previous next

SAALBURG Bad Homburg v.d.H., Germany.

A Roman auxiliary castellum 20 km S of Frankfurt a.M. on the level of the Taunus mountain range, near Bad Homburg v.d.H. During Domitian's war against the Chatti (A.D. 83-85), the limes was constructed in the forefield of the legionary camp Mogontiacum (Frontin. Str. 1.3.10). In stretches it follows the ridge of the Taunus mountain range. Auxiliary troops were stationed in castella on the limes to guard the frontier. One of these castella was Saalburg; its ancient name is unknown. The oldest fortification was a small wooden castellum (area 0.6 ha, constructed ca. A.D. 90); its garrison is not known. About A.D. 135 cohors II Raetorum cR. (equitata?) was stationed here, and at this time a larger castellum was built over the original one. Its wall consisted originally of a peculiar wood and stone construction. The interior buildings were of wood. During the second half of the 2d c. a stronger wall of stone and mortar was built. Some of the interior buildings also were rebuilt in stone, especially the principia and the horrea.

The first destruction of the camp probably occurred in the second half of the 2d century in the battles with Germanic tribes. The castellum also suffered from the raid of the Alamanni of 233 but was always rebuilt. Germanic attacks in the 3d c. were fatal. Together with the limes, Saalburg was abandoned by the Romans not later than 260.

The fortifications and the most important interior buildings of the cohors castellum have been reconstructed and contain a museum in which the finds from the excavations are exhibited. They give an idea of daily life in a Roman auxiliary castellum.

The reconstructed castellum has the customary rectangular ground plan with rounded corners (area 3.2 ha). Each of the four sides has a gate. Excavations in the interior of the castellum have established barracks, stables, and workshops, which completely filled the area. The buildings were arranged in a strictly geometrical pattern. In front of the main gate of the castellum were a bath building and a mansio; these ruins are visible. The remains of a vicus have been excavated; its houses in front of the gates of the castellum were situated along the Roman road to Nida (main town of the civitas Taunensium, today Frankfurt a.M.-Heddernheim). Adjoining the village and on both sides of the road was a necropolis, which is no longer visible. In the vicus were sanctuaries of Jupiter Dolichenus and Cybele; a mithreum has been reconstructed.

The limes runs for a distance of ca. 200 m N past the castellum. In its final form (earth wall and trench), it is fairly well preserved here and can be followed for many kilometers through the Taunus.


H. Schönberger, The Roman Fort at the Saalburg (1967)M; D. Baatz, Die Saalburg, ein Führer durch das römische Kastell und seine Geschichte (1968)M.


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