Thursday, October 31, 2013


21/23 AD for Tiberius (14/37) on the advice of the praetorian prefect Sejanus
Barracks for the Praetorian Guard set up by the emperor Augustus, but until then stationed in various parts of Rome
Inside there were the PRAETORIUM (Headquarters), the AERARIUM (treasury), the ARMAMENTARIUM (armory), the VALETUDINARIUM (hospital) and the HORREA (warehouses)
Enclosure 440 x 380 m (1443 x 1246 feet) surrounded by walls 4.73 m (15 feet) high in bricks with four doors. They were included by Aurelian (270/275) in the new city walls and elevated of 3 m (9 feet)
First major work in opus testaceum or latericium
Honorius (395/423) doubled the height of the Aurelian Walls and lowered the level surrounding the Castra Pretoria revealing the foundations for a maximum depth of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet)
Rodolfo Lanciani discovered inside the remains of the Castra and foundations of the ARC OF GORDIAN quoted by medieval scholars, whose materials were reused for the Palace of the Chancellery
Most of the area is now occupied by the second largest Italian library, the BIBLIOTECA NAZIONALE VITTORIO EMANUELE II
The army of ROMAN LEGIONNAIRES was made up in the Severan period of 30 legions of 5,000 men each, plus 5,000 auxiliaries for a total of about 300,000 men
In the late empire the army units came to be between 400,000 and 500,000 for a population of the empire of about 50 million inhabitants
The army of the late empire was made up of Limitanei or border fortifications troops and Comitatenses or the actual army divided into three groups: the Rhine, the Danube and the East the border of the Roman Empire in its greatest expansion ran for more than 10,000 kilometers - 6,213 miles - nearly a quarter of the circumference of the earth
They had to learn to march for 36 km (22 miles) in five hours with a weight of at least 25 kilos (55 pounds)
They had to take an oath on the symbol of the legion which was the EAGLE OF SOLID GOLD saying to never let go even in danger of death. During the difficult task of the landing in Britain by Julius Caesar an Aquilifer, bearer of the eagle, started off alone and that triggered the reaction of the legions who followed him as one man, carrying through a successful landing
The legionnaires were SKILLED BUILDERS:
Julius Caesar's men built a bridge of boats on the river Rhine in just ten days and their feat scared to death the barbarians on the other side of the river
In the 328, well 380 years after Caesar, Constantine (306/337) had built the largest river in ancient times on the Danube: 2.5 km (1.5 miles) ong, 6 m (20 feet) wide, it was destroyed in 355. It was not until 1,626 years later, in 1954, that another bridge spanned over the Danube again, the Ruse-Giurgiu built at the behest of Stalin
In his book De Bello Gallico Caesar says that 300 legionnaires resisted for hours to 6,000 enemies with no loss and only a few wounded. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus says that during the battle of Strasbourg in 357 (400 years after Caesar's Gallic War!) between 13,000 Romans at the orders of Giuliano and 35,000 Alamanni barbarians controlled by Chnodomar, the Romans won with only 247 deaths (including four officers) while among the barbarians about 6,000 died on the field, many more drowned in the Rhine
They could be RUTHLESS:
Caesar himself says that after the siege of Avaricum in Gaul there was an almost total massacre: of a population of about 40,000 men, women and children, only 800 survived

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