Civilian City

  • Amphitheatre

    Amphitheatre

    Built in the 2nd century A.D., this complex was situated South of the settlement, outside of the city walls.
    Animal and gladiator fights served as main attractions while it was also used for assemblies and other events.

  • Gladiator School

    Gladiator School

    The gladiator school was discovered in 2011 with the help of geophysical prospection methods. The 1.700-year-old structure situated directly next to the amphitheatre spanned 12.000 square metres  and housed between 40 and 60 gladiators.

  • Ancient Civilian City

    Ancient Civilian City

    The Civilian City encompassed an estimated area of 67 ha and was surrounded by a city wall. Under Hadrian, the settlement received the city rights henceforth carrying the name Municipium Aelium Carnuntum. Owed to an economic boom, the city thrived in the decades to follow. The busy main road cutting through the town from East to West was part of the limes road. Both the forum and the forum’s thermal baths could be found here.

  • Forum

    Forum

    The forum formed the administrative, economic and religious focal point of every Roman city. Its centre was dominated by the temple of the Capitoline Trias next to which municipal buildings and the city archives were located.

  • Roman City Quarter

    Roman City Quarter

    Haus des Lucius_olschinsky 5_800x480px.jpg

    Apart from the forum’s thermal baths and the amphitheatre, the so-called “Spaziergarten“ as part of the Roman City Carnuntum is one of the few excavated areas of this once vast and magnificent town. Four reconstructed buildings are on display for visitors to tangibly experience ancient Roman life.

Municipium Aelium Karnuntum

Ancient Carnuntum was made up of several settlements: the legionaries’ camp, the military settlement surrounding it (canabae legionis) and the civilian city which sprawled westward starting at 2 km outside the military zone. It was inhabited by Roman citizens owning land and eager to pursue commercial activities without being under military command.

Economically, Carnuntum was a very lucrative hub for merchants interested in benefitting from the famous Amber Road which crossed the Roman Empire at this very place. First historic records of the settlement can be traced back to the late 1st century A.D. Under the reign of Emperor Hadrian, Carnuntum was raised to the status of a Roman town: Municipium Aelium Carnuntum. It boasted a forum, numerous temples, a municipal senate (curia), a city archive, offices (tabularium) as well as thermal baths e.g. the large forum thermal baths (so-called ‘palace ruins’) or the civil public baths which were painstakingly reconstructed in today’s Roman City Quarter of Petronell-Carnuntum. Densely populated blocks of houses (insulae) and perpendicular streets further contributed to the settlement’s municipal character.

After Carnuntum’s promotion to a colonia in 194 A.D., constructional activities increased. It was surrounded by a city wall and sported several lavishly furnished private and public buildings. Houses with gardens were erected right one right next to the other, some of the streets were partly covered by porticos. Carnuntum became a city with a superb quality of life.    

Like every Roman city, Carnuntum also had amphitheatres. The Civilian City’s Amphitheatre in Petronell was built southwestwards directly outside the municipal settlement and held up to 13.000 people. According to recent scientific research, it dates from the 2nd century A.D. Thanks to geo radar measurements, a gladiator school was discovered in 2011 causing furor throughout the entire archaeological world. Completeness and size are internationally unique, the distinctness of its structures is comparable only to the ludus magnus in Rome.

 

Bibliography:

F. Humer – A. Konecny, Die Zivilstadt (municipium und colonia), in: F. Humer (Hrg.), Carnuntum. Wiedergeborene Stadt der Kaiser, Philipp von Zabern (2014) 78-87.

E. Pollhammer, Die Architektur und Bauornamentik, in: Humer 2014, 98-101

F. Humer, Wie sahen die Carnuntiner Privathäuser innen aus? In: Humer 2014, 102-107

F. Humer, Carnuntum. Ein römisches Wohnhaus der Spätantike in Carnuntum (2009).

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