Qasr Bashir – A Roman fortlet in Jordan

Qasr_BashirI found this marvellous photograph of a Roman fortlet in the Jordanian desert on Twitter here.  The tweeter also added:

Great photos & interesting survey diagrams of Qasr Bashir done by Brunnow & Domaszewsky in 1897 here.

More useful to most of us is a nice blog post here, with many photographs and plans, to which I am indebted for the details that follow.

The walls stand up to 20 feet tall.  It was built at the start of the 4th century AD, as part of defensive works for a limes Arabicus, and held a cavalry unit of perhaps 120-150 men.  The building inscription survives:

Optimis maximisque principibus nostris Caio Aurelio
Valerio Diocletiano Pio Felici Invicto Augusto et
Marco Aurelio Valerio Maximiano Pio Felici Invicto Augusto et
Flavio Valerio Constantio et Galerio Valerio Maximiano
nobilissimis Caesaribus Castra Praetorii Mobeni fossamentis
Aurelius Asclepiades praeses provinciae Arabiae
perfici curavit .

Which tells us that the fort was called Mobene, and was constructed by the Praeses of the province of Arabia, a chap named Aurelius Asclepiades, in the reign of the tetrarchy, Diocletian and friends.

One question the blog leaves unclear is where exactly the fort is.  Funnily enough, Google Maps will tell us rather well!  Just search for Jordan, and the Qasr Bashir!


I’d never thought of Google as a tourist guide; but of course Jordan is a civilised country, and aerial photographs and much else are available.

I’d love to go and see it.


6 thoughts on “Qasr Bashir – A Roman fortlet in Jordan

  1. I want to go too. My wife and I just finished a two-week class by the University of the Holy Land on the Historical Geography of the Bible: Jordan. We traveled Route 35 between Madaba and Kerak instead of Route 15 further to the east. We were so close to the fortlet, but couldn’t take time to visit. Did you know Simon Scarrow centers the 7th book in his Eagle series at Fort Bashir? He mentions his trip at the end of the book. Great post. I want to go back and just visit Roman legionary sites. They’ve got a bunch. Craig

  2. I am deeply envious! I’ve not read any Simon Scarrow so I didn’t know. But the tour sounds interesting…?

  3. Dear Roger Pearse,

    I was at this fortress two weeks ago.
    A Toyota 4X4 brought us there (it’s about 15 km from Qatrana along the Desert Highway): an amazing “historical sensation”, Huizinga would say.
    I wanted to see Qasr Bshr becaus I am writing a book aboute the borders of the Roman Empire.

    Luc Devoldere

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