Thursday, 22 October 2015

Ah, those 6 what if...s

I wonder...and wonder some more! 

Caracalla, son of the Emperor Severus, appears in my time travel novel - The Taexali Game. In addition to reading about his exploits in northern Britannia, I've been researching about the legacy left throughout the Roman Empire by Caracalla. 

The arch of Caracalla at Volubilis -Wikimedia Commons

As well as the remains of The Baths of Caracalla, the fabulous bathing facility in Rome (read an earlier post), there are some other structures still able to be viewed which are attributed to Emperor Caracalla.
The remains of the triumphal arch at the Roman city of Volubilis, in Morocco, are found at the end of city’s main street, the Decumanus Maximus. Started in AD 217, in honour of the emperor Caracalla and his mother, Julia Domna, it was completed after their deaths.
The City’s Governor, Marcus Aurelius Sebastenus, had commissioned the arch in local stone, the top of which is believed to have been a bronze chariot pulled by six horses. At the foot of the arch were statues of nymphs pouring water into carved marble basins. Though Caracalla and Julia Domna had been carved into medallion busts, they have been defaced. Unfortunately, incomplete reconstruction by the French in the 1930s has led to some controversy over the authenticity.
Before the Romans extended the site, Volubilis covered about 12 hectares of land. Enclosed by town walls it was built to a fairly typical Phoenician pattern of streets.
The Tingis Gate
With the arrival of the Romans, the site was extended, the occupation area increased to around 42 hectaresCaracalla's arch was built at the junction of the old and new parts of the city: most public buildings in the older part and grand houses filling the newer areas. The Decumanus (main street) was paved with footpaths to each side, behind which was an arcaded line of porticoes- openings to many tiny shops.
The city was supplied with water from an aqueduct in nearby hills, the earliest form of this channel constructed between AD 60 -80. Over the decades, and even centuries of use, there were many reconstructions of the aqueduct. Complex plumbing fed water from the aqueduct to the houses and public baths, while drains and sewers carried the waste water away to the river.
North Baths -Volubilis
A spectacular sight may have been the large fountain at the city centre, fed from the aqueduct which was positioned near the arch of Caracalla.  
Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a very well preserved example of a colonial town on the fringes of the Roman Empire.
I’m personally intrigued by the fact that the extent of this Roman city- some 42 hectares – is approximately the same size as the temporary Roman Marching Camp at my home village of Kintore ( 44 ha) in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 
If the Romans had not withdrawn from the lands of the Taexali, after the influx of troops of Emperor Severus and Caracalla in northern Scotland, I wonder if there might have been some granite remains of buildings to rival those of Volubilis.
It's an intriguing thought, but the what if can only be guessed at...

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