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In the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the Overthrow of the ...
and the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territorial holdings around the in , , and ruled by . From the t ...

Roman Empire
, the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...

Latin
word ''castrum'' (plural ''castra'') was a building, or plot of land, used as a fortified military camp. In
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
, the terms 'Roman fort', 'Roman camp' and 'Roman fortress' are commonly used for ''castrum''. However, scholastic convention tends toward the use of the words 'fort', 'camp', 'marching camp' and 'fortress' as a translation of ''castrum''. ''Castrum'' was the term used for different sizes of camps including a large
legionary A recreation of Roman legionaries wearing the '' lorica segmentata'', 1st–3rd century The ancient Rome, Roman legionary (in Latin ''legionarius'', plural ''legionarii'') was a professional heavy infantryman of the Roman army after the Marian refo ...

legionary
fortress, smaller forts for Cohorts or
Auxilia The lat, Auxilia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...
ries, temporary encampments, and "marching" forts. The diminutive form ''
castellum A ''castellum'' in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...

castellum
'' was used for fortlets, typically occupied by a detachment of a ''cohort'' or a ''
centuria ''Centuria'' (, plural ''centuriae'') is a Latin term (from the stem ''centum'' meaning one hundred) denoting military units originally consisting of 100 men. The size of the century changed over time, and from the first century BC through most o ...
''. For a list of known castra see
List of castra Castra In the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. ...
.


Etymology

''Castrum'' appears in
Oscan Oscan is an extinct Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the ...
and
Umbrian Umbrian is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, p ...
, two other Italic languages, suggesting an origin at least as old as
Proto-Italic language The Proto-Italic language is the ancestor of the Italic languages The Italic languages form a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by ...
.
Julius Pokorny Julius Pokorny (12 June 1887 – 8 April 1970) was an Austrian-Czech linguist and scholar of the Celtic languages, particularly Irish, and a supporter of Irish nationalism. He held academic posts in Austrian and German universities. Early life an ...
traces a probable derivation from *k̂es-, ''schneiden'' (“cut”) in *k̂es-tro-m, ''Schneidewerkzeug'' (“cutting tool”). These Italic reflexes based on *kastrom include Oscan ''castrous'' (
genitive case In grammar, the genitive case ( abbreviated ) is the grammatical case Grammatical case is a linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the m ...
) and Umbrian ''castruo'', ''kastruvuf'' (
accusative case The accusative case (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase ...
). They have the same meaning, says Pokorny, as Latin ''fundus'', an estate, or tract of land. This is not any land, but is a prepared or cultivated tract, such as a farm enclosed by a fence or a wooden or stone wall of some kind.
Cornelius Nepos Cornelius Nepos (; c. 110 BC – c. 25 BC) was a Roman biographer. He was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona Verona ( , ; vec, Verona or ''Veròna'') is a city on the Adige River in Veneto, northern Italy ...
uses Latin ''castrum'' in that sense: when Alcibiades deserts to the Persians, Pharnabazus gives him an estate (''castrum'') worth 500 talents in tax revenues. This is a change of meaning from the reflexes in other languages, which still mean some sort of knife, axe, or spear. Pokorny explains it as ''’Lager’ als ‘abgeschnittenes Stück Land’'', “a lager, as a cut-off piece of land.” If this is the civilian interpretation, the military version must be “military reservation,” a piece of land cut off from the common land around it and modified for military use. All castra must be defended by works, often no more than a stockade, for which the soldiers carried stakes, and a ditch. The ''castra'' could be prepared under attack within a hollow square or behind a battle line. Considering that the earliest military shelters were
tent A tent () is a Shelter (building), shelter consisting of sheets of textile, fabric or other material draped over, attached to a frame of poles or attached to a supporting rope. While smaller tents may be free-standing or attached to the ground, l ...

tent
s made of hide or cloth, and all but the most permanent bases housed the men in tents placed in quadrangles and separated by numbered streets, one ''castrum'' may well have acquired the connotation of tent.


Linguistic development of the military castra

The commonest Latin syntagmata (here phrases) for the term ''castra'' are: ; castra stativa: Permanent camp/fortresses ; castra aestiva: Summer camp/fortresses ; castra hiberna: Winter camp/fortresses ; castra navalia / castra nautica: Navy camp/fortresses In Latin the term ''castrum'' is much more frequently used as a proper name for geographical locations: e.g., Castrum Album, Castrum Inui, Castrum Novum, Castrum Truentinum, Castrum Vergium. The plural was also used as a place name, as Castra Cornelia, and from this comes the Welsh place name prefix ''caer-'' and English suffixes ''-caster'' and ''-chester''; e.g., Winchester, Lancaster. ''Castrorum Filius'', "son of the camps," was one of the names used by the emperor
Caligula Caligula (; 31 August 12 AD – 24 January 41 AD), formally known as Gaius (Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus), was the third Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). ...

Caligula
and then also by other emperors. ''
Castro Castro is a Romance language word that originally derived from Latin ''castrum'', a pre-Roman military camp or fortification (cf: Greek: kastron; Proto-Celtic: * *Kassrik; br, kaer, *kastro). The English-language equivalent is ''Chester (disambigua ...
'', also derived from ''Castrum'', is a common Spanish family name as well as toponym in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the . Italy is located in the centre of th ...

Italy
, the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkans
and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and other
Hispanophone Hispanophone and Hispanic refers to anything relating to the speech of Spain (the ''Hispanosphere''). In a cultural, rather than merely linguistic sense, the notion of "Hispanophone" goes further than the above definition. The Hispanic culture is ...
countries, either by itself or in various compounds such as the
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for ha ...
of
Gjirokastër Gjirokastër (, sq-definite, Gjirokastra; grc-gre, Αργυρόκαστρο, Argyrokastro; rup, Ljurocastru, or ) is a List of cities and towns in Albania, city in the Republic of Albania and the seat of Gjirokastër County and Gjirokastër M ...

Gjirokastër
(earlier ''Argurokastro''). The terms '' stratopedon'' (''army camp'') and '' phrourion'' (''
fortification A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, w ...

fortification
'') were used by
Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the ...
authors to translate ''castrum'' and ''castellum'', respectively.


Description

A ''castrum'' was designed to house and protect the soldiers, their equipment and supplies when they were not fighting or marching. The most detailed description that survives about Roman military camps is '' De Munitionibus Castrorum'', a manuscript of 11 pages that dates most probably from the late 1st to early 2nd century AD. Regulations required a major unit in the field to retire to a properly constructed camp every day. "… as soon as they have marched into an enemy's land, they do not begin to fight until they have walled their camp about; nor is the fence they raise rashly made, or uneven; nor do they all abide ill it, nor do those that are in it take their places at random; but if it happens that the ground is uneven, it is first levelled: their camp is also four-square by measure, and carpenters are ready, in great numbers, with their tools, to erect their buildings for them." To this end a marching column ported the equipment needed to build and stock the camp in a baggage train of wagons and on the backs of the soldiers. Camps were the responsibility of engineering units to which specialists of many types belonged, officered by ''architecti'', "chief engineers", who requisitioned manual labor from the soldiers at large as required. They could throw up a camp under enemy attack in as little as a few hours. Judging from the names, they probably used a repertory of camp plans, selecting the one appropriate to the length of time a legion would spend in it: ''tertia castra'', ''quarta castra'', etc. (''a camp of three days'', ''four days'', etc.). More permanent camps were ''castra stativa'' (''standing camps''). The least permanent of these were ''castra aestiva'' or ''aestivalia'', "summer camps", in which the soldiers were housed ''sub pellibus'' or ''sub tentoriis'', "under tents". Summer was the campaign season. For the winter the soldiers retired to ''castra hiberna'' containing barracks and other buildings of more solid materials, with timber construction gradually being replaced by stone. The camp allowed the Romans to keep a rested and supplied army in the field. Neither the Celtic nor Germanic armies had this capability: they found it necessary to disperse after only a few days. The largest castra were '' legionary fortresses'' built as bases for one or more whole legions. From the time of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Augustus
more permanent castra with wooden or stone buildings and walls were introduced as the distant and hard-won boundaries of the expanding empire required permanent garrisons to control local and external threats from war-like tribes. Previously, legions were raised for specific military campaigns and subsequently disbanded, requiring only temporary castra. From then on many castra of various sizes were established many of which became permanent settlements.


Plan of forts


Sources and origins

From the most ancient times Roman camps were constructed according to a certain ideal pattern, formally described in two main sources, the '' De Munitionibus Castrorum'' and the works of
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the R ...

Polybius
. P. Fl. Vegetius Renatus has a small section on entrenched camps as well. The terminology varies but the basic plan is the same. The hypothesis of an Etruscan origin is a viable alternative.


Layout

The ideal enforced a linear plan for a camp or fort: a square for camps to contain one legion or smaller unit, a rectangle for two legions, each legion being placed back-to-back with headquarters next to each other. Laying it out was a geometric exercise conducted by experienced officers called ''metatores'', who used graduated measuring rods called ''decempedae'' ("10-footers") and ''gromatici'' who used a groma, a sighting device consisting of a vertical staff with horizontal cross pieces and vertical plumb-lines. Ideally the process started in the centre of the planned camp at the site of the headquarters tent or building (principia). Streets and other features were marked with coloured pennants or rods. The street plans of various present-day cities still retain traces of a Roman camp, for example
Marsala Marsala (; scn, Maissala, ; la, Lilybaeum) is an Italian town located in the Province of Trapani in the westernmost part of Sicily. Marsala is the most populated town in its province and the fifth in Sicily. The town is famous for the docking ...

Marsala
in Sicily, the ancient Lilybaeum, where the name of the main street, the Cassaro, perpetuates the name "castrum".


Wall and ditch

The Castrum's special structure also defended from attacks. The base (''munimentum'', "fortification") was placed entirely within the ''
vallum Vallum is either the whole or a portion of the fortifications of a Roman camp. The vallum usually comprised an earthen or turf rampart ( Agger) with a wooden palisade A palisade, sometimes called a stakewall or a paling, is typically a fence ...
'' ("wall"), which could be constructed under the protection of the legion in battle formation if necessary. The ''vallum'' was quadrangular aligned on the cardinal points of the compass. The construction crews dug a trench (''fossa''), throwing the excavated material inward, to be formed into the rampart (''agger''). On top of this a palisade of stakes ('' sudes'' or ''valli'') was erected. The soldiers had to carry these stakes on the march. Over the course of time, the palisade might be replaced by a fine brick or stone wall, and the
ditch 150px, Waterplants growing in a ditch in the Netherlands, showing ''Sagittaria sagittifolia'' to the right. A ditch is a small to moderate divot created to channel water. A ditch can be used for drainage, to drain water from low-lying areas, alo ...

ditch
serve also as a
moat A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that is dug and surrounds a castle A castle is a type of structure built during the predominantly by the or royalty and by . Scholars debate the scope of the word ''castl ...

moat
. A legion-sized camp always placed towers at intervals along the wall with positions between for the division artillery.


Interval

Around the inside periphery of the ''vallum'' was a clear space, the ''intervallum'', which served to catch enemy missiles, as an access route to the ''vallum'' and as a storage space for cattle (''capita'') and plunder (''praeda''). Legionaries were quartered in a peripheral zone inside the ''intervallum'', which they could rapidly cross to take up position on the ''vallum''. Inside of the legionary quarters was a peripheral road, the ''Via Sagularis'', probably a type of "service road", as the ''
sagum frame, Roman soldier wearing a sagum. The sagum was a garment of note generally worn by members of the Roman military The military of ancient Rome, according to Titus Livius, one of the more illustrious historians of Rome over the centuries, was a ...
'', a kind of cloak, was the garment of soldiers.


Streets, gates and central plaza

Every camp included "main street", which ran through the camp in a north-south direction and was very wide. The names of streets in many cities formerly occupied by the Romans suggest that the street was called ''
cardo Cardo was the Latin name (plural ''cardines'') given to a north-south street in Ancient Roman cities and military camps as an integral component of city planning. The cardo maximus, or most often ''the cardo'', was the main or central north–so ...

cardo
'' or ''cardus maximus''. This name applies more to cities than it does to ancient camps. Typically "main street" was the ''via principalis''. The central portion was used as a parade ground and headquarters area. The "headquarters" building was called the ''
praetorium The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, i ...

praetorium
'' because it housed the ''
praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some langua ...
'' or base commander ("first officer"), and his staff. In the camp of a full legion he held the rank of ''
consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
'' or ''
proconsul A proconsul was an official of ancient Rome who acted on behalf of a Roman consul, consul. A proconsul was typically a former consul. The term is also used in recent history for officials with delegated authority. In the Roman Republic, military c ...

proconsul
'' but officers of lesser ranks might command. On one side of the ''praetorium'' was the ''quaestorium'', the building of the ''
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome. The position served different functions depending on the period. In the Roman Kingdom, ' (quaestors with judicial powers) were appointed by the king to investigate and handle murders. ...
'' (supply officer). On the other side was the ''
forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *Forum (Roman), open public space within a Roman city **Roman Forum, most famous example *Internet forum, discus ...
'', a small duplicate of an urban forum, where public business could be conducted. Along the ''Via Principalis'' were the homes or tents of the several
tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in . The two most important were the and the s. For most of Roman history, a college of ten tribunes of the plebs acted as a check on the authority of the and the , holding the power of ...

tribune
s in front of the barracks of the units they commanded. The ''Via Principalis'' went through the ''vallum'' in the ''Porta Principalis Dextra'' ("right principal gate") and ''Porta Principalis Sinistra'' ("left, etc."), which were gates fortified with ''turres'' ("towers"). Which was on the north and which on the south depends on whether the praetorium faced east or west, which remains unknown. The central region of the ''Via Principalis'' with the buildings for the command staff was called the ''Principia'' (plural of ''principium''). It was actually a square, as across this at right angles to the ''Via Principalis'' was the ''Via Praetoria'', so called because the ''praetorium'' interrupted it. The ''Via Principalis'' and the ''Via Praetoria'' offered another division of the camp into four quarters. Across the central plaza (''principia'') to the east or west was the main gate, the ''Porta Praetoria''. Marching through it and down "headquarters street" a unit ended up in formation in front of the headquarters. The standards of the legion were located on display there, very much like the flag of modern camps. On the other side of the praetorium the ''Via Praetoria'' continued to the wall, where it went through the ''Porta Decumana''. In theory this was the back gate. Supplies were supposed to come in through it and so it was also called, descriptively, the ''Porta Quaestoria''. The term Decumana, "of the 10th", came from the arranging of ''manipuli'' or ''turmae'' from the first to the 10th, such that the 10th was near the ''intervallum'' on that side. The ''Via Praetoria'' on that side might take the name ''Via Decumana'' or the entire ''Via Praetoria'' be replaced with ''
Decumanus Maximus In Roman city planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification ...
''.


Canteen

In peaceful times the camp set up a marketplace with the natives in the area. They were allowed into the camp as far as the units numbered 5 (half-way to the praetorium). There another street crossed the camp at right angles to the ''Via Decumana'', called the ''Via Quintana'', "5th street". If the camp needed more gates, one or two of the ''Porta Quintana'' were built, presumably named ''dextra'' and ''sinistra''. If the gates were not built, the ''Porta Decumana'' also became the ''Porta Quintana''. At "5th street" a public market was allowed.


Major buildings

The ''Via Quintana'' and the ''Via Principalis'' divided the camp into three districts: the ''Latera Praetorii'', the ''Praetentura'' and the ''Retentura''. In the ''latera'' ("sides") were the ''Arae'' (sacrificial altars), the ''
Augur An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious ...

Augur
atorium'' (for
auspice Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. ...
s), the ''Tribunal'', where courts martial and arbitrations were conducted (it had a raised platform), the guardhouse, the quarters of various kinds of staff and the storehouses for grain (''horrea'') or meat (''carnarea''). Sometimes the ''horrea'' were located near the barracks and the meat was stored on the hoof. Analysis of sewage from latrines indicates the legionary diet was mainly grain. Also located in the ''Latera'' was the ''Armamentarium'', a long shed containing any heavy weapons and artillery not on the wall. The ''Praetentura'' ("stretching to the front") contained the ''Scamnum Legatorum'', the quarters of officers who were below general but higher than company commanders (''Legati''). Near the ''Principia'' were the ''Valetudinarium'' (hospital), ''Veterinarium'' (for horses), ''Fabrica'' ("workshop", metals and wood), and further to the front the quarters of special forces. These included '' Classici'' ("marines", as most European camps were on rivers and contained a river naval command), ''Equites'' ("cavalry"), '' Exploratores'' ("scouts"), and ''Vexillarii'' (carriers of vexillae, the official pennants of the legion and its units). Troops who did not fit elsewhere also were there. The part of the ''Retentura'' ("stretching to the rear") closest to the ''Principia'' contained the ''Quaestorium''. By the late empire it had developed also into a safekeep for plunder and a prison for hostages and high-ranking enemy captives. Near the ''Quaestorium'' were the quarters of the headquarters guard (''Statores''), who amounted to two
centuries A century is a period of 100 year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the season ...
(companies). If the ''
Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of t ...

Imperator
'' was present they served as his bodyguard.


Barracks

Further from the ''Quaestorium'' were the tents of the ''Nationes'' ("natives"), who were auxiliaries of foreign troops, and the legionaries themselves in double rows of tents or barracks (''Strigae''). One ''Striga'' was as long as required and 18 m wide. In it were two ''Hemistrigia'' of facing tents centered in its 9 m strip. Arms could be stacked before the tents and baggage carts kept there as well. Space on the other side of the tent was for passage. In the northern places like Britain, where it got cold in the winter, they would make wood or stone barracks. The Romans would also put a fireplace in the barracks. They had about three bunk beds in it. They had a small room beside it where they put their armour; it was as big as the tents. They would also make these barracks if the fort they had was going to stay there for good. A tent was 3 by 3.5 metres (0.6 m for the aisle), ten men per tent. Ideally a company took 10 tents, arranged in a line of 10 companies, with the 10th near the ''Porta Decumana''. Of the c. 9.2 square metres of bunk space each man received 0.9, or about 0.6 by 1.5 m, which was only practical if they slept with heads to the aisle. The single tent with its men was called '' contubernium'', also used for "squad". A squad during some periods was 8 men or fewer. The ''Centurion'', or company commander, had a double-sized tent for his quarters, which served also as official company area. Other than there, the men had to find other places to be. To avoid mutiny, it became extremely important for the officers to keep them busy. A covered portico might protect the walkway along the tents. If
barracks Barracks are usually a group of long buildings built to house military personnel or laborers. The English word comes via French from an old Spanish word "barraca" (hut), originally referring to temporary shelters or huts for various people and ani ...

barracks
had been constructed, one company was housed in one barracks building, with the arms at one end and the common area at the other. The company area was used for cooking and recreation, such as gaming. The army provisioned the men and had their bread (''panis militaris'') baked in outdoor ovens, but the men were responsible for cooking and serving themselves. They could buy meals or supplementary foods at the canteen. The officers were allowed servants.


Sanitation

For sanitary facilities, a camp had both public and private latrines. A public latrine consisted of a bank of seats situated over a channel of running water. One of the major considerations for selecting the site of a camp was the presence of running water, which the engineers diverted into the sanitary channels. Drinking water came from wells; however, the larger and more permanent bases featured the ''
aqueduct Aqueduct may refer to: Bridges *Aqueduct (bridge), a bridge to convey water over an obstacle, such as a ravine or valley *Navigable aqueduct, or water bridge, a structure to carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or r ...

aqueduct
'', a structure running a stream captured from high ground (sometimes miles away) into the camp. The praetorium had its own latrine, and probably the quarters of the high-ranking officers. In or near the ''intervallum'', where they could easily be accessed, were the latrines of the soldiers. A public bathhouse for the soldiers, also containing a latrine, was located near or on the ''Via Principalis''.


Territory

The influence of a base extended far beyond its walls. The total land required for the maintenance of a permanent base was called its ''territoria''. In it were located all the resources of nature and the terrain required by the base: pastures, woodlots, water sources, stone quarries, mines, exercise fields and attached villages. The central castra might also support various fortified adjuncts to the main base, which were not in themselves self-sustaining (as was the base). In this category were ''speculae'', "watchtowers", ''castella'', "small camps", and naval bases. All the major bases near rivers featured some sort of fortified naval installation, one side of which was formed by the river or lake. The other sides were formed by a polygonal wall and ditch constructed in the usual way, with gates and watchtowers. The main internal features were the boat sheds and the docks. When not in use, the boats were drawn up into the sheds for maintenance and protection. Since the camp was placed to best advantage on a hill or slope near the river, the naval base was usually outside its walls. The ''classici'' and the ''optiones'' of the naval installation relied on the camp for its permanent defense. Naval personnel generally enjoyed better quarters and facilities. Many were civilians working for the military.


Modifications in practice

This ideal was always modified to suit the terrain and the circumstances. Each camp discovered by archaeology has its own specific layout and architectural features, which makes sense from a military point of view. If, for example, the camp was built on an outcrop, it followed the lines of the outcrop. The terrain for which it was best suited and for which it was probably designed in distant prehistoric times was the rolling plain. The camp was best placed on the summit and along the side of a low hill, with spring water running in rivulets through the camp (''aquatio'') and pastureland to provide grazing (''pabulatio'') for the animals. In case of attack, arrows, javelins and sling missiles could be fired down at an enemy tiring himself to come up. For defence troops could be formed in an ''acies'', or "battle-line", outside the gates, where they could be easily resupplied and replenished, as well as being supported by archery from the palisade. The streets, gates and buildings present depended on the requirements and resources of the camp. The gates might vary from two to six and not be centred on the sides. Not all the streets and buildings might be present.


Quadrangular camps in later times

Many settlements in
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
originated as Roman military camps and still show traces of their original pattern (e.g.
Castres Castres (; ''Castras'' in the Languedocian dialect of Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no , ), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages (less commonly ...
in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
,
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern . It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of , as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits,
Barcelona
in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
). The pattern was also used by
Spanish colonizers in America
Spanish colonizers in America
following strict rules by the Spanish monarchy for founding new cities in the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The rem ...
. Many of the towns of
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
still retain forms of the word ''castra'' in their names, usually as the suffixes "-caster", "-cester" or "-chester" –
LancasterLancaster may refer to: Lands and titles *The County Palatine of Lancaster, a synonym for Lancashire *Duchy of Lancaster, one of only two British royal duchies *Duke of Lancaster *Earl of Lancaster *House of Lancaster, a British royal dynasty ...
,
Tadcaster Tadcaster is a market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it from a vil ...

Tadcaster
,
Worcester Worcester may refer to: Places United Kingdom * Worcester, England, a city in Worcestershire ** Worcester (UK Parliament constituency) * Worcester Park, London, England * Worcestershire, a county in England United States * Worcester, Massachus ...
,
Gloucester Gloucester ( ) is a and the of in the South West of England. Gloucester lies on the , between the to the east and the to the west, east of , and east of the with . Including suburban areas, Gloucester has a population of around 150,000. ...
,
Mancetter Mancetter is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or ...
,
Uttoxeter Uttoxeter ( , sometimes ) is a market town in Staffordshire, England, from Burton-on-Trent, from Stafford, from Stoke-on-Trent and from Derby. It is near the Derbyshire border. The population was 13,089 at the 2011 Census. History Uttoxet ...

Uttoxeter
,
Colchester Colchester () is a historic market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from ...
,
Chester Chester is a walled cathedral city in Cheshire, England, on the River Dee, Wales, River Dee, close to the border with Wales. With a population of 79,645 in 2011, it is the most populous settlement of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a po ...

Chester
,
Manchester Manchester () is the most-populous city and metropolitan borough in North West England and Greater Manchester, England. The city has the country's List of English districts by population, fifth-largest population at 547,627 (as of 2018) and li ...

Manchester
and
Ribchester Ribchester is a village and civil parish within the Ribble Valley district of Lancashire, England. It lies on the banks of the River Ribble, northwest of Blackburn Blackburn is a large industrial town located in Lancashire, England, nor ...
for example.
Castle A castle is a type of structure built during the predominantly by the or royalty and by . Scholars debate the scope of the word ''castle'', but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct ...

Castle
has the same derivation, from the diminutive ''castellum'' or "little fort", but does not usually indicate a former Roman camp.
Whitley Castle Whitley Castle (''Epiacum'') is a large, unusually shaped Roman Britain, Roman castra, fort ( la, castra) north-west of the town of Alston, Cumbria, England. The castrum, which was first built by the Roman Army early in the 2nd century AD, was par ...
however is an exception, referring to the Roman fort of Epiacum in
Northumberland Northumberland () is a , , and in . The latter has a headquarters at . Northumberland borders to the west, to the south, and to the south and southeast, and the to the north. The historic is . Northumberland is a predominantly county, w ...

Northumberland
.


Camp life

Activities conducted in a castra can be divided into ordinary and "the duty" or "the watch". Ordinary activity was performed during regular working hours. The duty was associated with operating the installation as a military facility. For example, none of the soldiers were required to man the walls all the time, but round-the clock duty always required a portion of the soldiers to be on duty at any time. Duty time was divided into ''vigilia'', the eight watches into which the 24-hour day was divided so they stood guard for 3 hours that day. The Romans used signals on brass instruments to mark time. These were mainly the ''
buccina A buccina ( lat, buccina) or bucina ( lat, būcina, link=no), anglicized buccin or bucine, is a brass instrument that was used in the ancient Military history of the Roman Empire, Roman army, similar to the Cornu (horn), cornu. An aeneator who ble ...
'' or ''bucina'', the '' cornu'' and the ''
tuba The tuba (; ) is the lowest-pitched musical instrument in the brass family File:Althorn, Baryton och Euphonium.jpg, 332x332px, A tenor horn (alto horn) in E, baritone horn in B, and euphonium in B. A brass instrument is a musical instrument ...
''. As they did not possess valves for regulating the pitch, the range of these instruments was somewhat limited. Nevertheless, the musicians (''Aenatores'', "brassmen") managed to define enough signals for issuing commands. The instrument used to mark the passage of a watch was the ''buccina'', from which the trumpet derives. It was sounded by a ''buccinator''.


Ordinary life

Ordinary camp life began with a ''buccina'' call at daybreak, the first watch of the day. The soldiers arose at this time and shortly after collected in the company area for breakfast and assembly. The
centurion A centurion (; la, centurio , . la, centuriones, label=none; grc-gre, κεντυρίων, kentyríōn, or ) was a position in the Roman army during classical antiquity, nominally the commander of a centuria, century (), a military unit of aro ...

centurion
s were up before them and off to the ''principia'' where they and the ''
equites The ''equites'' (; la, eques nom. singular; literally "horse-" or "cavalrymen", though sometimes referred to as "knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representative ...
'' were required to assemble. The regimental commanders, the tribunes, were already converging on the ''praetorium''. There the general staff was busily at work planning the day. At a staff meeting the ''Tribunes'' received the password and the orders of the day. They brought those back to the ''centuriones'', who returned to their company areas to instruct the men. For soldiers, the main item of the agenda was a vigorous training session lasting about a watch long. Recruits received two, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.Vegetius Book I, linked in Primary sources below. Planning and supervision of training were under a general staff officer, who might manage training at several camps. According to Vegetius, the men might take a hike or a jog under full pack, or swim a river. Marching drill was always in order. Each soldier was taught the use of every weapon and also was taught to ride. Seamanship was taught at naval bases. Soldiers were generalists in the military and construction arts. They practiced archery, spear-throwing and above all swordsmanship against posts (''pali'') fixed in the ground. Training was taken very seriously and was democratic. Ordinary soldiers would see all the officers training with them including the ''praetor'', or the Emperor, if he was in camp. Swordsmanship lessons and use of the shooting range probably took place on the ''campus'', a "field" outside the ''castra'', from which English camp derives. Its surface could be lightly paved. Winter curtailed outdoor training. The general might in that case have sheds constructed, which served as field houses for training. There is archaeological evidence in one case of an indoor equestrian ring. Apart from the training, each soldier had a regular job on the base, of which there were a large variety from the various kinds of clerks to the craftsmen. Soldiers changed jobs frequently. The commander's policy was to have all the soldiers skilled in all the arts and crafts so that they could be as interchangeable as possible. Even then the goal was not entirely achievable. The gap was bridged by the specialists, the ''optiones'' or "chosen men", of which there were many different kinds. For example, a skilled artisan might be chosen to superintend a workshop. The supply administration was run as a business using money as the medium of exchange. The
aureus The ''aureus'' ( ''aurei'', 'golden', used as a noun) was a gold coin of ancient Rome originally valued at 25 pure silver ''denarius, denarii''. The ''aureus'' was regularly issued from the 1st century BC to the beginning of the 4th century AD, w ...

aureus
was the preferred coin of the late republic and early empire; in the late empire the
solidus Solidus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...
came into use. The larger bases, such as ''Moguntiacum'', minted their own coins. As does any business, the base quaestorium required careful record keeping, performed mainly by the optiones. A chance cache of tablets from
Vindolanda Vindolanda was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of ...

Vindolanda
in Britain gives us a glimpse of some supply transactions. They record, among other things, the purchase of consumables and raw supplies, the storage and repair of clothing and other items, and the sale of items, including foodstuffs, to achieve an income. Vindolanda traded vigorously with the surrounding natives. Another feature of the camp was the military hospital (''valetudinarium'', later ''hospitium''). Augustus instituted the first permanent medical corps in the Roman army. Its physicians, the ''medici ordinarii'', had to be qualified physicians. They were allowed medical students, practitioners and whatever orderlies they needed; i.e., the military hospitals were medical schools and places of residency as well. Officers were allowed to marry and to reside with their families on base. The army did not extend the same privileges to the men, who were not allowed to marry. However, they often kept common law families off base in communities nearby. The communities might be native, as the tribesmen tended to build around a permanent base for purposes of trade, but also the base sponsored villages (''vici'') of dependents and businessmen. Dependants were not allowed to follow an army on the march into hostile territory.
Military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some other Military organization, fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subject ...
was for about 25 years. At the end of that time, the
veteran A veteran () is a person who has significant experience (and is usually adept and esteemed) and expertise in a particular job, occupation or Craft, field. A military veteran is a person who is no longer serving in a military. A military veter ...
was given a certificate of honorable discharge (''
honesta missio The ''honesta missio'' was the honorable discharge from the military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some other Military organization, fight ...
''). Some of these have survived engraved on stone. Typically they certify that the veteran, his wife (one per veteran) and children or his sweetheart were now Roman citizens, which is a good indication that troops, which were used chiefly on the frontier, were from peoples elsewhere on the frontier who wished to earn Roman citizenship. However, under
Antoninus Pius Antoninus Pius (; la, Antōnīnus Pius ; 19 September 86 – 7 March 161) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of differen ...

Antoninus Pius
, citizenship was no longer granted to the children of rank-and-file veterans, the privilege becoming restricted only to officers. Veterans often went into business in the communities near a base. They became permanent members of the community and would stay on after the troops were withdrawn, as in the notable case of
Saint Patrick Saint Patrick ( la, Patricius; ga, Pádraig ; cy, Padrig) was a fifth-century Romano-British culture, Romano-British Christian missionary and Archbishop of Armagh, bishop in Gaelic Ireland, Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is t ...
's family.


Duties

Conducted in parallel with the ordinary activities was "the duty", the official chores required by the camp under strict military discipline. The ''Legate'' was ultimately responsible for them as he was for the entire camp, but he delegated the duty to a tribune chosen as officer of the day. The line ''Tribunes'' were commanders of ''
Cohort Cohort or cohortes may refer to: * Cohort (educational group), a group of students working together through the same academic curriculum * Cohort (floating point), a set of different encodings of the same numerical value * Cohort (military unit), ...
es'' and were approximately the equivalent of colonels. The 6 tribunes were divided into units of two, with each unit being responsible for filling the position of officer of the day for two months. The two men of a unit decided among themselves who would take what day. They could alternate days or each take a month. One filled in for the other in case of illness. On his day, the tribune effectively commanded the camp and was even respected as such by the ''Legate''. The equivalent concept of the duties performed in modern camps is roughly the detail. The responsibilities (''curae'') of the many kinds of detail were distributed to the men by all the methods considered fair and democratic: lot, rotation and negotiation. Certain kinds of ''cura'' were assigned certain classes or types of troops; for example, wall sentries were chosen only from ''Velites''. Soldiers could be temporarily or permanently exempted: the ''immunes''. For example, a
Triarius Triarius was a Goths, Gothic nobleman and soldier. He was a member of the Amali dynasty. At least by the Battle of Nedao, Triarius had withdrawn his support from Valamir, who was his relative and the king of the Ostrogoths. Triarius joined the Byz ...
was ''immunis'' from the ''curae'' of the
Hastati ''Hastati'' (singular: ''Hastatus'') were a class of infantry employed in the armies of the early Roman Republic who originally fought as spear A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head ma ...
. The duty year was divided into time slices, typically one or two months, which were apportioned to units, typically maniples or
centuries A century is a period of 100 year A year is the orbital period of a planetary body, for example, the Earth, moving in Earth's orbit, its orbit around the Sun. Due to the Earth's axial tilt, the course of a year sees the passing of the season ...
. They were always allowed to negotiate who took the duty and when. The most common kind of ''cura'' were the posts of the sentinels, called the ''excubiae'' by day and the ''vigilae'' at night. Wall posts were ''praesidia'', gate posts, ''custodiae'', advance positions before the gates, ''stationes''. In addition were special guards and details. One post was typically filled by four men, one sentinel and the others at ease until a situation arose or it was their turn to be sentinel. Some of the details were: *guarding, cleaning and maintaining the ''principia''. *guarding and maintaining the quarters of each
tribune Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in . The two most important were the and the s. For most of Roman history, a college of ten tribunes of the plebs acted as a check on the authority of the and the , holding the power of ...

tribune
. *tending the horses of each cavalry ''
turma A ''turma'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
''. *guarding the ''praetorium''.Forman, Joan: "The Romans", page15. Macdonald educational. 1975


See also

*
Fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ( ...

Fortification
*
List of topics related to ancient Rome The following Outline (list), outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Rome: Ancient Rome – former civilization that thrived on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranea ...
*
Military history of ancient Rome The military history of ancient Rome is inseparable from its Roman Constitution, political system, based from an early date upon competition within the nobiles, ruling elite. Two Roman consul, consuls were elected each year to head the government o ...
*
Roman legion The Roman legion ( la, legiō, ) was the largest military unit of the Roman army The Roman army (: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of , from the (to c. 500 BC) to the (500–31 BC) and the (31 BC– ...

Roman legion


References


Primary sources

* * * (Latin text.) * Web publication on Bill Thayer's ''Polybius'' site. * Legion xxiv website. * * Selections, Latin and English juxtaposed by paragraph. Translator unknown. * Books I-III only. The unknown editor altered the translation "to conform to modern usage" and abbreviated the text. Access is by subtitle. Search only within subsection.


Secondary sources

* * * * * *


External links

Below are a number of links to sites reporting or summarizing current research or thinking. Many are reprints of articles made available to the public at no charge. The historical researcher will find their bibliographies of great interest.


General

* * * * * * Links to a Glossary.
The Romans in Britain, Glossary of Military terms
Note that both Latin and Greek terms with the same meaning are included.


Forts and fortifications

* * * * * * * * . Article republished on Bill Thayer's LacusCurtius site, which has the advantage of linking to ancient texts cited by Smith. * *


Camp life

* * * * {{Authority control
Ancient Roman city planning{{Portal, Ancient Rome City Planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or sp ...
Castles by type Roman fortifications Roman legionary fortresses