In the shadow of the Roman eagle

In the shadow of the Roman eagle - Military life along the Aquincum limes. New permanent exhibition from 14 September 2023.

Aquincum (now Óbuda) was a border town of the Roman Empire for some 400 years. This gave it a prominent military role in the defence of the Pannonian provinces. Several military bases (including a legionary fortress with a heavy infantry unit of nearly 6000 men) in what is now Budapest bear witness to the presence of the most powerful army of the time.

In addition to the weapons, the parts of military attire, and the peacetime activities of the military, the exhibition also presents finds that were previously unknown to the general public. One example is the building inscription known as the ‘Drusus stone’, which had been used as key evidence for the Augustan occupation of the province of Pannonia, but is now known to commemorate the construction of the Óbuda cavalry fort in AD 73. Also on display for the first time is a Roman armour assembled from several fragments. Those looking for a more peaceful, artistic experience will be delighted by the almost 2000-year-old colourful wall-painting of the Mithras shrine excavated at the Aquincum legionary fortress, which has been exhibited in an interior evoking the atmosphere of the shrine, along with the altars found there during the excavation.

Visitors can step into the main street of a bustling legionary fortress, take a look inside interiors furbished in the Roman style, and, through the VR content, enter a military barrack block, a bathhouse, or a Roman shrine, while the sound panel fills the exhibition with ancient melodies. It is also worth keeping an eye on the little eagle. Those who follow his flight can learn about the daily life and careers of the soldiers stationed in Aquincum. Young and old alike can enjoy the games corner, where they can learn about the wardrobe of the fearsome warriors of antiquity, try out Roman board games and take part in the army’s peacetime construction projects, build a model of a Roman watchtower from wooden blocks, or arrange the fortifications of the limes system on a map of Pannonia.

Széchenyi 2020
Széchenyi 2020