previous next

TASGAETIUM (Untersechenz and Stein am Rhein) Thurgau and Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Vicus and fort on the Rhine just below the SW end of Lake Constance, mentioned by Ptolemy (2.12.3) and inscriptions (CIL XIII, 5254, 5256-57 = Howald-Meyer nos. 368-370). Tasgaetium was immediately E of the frontier of Germania Superior, where the roads from Ad Fines and Vitudurum crossed the Rhine.

In the early 1st c. A.D. a military post was built on Werd, an island in midstream which also supported a bridge. The earth and timber fort, which must have stood on the left bank of the river during the 1st c., has not been found, but is tentatively located at In Höfen. The vicus developed under its protection in the early 1st c. A.D., and by the 2d c. had extended to both sides of the river. During the 2d and 3d c. there was probably a statio of beneficiarii. Under Diocletian a fort was built on the left bank, on an elevation called “Burg” 1.5 km downstream. It was probably abandoned in A.D. 401.

Little is known of the vicus, built over today, except for the baths, a rectangular building (21 x 13.2 m; 6 rooms) built in the 1st c. A.D., probably by the garrison. On each side of Werd island four wooden piles to carry the bridge (6.4 m wide) have been found. Off the left bank to the right of the bridge was a boat landing. The bridgehead on the right bank has been washed away.

The Late Roman fortress was almost square (ca. 90 m on a side; area 8000 sq. in), with circular towers at the corners. Regularly spaced on each side were two towers, with rounded foundations and polygonal walls. The main entrance in the middle of the S wall was flanked by two more towers. The walls were 2.85 m thick, and faced with hewn blocks. The N wall has collapsed but the others are visible, as well as a tower at the S corner and the main gate. A ditch 10 m wide ran 43 m outside the S wall. Inside the fortress, where there is now a church and its appendages, a few traces of Roman installations have been found, including a rectangular structure (32 x 12 m).

The Klostermuseum St. Georgen is in Stein am Rhein and the Heimatmuseum am Untersee in Steckborn.

(See also Limes, Rhine.)


F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit (3d ed. 1948) 184-85, 272-74, 622P; H. Urner-Astholz, “Ur- und Frühgeschichte,” Gesch. der Stadt Stein am Rhein (1957) 20-41P; bridge: AnzSchweiz 2 (1900) 166-70P; 4 (1902-3) 121-37P; bath: V. von Gonzenbach, Die römischen Mosaiken der Schweiz (1961) 105-6; summaries: Jb. Schweiz. Gesell. f. Urgeschichte 43 (1953) 84-85; 94 (1962) 84.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: