The Limes

Protection against enemies

The Limes is one of the biggest buildings in the world. It is about 500 km long. The Limes was the border of the Romans along the Rhine. The Limes had got watchtowers which were all at the same distance to each other. Between the watchtowers were palisades which were protected by walls and in front them were ditches. At the Danube there were walls made of stone. The watchtowers were habitable and had three storeys. The Limes could only offer resistance to little attacks. They were always enough soldiers in the forts, they came to help. Behind the Rhine the legions were ready to attack the enemy. They could be called at any time.

Alarm system

The Romans had visual signals like smoke signals, torches, coloured flags or acoustic signals. They had to react very quickly to these signals because the Limes could be crossed by the enemies in a very short time. Sometimes they lit heaps of straw so that the population could be warned. When the Limes was taken by the enemies the people in the watchtowers were able to pull the ladders into the first floor and to defend it until help came from other forts.




The Romans and the Germanics weren’t enemies all the time. There was a time in which the Germanics traded with the Romans. The Germanics traded with timber, metal, animals and honey. The Romans were trading with luxury goods: wine, cloth, ceramic-, glass-, and metal bowls and jars. The exchange took place at a particular place at the Limes, which was especially built for this purpose. It was checked by a special unity which was called "beneficiarii". It had its own flag and they got their orders from the governor.




When they were disturbances in the Roman Empire, several times at the Limes in 170, 213 and 233 A.D.) and the borders were attacked by other enemies, the Limes was given up in 260 A.D.. Now the Rhine became again the border of the Roman Empire.
Probably the "Alamannen" – a union of several Germanic tribes – crossed the Limes, what caused the end of the Limes. Some forts were destoyed and others (like the Saalburg) were left by the soldiers and collapsed.






The Limes is 548 km long. The Limes goes from Rheinbrohl to Kehlheim at the Donau. It gives little parts of the Limes too.


The Watchtowers

At the Limes it gave c.a.900 watch-towers. Stone-towers, little watchtower, “wood-loam” typ construction, high stone-tower. You can see reconstructions e.g. at Saalburg, Polheim, Idsetin and at the Gaukopf.