Krka arches - a principle in the Burnum military camp

Archaeological site Burnum you will find inside "Krka" National Park, above canyons, waterfalls and lakes, in an area of ​​exceptional beauty and natural values. Burnum was Roman military camp and settlement, and the remains of the camp can be seen in the village today Ivoševci, about twenty kilometers from Knin in the direction of Kistanje.

Principium – the main square of the Burnum military camp

The main facility in the Burnum military camp was principles (Lat. principium), that is, the command building. Begin in Roman military camps built at the junction of two main communications (viae principalis i viae praetoriae). The building was a monumental structure conceived as the main square (military forum) military camp.

Forums were usually surrounded by a peristyle, and altars were often placed in the center of the courtyard for offering sacrifices. Peristyle was surrounded by a series of rooms that were not used for everyday use, but exclusively for religious and administrative purposes. There were officers' offices, archives, armories and rooms for commanders' meetings. Commander's quarters (praetorium) were separate. They were always located near the principles, and most often it is a building that imitates the appearance of an Italian villa with a courtyard and a peristyle.

In the late Empire, it was common for the princes' courtyard to have a transversal hall (basilica principiorum) which closed one side of the forum. An integral part of the basilica was a raised platform for the speaker, Tribunal, from which commanders or senior officers addressed soldiers. The sanctuary was accessed from the courtyard or the basilica (aedewith or sacellum), and it is usually a room with an apse. Military insignia were also placed in that space (signa) and the legionary eagle. In addition, it was common practice for the sanctuary to also serve as a place of worship for Jupiter or the imperial cult. The sanctuary was also a treasury where soldiers' salaries were kept, located in its underground (basement) part.

From a military facility to a civilian forum

It brings data on the first researches in the area of ​​principles Theodor Mommsen in 1859. In his notes, he provides a transcript of the research report conducted by the "curator" Đ. Sundečić by order of the Municipality of Kistanje. In 1912 and 1913, E. Reisch conducted the following research in the area of ​​principles on behalf of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Vienna. About sixty years later, M. Kandler, an employee of that institute, in the same area, within the principles, carried out minor audit excavations of the construction complex, which in reports and scientific literature is incorrectly called the praetorium (commander's apartment).

The Principium in Burnum is a building measuring 46x53 meters, completed no later than the beginning of the reign of Emperor Tiberius. After the failed Scribonian rebellion against Emperor Claudius, the entire Burnum, including the legion camp, underwent a major urban and architectural change. The approximate dimensions of the new principle building are 104x73 meters. It consists of two longer wings (with legionary offices) flanking the inner courtyard, separated by arched arcades from the rear, shorter wing, which also houses the legionary shrine where battle insignia are kept.

After the departure of the army and the elevation of Burnum to the municipal status of a settlement, the principle was transformed into a civil forum with adjacencies. Such a possibility is suggested by the civil contents in the principle of the castrum and the construction activity after the departure of the legions.

Today, they are only visible above the ground in Burnum two arcades and part of an arch larger, once central arcades. They belonged to the basilica (courtroom, council house) built, in all likelihood, in the Trajan-Hadrian period, when Burnum had already acquired status municipality. The basilica was laid transversally in relation to the longer axis of the principia, so it can be assumed that it fitted into the existing arcades as entrances on the long side wall towards the forum.

At the same time, the worship of the imperial cult was introduced in the area of ​​the former principality, as evidenced by the finds of dedications emperors Trajan and Hadrian. During the restoration of the Metroa cult carried out by Antoninus Pius, the capitol was also reconstructed, on the front of which, on the edges of the facade, the aedicula of the Metroa and Venus cults were added.

Photo source: "Krka" National Park


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