Monday, January 11, 2010

Similar Layouts of Various Castra

The Roman Castrum is a group of buildings constructed following a certain layout and is mainly used for military purposes. When soldiers were given the ability to stop and rest for the night each soldier was given a specific job to aid in the building of a temporary fort. Some castra were more permanent than others; castra stativa or "standing camps". These would be made of more permanent materials such as stone and wood. Less permanent castra; castra aestivalia or "summer camps" would usually be made of mobile materials such as tents and wooden stakes. However, whichever version was necessary to be built they always seemed to follow a very similar layout.

This is the general layout of a Roman Castrum:
1. Headquarters
2. East to West Road
3. North to South Road
4. Right Principal Gate
5. Main Gate
6. Left Principal Gate
7. Back Gate

The following plans and drawings of various castra all follow this layout and are the examples we are using to reconstruct the Castrum at Masada as there is very little documentation of that specific castrum.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Berkvens, Ria. "The Structure and Organization of the ROman Soldiers from the Barracks." (accessed 01/10/10).

Found: Valuable information and dimensions regarding the barracks and tents in a Roman Castrum

Griffiths, W.B.. "Hadrian's Wall, Segedunum." 2010. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: map of the Roman Castrum at Segedunum and a legend to go with it.

Anonymous, "Segedunum." 11/11/09. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Background information and specific dates and measurements corresponding with the Castrum at Segedunum.

Redidon, S. "Viminacium." 2006. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Date Castrum at Vimincacium was constructed.

Jelena. "Viminacium-The Capital of the Roman Moesia Superior Province." 11/01/08. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Measurements of Viminacium base.

Unkown, "Viminacium." 2009. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Date Castrum at Viminacium was built and then abandoned.

Spasic, Dragan. "Viminacium." 2002. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Drawing of Castrum at Viminacium.

Metz, George W. "The Legions of the Imperial Roman Empire." 08/12/04. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Plan of Castrum at Novaesium and Legend to go with it.

Lendering, Jona. "Novaesium (Neuss)." 01/16/10. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Useful information regarding the Castrum at Novaesium.

Lendering, Jona. "Lime." 09/08/06. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Map of Castrum at Valkenburg (Aggripanae) as well as site measurements and date of construction.

Unknown, "Inchtuthil." 2009. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Size of Castrum at Inchtuthil

Mackenzie, Peter. "Modern English/Roman Latin Gazetteer." (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Map of Castrum at Inchtuthil and legend.

Planetware Inc, "Vindolanda - Former Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall Map." 2009. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Plan of Castrum at Vindolanda with legend.

Chesterholm Museum, "Roman Vindolanda." 2007. (accessed 01/11/10).

Found: Measurments of Castrum at Vindolanda, dates of construction and abandonment.

- Devon Holdsworth


  1. Great site, thanks!

    I must point out, though, that Neuss is in Germany, not the Netherlands.

  2. The last fort is Housesteads, not Vindolanda (which is not on Hadrian's Wall)...