The remains of the Roman town of Aquincum, founded in the 1st C AD on the west bank of the Danube - now on Szentendrei utca - have been systematically excavated since the 1870s. A considerable part of the former "municipium" is now accessible as an open-air museum.About the year 10 BC the Romans occupied the territory of their later province of Pannonia. A few years after the birth of Christ they built within the boundaries of Óbuda a military camp (see above), around which a civil town soon grew. The flourishing settlement of Aquincum became, as early as the beginning of the 2nd C., the principal town of the province of Pannonia Inferior. The Emperor Septimus Severus raised it to the status of a "colonia" in AD 194.After the defeat of the Pannonian legions at Hadrianopolis in the year 378 Aquincum declined, and this decline was accelerated by increasing and violent attacks by the Barbarians.
Amphitheater of the Roman Military Town
Amphitheaters In the 2nd C A.D. the Romans built a large amphitheater for their military camp at Aquincum. The ruins on the present-day Korvin Ottó utca were excavated in 1940. The arena, constructed on an elliptical plan, was 131m (429ft) long and 107m (351ft) broad, and had room for several thousand spectators who could enjoy battle games here as well as other spectacles.Some historians are of the opinion that the Magyars used this theater as a fortress in the 9th and 10th C when they occupied the country.In 1880 and 1937 the remains of the amphitheater of the civil town of Aquincum were uncovered diagonally opposite the main excavation site. It originally occupied an area of about 80m x 90m (261ft x 294ft).On the opposite side of the road can be seen a restored section of the ancient town fortifications.
The ruins surrounding the museum provide an impression of the Roman civil town, some 400 by 600m/440 by 660yds in area, which was laid out in accordance with a detailed plan; as well as numerous and generally one-storied private houses it boasted several large bathing establishments, a market-hall, a Mithras shrine and a basilica (probably formerly the "forum").The provision of water and sewerage systems (water-pipes, disposal pipes and heating installations) will prove of interest to the layman as well as to specialists.When the Szentendrei út (a broad arterial road leading to the township of Szentendre) was being constructed an aqueduct came to light. Some sections of it can still be seen at the side of the road or in the central reservation between the traffic lanes.
Aquincum Archeological Museum
In the rooms of the Archaeological Museum, opened in 1894, are exhibited cult objects, sculptures, fragments of mosaics, implements, vessels, coins and jewelry. Among the most valuable exhibits are the water-organ of A.D. 288, which has become famous, a Jupiter column, a marble Diana and a marble Minerva, a statue of Mithras and a written document dated A.D. 19 (the oldest piece of writing so far found in Hungary); gems and ivory-carvings have also recently been found.In the Pillared Hall and in the Lapidarium can be seen some fine stone-carvings, including altars, gravestones and reliefs.
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