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Gloucester: Study Roman wall found in city centre

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Archaeologists preparing for a revamp of part of Gloucester city centre have uncovered a Roman wall.

The limestone structure was found 2.1m (6.8ft) below ground level as part of work for the King's Square redevelopment.

Experts say that it is aligned 45 degrees to the city's Roman walls and that it was probably an internal corner tower.



The wall


A little background information about Roman Gloucester:



Gloucester owes its name, location and much of its physical layout to nearly five hundred years of Roman occupation. The first settlement was a military fortress at Kingsholm, guarding the lowest crossing point of the Sabrina Fluvius (River Severn) and the route to Wales.

This garrison was moved away to Caerleon in AD65 and 30 years later, the fort was replaced by a Roman town where the city of Gloucester stands today.

Glevum's Glory

The city's Roman name was Colonia Nervia Glevensium, or Glevum. Glevum was a Colonia, a very special high-status town, one of only four to be established in Roman England. Colonias were founded as towns for retired roman soldiers.



Animated GIF


Summary: Another interesting Roman find in England. Here's an interesting video on Rome's multinational force during the first century AD.


guy also known as gaius

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After reading about Gloucester, I had to clarify for myself the significance of a Roman colonia.


In AD 97, the city was designated a colonia by the Emperor Nerva. A colonia was the residence of retired legionaries and enjoyed the highest status of city in the Empire. The legionaries were given farmland in the surrounding district, and could be called upon as a Roman auxiliary armed force.



Here is a very nice explanation:



A colonia was the highest rank of a Roman city. Normally all citizens of a colonia were also Roman citizens. Throughout the Empire period, former legionary bases were often converted to colonia by granting land to retired legionaries. The thinking was that these legionaries would raise families and provide future recruits to the legions, which were only open to Roman citizens.

The first colonia established in Britain was at Camulodunum (Colchester), around 49 AD, followed by Lindum (Lincoln), and Glevum (Gloucester) at the end of the first century. 


In the first century of the Roman Empire the colonies were made only of "veterans" and were responsible for the Romanization of many territories (mainly in the spread of Latin language and of Roman laws and customs).

Roman colonies sometimes served as a potential reserve of veterans which could be called upon during times of emergency. However, these colonies more importantly served to produce future Roman citizens and therefore recruits to the Roman army.

Roman colonies played a major role in the spread of the Latin language within the central and southern Italian peninsula during the early empire. The colonies showed surrounding native populations an example of Roman life.


Types of Towns

The origin and function of the towns can be used to define three broad categories, although there is some probability of progression over time:-

Coloniae – these are essentially towns formed by the allotment of land to retired legionaries. Although they could be completely new settlements they may also have been based on previous military sites. The only confirmed examples of coloniae in Britain are; Colchester 49AD; Gloucester AD 96-98; and Lincoln. The towns were characterised by a population consisting of almost wholly Roman citizens and were organised in the manner of Rome, in terms of administration and practices. These are seen as the highest ranking forms of towns in Roman Britain. York and London went not necessarily established as coloniae but developed into them, coloniae were reputed to be awarded ‘chartered’ status by the grant of a lex coloniae.

Municipia – these were chartered towns but were lower in rank than coloniae. They were again often inhabited by Roman citizens but the populations were more mixed and in some ways the difference between coloniae and municipia was only a matter of degree. Whereas the coloniae were based on Rome as a model of town organisation municipia could also incorporate local laws and practices. Municipia were often settlements that may have been tribal towns or vici. Examples of municipia in Britain include; Verulamium, Leicester, Dorchester and Canterbury. It is possible that both York and London may have passed through a stage of being municipia prior to becoming coloniae

Civitas Capitals (civitates)–these towns are deemed the lowest rank and were effectively the administration centres for local level government. Again, these may have originated as pre-existing Iron Age settlements or been newly sited, but there is a suggestion that the local populace may have had some involvement in their development. They demonstrate traits of being planned and organised but not standardised across the country. There are an estimated 23 Iron Age tribal territories, of which between 11 and 16 had defined civitas capitals. Examples of civitas capitals in Britain include; Wroxeter, Chichester, Carlisle, Silchester, Exeter, Ilchester, Aldborough.

Vici were the settlements that became established around military sites, predominantly forts.


https://www.britainexpress.com/History/roman/colonia.htm#:~:text=The first colonia established in,quattuoviri (annually appointed magistrates).


https://www.associationromanarchaeology.org/romantowns.htm#:~:text=The only confirmed examples of,terms of administration and practices.


Edited by guy

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