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LIMES PANNONIAE (Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia).

The limes played a decisive role in the life of the Empire's NE border province, Pannonia: the life and history of the province are inseparable from the history of the limes. During the 1st and 2d c. the limes was important in furthering Rome's expansionist policies. In the 3d and 4th c. it played an increasingly defensive role. Its development was actually completed during the 4th c. when a seemingly impenetrable chain of fortifications—consisting of new camps, numerous small forts, guard towers, and bridgeheads—was built on the banks of the Danube.

The building of the limes began during the 1st c., following the Roman conquest, with temporary earth and timber camps to protect the major crossings of the Danube. During the last third of the 1st c. the camps were rebuilt in stone, and in the sections between them the system of auxiliary field camps was developed. The rebuilding in stone of the whole system took place at the end of Trajan's reign and at the beginning of Hadrian's. The fortifications of the limes were heavily damaged during the barbarian invasions of the second half of the 2d and 3d c., but they were always rebuilt after the wars. During the rebuilding at the beginning of the 4th c., the camps were reinforced with large bulwark towers. On the most vulnerable stretches new camps and bridgeheads were added, and during the last third of the century defense was strengthened with the erection of dozens of guard towers. Probably under Constantine there was dug in the forefront of the limes, at the border of the Sarmatian settlement, a skein of trenches under Roman supervision, connecting at either end with the Danube limes, to insure the stone fortress system along the Danube. The limes of Pannonia lost its defensive role and significance during the first decades of the 5th c. following the Hun invasion; the fortresses were abandoned and slowly fell into ruin.

The heart of the fortress system was in the four legionary camps of the territory, all of them built on the N front. Vindobona (Vienna) was the headquarters of the Legio X Gemina, Carnuntum (Deutsch-Altenburg) of the Legio XIV Gemina, Brigetio (Szöny) of the Legio I Auditrix, Aquincum (Budapest) of the Legio II Auditrix. The most completely excavated among them is the camp of Carnuntum (400 x 450 m), but there have been significant excavations at the sites of the other camps as well.

Most of the auxiliary camps have now been identified. Naming them in the order in which they line the Danube as it flows towards the sea, they are Cannabiaca (Klosterneuburg), Ala Nova (Wien-Schwechat), Aequinoctium (Fischamend), Gerulata (Oroszvár-Rušovce), Ad Flexum (Magyaróvár), Quadrata (Barátoföldpuszta), Arrabona (Győr), Ad Statuas (Ács-Vaspuszta), Ad Mures (Ács- Bum-bunikut), Celamantia (Leányvár), Azaum (Almásfüzitő), Crumerum (Nyergesujfalu), Tokod, Solva (Esztergom), Esztergom-Hideglelőskereszt, Castra ad Herculem (Pilismarót), Visegrád, Cirpi (Dunabogány), Ulcisia castra (Szentendre), Göd-Ilkamajor, Budapest-March 15 Square, Budapest-Albertfalva, Campona (Budapest-Nagytétény), Matrica (Százhalombatta), Vetus Salina (Adony), Intercisa (Dunaujváros), Annamatia (Baracs), Lussonium (Dunakömlőd), Alta Ripa (Tolna), Alisca (Őcsény), Ad Statuas (Várdomb), Lugio (Dunaszekcső), Altinum (Kölked), Ad Militare (Batina), Teutoburgium (Dalj), Cornacum (Šotin), Bononia (Banoštor), Castellum Onagrinum (Begeć), Rakovac, Cusum (Petrovaradin), Acumincum (Slankamen), Rittium (Surduk), Burgenae (Novi Banovci), Taurunum (Zemun). The auxiliary camps built during the 2d c. usually were regular in ground plan, rectangular, measured ca. 150-175 by 200-250 m, and were surrounded by a double trench. The camps built during the 4th c. had an irregular base, and were built mostly on elevations or mountain tops. Significant excavations have been made in the camps at Cirpi, Ulcisia castra, Albertfalva, Budapest-March 15 Square, Campona, Vetus Salina, and Intercisa.

The early remains of the chain of guard towers between the camps are still unknown. The location of the wooden guard towers, depicted on Trajan's Column, has not yet been found. Only a few of the stone guard towers built in the 2d and 3d c. are extant, but a comparatively large number of inscribed building slabs from the time of Commodus have come down to us. More is known about monuments of the 4th c., especially about those in the era of Valentinian I. The guard towers vary in ground plan, some being round, others 10 m square. The bridgeheads and small square fortresses represent still another variation in ground plan. The best-known guard towers are on the section around Carnuntum and Brigetio-Aquincum. Many of these also have been excavated.

See also Limes Pannoniae (Yugoslav sector) for Ad Militare, Teutoburgium, Cornacum, Bononia, Cusum, Acumincum, Rittium, Burgenae, Taurunum.


E. Fabricius, “Limes,” PWRE 13; A. Mócsy, “Pannonia,” PWRE 9 (Suppl.); A. Graf, Übersicht der antiken Geographie von Pannonien (1936); id., Der römische Limes in Österreich; Limes u Iugoslaviji I (1961); S. Soproni, “Limes Sarmatiae,” Archaeologiai Értesitö 96 (1969).


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