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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  For the New Ancient Coin Collector (Moderators: wolfgang336, cscoppa, Gavignano, Lucas H)  |  Topic: Campgate Question 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Campgate Question  (Read 2629 times)
Hermes III
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« on: September 01, 2005, 03:57:22 am »

I know that this coin is called a campgate.  But it doesn't seem right to me...Wouldn't a Camp Gate be a temporary structure?  But the campgate coin shows a type of masonry fortress.  Doesn't this coin depict a type of outpost fortress, with a number of  warning fires on its high points, used to let the empire know of barbarian invasions?  Or maybe it is a depiction of a an inner fortress, a citadel?  I just can't see this as a camp gate.

Bill
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Nico Creces
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2005, 04:14:53 am »

Hello Bill,
I can't see a pic of your coin, but I know what you are meaning
Below there is a thread to a topic about campgates.
Enjoy reading.
Grtz,
Nico
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=1707.0
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Nico Creces
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2005, 04:17:11 am »

A nice link to another site about campgates.
 Wink
Nico
http://home.eckerd.edu/~oberhot/campgate.htm
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bruce61813
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2005, 10:14:11 am »

These have in various publications been discrbed as the face of one of the permanent winter camps. During th esummers or campaign seasons, the legions would build temporrary earthwork or wooden camps that could be abandoned, thaen move back to more permant stone camps for the winter. It may have ocurred that the permantnet camps were used year around for keeping supplies and central communications.

Bruce
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Hermes III
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2005, 04:17:10 am »

http://home.eckerd.edu/~oberhot/campgate.htm
 is a very nice pictorial site!
Permanent Winter Camps...hmmm..Yes I've read how the Romans set up Northern Camps to watch out for Barbarian Invasions..maybe the star in the middle represents the northern star...Since most of the barbarian invasions came from the North...And the "turretts" are containers with wood and bitchumen..to be lit in communication with the South whenever there was  an invasion.

Thanks!
Bill
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2005, 02:01:50 pm »

Don't forget that place names like Chester, or ending in Chester (just sticking to English) are from Castra, the neuter plural form that, however, means a single Camp.  An army or a legion semi-permanently assigned to a place will have a solidly built castra, and castra have gates and towers.  San Francisco's beloved Presidio, over the years, acquired very handsome permanent buildings.  In the Empire the stock basic form of castra and gates of castra exist all over the place.  Some of these places evolved into cities before the middle ages and got gates more like urban gates, but the gates might still have somewhat military form (Trier--or, for that matter, in Rome herself, gates in bad times, as in the Aurelian Wall).  New cities usually were laid out like camps (Timgad, Split).  But in the Greek-speaking world, as we see on Greek Imperial coins, even new cities quite promptly were adorned with honorific-looking gates with traditionally architectural details (pediments over entrances, etc.) and sometimes with some of the accourtrements of honorary arches (triumph, or no triumph); these are not like camp gates.  But the term camp gate, is indeed hard to pin down: it doesn't mean just what one of Caesar's legions were trained to erect in jig time, as we've all read in the Gallic Wars, or Trajan's, as we see in that wonderful military encyclopedia, the Column of Trajan, though the real continuity between the instant and the permanent and the plan of many a new town shows how fundamentally military Roman traditions really were.  The permanent winter camp is essential to understanding.  Pat L.
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2005, 02:51:49 pm »

If you look around Hadrian's Wall, the permanent camps in the area were stone-built and very permanent indeed; at least one was still in use well after the Romans left. But at the same time there are many more examples of temporary camps which have left mere traces in the fields around the Wall.
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Hermes III
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2005, 04:35:32 am »

Pat, I guess a lot of camps like you described would be called a Castra Complex Grin
I have often read of Emperors who established northern fortresses or renovated these structures.  I have seen pictures of "campgate" coins with open doors..This reminded me of what I have read about the Temple of Janus.  The doors were closed in times of war and open in times of peace..And it was much more common for the doors to be closed.

Robert, from what I have read, the walls of temp camps were made by cutting trees down, branches and all and then entwining those branches so they could not easily be pulled apart.

Thanks, Bill
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2005, 05:02:17 am »

Which raises the question of how wooded the area round the Wall would have been in Roman times. It's now largely open moor, but most of the Higlands of Scotland were pine forest till recent times; I've seen treestumps in the peat bogs which still have the mark of the axe from when they were felled for charcoal burning. The area could well have been at least partly wooded but I just don't know.
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bruce61813
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2005, 11:06:24 am »

The Romans would have cleared an area to beyond  bow shot range to keep "snipers" away and force them to cross open ground. there was also a trench with spikes on the Scotland side of Hadrians Wall, so i would expect the same for a permanent fort, it makies it a little hard to sneak up on someone  when you have to cross a trench into the face of spikes before climbing out the other side, and then into the face of archers or slings.

Bruce
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2005, 12:56:08 pm »

Of course, and my guess is that the area was probably quite well wooded originally, but I am guessing, based on the original state of the Scottish Highlands, and I'm not sure whether there's any direct evidence.
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2005, 01:53:54 pm »

North of Hadrian's Wall, in Scotland, the majority of Roman forts (and the Antonine Wall itself) were built of turf walls with a wooden pallisade on top. The area of unwooded clear grassland required for the cutting of these turves would have been considerable, the Antonine Wall in particular must have resulted in a huge swathe of cleared ground running right across the country. Do not be mislead into thinking that Northern Scotland was one big dense Caledonian forest that the Romans had to hew their way through in order to construct anything. Also it should be noted that much of Hadrian's Wall started off as a turf construction, only being converted to stone at a later date so there must have been the large areas of grassland required in the vicinity of that wall too.

Alex.
 
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2005, 02:56:53 pm »

I wasn't thinking in terms of solid woodland; pime forest is normally quite open, consisting of clumps of trees rather than a continuous mass, with an understory of heather etc. I'm thinking of something which may have looked like this: http://www.atramsey.freeserve.co.uk/walks/Cairngorms2003/OldCaledonianForest.jpg . Plenty of turf there, and plenty of wood.
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2005, 03:25:24 pm »

Hi Robert,
Obviously much of Scotland, then as now, would have been similar to your photograph. And, as you correctly stated, dense forest existed over much of the country at one time too. Turves, however, are cut from grassland and the natives themselves would have been hard pushed to have scraped a living from that wilderness (Wouldn't have been troubled by thirst though  Grin). I feel therefore that although there were doubtless plenty of trees, the landscape in the vicinity of the walls must have been more rough grassland than anything else. I believe that a lot of the woodland must have been cleared by Roman times for the timber and/or so that the land could be farmed by the pre-Roman population.

Alex.
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Mark Farrell
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2005, 08:05:22 pm »

I heard once that the estimate for the pre-Roman population of Britain exceed 3 million people. It takes a lot of wood and lumber to sustain a bronze age culture... Clearly Scotland was not as likely to suffer deforestation (I'm sure that came later, as it did with Ireland), but there was certainly a lot of clear cutting going on. Likely that sections of Britain went from forest to grassland and back again and again and again since Roman times.

Mark
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2005, 01:08:00 am »

They must have done. It seems that when the Romans left, some areas went back to woodland, while others were cleared. But I'm not sure what the sitation was in the 1st-2nd Centuries.
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Robert Brenchley

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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2005, 11:42:40 am »

Like most Americans, I am a bit wistful when I see cities where people live with a very real past; for a Californian, that is mostly Franciscan mission churches.  Last night I ran across the slide from which this is scanned, taken in 1991.  Part of city wall (later, surely, at top).  Anyone know more?  Köln (Colgne).  I just wrote 'Roman fortif. tower' on the slide.  Pat L.
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2005, 11:51:41 am »

I have never been to Cologne but the stonework at the bottom third is very similar to late Roman stonework which I have seen on other sites.

Alex.
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2005, 01:17:01 pm »

A quick google of that tower photo tells me:
After Cologne’s reclassification to a province in 50 ACE following a victory of the Ubier, the first city was built. It was 4km long and had 19 smaller towers. Still standing is the "Römerturm" (roman tower), that once was part of the old roman wall around Cologne
Where Zeughausstraße and St. Apernstraße meet stands a Roman tower. It is the north western tower of the Roman fortification. It survived through the centuries, and built into the side of a house during the 19th century. The city of Cologne purchased it from the state in the late 19th century, and preserved the beautiful mosaics inside.
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2005, 01:32:14 pm »

Yes, I think Ireland has suffered from a lot of deforestation, particually the north which always had a lot of boggy ground to start with and was well scoured by the glaciers of the last ice age.  However, there must have been a reasonable population to support given the profusion of megalithic passage tombs that still remain (undoubtly there are still some undiscovered.  

For local history sites this is a picture of the Giants Ring (about 15 minutes drive from home) which is the largest in all of Ireland (covering about 7 acres) and is probably about 4,000 years old.  A similar one at Navan fort is about 40 mins in the opposite direction and I was actually there about 2 weeks ago but naturally forgot my camera  Embarrassed (my sister-in-law has done some archaeology there)

Probably the best historic related anecote I have though, is that our family burial plot is situated right on top of a megalithic burial tomb (about 1,500 BC) which covers about a half an acre (actually the church is built on top of a 5th century monastry - though it is now CoI) Picture is courtesy of Ros Davies and you can just see the two ridges of the mound to the left of the picture.  

-Bacchus:-
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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2005, 03:22:41 pm »

That pic of the church reminds me of another hilltop church, St. Dennis in Cornwall, which is built inside an iron age fort. There is no St. Dennis, or an any rate no relevant one. The name comes from Dinas, Cornish for 'fort'.
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Robert Brenchley

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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2005, 03:29:11 pm »

I didn't know that. I wonder if the Cornish "Dinas" is related to the Scottish "Dun"? They possibly have a common Celtic root.

Alex.
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2005, 12:59:14 am »

They may well do, but probably more distantly as they belong to different groups of celtic languages. Cornish is Brythonic, along with Welsh and Breton; they're all very similar. Gaelic and Irish are Goidelic, and again very similar.
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