Sidi Said was the base for the Cohors IV Gallorum equitata, an auxiliary cavalry unit from Gaul, while Aïn Schkor housed Spanish and Belgic cohorts.
After Claudius annexed Mauretania in 44 AD, the city grew substantially due to its wealth and prosperity, derived from the fertile lands of the province which produced valuable export commodities such as grain, olive oil and wild animals for gladiatorial spectacles.
At its peak in the late 2nd century, Volubilis had around 20,000 inhabitants – a very substantial population for a Roman provincial town It was mentioned by the 1st century AD geographer Pomponius Mela, who described it in his work De situ orbis libri III as one of "the wealthiest cities, albeit the wealthiest among small ones" in Mauretania.
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However, the city's position was always tenuous; it was located on the south-eastern edge of the province, facing hostile and increasingly powerful Berber tribes.
A ring of five forts located at the modern hamlets of Aïn Schkor, Bled el Gaada, Sidi Moussa, Sidi Said and Bled Takourart (ancient Tocolosida) were constructed to bolster the city's defence.
Volubilis was connected by road to Lixus and Tingis (modern Tangier) but had no eastwards connections with the neighbouring province of Mauretania Caesariensis, as the territory of the Berber Baquates tribe lay in between.
Rome's control over the city ended following the chaos of the Crisis of the Third Century, when the empire nearly disintegrated as a series of generals seized and lost power through civil wars, palace coups and assassinations.
Built on a shallow slope below the Zerhoun mountain, Volubilis stands on a ridge above the valley of Khoumane (Xuman).