Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


2.5.14
  Back With Booty - Romans

The Limes, the frontier between the Roman Empire and Germania, runs south of Nuremberg and thus I was able to visit some Roman places. And Regensburg is on the Roman side anyway. Aelius Rufus was quite happy, though I had difficulties getting him out of the baths in Weissenburg. *grin*

Aalen, foundations of the principia

Aalen was a fort for an ala milliaria, a double cavalry unit. What remains today are the foundations of the principia, the main administrative building in the centre of the fort. One can only try to imagine how large the entire fort had been; part of it is now covered by a cemetary.

Aalen, remains of the principia with the shrine of the standards

The closeup shows the aedes principiorum, the shrine of the standards. Here it is a genuine apse, not a rectangular one like in the Saalburg. The unit stationed in the fort was the Ala II Flavia Pia Fidelis Milliaria.

Weissenburg, the baths

Weissenburg, the Roman Biriciana, is a cohort castellum directly at the limes. The foundations have been preserved and one of the four gates reconstructed. Near the fort are the remains of a pretty sophisticated bath complex, almost a spa.

Weissenburg, helmet on display in the museum

The museum is not large, but it got some real shinies from a hidden treasure - probably put in the earth during the Alamannic raids in the 3rd century - that has recently been discovered.

Roman Regensburg underground, parts of a wall of the legionary fort

Regensburg - Castra Regina, named for the river Regen confluencing into the Danube - was a legionary fort for 6,000 soldiers. One can still trace the principal roads in the layout of the old town, and remains of the buildings keep coming up every time a hole is dug in that area. That piece of wall is in a car parking house.

Regensburg, the porta praetoria (one of the gates of the fort)

Some remains have always been visible and integrated into the town architecture, though most of the stones were dismantled and reused. The Porta praetoria is one of the signposts of Regensburg, besides the cathedral and the 12th century bridge (which unfortunately was scaffolded in).
 
Comments:
Ah, always good to see the Romans. I love the bath pics. Helps me visualize. The characters in my latest novel have Roman type bathhouses.
 
The photographs of the principia foundations give a very good idea of the size of the building, thank you. Presumably the fort itself would be pretty big if it housed a double cavalry unit - all those horses would need a lot of space. Would the principia also be large in proportion? I have an idea that the principia was usually a fixed percentage of the total fort area, but I don't know if that percentage varied between different types of fort.
 
Constance, I'm sure Aelius Rufus will like to talk baths with you. :-)

Carla, it's difficult to compare the size of the remains of the principia in Aalen with the reconstrcuted one in the Saalburg just by view - I'll have to look up the measurements. A larger garrison may have required a larger amount of administrative personel and thus a larger principia (whic also houses the offices). Not sure about the fixed percentage - cavalry forts were the odd ones out because of the increased storage for fodder anyway.
 
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The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK and other places, with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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