Built in 121 BC., the Via Domitia connects the Italian peninsula to Hispania, the Iberian peninsula, bypassing the Mediterranean basin. The route was built at the demand of the proconsul Domitius Ahenobarbus in order to organize the conquered territories between the Alps and the Pyrenees and facilitate the installation and establishment of Roman colonists. Passing through Narbo Marcius (Narbonne), the Via Domitia descends towards Ruscino (site which gives the name to Roussillon ) and Illibéris (Elne) where it divides into two routes : one heading towards Port-Vendres (Portus Vénéris ) and Collioure (Caucoliberris); the other towards the Summum Pyrenaeum (the Panissars pass) and across the mountains to reach the Roman province of Tarraconaise (Tarragona), and its Via Augusta .
In the valley of Roma, the Via Domitia joins the two Roman stations Ad Centuriones (near Saint-Martin-de-Fenollar), and Clausurae (Les Cluses), where forts frame the valley: the Roman Fort, the Portorium, and the Castell dels Moros. Le Trophée de Pompée monument, built to celebrate Pompey’s victory against the rebellion in 70 BC, was built at the Summum Pyraneum, the summit of the Panissars pass so as to be visible from afar.
La Via Vallespiris (the Appian Way, one of the earliest and most strategically important Roman roads) entered the Vallespir valley to allow access to the Roman thermal baths of Aquae Calidae (Amélie-les-Bains), also known as the town of hot waters, and the site of Coustouges where there was a Custodia, a border post with Roman garrison. This road also made it possible to facilitate access to the mineral iron, which was mined in ancient times, especially around the north of Batère, and was omnipresent in the area of Canigó Massif.
Excavations carried out by the teams of the Departmental Council of Pyrénées-Orientales in 2012, confirmed the passage of the Via Domitia in the valley of Roma, in the direction of Perthus and the Col de Panissars.