Reconstructed gate of Castrum Biriciana
The first soldiers of Ala I Hispanorum Auriana reached the area of modern Weißenburg around AD 100. The surrounding countryside provided ample building materials for them to build a large timber fort with barracks and defences. One of the tasks of the newly established fort was to control and protect the road running from AELIA AUGUSTA – Augsburg to MOGONTIACUM – Mainz. Cavalry units such as that stationed at BIRICIANA were extremely flexible and could operate across long distances. Around the mid 2nd century AD the fort was rebuilt in stone. At the same time, it was enlarged slightly. Shortly after this rebuilding, the Limes itself was restructured and fortified with a palisade.
Franconia (German: Franken) is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Heilbronn-Franken. The Bavarian part is made up of the administrative regions of Lower Franconia (Unterfranken), Middle Franconia (Mittelfranken), and Upper Franconia (Oberfranken).
Franconia (like France) is named after the Germanic tribe of the Franks. This tribe played a major role after the breakdown of the Roman Empire and colonised large parts of medieval Europe.
Modern day Franconia comprises only a very tiny and rather remote part of the settlement area of the ancient Franks. In German, Franken is used for both modern day Franconians and the historic Franks, which leads to some confusion. The historic Frankish Empire, Francia, is actually the common precursor of the Low Countries, France and Germany. In 843 the Treaty of Verdun led to the partition of Francia into West Francia (modern day France), Middle Francia (from the Low Countries along the Rhine valley to northern Italy) and East Francia (modern day Germany). Frankreich, the German word for "France", and Frankrijk, the Dutch word for "France"; literally mean "the Frankish Empire".