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Aquincum (Latin pronunciation: [aˈkʷɪŋkũː], Hungarian: [ˈɒkviŋkum]) was an ancient city, situated on the northeastern borders of the province of Pannonia within the Roman Empire. The ruins of the city can be found today in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. It is believed that Marcus Aurelius wrote at least part of his book Meditations at Aquincum.

Aquincum 3 - KKriszti.jpg
The ruins of Aquincum
Aquincum is located in Hungary
Shown within Hungary
LocationBudapest, Central Hungary, Hungary
Coordinates47°33′51″N 19°2′58″E / 47.56417°N 19.04944°E / 47.56417; 19.04944Coordinates: 47°33′51″N 19°2′58″E / 47.56417°N 19.04944°E / 47.56417; 19.04944
FoundedApproximately 41–54
PeriodsRoman Empire



Location of the city within the Roman Empire

Aquincum was originally settled by the Eravisci, a Celtic tribe. Aquincum served as a military base (castrum), having been part of the Roman border protection system called limes. Around AD 41-54, a 500-strong cavalry unit arrived, and a Roman legion of 6,000 men (Legio II Adiutrix)[1][2] was stationed here by AD 89. The city gradually grew around the fortress, and after Pannonia was reorganised by the Romans in AD 106, Aquincum became the capital city of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferior[3], holding that position until the administrative reform of Diocletian, more than a hundred years later.[4] Under Hadrian, the city obtained municipal status, while under Septimius Sever, Aquincum became a colonia.[5]

Being the centre of operations on the Roman frontier against the neighbouring Iazyges, Aquincum was occasionally the headquarters of emporers.[2]

The city had around 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants by the end of the 2nd century, and covered a significant part of the area today known as the Óbuda district within Budapest. Ruins from the old Roman settlement can be seen in other parts of Budapest as well, notably Contra-Aquincum. These Roman structures were, during the 2nd and 3rd century AD, the heart of the commercial life of the Pannonia province. The excavations show evidence of the lifestyle of this period. The most important monuments in Aquincum are the two amphitheatres:[6] the Aquincum Civil Amphitheatre and the Aquincum Military Amphitheatre, built in the 1st century AD.[7]

Settlement buildingsEdit

Aquincum Amphitheatre, Budapest, 1996

People living in the settlement could enjoy the achievements of the Empire, like central heating in the houses, public baths, a Mithraeum and palaces, as well as two amphitheatres, the Aquincum Civil Amphitheatre and the larger Aquincum Military Amphitheatre for gladiatorial combats and beast fights.[6]

Aquincum MuseumEdit

Many historic artifacts from the city now appear in the Aquincum Museum. The museum exhibits a reconstruction of the hydraulic system, Roman houses and paintings that have been recovered on site. The ruins of a three-level aqueduct have been discovered around the city. Beginning with 2007, the museum is also opened to the public in wintertime.[8]


  1. ^ Cassius Dio, Historia Romana 55.24
  2. ^ a b   Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Acincum". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
  3. ^ "Pannonia – Province by the Danube". Rome Across Europe. 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  4. ^ Betti, Maddalena (2014). The Making of Christian Moravia (858-882): Papal Power and Political Reality. Leiden, Boston: BRILL. p. 196. ISBN 9789004260085.
  5. ^ Boeft, Jan den; Drijvers, Jan Willem; Hengst, Daniël den; Teitler, Hans C. (2015-09-15). Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus XXX. Leiden, Boston: BRILL. p. 127. ISBN 9789004300927.
  6. ^ a b "Hunting down Roman ruins in Budapest – Lines of Escape". Lines of Escape. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  7. ^ Lovely Budapest
  8. ^ "Aquincum Museum | Limes Tourism". Retrieved 2018-11-09.

External linksEdit