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Roman Forts

Roman forts were large camps where soldiers could live
comfortably while fighting.

They were often built in a square shape and were protected by: strong walls, towers and ditches. Each side had a fortified gateway.


The soldiers kept watchdogs to smell any approaching enemies and sent out spies to report on suspicious enemy activities. In an ambush, huge catapults called ballistas would fire out iron bolts.

Greek and Roman Ballista Catapult

Inside there were buildings to cater for all the soldiers' needs from: eating, sleeping and washing to banking and praying. There was also a small hospital to look after the sick and injured.

A little village called a vicus grew up around many forts in which the local people would run take-away food stalls and inns for the soldiers to relax in off-duty, in return for money and protection from attack. Although legionary soldiers were not supposed to marry, many 'unofficial' wives and families would also live in the vicus too.