Noviomagus Batavorum (Nijmegen) Gelderland, Netherlands.
On the S bank of the Waal and so outside the Insula Batavorum, but still the chief town of the Civitas Batavorum, which included a strip of land on the S bank. The name occurs only on the Peutinger Table; other names, perhaps earlier, are Oppidum Batavorum, Batavodurum (Tac.).
Roman occupation began in 12-9 B.C. when Nero Claudius Drusus used the area as a base for further conquest of Germania, and dug the canal called the Fossa Drusiana. The building of a legionary camp was started E of the modern town soon afterwards, but apparently it was never finished and from the scarcity of finds never occupied. In the Hunerpark W of this camp was a civil settlement, and to the E was the settlement identified as the Oppidum Batavorum. It is not certain whether the latter was contemporaneous with the surrounding rampart. The two settlements were destroyed in A.D. 70, during the revolt of Iulius Civilis. They were not rebuilt, but between the two, on the unfinished Augustan site, a new legionary camp was built, presumably at first for the Legio II Adiutrix but occupied about A.D. 71 by the Legio X Gemina. Both legions had contributed to the suppression of the Civilis revolt. Legio II crossed to England with Cerialis in A.D. 71. It is only from Tacitus that we know of its stay at Batavodurum in 70: no remains of this legion have been found at Nijmegen, but it probably began the rebuilding of the camp, later completed by Legio X.
The first wooden buildings were replaced later by stone ones. Inscriptions indicate that a vexillatio of Legio X Gemina quarried tufa in the Brohltal and another cut limestone from the Norroy quarries. Building activities continued until ca. A.D. 104, when the legion departed for the Danube. The camp was then guarded by the Vexillatio Brittannica, then for a short time by the remains of the Legio IX Hispana, and after A.D. 120 by a vexillatio of the Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix. It was abandoned ca. A.D. 175. The remains (ca. 688 x 429 m) consist of ditches from the three periods (Augustan, early and late Flavian) with ramparts of earth and wood and traces of wooden buildings of the first two periods within the ramparts; in the third period both wall and buildings were of stone. The Principia, during the late Flavian period, was a complex (94 x 66 m) with an atrium (48 x 38 m), a basilica (48 x 23 m), and a sacellum; it belonged to the type known as Forum with Basilica.
Three of the four gates have been excavated. Other buildings include officers' houses, barracks, and some mercantile structures, but the remains of the stone buildings consist only of clay and rubble packing, the bottom layer of the foundations. The rest was removed in mediaeval times. Tile and pottery were made in the legionary works at the Holdeurn, some 6 km SE of Nijmegen, from ca. A.D. 70-270. During the stay of Legio X new civil quarters were built W of the modern town, which were inhabited until ca. A.D. 270. Perhaps this was the Noviomagus to which Trajan added his family name of Ulpia ca. 104, in connection with his military reorganization. Traces of this Ulpia Noviomagus include a Gallo-Roman temple complex, where many objects were found during the 17th c.
About A.D. 270 Frankish tribes broke through the frontiers, ransacked the area and settled in Brabant and the Insula Batavorum, but in the late 3d c. and throughout the 4th the site was controlled by the central power in Rome, and was fortified. The population in this period moved to the higher Hunerpark and down to the bank of the Waal. Some few traces of early Christianization have been found. Cemeteries from all habitation periods are known; cremation was used in the 1st-3d c. and inhumation in the 4th. Objects from these tombs are in the Rijksmuseum G. M. Kam.
The foundations of a Roman villa of the 2d-3d c. have been found near Overasselt, ca. 9 km S-SW of Nijmegen, and a few 4th c. potsherds may indicate a brief occupation in that period. Another villa near Mook, on a site called Plasmolen ca. 12 km S-SE of Nijmegen, was also inhabited during the 2d and 3d c. A few tile stamps of the Legio X Gemina indicate that building material was taken from the stores of that legion; perhaps the house was the residence of an officer. Both villas are a short distance from the Meuse.
H. Brunsting, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Feb 2006 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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