Facts About The Frontiers Of The Roman Empire For You

Abhijeet Modi
Nov 03, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Mar 25, 2022
Learn interesting frontiers of the Roman Empire facts.

Along with the Roman baths, the Roman Empire was known for its size.

The boundary of the Roman Empire shifted as Emperors came and went. At the height of its glory, the Roman Empire frontiers ran from northern Britain, through European countries, to the Atlantic Coast in North Africa.

As it is known, the Roman Limes stretched for over 3106 mi (4998 km). The remains of these boundaries that exist today include forts, fortresses, walls, watchtowers, and ditches. It also included civilian settlements.

The sections of the Limes are known by many different names - Hadrian's Wall in the UK, the Antoine Wall in Scotland. These boundaries marked the peak of the Roman territorial expansion. Some elements of the frontier have unfortunately been destroyed over time, while others have been excavated and other parts have been reconstructed.

Discovery And History

Construction for most of the Roman Limes began in the second century AD.

The Roman military built individual forts and walls from as early as the sixth or seventh century BC. There was not much connection between these forts.

However, systematic constructions of walls around the periphery of the Roman empire were done only from around 40 AD under the reign of Emperor Caligula. The systematic fortification of these frontiers began later in 117 AD under Hadrian's rule.

The Romans built their boundary by first digging a long ditch and then using the excavated earth to construct a wall. The walls were topped with pointed spears and sticks. They also built watchtowers along the frontiers.

Each watchtower was within sight of the next one for easy communication. At the time, they used to fire or smoke to communicate. Behind the watchtowers were large forts that could see multiple watchtowers at a glance.


In an effort to conserve the Roman frontiers, the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site comprising of the German Limes, Hadrian's Wall, and the Antoine Wall were created in 2005. While some parts of the fortifications had been destroyed, efforts are being made to excavate and reconstruct other elements.

The Roman Limes are not continuous like the Great Wall of China. Instead, it was built in sections. Several of these sections currently hold the status of being World Heritage sites. The first section to be listed was the Hadrian's Wall in Britain.

It was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. The German-Rhaetian limes were added to the list in 2005. The Antoine Wall followed soon in 2008.

The sections of the Roman Frontiers known as The Lower German Limes were identified as a prospective UNESCO World Heritage site by the Netherlands in 2011 and by Germany in 2018. Dutch and German states manage it.

They work on protecting these remains of the Roman empire and use modern techniques to reconstruct sections. Efforts are also being made to improve visitor access and make information about the Roman Limes more easily available.

Site Statistics

The borders of the ancient Roman province are a network of frontiers that stretches from the Black Sea in the east to the Atlantic Coast in the west and from central Scotland in the north to the Sahara Desert in the south.

The northern borders are the largest linear architectural feature across Europe. The borders in continental Europe were generally well defined and followed the courses of rivers like the Rhine and the Danube.

Nevertheless, these were not always the final border lines. The Limes Germanicus was made up of the Lower Germanic Limes along the river Rhine, the Upper Germanic Limes from Rheinbrohl to Lorch, and the Rhaetian Limes from Lorch to Eining on the Danube.

The frontier walls in Great Britain were built in two sections by Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. Hadrian's Wall was constructed in 122 AD and housed a garrison of 10,000 soldiers. It extends for 73 mi (117 km).

The Antoine Wall is a 37 mi (59 km) long fortification in Scotland. This was built between 142 and 144 AD in the northwest province. It was abandoned in 164 AD and reoccupied for a brief period in 208 AD.

The Pannonian Limes are about 261 mi (420 km) long and run from Klosterneuburg in Austria's Vienna Basin to the castrum in Serbia. In certain places, it also extended in the barbarian territory.

The eastern border often moved, while the southern borders across the Arabian deserts were mostly across natural frontiers. There were certain sections in Mauretania, Syria, and Arabia Petraea that were fortified.

The frontiers of the Roman Empire were essential for the defense of the empire.


What were the frontiers of the Roman Empire?

Frontiers of the Roman empire were part of a military strategy to protect the empire.

What protected the frontiers of the Roman Empire?

The Roman empire was protected by natural defenses like the river courses and the seas, as well as by fortifications known as the Roman Limes.

What is the Roman frontier?

Roman frontiers were a series of walls, ditches, forts, and fortresses.

Why were Roman soldiers permanently stationed at the frontiers?

The boundary of the Roman empire was very long and at high risk of invasion. Hence, soldiers were permanently stationed at the frontiers and forts.

Where was the Roman frontier?

The frontier stretched from the Atlantic coast in northern Britain to the coast of the Black Sea on the European side and from the Red Sea to the Atlantic coast.

Did the Romans use artillery?

The Roman soldiers used artillery to fight barbarians.

What were the three categories that the Roman frontiers were divided into?

The Roman frontiers lie in Britannia, continental Europe, and the southern borders.

How long did Roman soldiers have to stay in the army once they joined?

Soldiers in the Roman army served 20 years of active duty and five years as reserves.

Would a Roman army beat a medieval army?

Yes, the Roman army could beat barbarians and a medieval army.

How did the Roman Empire fall?

In the fifth century, the Roman Empire began to fall with Germanic invasions and migrations from the west and the Ottoman invasions in the east.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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