previous next

FORUM HADRIANI (Arentsburg) S Holland, Netherlands.

Country seat in the village of Voorburg, near The Hague, where Roman remains have been found since the 16th c.: foundations, mosaic floors, tiles, pottery, glass, jewelry, coins, and bronze and iron objects of all kinds. The site was first identified with Forum Hadriani of the Peutinger Table, after the discovery of a heavy wall and some stone buildings.

Later several gates were identified, and the W wall found to be ca. 400 m long, the N wall ca. 200. The E side could not be located and to the S a wall never existed, as the W wall ended on the banks of the Vliet canal, which was probably the Roman Fossa Corbulonis (Tac. Ann. 11.20; Cass. Dio 60.30.6). Inside the walls traces of wooden buildings were interpreted as barracks, and this time the complex was thought to be an auxiliary fort and a base of the Classis Germanica identified with Praetorium Agrippinae of the Peutinger Table. This is incompatible, however, with the distances given by the Peutinger Table and the Antonine Itinerary (368.3ff) on the N road between Lugduno and Noviomagi. Moreover, the so-called barracks do not resemble ground plans known elsewhere, the walls and buildings are differently oriented, and the dimensions far too large for an auxiliary fort. The military character of Arentsburg is not proved by the tiles with military stamps, nor do the tiles with the stamp C(lassis) G(ermanica) P(ia) F(idelis) prove that it was a base for the fleet. Furthermore, few military objects have been found. The first identification was correct.

Arentsburg is the most important Roman site in W Holland and the only one where nonmilitary inscriptions have been discovered (CIL XIII, 8807-8). Pottery from the site indicates that some kind of settlement (of the Cananefates) existed in the first half of the 1st c. It was enlarged considerably after the Batavian revolt of 69-70, especially under Domitian, and became the capital of the civitas Cananefatum. The first stone buildings were probably erected in 120-60. Hadrian gave it the ius nundinarum in 120 or 121, after which it was called Forum Hadriani. Before 162 it was made a municipium, probably by Marcus Aurelius, and the settlement lasted until 260-70. It was perhaps reoccupied for some time a little later, as suggested by coins of Gallienus, Postumus, Claudius II, Constantine, Constantius II, and some late Roman fibulas. The finds are in the Rijksmuseum voor Oudheden in Leiden.


J. W. Holwerda, Arentsburg (1923)MPI; A. W. Byvanck, Excerpta Romana II (1935) 204-17; 507-8; III (1947) 144-46; J. E. Bogaers, “Civitas en stad van de Bataven en Canninefaten,” Ber. Rijksdienst Oud. Bod. 10-11 (1960-61) 263-317MPI; id., “Forum Hadriani,” BonnJbb 164 (1964) 45-52MI; id., “Civitates und Civitas-Hauptorte in der nördlichen Germania Inferior,” ibid. 172 (1972) 310-32MPI.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: