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ARBOR FELIX (Arbon) Thurgau, Switzerland.

Roman fort on the SW shore of Lake Constance, about 30 km W of Brigantium (Bregenz). Mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary (237.5, 251.3), the Not.Dig.Occ. (35.34), Amm. Marc. (31.10.20). Arbor is the first station on the Rhine-Danube highway E of the Raetian border at Ad Fines. A large fort was built here, probably under Diocletian, on a peninsula in the lake. In the 4th c. a military flotilla, a numerus barcariorum, was stationed at Constance or Brigantium, and Arbor is strategically located midway between them. The fortress was occupied probably until the late 5th c., towards the end by the Cohors Herculea Pannoniorum. Some remains were visible until the 16th c., and since the late 19th c. the vicus, its cemeteries, and parts of the fortress have been excavated.

Little is known of the plan and buildings of the settlement. In antiquity the fort at the tip of the peninsula lay on the shore, but today it is a short distance inland. It was surrounded on three sides by the lake; the fourth must have been protected by a rampart and ditch, now under the modern town. The fortress, adapted to the terrain, had an irregular plan (ca. 150 x 65-80 m, area 1 ha). In the N part a mediaeval castle was built on the Roman foundations and walls, and to the S a church of St. Martin and a chapel of St. Gallus. The walls, which have been partially explored, had towers of various shapes both at the corners and on the sides: rectangular, semicircular, or segments of circles. Above the foundations the walls were 2.6 m thick, but 2 m towards the lake. The remains of one SW tower are preserved to some height. The interior of the fort has not been completely explored, but the church of St. Martin may be built over a 4th c. sanctuary as in Tenedo and Castrum Rauracense. A church and a Christian community inside the walls are attested in the Vita Sancti Galli. The museum is in the castle.


F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit (3d ed. 1948) 313, 323, 597; E. Vonbank, “Arbor Felix, zu den Ausgrabungen 1958-1962 in Arbon,” UrSchweiz 28 (1964) 1-24PI; id., Jb. Schweiz. Gesell. f. Urgeschichte 51 (1964) 107; H. Lieb & R. Wüthrich, Lexikon Topographicum der römischen und frühmittelalterlichen Schweiz 1 (1967) 20-22.


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