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  • One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
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Visit the Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths

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In 74 AD the II Augusta Legion founded a fort at Isca, in what is now Caerleon. The fort was built in the territory of the most powerful tribe in southern Wales, the Silures. Establishing the fort here was a statement of power by the Romans, who were still wary of the local tribes after the threat of Boudicca's rebellion in 60 AD.

The legion was stationed here until the late 3rd century, when it may have moved to Richborough in Kent. The name Isca lives on in the name of the town of Usk, and the River Usk that runs past the Caerleon site.

The Roman Bath

Located just a stone's throw from the National Roman Legion Museum on the High Street are the remains of the bath s established for the soldiers of the 2nd Legion. Think of the baths at Caerleon like a leisure centre built for the 2nd Legion. Within this complex were chambers for hot and cold baths, exercise rooms, and an open-air swimming pool. There were even heated changing rooms, warmed by an underfloor heating system. The baths were in use from around 74 AD to 287 AD. One unusual find from the site was a large number of gemstones discovered in the drains under the baths.

Presumably these gemstones were dropped by bathers in the pools. At one side of the natatio, or swimming pool area, is a clay tile with the imprint of a foot; presumably someone who steeped on the tile before it had hardened, and left the imprint of their boot in the soft clay. Nearby is another tile showing the imprint of a dog's paw.

One of the interesting items on display at the Baths museum are two sections of lead pipe used to bring water to the site. There is also an extremely fine section of mosaic showing part of an animal, and an exposed area of hypocaust.