Germania Superior ("Upper Germania") was an imperial province of the Roman Empire. It comprised an area of today's western Switzerland, the French Jura and Alsace regions, and southwestern Germany. Important cities were Besançon (Vesontio), Strasbourg (Argentoratum), Wiesbaden (Aquae Mattiacae), and Germania Superior's capital, Mainz (Mogontiacum). It comprised the Middle Rhine, bordering on the Limes Germanicus, and on the Alpine province of Raetia to the south-east. Although it had been occupied militarily since the reign of Augustus, Germania Superior (along with Germania Inferior) was not made into an official province until c. 85 AD.
|Provincia Germania Superior|
|Province of the Roman Empire|
The province of Germania Superior within the Roman Empire, c. 125
|•||Established after the Gallic wars||83|
|Today part of|| France|
The terms, "Upper Germania" and "Lower Germania" do not appear in the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar, yet he writes about reports that the people who lived in those regions were referred to as Germani locally, a term used for a tribe that the Romans called the Germani Cisrhenani, and that the name Germania seems to have been adopted to designate other indigenous tribes in the area. Lower Germania was occupied by the Belgae. Upper Germania was occupied by Gaulish tribes including the Helvetii, Sequani, Leuci, and Treveri, and, on the north bank of the middle Rhine, the remnant of the Germanic troops that had attempted to take Vesontio under Ariovistus, but who were defeated by Caesar in 58 BC.
The Romans did not abandon this region at any time after then. During a 5-year period in the initial years of his reign (28-23 BC), as Cassius Dio tells us (53.12), Octavian Caesar assumed direct governorship of the major senatorial provinces on grounds that they were in danger of insurrection and he alone commanded the troops required to restore security. They were to be restored to the senate in 10 years under proconsuls elected by the senate.
Among these independent provinces were upper Germania. Apparently it had become a province in the last years of the republic. Tacitus also mentions it as the province of Germania Superior in his Annales (3.41, 4.73, 13.53). Cassius Dio viewed the Germanic tribes as Celts, an impression given perhaps by Belgica, the name assigned to lower Germania at the time. Dio does not mention the border, but he views upper Germany as extending to the source of the Rhine. It is not clear if he was aware of the Upper Rhine in Switzerland, upstream from Lake Constance. Today we call the section of the Rhine running through upper Germania the middle Rhine.
Augustus had planned to incorporate all of central Germania in one province, Germania Magna. This plan was frustrated by the Germanic tribesmen at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. Augustus decided to limit the empire at the Rhine-Danube border. Thereafter continual conflict prevailed along it, forcing the Romans to conduct punitive expeditions and fortify Germania Superior.
By 12 BC, major bases existed at Xanten (Castra Vetera) and Mainz (Mogontiacum), from which Drusus operated. A system of forts gradually developed around these bases. In 69-70, all the Roman fortications along the Rhine and Danube were destroyed by Germanic insurrections and civil war between the legions. At the conclusion of this violent but brief social storm they were rebuilt more extensively than before, with a road connecting Mainz and Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicorum).
Domitian went to war against the Chatti in 83-85, who were north of Frankfurt (in Hesse named after them). At this time the first line, or continuous fortified border, was constructed. It consisted of a cleared zone of observation, a palisade where practicable, wooden watchtowers and forts at the road crossings. The system reached maximum extent by 90. A Roman road went through the Odenwald and a network of secondary roads connected all the forts and towers.
The plan governing the development of the limes was relatively simple. From a strategic point of view, the Agri Decumates, or region between the Rhine and Danube, offers a bulge in the line between the Celts and the Germanics, which the Germanics had tried to exploit under Ariovistus. The bulge divided the densely populated Celtic settlements along the entire river system in two. Invading forces could move up under cover of the Black Forest. Roman defensive works therefore cut across the base of the bulge, denying the protected corridor and shortening the line.
The key point was the shoulder of the bulge at Mogontiacum (Mainz) where the masse de manoevre or strategic reserves were located. The forts through the forest were relatively lightly defended and on that account were always being burned by the Alamanni. They gave advance notice, however. On being notified, the legions would strike out in preventative and punitive expeditions from Mainz or Strasburg, or Augsburg on the other side.
The entire system could only succeed if heavy troop concentrations were kept at Mainz. Fixed defenses alone are not much of a defense, in either ancient or modern times. Other forces are required for attack. At best the fixed defenses serve to warn or delay until a counterattack can be launched. For more complete details on the development of the limes, or frontier, see under Limes Germanicus.
In the subsequent peaceful years, the limes lost its temporary character. Vici, or communities, developed around the forts. By 150, the towers and the bases had been rebuilt in stone. The soldiers now lived in good stone barracks within walls decorated by frescoes. Germanic civilization had changed as well. Where Caesar had described burning the wretched brush hovels of the Suebi who had come to fight for Ariovistus, the Chatti and the Alamanni now lived in comfortable Romanized villages around the limes.
Germania Superior was reestablished as an Imperial Roman province in 90, taking large amounts of territory from Gallia Lugdunensis. One of its first and most famous governors was the future Emperor Trajan, who ruled the province from 96 until his accession in 98. The Helvetii settlement area became part of the province of Germania Superior.
Post 400, as Rome slowly was losing control over its northern most provinces over a period of 50 years, the southern (Swiss) parts of Germania Superior were incorporated into the Provincia Maxima Sequanorum before they became part of Burgundy in the early 5th century. The northern parts became part of Alemannia.
Argentoratum or Argentorate was the ancient name of the city of Strasbourg. The name was first mentioned in 12 BC, when it was a Roman military outpost established by Nero Claudius Drusus. From 90 AD the Legio VIII Augusta was permanently stationed there.Caerellius Priscus
Caerellius Priscus is the name given to the man on an inscription recovered at Mogontiacum (Mainz), set up by a governor of Germania Superior who was afterwards governor of Roman Britain in the late 170s.
The name of his son in the inscription implies that his gentilicum was "Caerellius", which is how Anthony Birley refers to him. Edmund Groag suggested the dedicant might be Asellius Aemilianus proconsul of 192-193, but Birley disagrees. Birley also admits "Caerellius" might be identical with Gaius Caerellius Sabinus, legate of Legio XIII Gemina and afterwards governor of Raetia, but finds several objections to this, most notably that Sabinus' wife was Fufidia Pollitta and the wife of the man in this inscription was named Modestiana. Birley concludes by stating the "most likely" identification of "Caerellius" is with Caerellius Priscus, praetor tutelaris under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, between the years 161 through 169. This is the same identification that Géza Alföldy makes.Danube–Iller–Rhine Limes
The Danube–Iller–Rhine Limes (German: Donau-Iller-Rhein-Limes) or DIRL was a large-scale defensive system of the Roman Empire that was built after the project for the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes in the late 3rd century AD. In a narrower sense the term refers only to the fortifications between Lake Constance (Lacus Brigantinus) and the River Danube (Danubius); in a broader sense it also includes the other Late Roman fortifications on the Upper Rhine (Rhenus) and Upper Danube.Gaius Aufidius Victorinus
Gaius Aufidius Victorinus was a Roman senator and general of the second century. A friend of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and the son-in-law of the advocate and orator Marcus Cornelius Fronto, he was twice consul and governor of several Roman provinces.Gaius Silius
Gaius Silius (died AD 24) was a Roman senator who achieved successes as a general over German barbarians following the disaster of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. For this achievement he was appointed consul in AD 13 with Lucius Munatius Plancus as his colleague. However, years later Silius became entangled in machinations of the ambitious Praetorian prefect Sejanus and was forced to commit suicide.
Due to an ambiguity in the Fasti Capitolini, experts such as Mommsen and Attilio Degrassi believed Silius' full name was Gaius Silius Aulus Caecina Largus. However, Arthur and Joyce Gordon pointed out that the form of this name, known as polyonymy, was unusual, preceding any other known example by fifty years, and suggested, based on admittedly less reliable sources, that this entry was more accurately read as two names: Gaius Silius, and Aulus Caecina Largus, the latter an otherwise unknown senator. Although this reading was endorsed by Ronald Syme, it was considered as only a possibility until Diana Gorostidi Pi showed an inscription she called Fasti consulares Tusculani proved these were two distinct individuals.Germania
Germania (; Latin: [ɡɛrˈmaː.ni.a]) was the Roman term for the geographical region in north-central Europe inhabited mainly by Germanic peoples.
It extended from the Danube in the south to the Baltic Sea, and from the Rhine in the west to the Vistula. The Roman portions formed two provinces of the Empire, Germania Inferior to the north (present-day southern Netherlands, Belgium, and western Germany), and Germania Superior to the south (Switzerland, southwestern Germany, and eastern France).
Germania was inhabited mostly by Germanic tribes, but also Celts, Balts, Scythians and later on Early Slavs. The population mix changed over time by assimilation, and especially by migration. The ancient Greeks were the first to mention the tribes in the area. Later, Julius Caesar wrote about warlike Germanic tribesmen and their threat to Roman Gaul, and there were military clashes between the Romans and the indigenous tribes. Tacitus wrote the most complete account of Germania that still survives.
The origin of the term "Germania" is uncertain, but was known by Caesar's time, and may be Gaulish in origin.Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Gaetulicus
Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Gaetulicus (died AD 39) was a Roman senator and general. He was ordinary consul in the year 26 with Gaius Calvisius Sabinus as his colleague. Gaetulicus was involved in a plot against the emperor Caligula, and following its discovery he was executed.Lautertal Limes
The Lautertal Limes (in German also: Sibyllenspur or Sybillenspur) is a Roman limes section of the early 2nd century which is located between the River Neckar and the Swabian Jura. It extends for a distance of 23 kilometres (14 mi), running, straight as a die, from the present-day municipality of Köngen on the Neckar (Lat: Grinario) in the northwest to Donnstetten (Lat: Clarenna) in the Swabian Jura to the southeast.Legio IV Macedonica
Legio quarta Macedonica ("Macedonian Fourth Legion"), was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in 48 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar (dictator of Rome 49-44 BC) with Italian legionaries. The legion was disbanded in AD 70 by Emperor Vespasian. The legion symbols were a bull (as with all of Caesar's legions) and a capricorn.
In 48 BC, the Roman Republic was decaying rapidly. Caesar had crossed the Rubicon River in the year before, starting a civil war. Pompey, Cato the younger and the rest of the conservative faction of the senate had fled to Greece. Caesar was preparing to follow in pursuit and, among other preparations, levied Legio IV. The first battles of the legion were Dyrrhachium and Pharsalus, where Caesar defeated Pompey. After this, the legion was stationed in the province of Macedonia, attaining thus its cognomen.
IV Macedonica sided always with Julius Caesar's adopted son, Octavian, first against Caesar's murderers in the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, then against Mark Antony in the naval Battle of Actium in 31 BC.
Octavian, now Augustus, sent the legion to Hispania Tarraconensis in 30 BC, to take part in the Cantabrian Wars. In 25 BC, they served as the decisive force in the Battle of Vellica under the personal command of Augustus. After Augustus' victory in 13 BC, the legion remained in the province, but its effectives were spread through the Iberian Peninsula.
In 43, the legion was transferred to Germania Superior, to replace XIV Gemina as the garrison of Moguntiacum (modern Mainz). Along with XXII Primigenia, the legion supported Vitellius, governor of Germania Superior, in the Year of the Four Emperors (69), first against Otho, then Vespasian, who would become emperor in the end.
During the Batavian rebellion (69/70), IV Macedonica secured Moguntiacum and fought under Petillius Cerialis against the rebels. Their actions deserved no reproach but Vespasian did not trust its men, probably due to their support for Vitellius. The legion was disbanded in 70, but reconstituted shortly afterwards under the name of Legio IV Flavia Felix.
But we have older references about Legio IV.
Cicero, in Somnium Scipionis, refers Scipio Aemilianus as a tribune of the Fourth Legion.
"1 (6.9) Cum in Africam venissem M'. Manilio consuli ad quartam legionem tribunus...".Legio XXI Rapax
Legio vigesima prima rapax ("Rapacious Twenty-First Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. It was founded in 31 BC by the emperor Augustus (r. 30 BC - AD 14), probably from men previously enlisted in other legions. The XXI Rapax was destroyed in 92 by the Sarmatians. The symbol of the legion is thought to have been a capricorn.
Augustus probably sent his new XXIst legion to Hispania Tarraconensis to fight the campaign against the Cantabrians. XXI Rapax was one of the five legions used by Drusus to suppress the rebellion of the Raetians, in 16-15 BC. From 15 BC, the legion was stationed in Castra Regina (Regensburg), in the new province of Raetia.
After the disaster of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the legion was sent as reinforcements to Germania Inferior, where they shared the base camp of Castra Vetera (Xanten) with V Alaudae. Both Legio V and Legio XXI were involved in a mutiny in AD 14. In 43, they were relocated in Vindonissa, in the province of Germania Superior.
The legion occupied Vindonissa from 46 to 69 with two auxiliary cohorts, first the III Hispanorum and VI Raetorum, and later the VII Raetorum equitata and the XXVI voluntariorum civium Romanorum.
Along with the rest of the German border army, the XXI Rapax supported its commander, Vitellius, in the Year of the Four Emperors (69) and marched to besiege Rome. Vitellius was, however, defeated by Vespasian before the end of the year.
In 70, the legion was part of the army sent to deal with the Batavian rebellion and relieve the four legions imprisoned by Civilis. After that they were sent to Germania Superior, where they shared the castrum (camp) of Moguntiacum (modern day Mainz) with XIV Gemina.
In 89, the legions in Moguntiacum supported their commander, Lucius Antonius Saturninus, in his revolt against emperor Domitian. After the end of this unsuccessful insurrection, the legions were separated and XXI Rapax sent to Pannonia. The legion was probably destroyed in 92, while fighting on the Lower Danube against Sarmatians, presumably a reference to the Roxolani.Limes Germanicus
The Limes Germanicus (Latin for Germanic frontier) was a line of frontier (limes) fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD. At its height, the limes stretched from the North Sea outlet of the Rhine to near Regensburg (Castra Regina) on the Danube. Those two major rivers afforded natural protection from mass incursions into imperial territory, with the exception of a gap stretching roughly from Mogontiacum (Mainz) on the Rhine to Castra Regina.
The Limes Germanicus was divided into:
The Lower Germanic Limes, which extended from the North Sea at Katwijk in the Netherlands along the then main Lower Rhine branches (modern Oude Rijn, Leidse Rijn, Kromme Rijn, Nederrijn)
The Upper Germanic Limes started from the Rhine at Rheinbrohl (Neuwied (district)) across the Taunus mountains to the river Main (East of Hanau), then along the Main to Miltenberg, and from Osterburken (Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis) south to Lorch (in Ostalbkreis, Württemberg) in a nearly perfect straight line of more than 70 km;
The Rhaetian Limes extended east from Lorch to Eining (close to Kelheim) on the Danube.The total length was 568 km (353 mi). It included at least 60 forts and 900 watchtowers. The potentially weakest, hence most heavily guarded, part of the Limes was the aforementioned gap between the westward bend of the Rhine at modern-day Mainz and the main flow of the Danube at Regensburg. This 300-km wide land corridor between the two great rivers permitted movement of large groups of people without the need for water transport, hence the heavy concentration of forts and towers there, arranged in depth and in multiple layers along waterways, fords, roads, and hilltops.Lucius Antonius Saturninus
Lucius Antonius Saturninus was a Roman Senator and general during the reign of Vespasian and his sons. While governor of the province Germania Superior, motivated by a personal grudge against Emperor Domitian, he led a rebellion known as the Revolt of Saturninus, involving the legions Legio XIV Gemina and Legio XXI Rapax, camped in Moguntiacum (Mainz).Main Limes
The Main Limes (German: Mainlimes), also called the Nasser Limes, was built around 90 A. D. and, as part of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, formed the frontier of the Roman Empire in the area between the present day villages of Großkrotzenburg and Bürgstadt. In this section the limes adjoined the River Main (Moenus), which forms a natural boundary for about 50 kilometres here, so "Main" refers to the river.Neckar-Odenwald Limes
The Neckar-Odenwald Limes (German: Neckar-Odenwald-Limes) is a collective term for two, very different early sections of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, a Roman defensive frontier line that may have been utilised during slightly different periods in history. The Neckar-Odenwald Limes consists of the northern Odenwald Limes (Odenwaldlimes), a cross-country limes with camps, watchtowers and palisades, which linked the River Main (Latin: Moenus) with the Neckar (Latin: Nicer), and the adjoining southern Neckar Limes (Neckarlimes), which in earlier research was seen as a typical 'riverine limes' (German: Nasser Limes; Latin: limes ripa), whereby the river replaced the function of the palisade as an approach obstacle. More recent research has thrown a different light on this way of viewing things that means may have to be relativized in future. The resulting research is ongoing.Romano-Germanic culture
The term Romano-Germanic describes the conflation of Roman culture with that of various Germanic peoples in areas successively ruled by the Roman Empire and Germanic "barbarian monarchies".
These include the kingdoms of the Visigoths (in Hispania and Gallia Narbonensis), the Ostrogoths (in Italia, Sicilia, Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, Dalmatia and Dacia), the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in Sub-Roman Britain and finally the Franks who established the nucleus of the later "Holy Roman Empire" in Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Belgica, Germania Superior and Inferior, and parts of the previously unconquered Germania Magna. Additionally, minor Germanic tribes, like the Vandals, the Suebi, and the Visigoths established kingdoms in Hispania.
The cultural syncretism of Roman and Germanic traditions overlaid the earlier syncretism of Roman culture with the Celtic culture of the respective imperial provinces, Gallo-Roman culture in Gaul and Romano-British culture in Britain. This results in a triple fusion of Celtic-Roman-Germanic culture for France and England in particular.
Romano-Germanic cultural contact begins as early as the first Roman accounts of the Germanic peoples. Roman influence is perceptible beyond the boundaries of the empire, in the Northern European Roman Iron Age of the first centuries AD. The nature of this cultural contact changes with the decline of the Roman Empire and the beginning Migration period in the wake of the crisis of the third century: the "barbarian" peoples of Germania Magna formerly known as mercenaries and traders now came as invaders and eventually as a new ruling elite, even in Italy itself, beginning with Odoacer's rise to the rank of Dux Italiae in 476 AD.
The cultural syncretism was most pronounced in Francia. In West Francia, the nucleus of what was to become France, the Frankish language was eventually extinct, but not without leaving significant traces in the emerging Romance language. In East Francia on the other hand, the nucleus of what was to become the kingdom of Germany and ultimately German-speaking Europe, the syncretism was less pronounced since only its southernmost portion had ever been part of the Roman Empire, as Germania Superior: all territories on the right hand side of the Rhine remain Germanic-speaking. Those parts of the Germanic sphere extends along the left of the Rhine, including the Swiss plateau, the Alsace, the Rhineland and Flanders, are the parts where Romano-Germanic cultural contact remains most evident.
Early Germanic law reflects the coexistence of Roman and Germanic cultures during the Migration period in applying separate laws to Roman and Germanic individuals, notably the Lex Romana Visigothorum (506), the Lex Romana Curiensis and the Lex Romana Burgundionum. The separate cultures amalgamated after Christianization, and by the Carolingian period the distinction of Roman vs. Germanic subjects had been replaced by the feudal system of the Three Estates of the Realm.Rottweil
Rottweil (German: [ˈʁɔtvaɪl] (listen); Swabian: Rautweil) is a town in southwest Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Rottweil was a Free Imperial City for nearly 600 years.
Located between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alps, Rottweil has about 25,000 inhabitants. The old town is famous for its medieval center and for its traditional carnival, (called "Fasnet" in the local Swabian dialect). It is the oldest town in Baden-Württemberg and its appearance has changed very little since the 16th century.Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes
The Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes (German: Obergermanisch-Raetische Limes), or ORL, is a 550-kilometre-long section of the former external frontier of the Roman Empire between the rivers Rhine and Danube. It runs from Rheinbrohl to Eining on the Danube. The Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes is an archaeological site and, since 2005, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together with the Lower Germanic Limes it forms part of the Limes Germanicus.Vangiones
The Vangiones appear first in history as an ancient Germanic tribe of unknown provenance. They threw in their lot with Ariovistus in his bid of 58 BC to invade Gaul through the Doubs river valley and lost to Julius Caesar in a battle probably near Belfort. After some Celts evacuated the region in fear of the Suebi, the Vangiones, who had made a Roman peace, were allowed to settle among the Mediomatrici in northern Alsace. (Metz however is now in Lorraine). They gradually assumed control of the Celtic city of Burbetomagus, later Worms.
The emperor, Augustus, cultivated them as allies, intending to invade Germany through the region between the Rhine and the Danube. He had Drusus place two forts among the Vangiones, castrum Moguntiacum (13 BC, later Mainz) and one of unknown name (14 BC) at Worms. From there troops of the Vangiones were inducted into the Roman army. When he changed his mind after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, the Vangiones were used for garrison duty on the far-flung northern frontier of the province of Britannia, Hadrian's Wall.
The Vangiones of Germania Superior held their position as a bulwark of civilized might as long as Germania Superior existed. Under the Roman Republic they were not among the Belgae, an alliance of Celticised Germanic tribes in northeastern France. In the early empire this name was extended by the Romans to all the Celticised Germans in northern France (the forerunners of the Franks), among whom were now the Vangiones.
In the late empire what was left of Germania Superior was divided into "First Germany" and "Second Germany", the first comprising the Vangiones, Worms and Mainz. The identity disappeared nearly altogether when the region was overrun by the Alemanni and became Alisatia. The Vangiones then merged into the Alemanni. Only names local to Worms remembered the presence of the Vangiones, such as the Bishop of the Vangiones. The fate of the Vangionic troops in Britain is uncertain. Some may have remained as a Scottish tribe (see under Moguns), but that hypothesis is more speculative than not.Wetterau Limes
The Wetterau Limes is the name given in the field of historical research to that part of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes which enclosed the region that became known later as the Wetterau in the German state of Hesse.