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WELSCHBILLIG Bitgau, Germany.

A Roman villa at Welschbillig, 12 km NW of Trier in the S Eifel. In the Frankish period Welschbillig was the government center of the Long Wall region, a domain of ca. 220 sq. km, surrounded by a wall 72 km long. The walls were built in the second half of the 4th c. At that time the domain was an imperial possession.

In 1891 a systematic excavation at the Gothic Burgtor in Welschbillig uncovered a nymphaeum, a pool (58.3 x 17.8 m) with 70 herms, which had supported a balustrade at the pool, and other remains of a large villa. The herms, made ca. 370-80, form one of the largest sculptural groups of unified conception dating from the Late Antique period. They represent gods, philosophers (Socrates), poets (Menander), orators (Demosthenes), generals (Philip II of Macedonia), emperors (Antoninus Pius), and barbarians. As in the contemporary contorniates, the number of imaginary portraits is large. The villa was apparently an imperial summer palace in the 4th c. All finds from Welschbillig are today at the Rheinische Landesmuseum in Trier. The dig has been reburied.


H. Wrede, “Die spätantike Hermengalerie von Welschbillig,” Römisch-Germanische Forschungen 32 (1972).


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