The Roman occupation did not extend much to the S
of the Chott el Hodna, in the direction of the Ouled
Naïl and the Djebel Amour. In the course of the 2d
c., however, expeditions to the S were undertaken. Once
the edges of the Hodna had been reached and posts had
been set in the region S of Biskra (such as Gemellae,
occupied under Hadrian), incursions were attempted.
This is proven by the inscription of A.D. 174 found at
Agueneb. Detachments of the Third Augustan Legion
and of auxiliaries had then reached the heart of the
Djebel Amour. But the permanent post farthest S known
at present is Castellum Dimmidi, on the wadi Messad.
In 198 the legate propraetor of the Third Legion
had sent legionaries there, supported by Pannonian cavalry and under the command of Flavius Superus. The
installation of a permanent camp undoubtedly dates to
that time. The camp was maintained until about 238, the
date of the temporary disbanding of the Third Legion.
Excavations have revealed a part of the rampart which
protected the soldiers' quarters. The wall was irregular in plan. Today very little can be seen on the site
since the excavations were not continued and no attempt was made to consolidate the remains. The inscriptions also have almost all disappeared. They have been
published and permit the reconstruction of certain aspects of the life of the camp. About 100 men relieved
one another there; they were legionaries and later, after
Alexander Severus, Palmyrans.
The inscriptions and the paintings (now deposited at
the Algiers Museum) give an idea of the soldiers' religious life as it pertained to official and Palmyrene cults.
G. C. Picard, Castellum Dimmidi