Structural history of the Roman military
The structural history of the Roman military concerns the major transformations in the organization and constitution of ancient Rome's armed forces, "the most effective and long-lived military institution known to history." From its origins around 800 BC to its final dissolution in AD 476 with the demise of the Western Roman Empire, Rome's military organization underwent substantial structural change. At the highest level of structure, the forces were split into the Roman army and the Roman navy, although these two branches were less distinct than in many modern national defense forces. Within the top levels of both army and navy, structural changes occurred as a result of both positive military reform and organic structural evolution; these changes can be divided into four distinct phases. Phase I The army was derived from obligatory annual military service levied on the citizenry, as part of their duty to the state. During this period, the Roman army would wage seasonal campaigns against local adversaries.
Phase II As the extent of the territories falling under Roman control expanded and the size of the forces increased, the soldiery became salaried professionals. As a consequence, military service at the lower levels became progressively longer-term. Roman military units of the period were homogeneous and regulated; the army consisted of units of citizen infantry known as legions as well as non-legionary allied troops known as auxilia. The latter were most called upon to provide light infantry, logistical, or cavalry support. Phase III At the height of the Roman Empire's power, forces were tasked with manning and securing the borders of the vast provinces, brought under Roman control. Serious strategic threats were less common in this period and emphasis was placed on preserving gained territory; the army underwent changes in response to these new needs and became more dependent on fixed garrisons than on march-camps and continuous field operations. Phase IV As Rome began to struggle to keep control over its sprawling territories, military service continued to be salaried and professional for Rome's regular troops.
However, the trend of employing allied or mercenary elements was expanded to such an extent that these troops came to represent a substantial proportion of the armed forces. At the same time, the uniformity of structure found in Rome's earlier military disappeared. Soldiery of the era ranged from armed mounted archers to heavy infantry, in regiments of varying size and quality; this was accompanied by a trend in the late empire of an increasing predominance of cavalry rather than infantry troops, as well as a requirement for more mobile operations. In this period there was more focus on smaller units of independently-operating troops, engaging less in set-piece battles and more in low-intensity, guerilla actions. According to the historians Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, writing at a far date, the earliest Roman army existed in the 8th century BC. During this period Rome itself was little more than a fortified hilltop settlement and its army a small force, whose activities were limited "mainly raiding and cattle rustling with the occasional skirmish-like battle".
Historian Theodor Mommsen referred to it as Rome's curiate army, named for its presumed subdivision along the boundaries of Rome's three founding tribes, the Ramnians and Luceres. This army's exact structure is not known, but it is probable that it loosely resembled a warrior band or group of bodyguards led by a chieftain or king. Mommsen believes that Roman military organization of this period was regimented by the "Laws of King Italus" but these laws, though referred to by Aristotle, have been lost; the army consisted, according to Livy, of 3,000 infantry and 300 horsemen, one third from each of Rome's three founding tribes. Warriors served under six "leaders of division" who in turn served under a general in the person of the reigning King. Mommsen uses philological arguments and references from Livy and others to suggest that the greater mass of foot-soldiers consisted of pilumni, with a smaller number serving as arquites; the cavalry was far smaller in number and consisted of the town's richest citizens.
The army may have contained the earliest form of chariots, hinted at by references to the flexuntes. By the beginning of the 7th century BC, the Iron-Age Etruscan civilization was dominant in the region. Like most of the other peoples in the region, the Romans warred against the Etruscans. By the close of the century, the Romans had lost their struggle for independence, the Etruscans had conquered Rome, establishing a military dictatorship, or kingdom, in the city. Although several Roman sources including Livy and Polybius talk extensively about the Roman army of the Roman Kingdom period that followed the Etruscan capture of the city, no contemporary accounts survive. Polybius, for example, was writing some 300 years after the events in question, Livy some 500 years later. Additionally, what records were kept by the Romans at this time were destroyed when the city was sacked; the sources for this period cannot therefore be seen as reliable, as they can be for military history, e.g. from the First Punic War onwards.
According to our surviving narratives, the three kings of Rome during the Etruscan occupation were Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, Tarquinius Superbus. During this period the army underwent a reformation into a centurial army based on socio-economic class; this reformation is traditionally attributed to Servius Tullius
The Auxilia constituted the standing non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman army during the Principate era, alongside the citizen legions. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided all of the Roman army's cavalry and more specialised troops; the auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were volunteers, not conscripts; the Auxilia were recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the population in the 1st and 2nd centuries. In contrast to the legions, which only admitted Roman citizens, members of the Auxilia could be recruited from territories outside of Roman control. Reliance on the various contingents of non-Italic troops cavalry, increased when the Roman Republic employed them in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC; the Julio-Claudian period saw the transformation of the Auxilia from motley levies to a standing corps with standardised structure and conditions of service.
By the end of the period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and auxiliaries in terms of training, thus, combat capability. Auxiliary regiments were stationed in provinces other than that in which they were raised, for reasons of security and to foster the process of Romanisation in the provinces; the regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by the units in question were different in size and quality from their predecessors. The mainstay of the Roman republic's war machine was the manipular legion, a heavy infantry unit suitable for close-quarter engagements on more or less any terrain, adopted sometime during the Samnite Wars. Despite its formidable strength, the legion had a number of deficiencies a lack of cavalry. Around 200 BC, a legion of 4,200 infantry had a cavalry arm of only 300 horse; this was because the class of citizens who could afford to pay for their own horse and equipment – the equestrian order, the second rank in Roman society, after the senatorial order – was small.
In addition, the legion lacked missile forces such as archers. Until 200 BC, the bulk of a Roman army's cavalry was provided by Rome's regular Italian allies known as the "Latin" allies, which made up the Roman military confederation; this was Rome's defence system until the Social War of 91–88 BC. The Italian forces were organised into alae. An allied ala, commanded by 3 Roman praefecti sociorum, was similar or larger in infantry size to a legion, but contained a more substantial cavalry contingent: 900 horse, three times the legionary contingent. Since a pre-Social War consular army always contained an equal number of legions and alae, 75% of its cavalry was provided by the Latin allies; the overall cavalry element, c. 12% of the total force, was greater than in most peninsular Italian forces, but well below the overall 21% cavalry component, typical of the Principate army. The Roman/Latin cavalry was sufficient while Rome was in conflict with other states in the mountainous Italian peninsula, which disposed of limited cavalry resources.
But, as Rome was confronted by external enemies that deployed far more powerful cavalry elements, such as the Gauls and the Carthaginians, the Roman deficiency in cavalry numbers could be a serious liability, which in the Second Punic War resulted in crushing defeats. Hannibal's major victories at the Trebia and at Cannae, were owed to his Spanish and Gallic heavy cavalry, which far outnumbered the Roman and Latin levies, to his Numidians, fast cavalry which the Romans wholly lacked; the decisive Roman victory at Zama in 202 BC, which ended the war, owed much to the Numidian cavalry provided by king Massinissa, which outnumbered the Roman/Latin cavalry fielded by 2 to 1. From Roman armies were always accompanied by large numbers of non-Italian cavalry: Numidian light cavalry and Gallic heavy cavalry. For example, Caesar relied on Gallic and German cavalry for his Conquest of Gaul; as the role of native cavalry grew, that of Roman/Latin cavalry diminished. In the early 1st century BC, Roman cavalry was phased out altogether.
After the Social War, the socii were all granted Roman citizenship, the Latin alae abolished, the socii recruited into the legions. Furthermore, Roman equestrians were no longer required to perform cavalry service after this time; the late Republican legion was thus bereft of cavalry. By the outbreak of the Second Punic War, the Romans were remedying the legions' other deficiencies by using non-Italian specialised troops. Livy reports Hiero of Syracuse offering to supply Rome with archers and slingers in 217 BC. From 200 BC onwards, specialist troops were hired as mercenaries on a regular basis: sagittarii from Crete, funditores from the Balearic Isles always accompanied Roman legions in campaigns all over the Mediterranean; the other main sources of non-Italian troops in the late Republic were subject provincials, allied cities and Rome's amici. During the
The Lautertal Limes is a Roman limes section of the early 2nd century, located between the River Neckar and the Swabian Jura. It extends for a distance of 23 kilometres, straight as a die, from the present-day municipality of Köngen on the Neckar in the northwest to Donnstetten in the Swabian Jura to the southeast; the 600-metre long crop mark in the form of a long strip, known in German as the Sibyllenspur, in the Lauter valley between Dettingen and Owen under Teck has been known about for a long time. It was interpreted differently in the past, there is a legend according to which it was the track of a cart belonging to a sibyl. Soil scientists and geologists thought the strip of land might be a geological discontinuity or an old processional way or a road; the first investigations were carried out in 1976 by soil scientist and geologist, Siegfried Müller, in collaboration with the Schwäbischer Albverein. The results of this study revealed an archaeological site consisting of a straight ditch system, classified as Roman as the result of the discover of sherds.
The Kirchheim local historian, Eugen Schweitzer, brought to the table the thesis that the Sibyllenspur was a limes and thus part of the great European network of Roman centuriation. In the dry summer of July 1976, aerial archaeology by Walter Sölter discovered the fortlet on the hill of Hasenhäuslesberg near Donnstetten; this find reinforced the theory of a Roman limes between Donnstetten. This was confirmed that same year by the archaeological monument conservationist of the administrative region of Stuttgart, Dieter Planck, who evaluated the 1976 aerial photographs by Alfred Brugger. However, the thesis of the centuriation network was not able to be proven archaeologically. In 1978 the Sibyllenspur was first named by Eugen Schweitzer as the Limes in the Lautertal, connecting the Neckar Limes from the Roman fort of Köngen to the Alb Limes at Donnstetten Roman Fort. Subsequent studies showed that the "Lautertal Limes" consisted of a palisade and three parallel ditches. Unlike the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, protected by two ditches, the ditches here run on the outside of the palisade.
Aerial photographs by Alfred Brugger uncovered another Roman fort behind the limes at Dettingen unter Teck. Subsequent archaeological finds by the Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg in 1982 showed that the archaeological find was a Roman military camp intended for the direct protection of the Lautertal Limes. An excavation by the Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Wurttemberg in 1982 uncovered the following: the Sibyllenspur comprises three parallel ditches, the outer one in the northeast being a 3.20-metre-wide and 1.60-metre-deep V-shaped ditch. To the southwest, at a distance of 6 metres, is a 2.60-metre-wide and 1.4-metre-deep V-shaped ditch and, behind it, 1.5 metres away, is a 70-cm-wide and 1.10-metre-deep U-shaped ditch, into which the wooden posts of a palisade were driven. This presented a wooden obstacle on the enemy side; the excavation confirmed the presence of the Roman fortlet, seen on the aerial photograph taken by Dieter Planck, behind the ditches. During these excavations, two fragments of terra sigillata vessels were found in the ditch.
The sigillata were able to be dated to around 120 to 130 AD, based on the manufacturer's seal by the potter, who worked at the terra sigillata pottery in Chémery-lès-Faulquemont near Faulquemont in Gallia Belgica. These artefacts classify the Sibyllenspur with its V-shaped ditches and the wood and earth rampart as the long-sought connection between the Domitian Neckar Limes and the Alb Limes. Limes Monographies Rolf Götz: Die Sibylle von der Teck, Die Sage und ihre Wurzeln im Sibyllenmythos.. Gottlieb und Osswald, Kirchheim unter Teck, 1999. ISBN 3-925589-23-6Articles Philipp Filtzinger: Limesmuseum Aalen.. Gesellschaft für Vor- u. Frühgeschichte in Württemberg und Hohenzollern e. V. Stuttgart, 1971. Walter A. Koch: Der Sagenkranz um Sibylle von der Teck. In: Sonderdruck aus der Teck-Rundschau Jahrgang 1951, Nos. 293, 297 und 300. Gottlieb & Oswald, Kirchheim/Teck, 1951. Walter A. Koch: Der Sagenkranz um Sibylle von der Teck. 4th edition, Stuttgart, 1986. ISBN 3-88093-001-5 Ernst Meier: Deutsche Sagen, Sitten und Gebräuche aus Schwaben.
Pp. 22f. Metzler, Stuttgart, 1852. Siegfried Müller: Altes und Neues von der Sibyllenspur. In: Blätter des Schwäbischen Albvereins, 83. Pp. 180ff. Schwäbischer Albverein, Stuttgart und Tübingen, 1977. Dieter Planck: Ein neuer römischer Limes in Württemberg. In: Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg u.a.: Archäologische Ausgrabungen Baden-Württemberg 1982. Pp. 97ff. Theiss, Stuttgart, 1983. Dieter Planck: Dettingen unter Teck. Lautertallimes. In: Dieter Planck: Die Römer in Baden-Württemberg. Pp. 61–63 Theiss, Stuttgart, 2005. ISBN 3-8062-1555-3 Dieter Planck: Dettingen unter Teck. Lautertallimes. In: Philipp Filtzinger, Dieter Planck, Bernhard Cämmerer: Die Römer in Baden-Württemberg. 3rd edn. pp. 268–270. Theiss, Stuttgart, 1986. ISBN 3-8062-0287-7 Eugen Schweitzer: Beiträge zur Erforschung römischer Limitationsspuren in Südwestdeutschland. S. 24ff. Dissertation, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning of the University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 1983. Eugen Schweitzer: Vermutungen über die Sibyllenspur in: Schwäbische Heimat.
Zeitschrift des Schwäbische Heimatbundes. Jg. 29, Heft 1, p. 42. TC Druck, Stuttgart, 1978
The Wetterau Limes is the name given in the field of historical research to that part of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes which enclosed the region that became known as the Wetterau in the German state of Hesse. During the two campaigns of the Roman Emperor Domitian against the Chatti, the Romans began to cut swathes of open ground through the dense forests of today's Hesse, in order to prevent their columns from being ambushed. On the crest of the Taunus mountain range, such a swathe served as a surveillance route. After the end of the Chatti Wars, the Romans began to secure these conquered regions east of the Rhine with a limes - a line of forts, fortlets and palisades; the forest road was guarded by wooden watchtowers to ensure continuous observation. This ensured that the southern slopes of the Taunus mountains and the fertile and strategically important Wetterau became part of the Roman Empire. In addition to the establishment of this frontier, Domitian turned the two Germanic military territories of Upper and Lower Germanian into Roman provinces.
In spite of this rather modest conquest, he was subsequently celebrated in Rome with great pomp as a triumphator and coins were minted with the ambitious claim Germania capta. The propaganda nature of this policy is evinced by the fact that in the narrow province of Upper Germania there were hardly any Germanii, the area was populated entirely by Celts; the long-held conviction that the Neckar-Odenwald Limes was erected at the same time as the Wetterau Limes after the Chatti wars, is now regarded as having been rejected. Although there were Roman military outposts on the eastern side of the Rhine from the seventies, the border running along the Odenwald-Neckar Line to Donnstetten is now dated by most sources as having not been erected before 98 AD; the state of preservation of the limes is poor due to the heavy agricultural use of the Wetterau. Only a few sections on the foothills of the Taunus, at Echzell and east of Hanau are visible above ground. In the early days of limes research, this situation meant that the eastern Wetterau section remained undiscovered.
This was not disproved until the 1880s by excavations of the Hanauer Geschichtsverein under Albert Duncker and Georg Wolff. Like the other sections of the Upper German-Raetian Limes, the Wetterau Limes was reinforced and expanded. In the eastern Wetterau the dates when the individual forts were first built are not uniform, it is clear that there was a defensive line from Oberflorstadt via Heldenbergen and Hanau-Mittelbuchen to Hanau-Salisberg The forts on the line further east from Marköbel via Rückingen to Großkrotzenburg were not built until the time of Trajan. The neighbouring Taunus line was reinforced in the second half of the second century by the numerus forts of Holzhausen, Kleiner Feldberg and Kapersburg; the further expansion of the limes defences to the north of the Wetterau was in order to protect its fertile soils on the one hand and to meet the high demand for the supply of the troops stationed on the limes and legion camps in Mainz. Archaeobotanical studies have calculated that an annual requirement of 3,034 tons of grain and 10,371 tons of hay were required to supply for the north-facing bulge of the limes in the Wetterau.
The end of the Wetterau Limes came in the year 259-260 AD, when Rome abandoned all areas to the east of the Rhine. Thus, for example, the pottery trade, once flourishing in the Wetterau came to a standstill. Imports of pottery from the Rhineland dominate archaeological collections from the second third of the 3rd century. Bricks found in the area do not seem to have been fired as they used to be. More and more older building material was used instead. Hypocaust heating was replaced by much simpler heating pipe systems. From the border area, there are other interesting finds which shed further light on the period of the limes; this includes the treasure of Ober-Florstadt, concealed during the course of Germanic invasions in AD 233. In 1603, the inscription of a collegium iuventutis was discovered in the area around Altenstadt Roman Fort; this may have been a unit set up to act as a local militia. Kapersburg Roman Fort was reduced during its last days. There is evidence of a local unit, a numberus nidensium, raised in the civitas capital of Nida-Heddernheim.
Lochmühle Fortlet Kapersburg Roman Fort Ockstädter Wald Fortlet Kaisergrube Fortlet Am Eichkopf Fortlet Langenhain Roman Fort Hunnenkirchhof Fortlet Butzbach Roman Fort Degerfeld Fortlet Dicker Wald Fortlet Holzheimer Unterwald Fortlet Hainhaus Fortlet Arnsburg Roman Fort Langsdorf Fortlet Feldheimer Wald Fortlet Inheiden Roman Fort Auf dem Wingertsberg Fortlet Massohl Fortlet Auf der Burg Fortlet Haselheck Fortlet Echzell Roman Fort Lochberg Fortlet Staden Fortlet Ober-Florstadt Roman Fort Stammheim Fortlet Altenstadt Roman Fort Auf dem Buchkopf Fortlet Marköbel Roman Fort Langendiebach Fortlet Rückingen Roman Fort Neuwirtshaus Fortlet Großkrotzenburg Roman Fort The following museums have a permanent exhibition on the Wetterau Limes or individual sites along it: Saalburg Museum, Bad Homburg Wetterau Museum, Friedberg Butzbach Municipal Museum Limes Information Centre at Hof Graß Echzell Local History Museum Heuson Museum, Büdingen Erlensee-Rückingen Local History Museum Schloss Steinheim Museum Großkrotzenburg Museum Limes Dietwulf Baatz and Fritz-Rudolf
Lower Germanic Limes
The Lower Germanic Limes is the former frontier between the Roman province of Germania inferior and Germania Magna. The Lower Germanic Limes separated that part of the Rhineland left of the Rhine as well as the Netherlands, part of the Roman Empire, from the less controlled regions east of the Rhine; the route of the limes started near the estuary of the Oude Rijn on the North Sea. It followed the course of the Rhine and ended at the Vinxtbach in present-day Niederbreisig, a quarter in the town of Bad Breisig, the border with the province of Germania superior; the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes started on the opposite, right-hand, side of the Rhine with the Roman camp of Rheinbrohl. The Lower Germanic Limes was not a fortified limes with ramparts, palisades or walls and watchtowers, but a river border to the limites on the Danube and Euphrates; the Rhine Line was guarded by a chain of castra for auxiliary troops. It was laid out by Augustus and his stepson and military commander, who began to strengthen the natural boundary of the Rhine from the year 15 A. D.
The decision not to conquer the regions east of the Rhine in 16 A. D. made the Rhine into a fixed frontier of the Roman Empire. For its protection, a large number of estates and settlements were established; the names and locations of several sites have been handed down through the ‘’Tabula Peutingeriana and Itinerarium Antonini. Together with the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, the Lower Germanic Limes forms part of the Limes Germanicus As it runs along the Rhine the Lower Germanic Limes passes four landscapes with different topography and natural character; the southernmost and smallest portion, between the Vinxtbach and the area around Bonn still belongs to the Rhenish Massif, through which the river passes in a narrow valley between the heights of the Westerwald and the Eifel Mountains. From the area of Bonn, the Rhine valley opens into the Cologne Bay, bounded by the Bergisches Land, which hugs the river on the right-hand side, the Eifel and High Fens to the southeast and east; the Cologne Bay has fertile loess soils and is characterized by a mild climate.
It is therefore little wonder that most of the rural vici and villae rusticae in Lower Germania were established in this area in Roman times. In the vicinity of the military camp of Novaesium, the Cologne Bay expands further into the Lower Rhine Plain, a river terrace landscape. Only a little west of today's German-Dutch border in the area of the legion camp of Noviomagus, the Lower Rhine Plain transitions into the watery marshland formed by the Rhine and Meuse and which ends at the North Sea in the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Tilmann Bechert: Germania inferior. Eine Provinz an der Nordgrenze des Römischen Reichs. Zabern, Mainz, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8053-2400-7. Tilmann Bechert, Willem J. H. Willems: Die römische Reichsgrenze von der Mosel bis zur Nordseeküste. Stuttgart, 1995, ISBN 3-8062-1189-2. Tilmann Bechert: Römisches Germanien zwischen Rhein und Maas. Die Provinz Germania inferior.. Hirmer, Munich, 1982, ISBN 3-7774-3440-X. Julianus Egidius Bogaers, Christoph B. Rüger: Der niedergermanische Limes.
Materialien zu seiner Geschichte. Rheinland Verlag, Cologne, 1974, ISBN 3-7927-0194-4. Michael Gechter: Die Anfänge des Niedergermanischen Limes. In: Bonner Jahrbücher. 179, 1979, pp. 1–129. Michael Gechter: Early Roman military installations and Ubian settlements in the Lower Rhine. In: T. Blagg, M. Millett: The early Roman empire in the West. 2. Auflage. Oxford Books 2002, ISBN 1-84217-069-4, S. 97–102. Michael Gechter: Die Militärgeschichte am Niederrhein von Caesar bis Tiberius. Eine Skizze. In: T. Grünewald, S. Seibel: Kontinuität und Diskontinuität. Die Germania inferior am Beginn und am Ende der römischen Herrschaft, Beiträge des deutsch-niederländischen Kolloquiums in der Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, 27. Bis 30.6.2001. De Gruyter, Berlin, 2003, pp. 147–159. Heinz Günter Horn: Die Römer in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Theiss, Stuttgart 1987. Nikol, Hamburg, 2002, ISBN 3-933203-59-7. Anne Johnson: Römische Kastelle des 1. Und 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. in Britannien und in den germanischen Provinzen des Römerreiches.
Zabern, Mainz, 1987, ISBN 3-8053-0868-X. Margot Klee: Grenzen des Imperiums. Leben am römischen Limes. Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 2006. ISBN 3-8062-2015-8. Pp. 33–40. Hans Schönberger: Die römischen Truppenlager der frühen und mittleren Kaiserzeit zwischen Nordsee und Inn. In: Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission. 66, 1985, pp. 321–495. Lower Germanic Limes on the website of Dutch historian, Jona Lendering Vici.org Lower Germanic Limes, interactive map »www.niedergermanischer-limes.de« Germania inferior on the private website of author, Peter Lichtenberger De Limes - Grens van het Romeinse Rijk Romeinen in Nederland
The Danube–Iller–Rhine Limes or DIRL was a large-scale defensive system of the Roman Empire, built after the project for the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes in the late 3rd century AD. In a narrower sense the term refers only to the fortifications between Lake Constance and the River Danube; the Alamannic raids around the middle of the 3rd century AD, necessitated a new military security plan for the northwestern borders of the Roman Empire. The Upper German-Rhaetian Limes had never been thought of as a military defensive system and was therefore abandoned after 260; the frontier troops were withdrawn to positions behind the more controlled rivers of the Rhine and Iller. Around 290, the systematic expansion of the new military border defences began; the defensive facilities there, as illustrated by the large number of small fortresses, were not intended to ward off major attacks, but to ensure an unobstructed surveillance of the limes and deter plundering. Up to 378, the Romans invariably invaded the settlements of the Germanii living beyond the limes to punish the tribes living there and intimidate them so that they refrained from attacks on the Empire.
So late-Roman frontier defence was based, on the one hand, on the fortified belt of the Danube–Iller–Rhine Limes and, on the other hand, on offensive operations and preventive strikes in the tribal areas, as well as on alliances with Germanic princes. When around 400, these punitive expeditions were discontinued, the security situation deteriorated rapidly. Limes Burns, Thomas S. Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome: A Study of Roman Military Policy and the Barbarians, ca. 375-425 AD, Bloomington: IUP, 1994. Jochen Garbsch: Der spätrömische Donau-Iller-Rhein-Limes. Stuttgart, 1970. Norbert Hasler, Jörg Heiligmann, Markus Höneisen, Urs Leutzinger, Helmut Swozilek: Im Schutze mächtiger Mauern. Spätrömische Kastelle im Bodenseeraum. Publ. by the Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Frauenfeld, 2005, ISBN 3-9522941-1-X. Michael Mackensen: Raetia: late Roman fortifications and building programmes. In: J. D. Creighton und R. J. A. Wilson: Roman Germany. Studies in Cultural Interaction, Portsmouth, 1999, pp. 199–244.
Walter Drack, Rudolf Fellmann: Die Römer in der Schweiz, Stuttgart, 1988, pp. 64–71, ISBN 3-8062-0420-9. Erwin Kellner: Die Germanenpolitik Roms im bayerischen Anteil der Raetia secunda während des 4. Und 5. Jahrhunderts. In: E. Zacherl: Die Römer in den Alpen. Historikertagung in Salzburg, Convegno Storico di Salisburgo, 13–15 November 1986, Bozen, 1989, pp. 205–211, ISBN 88-7014-511-5 Michaela Konrad, Christian Witschel: Spätantike Legionslager in den Rhein- und Donauprovinzen des Imperium Romanum. In: M. Konrad, C. Witschel: Römische Legionslager in den Rhein- und Donauprovinzen, Munich, 2011, pp. 3–44. Sebastian Matz: Die ›Barbarenfurcht‹ und die Grenzsicherung des spätrömischen Reiches. Eine vergleichende Studie zu den limites an Rhein, Iller und Donau, in Syrien und Tripolitanien mit einem Fundstellenkatalog zum spätrömischen Rhein-Iller-Donau-Limes, Jena, 2014. Jördis Fuchs: Spätantike militärische horrea an Rhein und Donau. Eine Untersuchung der römischen Militäranlagen in den Provinzen Maxima Sequanorum, Raetia I, Raetia II, Noricum Ripense und Valeria.
Diplomarbeit, Vienna, 2011. Antikefan - Donau-Iller-Rhein-Limes
The Latin noun līmes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any distinction or difference. The term was commonly used after the 3rd century AD to denote a military district under the command of a dux limitis. Limes has sometimes been adopted in modern times for a border defence or delimiting system of Ancient Rome marking the boundaries and provinces of the Roman Empire, but it was not used by the Romans for the imperial frontier, fortified or not; some experts suggested that the so-called limes may have been called Munimentum Traiani, Trajan's Bulwark, referring to a passage by Ammianus Marcellinus, according to which emperor Julian had reoccupied this fortification in 360 AD. The limites represented the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD, it stretched more than 5,000 km from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.
The remains of the limites today consist of vestiges of walls, forts and civilian settlements. Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed, a few destroyed; the two sections of the limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east. The 118 km long Hadrian's Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia, it is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome. The Antonine Wall, a 60 km-long fortification in Scotland, was started by Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 142 as a defense against the "Barbarians" of the north, it constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes. The most notable examples of Roman limites are: Hadrian's Wall – Limes Britannicus Antonine Wall – in Scotland Saxon Shore, late Roman limes in South-East England Limes Germanicus, with the Upper Germanic & Rhaetian Limes Limes Arabicus, the frontier of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea facing the desert Limes Tripolitanus, the frontier in modern Libya facing the Sahara Limes Alutanus, the eastern border of the Roman province of Dacia Limes Transalutanus, the frontier in the lower Danube Limes Moesiae, the frontier of the Roman province Moesia, from Singidunum Serbia along the Danube to Moldavia.
Limes Norici, the frontier of the Roman province Noricum, from the River Inn along the Danube to Cannabiaca in Austria. Limes Pannonicus, the frontier of the Roman province Pannonia, along the Danube from Klosterneuburg Austria to Taurunum in Serbia. Fossatum Africae, the southern frontier of the Roman Empire, extending south of the Roman province of Africa in North-Africa. A mediaeval limes is the Limes Saxoniae in Holstein; the stem of limes, limit-, which can be seen in the genitive case, marks it as the ancestor of an entire group of important words in many languages, for example, English limit. Modern languages have multiplied its abstract formulations. For example, from limit comes the abbreviation lim, used in mathematics to designate the limit of a sequence or a function: see limit. In metaphysics, material objects are limited by matter and therefore are delimited from each other. In ethics, men are wise if they do. An etymology was given in some detail by Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch.
According to him, it comes from Indo-European el-, elei-, lei-, "to bow", "to bend", "elbow". The Latin meaning was discussed in detail by W. Gebert; the sense is. The limes was a cross-path or a cross-wall, which the Romans meant to throw across the path of invaders to hinder them, it is a defensive strategy. The Romans never built limites; as the emperor had ordered the army to stay within the limites, except for punitive expeditions, these were as much a mental barrier as material. The groups of Germanic warriors harrying the limes during summer used the concept to full advantage, knowing that they could concentrate and supply themselves outside the limes without fear of preemptive strikes. In a few cases, they were wrong; the limit concept engendered a sentiment among the soldiers that they were being provoked by the Germanic raiders and were held back from just retaliation by a weak and incompetent administration: they were being sold out. So they mutinied; the best remedy for a mutiny was an expedition across the limes against the enemy.
Toward the empire, the soldiers assassinated emperors who preferred diplomacy and put their own most popular officers into the vacant office. Roman writers and subsequent authors who depended on them presented the limes as some sort of sacred border beyond which human beings did not transgress, if they did, it was evidence that they had passed the bounds of reason and civilization. To cross the border was the mark of a savage, they wrote of the Alemanni failing to respect the limes as if they had passed the final limitation of character and had committed themselves to perdition. The Alemanni, on the other hand, never regarded the border as legitimate in the first place, they viewed the Romans as foreigners, who changed native place names and intruded on native homes and families. They were only to be tolerated because they were willing to pay cash for the privilege and offered the blandishments of civilized life. According to Pokorny, Latin limen, "threshold"