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AQUAE HELVETICAE (Baden) Aargau, Switzerland.

Roman vicus on the W bank of the Limmat, 32 km downstream from Zurich. The name occurs in an inscription, CIL XIII 10027, 204 = Howald-Meyer no. 448: Aquis He(lveticis) Gemellianus f(ecit). The site is on a hairpin curve, where the river flows for 2.2 km in a ravine with a bottleneck at each end. The vicus developed from the river crossing of the military road from Aventicum and Augusta Raurica to Raetia, and also because of hot springs on both sides of the bend. It was settled in the early years of Tiberius' reign, and during the 1st c. A.D. a military post manned from the legionary camp of Vindonissa, 7 km away, guarded road and bridge. Sacked in A.D. 69 by the legions of Vitellius under Caecina, because the Helvetii sided with Galba (Tac. 1.67-69), it recovered and flourished until the incursions of the Alamanni ca. A.D. 260. Habitation continued, however, through the 4th c.

The Roman site lies N of the mediaeval town and bridge, near the upper bottleneck. It extends on both sides of the Roman road between the bridge and the foot of the Martinsberg, where cemeteries have been found. A fortification wall, once visible on the left bank of the river from the bridge to the Martinsberg, which was not precisely dated, has now disappeared. There was a military lookout on the hilltop. Bathing establishments are still built over the hot springs, making excavation impossible.

The W part of the vicus appears to have been a business district, with the short sides of oblong buildings lining the road. The E part, under the modern casino park, was residential; villa-like buildings with wall paintings and mosaics have been discovered. The destruction level of A.D. 69 is noticeable throughout. A building (40 x 35 m), with 14 rooms containing many medical instruments, has been identified as a hospital for the legionary camp at Vindonissa. Legionary titles indicate that the hospital was built by the army.

The baths covered an area of at least 35 by 30 m. Built against the slope where the springs gush out, the rooms were cut at different levels in the gravel. The foundations were laid on wooden piles and the basin walls were isolated by clay packing. Two of the latter have been explored, and are partly preserved under the Stadhof. There is no heating system. Wide seats or steps surround one basin beneath the water level, and votive deposits have been found in a shaft. A temple to Isis is attested near Wettingen, ca. 1.7 km upstream (CIL XIII, 5233), and a possibly related silver treasure was found and melted down in 1663. The historical museum is in the Landvogteischloss.


F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit (3d ed. 1948) 189-90, 472; V. v. Gonzenbach, BonnJbb 163 (1963) 100-1; O. Mittler, Geschichte der Stadt Baden (2d ed. 1966) 17-36PI, 356 (bibl. 1948-66); C. M. Wells, The German Policy of Augustus (1972); excavations: AnzSchweiz (1872) 309-12; (1893) 262-69; (1895) 434-41, 458-62; (1896) 2-5PI (hospital and villas); H. R. Wiedemer, “Die Entdeckung der römischen Heilthermen von Baden-Aquae Helveticae 1967,” Jber. Gesell. Pro Vindonissa (1967) 83-93; Jb. Schweiz. Gesell. f. Urgeschichte 55 (1970) 204-5.


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