The Principia

The Courtyard of the Principia The Principia was the Headquarters building of the fort. We are standing to the right of the entrance looking west. Directly in front of us is the courtyard, with the remains of one of the columns which originally supported the portico of the Hadrianic building. To the right are remains of offices and behind the courtyard is the basillica, an assembly hall where, from the tribunal in the north west corner, the orders of the day were read out.


We are now standing in the Aedes, the chapel of the standards. Statues of the emperor, the standards of the regiment, and altars to Jupiter and the goddess of Discipline would be kept here, and the area was also a shrine. The standard bearer (signifier) was based in this room, which, as he was also the paymaster meant that the room we can see directly in front of us doubled as a strongroom. On the floor are columns which, though they were found in the Principia, do not fit any of the column bases there. The Armoury

Back to more mundane items We are now standing between the Principia and the Praetorium. Directly in front of us are visible remains of the drainage system. Unlike most forts, Vercovicium did not have a well, and because of this the collection of rainwater was essential. A complex system of channels and drains carried the water to storage tanks, an example of which can be found by the latrines. The Roman army also recognised the importance of hygiene, and a sewer was used to carry away human waste.

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