Moridunum (Carmarthen)

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Porolissum-porta-praetoria-icon.png Moridunum
Amphitheatre Moridunum - geograph.org.uk - 777546.jpg
Roman amphitheatre at Carmarthen
Moridunum (Carmarthen) is located in Carmarthenshire
Moridunum (Carmarthen)
Magnify-clip.png
Red pog.svg Moridunum (Carmarthen) shown within Carmarthenshire
Alternative name(s) Moridunum Demetarum
Known also as Carmarthen
Founded c. 75 AD
Place in the Roman world
Province Britannia
Structure
— Stone structure —
Location
Coordinates 51°52′N 4°19′W / 51.86°N 4.31°W / 51.86; -4.31
Town Carmarthen
County Carmarthenshire
Country Wales
Reference
UK-OSNG reference SN4020
Media related to Moridunum at Wikimedia Commons

Moridunum (or, almost certainly, Moridunum Demetarum) was a Roman fort and town in the Roman province of Britannia. Today it is known as Carmarthen, located in the Welsh county of Carmarthenshire (formerly in the county of Dyfed).

Fort[edit]

Moridunum (meaning sea fort) was the civitas capital of the Demetae tribe in Roman Wales and was recorded by Ptolemy and in the Antonine Itinerary. The initial fort is believed to date from about AD 75, possibly replacing the hillfort on Merlin's Hill. The fort lasted until about 120, when the associated civilian vicus took over and the place became a town.[1]

Town[edit]

A street-grid was laid out in the town and a public bath house built, and possibly a mansio. The forum and basilica were probably under the most built-up area of the present town on the Cardo or main street. There were narrow shops fronting the streets, as well as evidence of metalworking. Large domestic homes of timber were rebuilt in stone in the late 3rd or early 4th century. A 1st/2nd century Romano-Celtic style temple has also been excavated. A turf bank and ditch was erected around the town in the mid-2nd century and a stone wall added some time later.

Amphitheatre[edit]

East of the old town is one of only seven surviving Roman amphitheatres in the United Kingdom (51°51′44″N 4°17′47″W / 51.8621°N 4.2964°W / 51.8621; -4.2964 (Roman amphitheatre, Carmarthen)). It has the only above-ground Roman remains in the town, and was excavated in 1968. The arena itself is 46 by 27 meters. The circumference of the cavea seating area is 92 by 67 meters [2] It had stone walls and wooden seating and was much larger than would be expected for the size of the town.[3]

Post-Roman times[edit]

The name became Caerfyrddin and was later anglicized to Carmarthen. Caerfyrddin may have been misinterpreted as 'Fort of Myrddin', hence the town's association with Merlin the Magician.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ roman-britain.org moridunum Accessed 24 September 2013
  2. ^ icarus.umkc.edu (subscription site).
  3. ^ discover carmarthenshire