Rome Militaria Limes in Germany (English Version)

Article écrit par : Claude Balmefrezol

Mis en ligne le 24/02/2008 à 22:44:29


       The Roman Limes in Germany
French Version



The Roman Empire was an important element in the founding of the foundation of the actual World in Europe. We have an important heritage on which our society continues to live and move. This hold Empire collapsed in 476 Rev JC (officially) with the deposition of the last Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustule by the King of the Visigothc Odoacrer But he was already dead or dying for decades. Indeed the Roman Empire has attract lot of populations living on the fringes of its borders and then tried to  enter in the Empire peacefully through games of treaties or in force by forcing the defenses




Why the attraction? The wealth supposed of Roman  world who was known on the other side of the border, Roman way of life,etc etc
The Roman Way of Life " was a powerful mirror; But also skylark mirror the fantasy for the less fortunate who would leave a”backward” world for a world better but without pity
This: does not remind you recent events in our contemporary World ?
The Roman Limes

It is the largest Roman monument never built in Europe.
The Roman Limes marks the boundary of the Empire and it delineates a “Schengen area” before the letter in Europe
He could be wait 2000 years to see such an economic unit policy, but unfortunately, not linguistics. The limes had been sought by the Roman emperors to protect the living space of the Roman World, but also to create a border between this civilized world and  the  world said Barbaric
The limes has a total length of 9000 km, and can be divided into 5 Great limes
The limes from Britain or Hadrian's Wall and Antonin It comprises 3 components: ditch retrenchment of land and line strengths connected by a path liaising between all these elements.
The limes Orient divided into 3 sectors
The limes du Pont (Crimea to Trabzon) with a mesh of fortified towns
The limes of the Euphrates River based on the
The Syro-Arabian limes (or Parthicus) consists of the open desert based on a line of fortified oasis
The limes of Africa divided into 3 sections:
The limes from Egypt defend the Nile valley in Sudan face.
The limes in Africa with Tripolitania and Numidia based on a line of fortified oasis
  Limes the Mauretania covers North Africa with a chain of forts in the Aurès
Limes the Danube divided into 4 sectors
The Raetian Limes it is a stone wall lined with a continuous line of watchtowers
The limes of the Danube River with the medium on which a flotilla river patrol
The Limes Dacia includes a fortified wall and a river limes
The limes of the Lower Danube River where a flotilla river patrol
The limes Rhine divided into 2 sections:
Towards the mouth of the river Rhine is providing defense
The Limes upper Rhine it is organized on the model of limes Breton with earthen walls and watchtower

We'll look at Limes of Central Europe and more specifically to the Rhenish Limes
This Limes of Central Europe is our Great Wall in Europe that if it is less well known than the Coliseum or other heavyweight architecture  nevertheless pace some great Roman monument currently known
But we plunge again in history to see how this work was created.
On September 9th 31 (BC)  Octave defeated Egyptian fleet of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium and  in  29 BC he defeated his latest enemies. In -27 BC he received the title of Augustus name by which he is known today.
Augustus wants to concentrate all powers in his hands


Auguste 63 BC 14 AD JC

The sacred and divine power but also political and military. He received the titles of Great Pontife and Augustus for the sacred and divine powers and that of imperator under which ranks above all generals for military powers
In response to the civil war that has shaken Rome the end of the first century before Christ requires an extensive reorganization of powers.
Auguste seeks to bring stability and peace within the Roman world and you also secure its borders. To do this it is responsible borders by agreements with neighbouring kingdoms.


Germanicus 15 BC 19 AD JC
However, this policy of consolidation experiencing a serious setback in 9 Rev JC when three regions were massacred in the Forest of Teutenbourg
Exhausted August decide to withdraw its troops on the left bank of the Rhine.
He then decided to set the frontiers of the Roman world whether in Europe to Africa or Asia
But all his successors except Tiberius do not respect this point Roman armies will go forward



Claude 10 BC 54 AD JC
Claude begins the conquest of Britain and its successors until the end of the first century after Christ will extend even further the Roman domination in Germany
In Germany (Province of Germany) from the reign of Claude begins on the construction of a series of forts linked together by a road. It is the via Claudia Augusta that through the Brenner Pass directly linking this province to Italy
  But one day Sometimes the maximum expansion is achieved and that the emperor decided to stop.


Hadrian ( 76  138  )

It is therefore now to fix their borders and to defend against invaders The Emperor who decides  whem is   Hadrian which take back an hold plan ofs 50-year-old  . In fact is Domitien who is the father of is idea.
The border will be fixed by  a wall or limes; So in the middle of the II° century AD there were 4000 kilometers of fortifications to the 4 corners of the Empire
But before the study of limes a little lesson of latin
The Romans have different terms to designate the boundaries of the empire as political or geographical
We find the terms and finis and terminus on the one hand and the term limes and ripas and the other hand The terms Finis or terminus Imperii means the area of political and economic influence that is usually larger than the area set by the Limes or Ripa Imperii
We have two  terms one juridical and the other economic to talk upon the  relations of the Empire with these neighbouring peoples and two other more concrete terms that mark on the ground geographical boundaries rather than the area of influence of the Roman World . These concepts should not be confused
A limes is a piece of work that can be seen on the ground. While the area of influence is more subtle This is an Pax Romana area where peoples mostly the elite imitate the roman “modus vivendi”
The Limes



We will discover the Rhine’s Limes running in Central Europe between the Rhine and Danube.
In military term Limes is a border demarcated by the defensive settlement crisscrossed by roads Sometimes the Limes uses either natural boundaries such as rivers, the mountains or sometimes traverse a plain in the middle.
 In a desert oases are strategic points. This network is based on a mesh which includes tours strong point like forts and roads
It serves as a bell because in this networking we found colonies of veterans who have obtained a piece of land as a gift during their demobilization burden to them to defend


This network is being put in place since the time of Germanicus , Caligula father and is then continued by Domitien who undertakes a network of building watchtowers
Hadrian transforms all in a fortified line which was slightly modified by Antoninus  the pious
The German Limes is very different from other limes .While African Limes  (Mauretania Césarienne, Numidia) was only a vague line go through the mountains ,  Syrian Limes  (Judea), was based on oasis , the Dacia, and Germania Limes  was a strong  fortified network based on a powerful line of forts and towns connected
These Limes will not be built by a single jet but will undergo several phases of construction, which will see the building of 150 forts and more than 900 towers.
The various phases of construction


First phase between +90 and +100 AC JC.
The Limes is certified by one. deforested area with a road patrol and wooden towers who watch the surrounding areas.
Second phase +120  
Reinforcement  with a palisade in oak trunks.


Third phase +150 / 160 JC
Moving to the East The defence system is maintained and reinforced by watchtowers in wood


Fourth phase +170 Rev JC
The wooden towers are replaced with stone towers and a moat is dug forward. The spoil this gap can build an embankment that complements and efficiently replaces fences. By place a stone wall began to be built in particular Raetian

Alongside of this appear watchtowers which are located at distances allow sending messages. The Romans also built in the space forts for 1000 soldiers and small forts that must watch local traffic.
The forts have barracks withs cavalry for quick intervention. There are no preconceived distance to the location of particular strengths at the beginning
The Stabilization and the abandonment of Limes

Hadrian realizes that the empire has no longer the means to pursue its policy of conquest and thus began a policy of peace on the borders. The Peace sees the signing of treaties with the people living on the fringes of the empire But this situation of peace desired by the Romans is interpreted as weakness by the "barbarians" ', as his successor Marcus Aurelius must constantly make war against Border’s people who threaten and cross the border of the Empire. North Italy is even threatened. In various campaigns Marcus Aurelius defeated the various barbarian peoples Quads Sarmatians Marcomans. But towards the end of the reign of Marcus Aurelius between 177 and 180 the danger is looming again on the Danube forcing Marcus Aurelius to launch new military campaigns. This is one of those episodes that are tracked in the film Gladiator
The successors of Marcus Aurelius see the Empire attacked everywhere In the North by Germans in the Middle East by the Persians and Africa by the Moors
The limes is repeatedly crossed This demonstrate the inefficiency of it and the Roman army was confronted at a new kind of conflict
Indeed, as soon as the troops sent as reinforcements to a point attacked the invaders took the opportunity to force their way on an another point more weak or without troops and after they strow into the province

Also the Roman army should make use of rapid intervention forces recruited in the people lying on the borders of the empire  The numeri The career also evolve promotion by the virtue And a simple soldier could be reach to the rank of officer now
But in 260 Rome abandon Decumates field and folds on the Rhine and  on 271 Dacia is to be evacuated tour. The Greats Invasions are not far

   Description of Rhenish Limes


Since  2005 is an Unesco  World Heritage Site This border has been the subject of significant archaeological work in the late nineteenth century and still continuing to be maintained restored  and studied. The German authorities have highlighted monuments with appropriate signage and political reconstruction of the towers and forts


William II (1859 1941)
Founded in 1982 the Reichs-Limeskommission was led by the historian Mommsen and she had in the person of the Kaiser William II a big support
He order the reconstruction of  the Roman camp of the Sallburg. This Reich-Limeskomission has set up a system of slicing limes and numbering of buildings that are still used today
To do this was the limes to its origin divided into 5 sectors themselves divided into 3 sectors with a current numbering from west to east


Excavations 1896

Section 1 includes the Limes between Rhine and Lahn
Section 2 goes to rivers Lahn Ahr. And so on up to the last section of 15 who reached the Danube
The towers are identified through a number reflecting the sector and the position and the 1 ° turn is the WP 1 / 1 The watchtower No. 1 is located Rheinbrohl in Rhineland-Palatinate (caput limitis) and the last 15/47 . As the numbering date of the 1892 new sites are marked with the letter minuscule (a)
The Fortifications built
The limes in the Federal Republic of Germany is a monument, which is clearly marked. The panel has brown color and resumed in white letters on behalf Deutch Limes Strasse and the logo represents a watchtower in silhouette. The committee that manages the monument organizes festivals and events to promote it.
Now let's see the different types of construction

There are 6 versions
The vallum


It is a gap that has been dug along the entire length of the border and whose land rejected to the West as a land full of supporting a walkway on which circulates soldiers. It is the most primitive form of Limes
The palisade Wood


On the vallum thereafter was erected a wooden palisade to irritate potential invaders
Watchtowers and stone wall in continue


The German lime consists of a series of watchtower some of which have been reconstructed or on their place of origin or in the vicinity
All these tours are different I will not list all the towers were reconstructed Below is a series of pictures representing the main towers rebuilt at the initiative of the German commission. Take advantage of the holiday if you are in Germany to follow this route
The strongpoints and the forts 


Butzbach 2 ° state


The limes is after the towers marked by irregular strongpoints and  forts that housed cohorts of infantrymen or cavalries alae. These troops could in time record reach the  the threat point Sometimes the German authorities have reconstituted these barracks establishing a museum or archaeological park capturing the lives of troops under the Roman empire
We find three major museums that have been rebuilt at the same place in the Roman ruins the most important thing is the most famous being the Saalburg. Som other majors museums were created but the list is far from exhaustive
The Museum Park Xanten the Dutch and Belgian borders
The Parc de la Sallburg the oldest near Frankfurt am Main

Pics of a some watchtowers rebuilts


Sanberg  Wt3
  Wt14 Steinberg(wt)  


  Zugmarkelt (wt)   Rheinbohl (wt)
Hillscheid Lorch (wt) Pfahbuch (wt)

The  Romans barracks
Butzbach 1 ° etat last Butzbach state
Fledberg The Saalburg  
Butzbach Area Ruffenhoffer


Here is a quickly strory of the Rhenish Limes
Thanks also to CRDP Strasbourg

0 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Kastell Niederbieber
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-1 Rheinbrohl
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-08 Rheinbrohl Auf Hottels Buchen“
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-09 Rheinbrohl Am Beulenberg"
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-10 Bad Hönningen
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-11 Bad Hönningen
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-37 Oberbeiber
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-68 Hillscheid
1 Limes Germanicus Rheinland-Pfalz Limeswachturms Wp 1-84 Arzbach
3 Limes Germanicus Hessen Limeswachturms Wp 3/26 Idstein Dasbach
3 Limes Germanicus Hessen Limeswachturms Wp 3/68 Friedrichsdorf
Limes Germanicus Reticus Bad Homburg vor der Höhe Fort de la Saalburg
Limes Germanicus Reticus Bad Homburg vor der Höhe Fort de la Saalburg
Limes Germanicus Reticus KK Kleinkastell Hönehaus
Nordrhein Westfalen Xanten Colonia Ulpia Traiana Enceinte



Copyright © 2003-2024 [Le Monde de la Maquette] et AMM- Tous droits réservés - Contactez l'Administrateur en cliquant ici

Ce site sans aucun but lucratif n’a pour but que de vous faire aimer l’ Histoire
Droit d’auteur
La plupart des photographies publiées sur ce site sont la propriété exclusive de © Claude Balmefrezol
Elles peuvent être reproduites pour une utilisation personnelle, mais l’autorisation préalable de leur auteur est nécessaire pour être exploitées dans un autre cadre (site web publications etc)
Les sources des autres documents et illustrations sont mentionnées quand elles sont connues. Si une de ces pièces est protégée et que sa présence dans ces pages pose problème, elle sera retirée sur simple demande.

Principaux Collaborateurs:

Gimeno Claude (+)
Brams Jean Marie
Janier Charles
Vincent Burgat
Jean Pierre Heymes
Marie Christophe
Jouhaud Remi
Gris Patrice
Luc Druyer
Lopez Hubert
Giugliemi Daniele
Laurent Bouysse

Nb de visiteurs:7145212
Nb de visiteurs aujourd'hui:864
Nb de connectés:42