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ALTENBURG Aargau, Switzerland.

Roman fort on the right bank of the Aare, just W of Brugg. The ancient name is unknown. A rocky ford here necessitated protection for nearby military roads and for a bridge leading to the legionary camp of Vindonissa 2 km to the E. There are few traces of the 1st c. A.D. military installations, but under Diocletian or Valentinian I a fort was built, a link in a chain of defenses on the Rhine-Aare waterway similar to Salodurum and Ollodunum. About A.D. 401 the site was abandoned by the garrison, but the fortress survived in part because in the Early Middle Ages it was transformed into a castle of the Habsburg family.

The fortress was small (60 x 40 m; area 2929 sq. m) and exclusively military; it did not include an earlier civil settlement or the river-fort mentioned above. The walls were ca. 3 m thick and the plan was bell-shaped, with the base (ca. 65 m) towards the river. There were probably eight towers, semicircular or larger segments of circles (max. diam. 6 m), and two gates, the main one flanked by two towers. Some of the towers still stand 3-8 m high (four have been excavated). A berm (18 m wide) and a double ditch (each 8 m wide) surrounded the fortress.

See also Limes, Rhine.


R. Laur-Belart, “Altenburg,” AnzSchweiz 37 (1935) 172, 174-75PI; H. Herzig, “Das Kastell Altenbung,” Jber. Gesell. Pro Vindonissa (1946-47) 69-71PI; F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit (3d ed. 1948) 309-11, 632; E. Ettlinger, RE IX A (1961) 95; T. Pékary, Jber. Gesell. Pro Vindonissa (1966) 12-13.


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