(Baden) Aargau, Switzerland.
Roman vicus on the W bank of the Limmat,
32 km downstream from Zurich. The name occurs in an
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
5233), and a possibly related silver treasure was found
and melted down in 1663. The historical museum is in
F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer
(3d ed. 1948) 189-90, 472; V. v. Gonzenbach,
163 (1963) 100-1; O. Mittler, Geschichte der
(2d ed. 1966) 17-36PI
, 356 (bibl. 1948-66);
C. M. Wells, The German Policy of Augustus
(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.
V. VON GONZENBACH