GATES AND WALLS

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GATES AND WALLS Augusta Bagiennorum was devoid of walls, but it was surrounded on three sides by fortifications consisting of a moat (vallum) and a wooden palisade severa! metres high, with an embankment on the Inside (agger). The embankment allowed the soldiers to control the surrounding territory and, if the need arose, to have the advantage over the enemy and with their raised position, to shoot arrows or throw spears. The fourth sfide coincided with the natural slope that ended in the torrent Mondalavia and was therefore naturally protected. At the ends of the palisade were four corner masonry towers. Two monumental gates restricted access to the city: the city gates. When entering the city from the south-west, one would to enter by the Porta Decumana, while entering from the North-East one passed through the Porta Praetoria. They consisted of a curtain wall, probably of brick, perforated by arched windows, which could accommodate the archers for defence. Where the roads entered, two large arches separated the traffic of carts from the pedestrians and were closed with wooden doors or iron grills. The city gates of Augusta Bagiennorum measured about 10 meters in length and were completed by two towers at the ends: externally they were dodecagonal (6.60 m diameter), while Inside they were circular (diameter 4.90 m) and each contained a spirai staircase used by the soldiers to reach the summit. The excavations conducted in the area of the Northeast gate, in the 19th century by Assandria and Vacchetta, indicated the presence of an interior courtyard, the “cavedium”, a space which was probably manned by the guards who controlled the goods and people entering and leaving the city.

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