AD. Site measured 1.4 Hectares. Modern day United Kingdom.9


1. Sean Irwin.

2. Robert Jan Van Pelt.

3. Wikipedia contributors, "Castra," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castra (accessed Jan 19, 2010).

4. Redidon, S. "Viminacium." 2006. http://www.serbia-visit.com/Viminacium.94.0.html (accessed January 11, 2010).

5. Metz, George W. "The Legions of the Imperial Roman Empire." 08/12/04.http://www.legionxxiv.org/legionshist/ (accessed January 11, 2010).

6. Griffiths, W.B.. "Hadrian's Wall, Segedunum." 2010.http://www.hadrians-wall.info/hadrianswall/segedunum/history.htm (accessed January 11, 2010).

7. Lendering, Jona. "Lime." 09/08/06.http://www.livius.org/li-ln/limes/limes.html (accessed January 11, 2010).

8. Unknown, "Inchtuthil." 2009.http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Inchtuthil (accessed January 11, 2010).

9. Planetware Inc, "Vindolanda - Former Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall Map." 2009.http://www.planetware.com/map/vindolanda-former-roman-fort-on-hadrians-wall-map-eng-vindol.htm (accessed January 11, 2010).

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