A Canaba (Canabae plural)[1] was the Latin term for a hut or hovel and was later (from the time of Hadrian)[2] used typically to mean a collection of "huts" (Canabae legionis) that emerged as a civilian settlement in the vicinity of a Roman legionary fortress (castrum).[3]

Where such a settlement grew up outside an auxiliary fort it was called a 'vicus' (village, plural vici), which is the term most widely used for this type of settlement, and because cabanae were often divided into vici.

Permanent forts attracted military dependants and civilian contractors who serviced the base who needed housing; traders, artisans, sellers of food and drink, prostitutes, and also unofficial wives of soldiers and their children and hence most forts had vici or canabae. Many of these communities became cities through synoecism with other communities, some in use today.

The following places are among those that originally had this name:

Villages of Legionary Fortresses:[4]

Other villages:


  1. Brill’s New Pauly,
  2. Chester: The Canabae Legionis D. J. P. Mason Britannia Vol. 18 (1987), pp. 143-168,
  3. THE NIJMEGEN Canabae Legionis (71-102/105 AD), MILITARY AND CIVILIAN LIFE ON THE FRONTIER, PAUL FRANZEN, Limes XX, Int. Congress on Roman Frontier Studies, Leon 2006.
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