At the border of the Roman Empire

Siebengebirge history, At the Border of the Roman Empire
Siebengebirge history, At the Border of the Roman Empire

Roman era in the Siebengebirge. Our region is military area at the border of the Roman Empire, Germania Inferior. Roman quarries Drachenfels.

Caesar’s Gallic War had brought Roman legions to the Rhine. After his victory, the Rhine was the border between Roman territory on the left bank and the free Germania on the right.

Border region

The Siebengebirge were in sight of the Roman legion camps in Bonn, even Cologne. Although our region was part of the free Germania Magna, it remained important to the Romans, most of all for economic reasons. From around 50 onwards, they ran large trachyte quarries at Mount Drachenfels and transported them northwards. In Bonn and Cologne, even in Xanten and Nijmegen Drachenfels trachyte was used.

We know only very little about the people who lived in and around the Siebengebirge back then. What we know comes from Roman sources, and the archaeologists have found only very little here from the Roman era. Certainly, right at the frontier, a “normal” life was not possible, neither for the Romans nor for the Germanics.

500 years

For about 500 years, the events within the Empire and its long defense fight determined life on both sides of the frontier. The campaigns of Drusus and Tiberius, Arminius’ revolt and the Battle in the Teutoburg Forest, Arminius, the Batavian revolt, the limes, Frankish and Alamanni raids. Eventually, the Francs conquered Cologne around 450.

Therefore, let us look at the 500 years at the border of the Roman Empire.

A look beyond the Rhineland
The Romans had conquered Britain in a forty year long bloody war (Roman Britain, 44-407). In 122, emperor Hadrian, who visited almost every Roman province, came to the Rhine. From there he traveled on to Britannia, and took the legion VI Victrix from Neuss and units of the legion I Minervia from Bonn with him. So probably men from Bonn helped building Hadrian’s Wall.

Roman Empire
At the border of the Roman Empire | Germania Inferior | New Enemies: Francs an Alamanni | Late Antiquity

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