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Levefanum (Rijswijk)

Detail of map of Germania Inferior. Design Jona Lendering.
The location of Levefanum (number 13)
Germania inferior: small province of the Roman empire, situated along the Lower Rhine. This webpage is part of a series of short descriptions of villages in Germania inferior. An overview can be found here.

It is impossible to excavate the  remains of Levefanum, because the site is in the modern course of the Rhine, between modern Rijswijk and Wijk bij Duurstede. It was identified when, during dredging operations, military artifacts were discovered in the water.

The name Levefanum, which is only known from the Peutinger map, suggests that the site was close to a sanctuary (fanum) that was situated near the bifurcation of the Rhine and Lek. It is possible that it was dedicated to the Batavian goddess Haeva - in which case the Peutinger map, which mentions Levefanum, contains a spelling error.

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
An old branch of the Rhine at the site of ancient Levefanum. Photo Jona Lendering.
An old branch of the Rhine, near he mill of Rijswijk (left) and the church of Wijk bij  Duurstede (right)

The river finds suggest military occupation after the Batavian revolt (70) until the beginning of the fourth century. Among the occupiers of the fort may have been a Cohors civium Romanorum, an auxiliary unit of Roman citizens, because the names of the Roman soldiers are distinctly Roman (e.g., Titus Allienus Martialis and a centurion Antonius Fronto). Another unit seems to have been the First equestrian cohort of Thracians (cohors I Thracum equitata). It is interesting to note that the Second equestrian cohort of Thracians (cohors II Thracum equitata) was stationed in nearby Maurik.

The castle remained in use and was known in the Merovingian and Carolingian period as Dorestad.

Edge of Empire. The book Arjen Bosman and I wrote about Rome's Lower Rhine Frontier.
Edge of Empire. The book Arjen Bosman and I wrote about Rome's Lower Rhine Frontier (order; review)

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