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Alpine lands in Roman hands

The 400 year long Roman rule over the Alpine foothills began with the military campaign led by the Emperor’s two sons Tiberius und Drusus in the summer of 15 BC. Very shortly after the occupation, the province of Raetia et Vindelica was founded, making the area based around the Alpine foothills part of the Roman Empire.

One of the first military bases, constructed as early as the 1st century BC was the Lorenzberg near Epfach. In addition to securing the military presence, the soldiers also performed logistical tasks such as the construction of a network of roads. The roads had enormous significance, not only providing access for the military and guaranteeing the provision of its supplies, but also for the growth of civilian settlements in the region. The main traffic artery in Rhaetia, the Via Claudia Augusta, was one of the most important connections between Upper Italy and the provinces north of the Alps.

The settlement on the Auerberg, founded in the 2nd century AD was, on the other hand, not purely military but also more municipal in character. The civilian settlement of the area, which really became established during the second half of the 1st century AD, provides a picture of the region which is predominantly agricultural. The original military bases became towns – as in the case of Augsburg – or, as in Abodiacum/Epfach, settlements of central importance, so-called vici. Their importance arose not least from their situation at important crossroads. The standard type of country settlement was, however, the villa rustica, an agricultural unit based on self sufficiency but contributing its surplus production to the provisioning of the army. Settlements such as the villae rusticae in Peiting, Kohlhunden and Schwangau with the remarkable quality of their furnishings and facilities provide a particularly good picture of flourishing Roman society in the 2nd and early 3rd centuries AD.

Whereas many of the villae, though not all, were destroyed during the military confusions of the 3rd and 4th centuries, towns and vici such as Augsburg and Epfach were able to survive. The settlements there have been maintained right up to the present day. Old Roman settlements such as Altenstadt experienced, as shown by the impressive St. Michael Basilica, a revival in the Middle Ages.

Link to the flyer


Das Projekt wird gefördert durch das Bayerische Staatsministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Forsten und den Europäischen Landwirtschaftsfonds für die Entwicklung des ländlichen Raums (ELER)