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CASTRA VETERA

CASTRA VETERA or VETERA, as Ptolemy (2.9) and others call it, a Roman camp near the Lower Rhine, in Germania Inferior, which was formed in the time of Augustus, for when Germanicus was in those parts (A.D. 14), Vetera was the station of the mutinous fifth and twenty-first legions (Tac. Ann. 1.48). Indeed, it appears from Tacitus (Tac. Hist. 4.23), that Augustus had considered this to be a good post for keeping the Germaniae in check; and during the long period of peace that had existed when Civilis, with the Batavi and Germans, attacked the place, a town had grown up at a short distance from the camp. (Hist. 4.22.) Part of the camp was on rising ground, and part in the plain. Civilis here blockaded two legions that had escaped thither after being defeated by him. The Romans in the camp of Vetera finally surrendered to Civilis (A.D. 70), who afterwards posted himself there as a safe position against the attack of Cerialis. Vetera was protected by the wide and swampy plains, and Civilis had carried a mole into the Rhine for the purpose of keeping the water back and flooding the adjacent grounds. The place was, therefore, near the Rhine, in some spot where there is an elevation in the midst of a level country. It is placed in the table at the distance of 13 M. P. from Asciburgia (Asburg). D'Anville places Vetera at Xanten in the Rhenish provinces of Prussia, near the Rhine, on the left bank, and the eminence he supposes to be Vorstenberg, where Roman antiquities have been found. This position seems to be more likely to be the true one than Büderich, in an angle of the Rhine, opposite to Wesel, where some geographers fix Vetera. This important post was always occupied by one or two legions, while the Romans were in the possession of these parts.

[G.L]

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