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MOGONTIACUM (Mainz) Germany.

The name goes back to a Celtic god Mogon or a den Mogontia, but no important Celtic settlement has been found in Mainz. During the reign of Augustus, two legions built a fortified camp here on a rise opposite the mouth of the Main, between 15 and 12 B.C. From then on it was one of the important military bases for Roman campaigns against the Germanic tribes. Two legions were always stationed in Mogontiacum up to the time of Domitian. The garrison was reduced to one legion after the Saturninus rebellion of 88-89. It has been proved that the Legio XXII Primigenia Pia Fidelis was stationed in Mogontiacum from A.D. 92 until the first half of the 4th c. Abandoned no later than the middle of the 4th c., the camp is mentioned several times in literature (Tac. Hist. 4 passim). Archaeological exploration of the camp has been very limited though the outline of the fortifications is known (area ca. 36 ha). Except for a few minor ruins, only the military bath buildings are known within the interior. From Augustan to Flavian times the fortifications and interior buildings were of wood; several building periods can be established. Later, the fortifications and inner buildings were rebuilt in stone. Today nothing can be seen of the legionary camp.

A civilian settlement around the camp developed during the 1st c. A.D. and was subdivided into several vici. In the reign of Domitian, Mogontiacum became the main town of the province Germania Superior and the seat of the governor, a legatus Augusti pr. (pr. with the rank of consul). The center of the civilian settlement was between the legionary camp and the Rhine, under what is today the old town of Mainz. Until the 4th c., it did not have municipal status although it developed early the appearance and functions of a town. The excavated amphitheater (no longer visible) was comparable to the largest in Gaul. Not until about 355 did Mogontiacum become a municipium. A wall around the civilian settlement was built in the middle of the 4th c., parts of it possibly earlier. The wall surrounded an area of ca. 120 ha. Because this area is completely built-up today, archaeological excavations are not feasible. The Roman bridge from Mogontiacum across the Rhine is shown on a Late Classical lead medallion. None of it exists, but the bridge piers had been investigated before their destruction in the 19th c.

In the second half of the 4th c. the town was the seat of the dux Mogontiacensis, who was the military commander of a sector of the Rhine frontier (Not. Dig. 0cc. 41). Roman occupation ended in 406 when the Roman troops abandoned the Rhine frontier. However, the town continued, although greatly reduced, as bishopric.

Today the so-called Römersteine, pillars of an aqueduct that provided water for the camp (probably of Flavian times), can be seen in Mainz-Zahlbach. In the modern citadel of Mainz is a large Roman tombstone, the Eichelstein; it is probably not identical with the cenotaph of Drusus mentioned by Eutropius 7.13. A part of the old town wall still exists on the Kästrich, in part modified by mediaeval reconstructions. The Late Roman foundations of the town wall show spolia, among them stone inscriptions and fragments from various buildings (the so-called octogon building, the Dativius Victor Arch, reliefs from a Flavian victory monument). The most important finds are in the Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum in Mainz; among them are numerous military and civilian stone inscriptions and the large Jupiter column. Worth mentioning also is the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, an archaeological research center.


D. Baatz, Mogontiacum, Limesforschungen 4 (1962)MP; H. v. Petrikovits, “Mogontiacum—das römische Mainz,” Mainzer Zeitschrift 58 (1963) 27-36; Mainz, Führer zu vor- und frühgeschichtlichen Denkmälern 11 (1969) [publ. by Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz]MPI.


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