Deva Victrix, Britannia, Roman Empire

Geography

Deva (or Deva Victrix) was a Roman fortress and settlement between the centuries I and V in the province of Britannia, where Chester is located today.

Founded by the Legio II Adiutrix in 70 c.e. and rebuilt by Legio XX Valeria Victrix (2nd c.), the fortress or "castrum" was an important fortification on the western border of Britannia, in the defense against the Brigantes and other celtic people to the North and to the West.

Near the fortress, a civilian settlement emerged (canabae legionis), which evolved into the modern city of Chester in Cheshire, England. Actually, the etymology of Chester is the Latin word castrum.

Chester continued to be a military centre in the history of England, first a Saxon fortress against the Welsh and subsequently a base from which attacks on Ireland were launched.

Roman attractions

Chester has the largest Roman amphitheatre ever built in Britannia, with a capacity of more than 8,000 seats. Built from stone like the amphitheatres in Continental Europe and re-built several times, the amphitheatre offered shows of combat and sports, including gladiator fights.

Other important Roman remnants are the legionary baths with a complex heating system, a shrine dedicated to Minerva and a unique elliptical building.

 

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