Roman Fort in Iža - Kelemantia


The peace remained in the area along the North-Pannonian border until the first half of the 2nd century AD. Howewer, inside the territory of Germanic tribes, riots already started. It seems likely thet the migration of Gothi tribes probably started the vast movement of other tribes. The pressure of the northern neighbours searching for new areas to settle, forced the tribes living along the Danube to move towards the Roman frontier. Devastating and lengthy battles on this territory started during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180) – and turned to so called Marcomannic wars. Many barbarian tribes took part in this war against the Romans, but again Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi, as well as some Sarmatian tribes played again the most important role.


The first attempt of braking the Limes - Roman Empire border - happened already in years 166 - 167 AD, when 6.000 soldiers of the Longobardi and Obii crossed the Danube into Pannonian territory. Even though this attack was defeated by the Roman cavalry troops from Arrabona, it was only a first portent of the comming much more devastating campaigns.

The Romans were not able to organize in time the defence and to prepare the planned counter-attack, when the Marcomanni and Quadi together attacked the North-Pannonian frontier. The army exhausted from the wars against Parti tribes and decimated by the spreading plague epidemic was not able to withhold the Germanic attacks. This way fighting Germanic troops broke through the fortifications on the Limes and succeeded in leading a  ravaging campaign against the Roman legions inside the Pannonia. They devastated whole province and set out south towards Italia. The Romans only with a great effort succeeded in stopping the comming catastrophe. After dogged battles they finaly pushed the attacking troops out of the province and started the counter-attacks led by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius himself. Carnuntum became to be his temporary seat. In the year 172 AD his army crossing the Danube over the pontoon bridge undertake a succesfull campaign against Marcomanni and a year later a penal campaign against the neigbouring Quadi. The Emperor himself participated in the both military activities again. The starting point for the penetration of Roman army to the territory of Germanic tribes was probably Brigetio. Afterwards the army invaded deep inside the territory of Quadi along the river valleys. Howewer they were challanged by the strong resistance. Here a mercilles battle took place at the very beginning. The surrounded Romans were rescued from a disastrous staggering loss only by a ”mirracle rain”. This extraordinary event is presented as one of the scenes on the Marcus Aurelius Column in Rome. A note in the work ”Thoughts to myslelf” – written by Marcus Aurelius – points to (today river Hron in Slovakia) during this campaign. The battles against the Quadi went on untill 174 AD. At the same time the Romans also fought against the Sarmatians. In summer of 175 AD was the Emperor with his army forced to march to Syria, where a revolt had been organized by Avidius Cassius against the Rome. Therefore Marcus Aurelius was forced th sign the peace agreement with Quadi.


However, this only meant the end of the 1st phase of the Marcomannic wars, as a new conflict on Danube raised already in two years time. The Romans retrieved the lost territories only after hard battles. In 179 Marcus Aurelius led a victorious campaign and definitely defeated the Germanic tribes. Many military formations (with the force of about 40 000 men) were established in he areas of the conquered but not subjugated Marcomanni and Quadi.

How deep inside the Quadi territory the Romans came, tells an inscription in a rock engraved by M. Valerianus Maximus, the commander of the formation that had camped at Laugaricio (today´s town of Trenčín in Slovakia). At that time military formations spent winter at the enemy´s territory in temporary earth-and-timber camps. Marcus Aurelius was thinking of the foundation of the two new provinces: Marcomania and Sarmatia. His sudden death, howewer, cancelled these plans. His son Commodus for a short time continued in the military actions, but in 180 AD finished the lengthy wars and signed a peace with the tribes living on the left bank of the Danube.



The building of the North-Pannonian border

The Roman Army

The armament and equipment of the Roman Soldiers

The role and importance of the Roman Army

The period of prosperity and decline

The last attempts and the decline of the Roman authority



    © ElenaBlazova