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Map of the Saxon Shore Forts

The Saxon Shore Forts were built by the Romans in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries AD along the southeast coast of Britain to guard against invasions of Germanic tribes, including the Angles and Saxons. The late 4th century Notitia Dignitatum names nine forts and their units of the Classis Britannica, the Roman fleet in Britain. These naval bases were called Castrorum ("forts") of the Litus Saxonicum ("Saxon Shore"). All except Anderitum (Pevensey) were rebuilt from earlier bases. The array of Saxon Shore forts stretched from Portchester (Portus Adurni) to Branodunum on the north Norfolk coast. The forts, equipped with towers and gates, provided a successful check against Germanic military invasion and piracy until the Roman withdrawal in the early fifth century AD.

The source for the fort names, the Notitia Dignitatum, is a late Roman collection of administrative information for 395-430 AD. All surviving copies derive from an 11th century copy of the Codex Spirensis.

[Fig.1: Map of the Saxon Shore forts in southeast Britain.]



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