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AUGUSTA VINDELICUM (Augsburg) Bavaria, Germany.

On the broad spit between Wertach (Virdo) and Lech (Licca). No pre-Roman Celtic settlement seems to have existed there. The oldest Roman finds come from Oberhausen, a W suburb of Augsburg. Thousands of early Roman objects, in part military, were found 2 km NW on the other side of the Wertach and outside the area of the later city. This is supposedly the location of a legion area camp of Augustan times, built after the Alpine campaign of Drusus and Tiberius in 15 B.C. It existed from ca. 10-5 B.C. until A.D. 17 at the latest. The garrison consisted probably of one or two legions. When the camp was given up in early Tiberian times, the area between the two rivers was extensively settled. During this time there was probably at first a garrison in the area of the later provincial capital. Under Claudius at the latest, Augusta became the provincial capital of Raetia. The legal status of Augusta in the 1st c. A.D. is still obscure; it probably corresponded to a civitas (of the Vindelici). The concept colonia (Tac. Germ. 41: splendidissima Raetiae provinciae colonia) is therefore probably not used in the strict sense of municipal law. Only under Hadrian did Augsburg acquire the status of a Roman municipium. At this time the municipal fortifications were probably completed. After the transfer of a legion under Marcus Aurelius to Raetia (Legio III Italica to Castra Regina), Augusta remained the seat of the legatus Augusti pro praetore. The town was damaged extensively during the Allemanic invasions in the 3d c. A.D. After the Diocletian reform, Augusta remained capital of the province Raetia Secunda, and became perhaps, in the 4th c., the seat of the bishop for this province. The fate of the town and of the Roman population in the 5th and 6th c. is largely unknown. Continuity of the Christian cult is confirmed through literary sources. The martyr Afra (died 304) was buried in the Roman necropolis on the Via Claudia near the present Church of SS. Ulrich and Afra. Venantius Fortunatus (A.D. 565) still found active veneration of the saint there.

The supposed legion camp of Augustan times was located W of the Wertach, 2 km N of the town area proper. No traces of the camp have been discovered so far but there have been several thousand finds of bronze, iron, and ceramic, which in part belonged to the equipment of the Roman legionnaires. The 380 coins and Italic terra sigillata suggest dating between 10-5 B.C. and A.D. 17. Recently the existence of a legionary camp has been questioned and different interpretations—though not fully convincing—of the finds have been offered. The extent of the settlement in the area of the Roman town between Wertach and Lech is difficult to judge since the Roman strata lie as deep as 7 m under today's level. Post Roman, mediaeval, and modern buildings were superimposed and caused partial destruction. No buildings above ground exist today. The division of the town does not correspond to the customary schematic insula system. It was evidently oriented along the major roads coming from the S (Via Claudia) and W. Probably those two roads formed the major axes of the decumanus and cardo. The total area of the settlement (ca. 800 m square) was fairly evenly built up by the middle of the 1st c. At this time wooden buildings were predominant and a strong palisade as part of the town's fortifications is said to have existed. These were gradually built up in stone in the late 1st and above all in the 2d c. A.D. (especially under Hadrian), the time of the town's greatest prosperity. To this period perhaps belongs also the town's stone wall, large parts of which can be followed to the W. Here is the only gate that has been discovered, with two rectangular towers. There is no trace of such public buildings as forum, temple, theater, amphitheater. A sizable bath building was found in the N (Georgenstrasse). Parts of presumably public buildings (temple?) were found in the NE (Pettenkoferstrasse). In various places all over town, buildings ascribed to several periods were found, usually living quarters, but also small temples, warehouses, etc. A large house with a peristyle, probably from Hadrian's time, S of the cathedral, had been rebuilt several times. In this vicinity, under the remains of the Church of St. John (pulled down in the 10th c.) is a baptistery which is Early Christian; the exact dating is, however, not known.

In Late Roman times the town was evidently completely resettled, at least Late Roman finds occur in the whole town area. It may be assumed that the fortified district was reduced to the area of the later bishopric, as in other Roman towns in the Gallic-Germanic area.

The existence of Early Christian cult buildings can be assumed although archaeologically not proven. They are supposed to have been in the vicinity of the cathedral near St. Stephan and outside of the town to the S near the Roman necropolis.

The Römische Museum (Dominikanerkirche) contains all Roman and post-Roman finds from Augusta. A number of Roman inscriptions and sculptures are to be seen on the so-called Roman Wall of the Cathedral.


Oberhausen: G. Ulbert, “Die römische Keramik aus dem Legionslager Augsburg-Oberhausen,” Materialhefte z. Bayer. Vorgeschichte 14 (1960); K. Kraft, “Zum Legionslager Augsburg-Oberhausen,” Aus Bayerns Frühzeit. Fr. Wagner z. 75. Geburtstag (1962) 139ff; W. Hubener, “Die röm. Metallfunde von Augsburg-Oberhausen,” Materialhefte & Bayer. Vorgeschichte 28 (1973).

Augusta Vindelicum: F. Vollmer, Inscriptiones Baiuariae (1915) No. 95ff; F. Wagner, “Neue Inschriften aus Raetien,” Ber. RGKomm. 37-38 (1956-57) No. 21ff; L. Ohlenroth, “Zum Stadtplan der Augusta Vindelicum,” Germania 32 (1954) 76ff; id., Bayer. Vorgeschichtsbl. 21 (1956) 256ff; 22 (1957) 179ff; W. Hübener, “Zum römischen und frühmittelalterlichen Augsburg,” Jahrb. RGZM. 5 (1958) 154ff; W. Schleiermacher, Augusta Vindelicum. Germania Romana I. Römerstädte in Deutschland (1960) 78ff.


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