Carnuntum in ancient times

Established in the year 6 A.D. as a fortified winter military encampment, Carnuntum grew over the following centuries into one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. Situated at the intersection of the Amber Trail and the east-west Roman legionary road, Carnuntum blossomed at the end of the second century A.D. into a major city on the Danube. Under Marcus Aurelius, Carnuntum became the Roman imperial seat between the years 171 and 173 A.D.; two decades later, Septimus Severus was proclaimed emperor here in the year 193.

The ancient city of Carnuntum extended over an area of some ten square kilometres in the present-day communities Petronell-Carnuntum and Bad Deutsch-Altenburg. The Roman colony Septimia Aurelia Antoniniana Carnuntum grew to accommodate some 50,000 inhabitants in the third century A.D. – a veritable melting pot of different and extremely diverse cultures.

Foto Heidentor Carnuntum © Photographie Helmreich

Dateline: Carnuntum in ancient times

6 A.D.

Campaign of the Roman general Tiberius against the Marcomanni. First mention of the name Carnuntum by the historian Vellius Paterculus.

ca. 40 A.D.

The fifteenth legion ‘Apollinaris’ set up a fortified military installation, which was reinforced in stone under the emperor Vespasian.

103 – 107 A.D.

As capital of Pannonia Superior (Upper Pannonia), Carnuntum became the official residence of the provincial proconsul.

ca. 124 A.D.

Conferral of city privilege under the Emperor Hadrian (Municipium Aelium Carnuntum).

171 - 173 A.D.

Carnuntum becomes the headquarters of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in his war against the Marcomanni.

9 April 193 A.D.

Lucius Septimius Severus, governor of Upper Pannonia, is proclaimed emperor by his troops in Carnuntum. Soon after this, the city’s status is elevated to that of a colony (Colonia Septimia Aurelia Antoniniana Carnuntum).

260 – 261 A.D.

Publius C. Regalianus is proclaimed emperor by his troops. The coins bearing his image are found only in Carnuntum.

11 November 308 A.D.

Imperial conference in Carnuntum. Diocletian, Galerius and Maximian attempt to preserve the system of imperial rule known as the Tetrarchy.

364 – 375 A.D.

Emperor Valentinian I bases himself in Carnuntum during his wars against the Quadi, a Germanic tribe. Fortifications along the Danubian borders are restored.

From 400 A.D.

The withdrawal of the Romans from Carnuntum begins.

Ca. 430 A.D.

The province Pannonia is abandoned by Rome. Last mention of Carnuntum in official Roman records (Notitia Dignitatum).