fort on the left bank of the Aare, between Aarau and
Solothurn. The ancient name Ollodunum is conjectured
from mediaeval Oltun. The name and the location at
the S foot of two passes over the Jura ridges make the
existence of a pre-Roman oppidum probable, but in any
case the vicus developed because the military road from
Aventicum to Vindonissa crossed the Aare here. In the
4th c. a fortress was built to protect the Rhone-Rhine
waterway, one of a chain of similar defenses on the Aare.
The vicus is attested mainly by tombstones and some
few remains discovered accidentally. The walls of the
mediaeval city, however, correspond roughly to those of
the late Roman fortress, the plan of which was bell-shaped with the base towards the river (area ca. 1.23 ha).
Parts of the ancient walls are visible in basements of
the mediaeval town. The present wooden bridge is probably on the site of the Roman one; here also was the main gate, in the middle of the wall along the river front. The Historisches Museum is on the Konradstrasse.
E. Häfliger, “Das römische Olten,” Festschrift E. Tatarinoff
(1938) 26-40; F. Staehelin, Die
Schweiz in römischer Zeit
(3d ed. 1948) 309-10, 363,
; V. von Gonzenbach, BonnJbb
163 (1963) 95; Jb.
Schweiz. Gesell. f. Urgeschichte
49 (1962) 82-83; 51
(1964) 118; 56 (1971) 221-22; E. Müller, “Das römische Castrum in Olten,” Oltner Neujahrsblätter
V. VON GONZENBACH