Gordian II was Roman Emperor for 21 days with his father Gordian I in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Seeking to overthrow Emperor Maximinus Thrax, he died in battle outside Carthage. Since he died before his father, Gordian II had the shortest reign of any Roman Emperor in the whole of the Empire's history, at 21 days. Born c. 192, Gordian II was the only known son of Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus the Elder. His family were of Equestrian rank, who were modest and wealthy. Gordian was said to be related to prominent senators, his praenomen and nomen Marcus Antonius suggest that his paternal ancestors received Roman citizenship under the Triumvir Mark Antony, or one of his daughters, during the late Roman Republic. Gordian’s cognomen ‘Gordianus’ suggests that his family origins were from Anatolia Galatia and Cappadocia. According to the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta, his mother was a Roman woman called Fabia Orestilla, born circa 165, who the Augustan History claims was a descendant of Emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius through her father Fulvus Antoninus.
Modern historians have dismissed her information as false. There is some evidence to suggest that Gordian's mother might have been the granddaughter of the Greek Sophist and tutor Herodes Atticus, his younger sister was Antonia Gordiana, the mother of Emperor Gordian III. Although the memory of the Gordians would have been cherished by the Senate and thus appear sympathetic in any Senatorial documentation of the period, the only account of Gordian's early career that has survived is contained within the Historia Augusta, it cannot be taken as an accurate or reliable description of his life story prior to his elevation to the purple in 238. According to this source, Gordian served as quaestor in Elagabalus' reign and as praetor and consul suffect with Emperor Alexander Severus. In 237 or 238, Gordian went to the province of Africa Proconsularis as a legatus under his father, who served as proconsular governor. Early in 235, Emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Julia Avita Mamaea were assassinated by mutinous troops at Moguntiacum in Germania Inferior.
The leader of the rebellion, Maximinus Thrax, became Emperor, despite his low-born background and the disapproval of the Roman Senate. Confronted by a local elite that had just killed Maximinus's procurator, Gordian's father was forced to participate in a full-scale revolt against Maximinus in 238 and became Augustus on March 22. Due to Gordian I's advanced age, the younger Gordian was attached to the imperial throne and acclaimed Augustus too. Like his father, he too was awarded the cognomen Africanus. Father and son saw their claim to the throne ratified both by the Senate and most of the other provinces, due to Maximinus' unpopularity. Opposition would come from the neighbouring province of Numidia. Capelianus, governor of Numidia, a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax, who held a grudge against Gordian, renewed his allegiance to the reigning emperor and invaded Africa province with the only legion stationed in the region, III Augusta, other veteran units. Gordian II, at the head of a militia army of untrained soldiers, lost the Battle of Carthage and was killed.
According to the Historia Augusta, his body was never recovered. Hearing the news, his father took his own life; this first rebellion against Maximinus Thrax was unsuccessful, but by the end of 238 Gordian II's nephew would be recognised emperor by the whole Roman world as Gordian III. According to Edward Gibbon, in the first volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, "Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested to the variety of inclinations. Villa Gordiani Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus Herodian, Roman History, Book 7 Historia Augusta, The Three Gordians Joannes Zonaras, Compendium of History extract: Zonaras: Alexander Severus to Diocletian: 222–284 Zosimus, Historia Nova Adkins, Lesley. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome: Updated Edition. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-5026-0. Birley, The Roman Government in Britain, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-925237-4 Gibbon, Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire Meckler, Michael L. Gordian II, De Imperatoribus Romanis Potter, David Stone, The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395, Routledge, 2004 Southern, The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, 2001 Syme, Ronald and Biography, Oxford University Press, 1971 Gordian II coinage
Furia Sabinia Tranquillina was the Empress of Rome and wife of Emperor Gordian III. She was the young daughter of the Praetorian Prefect Timesitheus by an unknown wife. In 241 her father was appointed the head of the Praetorian Guard by the Roman Emperor Gordian III. In May that year, Tranquillina had married Gordian, she received the honorific title of Augusta. Her marriage to Gordian was an admission by the young emperor of both Timesitheus' political indispensability and Tranquillina’s suitability as an empress. Prosopographia Imperii Romani ² F 587 http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=1034 http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Tranquillina http://www.livius.org/to-ts/tranquillina/tranquillina.html
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235 and the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, his own assassination marked the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century—nearly 50 years of civil wars, foreign invasion, collapse of the monetary economy, though this last part is now disputed. Alexander was the heir to his cousin, the 18-year-old Emperor, murdered along with his mother Julia Soaemias, by his own guards, who, as a mark of contempt, had their remains cast into the Tiber river, he and his cousin were both grandsons of the influential and powerful Julia Maesa, who had arranged for Elagabalus' acclamation as emperor by the famous Third Gallic Legion. It was the rumor of Alexander's death that triggered the assassination of his mother, his 13-year reign was the longest reign of a sole emperor since Antoninus Pius. He was the second-youngest sole legal Roman Emperor during the existence of the united empire, the youngest being Gordian III.
As emperor, Alexander's peacetime reign was prosperous. However, Rome was militarily confronted with the rising Sassanid Empire and growing incursions from the tribes of Germania, he managed to check the threat of the Sassanids. But when campaigning against Germanic tribes, Alexander attempted to bring peace by engaging in diplomacy and bribery; this led to a conspiracy to assassinate and replace him. Born between around 207 or 208 Severus Alexander became emperor when he was around 14 years old, making him the youngest emperor in Rome's history, until the ascension of Gordian III. Alexander's grandmother believed that he had more potential to rule than her other grandson, the unpopular emperor Elagabalus. Thus, to preserve her own position, she had Elagabalus adopt the young Alexander and arranged for Elagabalus' assassination, securing the throne for Alexander; the Roman army hailed Alexander as emperor on 13 March 222 conferring on him the titles of Augustus, pater patriae and pontifex maximus.
Throughout his life, Alexander relied on guidance from his grandmother and mother, Julia Mamaea. Maesa died in 223; as a young and inexperienced adolescent, Alexander knew little about government, warcraft, or the role of ruling over an empire. Because of this, throughout his entire reign he was a puppet of his mother's advice and under her jurisdiction, a state of affairs, not popular with the soldiers. Under the influence of his mother, Alexander did much to improve the morals and condition of the people, to enhance the dignity of the state, he employed noted jurists to oversee the administration of justice, such as the famous jurist Ulpian. His advisers were men like the senator and historian Cassius Dio, it is claimed that he created a select board of 16 senators, although this claim is disputed, he created a municipal council of 14 who assisted the urban prefect in administering the affairs of the 14 districts of Rome. Excessive luxury and extravagance at the imperial court were diminished, he restored the Baths of Nero in 227 or 229.
Upon his accession he reduced the silver purity of the denarius from 46.5% to 43%—the actual silver weight dropped from 1.41 grams to 1.30 grams. The following year he decreased the amount of base metal in the denarius while adding more silver, raising the silver purity and weight again to 50.5% and 1.50 grams. Additionally, during his reign taxes were lightened. In religious matters, Alexander preserved an open mind. According to the Historia Augusta, he wished to erect a temple to Jesus but was dissuaded by the pagan priests. In legal matters, Alexander did much to aid the rights of his soldiers, he confirmed that soldiers could name anyone as heirs in their will, whereas civilians had strict restrictions over who could become heirs or receive a legacy. He confirmed that soldiers could free their slaves in their wills, protected the rights of soldiers to their property when they were on campaign, reasserted that a soldier's property acquired in or because of military service could be claimed by no-one else, not the soldier's father.
On the whole, Alexander's reign was prosperous until the rise, in the east, of the Sassanids under Ardashir I. In 231 AD, Ardeshir invaded the Roman provinces of the east, overrunning Mesopotamia and penetrating as far as Syria and Cappadocia, forcing from the young Alexander a vigorous response. Of the war that followed. According to the most detailed authority, the Roman armies suffered a number of humiliating setbacks and defeats, while according to the Historia Augusta as well as Alexander's own dispatch to the Roman Senate, he gained great victories. Making Antioch his base, he organized in 233 a three-fold invasion of the Sassanian Empire.
Philip the Arab
Marcus Julius Philippus known by his nickname Philip the Arab, was Roman Emperor from February 244 to September 249. He was born in the Roman province of Arabia, in a city situated in modern-day Syria, he went on to become a major figure in the Roman Empire. After the death of Gordian III in February 244, Praetorian prefect, achieved power, he negotiated peace with the Persian Sassanid Empire. During his reign, the city of Rome celebrated its millennium. Among early Christian writers, Philip had the reputation of being sympathetic to the Christian faith. For this reason, it was claimed by some that he had converted to Christianity, which would have made him the first Christian emperor, he tried to celebrate Easter with Christians in Antioch, but the bishop Saint Babylas made him stand with the penitents. Philip and his wife received letters from Origen. Philip was betrayed and killed at the Battle of Verona in September 249 following a rebellion led by his successor, Gaius Messius Quintus Decius.
Little is known about political career. He was born in what is today Shahba, about 90 kilometres southeast of Damascus, in the Trachonitis district. At the time this was in the Roman province of Arabia, Glen Bowersock believes that Philip was indeed of Arab origin, he was the son of a local citizen, Julius Marinus of some importance. Allegations from Roman sources that Philip had a humble origin or that his father was a leader of brigands are not accepted by modern historians. While the name of Philip's mother is unknown, he did have a brother, Gaius Julius Priscus, an equestrian and a member of the Praetorian Guard under Gordian III. In 234, Philip married daughter of a Roman Governor, they had three children, a son named Marcus Julius Philippus Severus, born in 238, a daughter called Julia Severa or Severina, known from numismatic evidence but is never mentioned by the ancient Roman sources and a son named Quintus Philippus Severus, born in 247. Philip's rise to prominence began through the intervention of his brother Priscus, an important official under the emperor Gordian III.
His big break came in 243, during Gordian III's campaign against Shapur I of Persia, when the Praetorian prefect Timesitheus died under unclear circumstances. At the suggestion of his brother Priscus, Philip became the new Praetorian prefect, with the intention that the two brothers would control the young Emperor and rule the Roman world as unofficial regents. Following a military defeat, Gordian III died in February 244 under circumstances that are still debated. While some claim that Philip conspired in his murder, other accounts state that Gordian died in battle. Whatever the case, Philip assumed the purple robe following Gordian's death. According to Edward Gibbon: His rise from so obscure a station to the first dignities of the empire seems to prove that he was a bold and able leader, but his boldness prompted him to aspire to the throne, his abilities were employed to supplant, not to serve, his indulgent master. Philip was not willing to repeat the mistakes of previous claimants, was aware that he had to return to Rome in order to secure his position with the senate.
However, his first priority was to conclude a peace treaty with Shapur I of Persia, withdraw the army from a disastrous situation. Although Philip was accused of abandoning territory, the actual terms of the peace were not as humiliating as they could have been. Philip retained Timesitheus’ reconquest of Osroene and Mesopotamia, but he had to agree that Armenia lay within Persia’s sphere of influence, he had to pay an enormous indemnity to the Persians of 500,000 gold denarii. Philip issued coins proclaiming that he had made peace with the Persians. Leading his army back up the Euphrates, south of Circesium Philip erected a cenotaph in honor of Gordian III, but his ashes were sent ahead to Rome, where he arranged for Gordian III’s deification. Whilst in Antioch, he left his brother Priscus as extraordinary ruler of the Eastern provinces, with the title of rector Orientis. Moving westward, he gave his brother-in-law Severianus control of the provinces of Moesia and Macedonia, he arrived in Rome in the late summer of 244, where he was confirmed Augustus.
Before the end of the year, he nominated his young son Caesar and heir, his wife, Otacilia Severa, was named Augusta, he deified his father Marinus though the latter had never been emperor. While in Rome, Philip claimed an official victory over the Persians with the titles of Parthicus Adiabenicus, Persicus Maximus and Parthicus Maximus. In an attempt to shore up his regime, Philip put a great deal of effort in maintaining good relations with the Senate, from the beginning of his reign, he reaffirmed the old Roman virtues and traditions, he ordered an enormous building program in his home town, renaming it Philippopolis, raising it to civic status, while he populated it with statues of himself and his family. This creation of a new city, piled on top of the massive tribute owed to the Persians, as well as the necessary donative to the army to secure its acceptance of his accession, meant Philip was short of money. To pay for it, he ruthlessly increased levels of taxation, while at the same time he ceased paying subsidies to the tribes north of the Danube that were vital for keeping the peace on the frontiers.
Pupienus known as Pupienus Maximus, was Roman Emperor with Balbinus for three months in 238, during the Year of the Six Emperors. The sources for this period are scant, thus knowledge of the emperor is limited. In most contemporary texts Pupienus is referred to by his cognomen "Maximus" rather than by his second nomen Pupienus; the Historia Augusta, whose testimony is not to be trusted unreservedly, paints Pupienus as an example of advancement through the cursus honorum due to military success. It claims he was the son of a blacksmith, was adopted by one Pescennia Marcellina, who started his career as a Centurio primus pilus before becoming a Tribunus Militum, a Praetor. Pupienus's career was impressive, serving a number of important posts during the reign of the Severan dynasty throughout the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries; this included assignment as Proconsul of the senatorial propraetorial provinces of Bithynia et Pontus and Gallia Narbonensis. In fact Pupienus was part of the aristocracy, albeit a minor member, his family had been elevated only recently.
Hailing from the Etruscan city of Volterra, it has been speculated that Pupienus was the son of Marcus Pupienus Maximus, a Senator, the first member of his family to enter the Senate, wife Clodia Pulchra. The claim in the Historia Augusta that Pupienus held three praetorian proconsular governorships is unlikely. For one thing, as Bernard Rémy points out, during Pupienus' lifetime the province of Bithynia et Pontus was an imperial one, governed by an imperial legatus. Remy points out another problem: that being awarded three praetorian proconsular governorships violates what we know of Roman practice, lacks any similar cases. Remy pointedly quotes the opinion of André Chastagnol who recommended "to admit an information provided by the Augustan History only if it is confirmed by another document" and considers that, faced with such an unreliable source, one must permit "methodical doubt and hypercritical attitude to prevail." No fasti or list of governors of any of the three provinces to which the Historia Augusta assigns Pupienus includes him as a governor.
After his consulship, his cursus honorum is much more reliable. Pupienus was assigned as imperial legate to one of the German provinces, most after his first suffect consulship, circa 207 AD. While governor he scored military victories over the Sarmatians and German tribes. At some point after he concluded his duties in the German province, the sortition awarded him proconsular governorship of Asia. In 234, during the last years of Severus Alexander's reign, he was installed as Consul for the second time. In that same year he was appointed Urban Prefect of Rome and gained a reputation for severity, to the extent that he became unpopular with the Roman mob; when Gordian I and his son were proclaimed Emperors in Africa, the Senate appointed a committee of twenty men, including the elderly Senator Pupienus, to co-ordinate operations against Maximinus until the arrival of the Gordians. On the news of the Gordians' defeat and deaths, the Senate met in closed session in the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus and voted for two members of the committee to be installed as co-emperors – Pupienus and Balbinus.
Unlike the situation in 161 with Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, both emperors were elected as pontifices maximi, chief priests of the official cults. According to Edward Gibbon, the choice was sensible, as: the mind of Maximus was formed in a rougher mould. By his valour and abilities he had raised himself from the meanest origin to the first employments of the state and army, his victories over the Sarmatians and the Germans, the austerity of his life, the rigid impartiality of his justice whilst he was prefect of the city, commanded the esteem of a people whose affections were engaged in favour of the more amiable Balbinus. The two colleagues had both been consul... and, since the one was sixty and the other seventy-four years old, they had both attained the full maturity of age and experience. However, factions within the Senate who had hoped to profit from the accession of the Gordians manipulated the people and the Praetorian Guard to agitate for the elevation of Gordian III as their imperial colleague.
Leaving his senior colleague Balbinus in charge of the civil administration at Rome, sometime during late April Pupienus marched to Ravenna, where he oversaw the campaign against Maximinus, recruiting German auxiliary troops who had served under him whilst he was in Germania. After Maximinus was assassinated by his soldiers just outside Aquileia, Pupienus despatched both Maximinus's troops and his own back to their provinces and returned to Rome with his newly-acquired German bodyguard. Balbinus, in the meantime, had failed to keep public order in the capital; the sources suggest that Balbinus suspected Pupienus of using his German bodyguard to supplant him, they were soon living in different parts of the Imperial palace. This meant that they were at the mercy of disaffected elements in the Praetorian Guard, who resented serving under Senate-appointed emperors, now plotted to kill them. Pupienus, becoming aware of the threat, begged Balbinus to call for the German bodyguard. Balbinus, believing that this news was part of a plot by Pupienus to have him assassinated and the two began to argue just as the Praetorians burst into the room.
Both emperors were seized and dragged back to the Praetorian barracks where they were tortured and brutally hacked to death in the bath house. Three individuals hav
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
Germania Superior was an imperial province of the Roman Empire. It comprised an area of today's western Switzerland, the French Jura and Alsace regions, southwestern Germany. Important cities were Besançon, Strasbourg and Germania Superior's capital, Mainz, it comprised the Middle Rhine, bordering on the Limes Germanicus, on the Alpine province of Raetia to the south-east. Although it had been occupied militarily since the reign of Augustus, Germania Superior was not made into an official province until c. 85 AD. The terms, "Upper Germania" and "Lower Germania" do not appear in the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar, yet he writes about reports that the people who lived in those regions were referred to as Germani locally, a term used for a tribe that the Romans called the Germani Cisrhenani, that the name Germania seems to have been adopted to designate other indigenous tribes in the area. Lower Germania was occupied by the Belgae. Upper Germania was occupied by Gaulish tribes including the Helvetii, Sequani and Treveri, and, on the north bank of the middle Rhine, the remnant of the Germanic troops that had attempted to take Vesontio under Ariovistus, but who were defeated by Caesar in 58 BC.
The Romans did not abandon this region at any time after then. During a 5-year period in the initial years of his reign, as Cassius Dio tells us, Octavian Caesar assumed direct governorship of the major senatorial provinces on grounds that they were in danger of insurrection and he alone commanded the troops required to restore security, they were to be restored to the senate in 10 years under proconsuls elected by the senate. Among these independent provinces were upper Germania, it had become a province in the last years of the republic. Tacitus mentions it as the province of Germania Superior in his Annales. Cassius Dio viewed the Germanic tribes as Celts, an impression given by Belgica, the name assigned to lower Germania at the time. Dio does not mention the border, it is not clear. Today we call the section of the Rhine running through upper Germania the middle Rhine. Augustus had planned to incorporate all of central Germania in Germania Magna; this plan was frustrated by the Germanic tribesmen at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.
Augustus decided to limit the empire at the Rhine-Danube border. Thereafter continual conflict prevailed along it, forcing the Romans to conduct punitive expeditions and fortify Germania Superior. By 12 BC, major bases existed from which Drusus operated. A system of forts developed around these bases. In 69-70, all the Roman fortications along the Rhine and Danube were destroyed by Germanic insurrections and civil war between the legions. At the conclusion of this violent but brief social storm they were rebuilt more extensively than before, with a road connecting Mainz and Augsburg. Domitian went to war against the Chatti in 83-85. At this time the first line, or continuous fortified border, was constructed, it consisted of a cleared zone of observation, a palisade where practicable, wooden watchtowers and forts at the road crossings. The system reached maximum extent by 90. A Roman road went through the Odenwald and a network of secondary roads connected all the forts and towers; the plan governing the development of the limes was simple.
From a strategic point of view, the Agri Decumates, or region between the Rhine and Danube, offers a bulge in the line between the Celts and the Germanics, which the Germanics had tried to exploit under Ariovistus. The bulge divided the densely populated Celtic settlements along the entire river system in two. Invading forces could move up under cover of the Black Forest. Roman defensive works therefore cut across the base of the bulge, denying the protected corridor and shortening the line; the key point was the shoulder of the bulge at Mogontiacum where the masse de manoevre or strategic reserves were located. The forts through the forest were lightly defended and on that account were always being burned by the Alamanni, they gave advance notice, however. On being notified, the legions would strike out in preventative and punitive expeditions from Mainz or Strasburg, or Augsburg on the other side; the entire system could only succeed. Fixed defenses alone are not much of a defense, in either modern times.
Other forces are required for attack. At best the fixed defenses serve to delay until a counterattack can be launched. For more complete details on the development of the limes, or frontier, see under Limes Germanicus. In the subsequent peaceful years, the limes lost its temporary character. Vici, or communities, developed around the forts. By 150, the towers and the bases had been rebuilt in stone; the soldiers now lived in good stone barracks within walls decorated by frescoes. Germanic civilization had changed as well. Where Caesar had described burning the wretched brush hovels of the Suebi who had come to fight for Ariovistus, the Chatti and the Alamanni now lived in comfortable Romanized villages around the limes. Germania Superior was reestablished as an Imperial Roman province in 90, taking large amounts of territory from Gallia Lugdunensis. One of its first and most famous governors was the future Emperor Trajan, who ruled the province from 96 until his accession in 98; the Helvetii settlement area became part of the province of Ge