The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


30 Jan 2010
  The Romans in Germania - A Geography Lesson

In order to make it easier for you to put a location to the places I keep mentioning in context of the Romans in Germany, this post will provide you with some maps.

The first one shows the Roman provinces at the time of Augustus. The provinces have been restructured and renamed several times in Roman history. For example, part of what on this map is Gallia Belgica about 90 AD became Germania Inferior, and the land between Rhine and Danube then protected by the Limes would be called Germania Superior.

The Roman provinces at the time of Augustus

The red and orange ones are all provinces of the Roman Empire that started in the middle of Italy (that high heel boot kicking Sicily) a few hundres years earlier. You can see that there's a nice chain of provinces all around the Mediterranean Sea. After they, ahem .... collected those, the Romans pushed north. Southern Britain was conquered after Augustus' time, so it's still green on that map.

The borders of Germania (also green) are marked by the Rhine (running south-north) and the Danube (running west-east into the Black Sea). Under Hadrian, the angle formed by those two rivers was integrated into the Empire and protected by the German Limes. The provinces along the Danube include Pannonia where Arminius fought on the Roman side against rebellious tribes prior to his return to Germania.

Next comes a map of the Romans in northern Germany during the time of Drusus' and Tiberius' invasions in 16-9 BC until Germanicus' campaigns in 14-16 AD.

Roman supply bases and forts in Germania Magna

Since I photographed both maps in the Hedemünden exhibition, that fortress / supply base figures prominently right in the middle (the map only shows the northern half of Germany) at the Weser/Werra (Visurgis) river. Göttingen is a bit north of it, and if you follow an imaginary line to the Leine river, you'll see the Harz on the right, that's where the recently discovered battlefield of Kalefeld is situated.

You can see the two legionary forts at Mainz (Moguntiacum) and Xanten (Castra Vetera). The Limes would later start a bit north of Mainz. The Lippe (Lupis) river that from Xanten runs east into Germania was the location of several Roman forts, among them Haltern that also had a naval base. Kalkriese, the probable Varus battlefield, lies further north.

Close to the Rhine, but on the 'wrong' side lies Waldgirmes, a Roman town in Germania that was destroyed after the Varus battle. Another place on my To Visit list. The Elbe, the river that for some time was supposed to become the new frontier of a Roman empire that included Germania Magna, runs in the east.

Germany (map found here)

Germany today extends the borders of the planned Roman province. Since not all towns are shown on that map, you'll have to place Mainz near Wiesbaden. The Limes cut from there to Regensburg at the Danube. Xanten (also not shown) is at the border to the Netherlands; the Lippe runs between the line Duisburg, Essen Dortmund and Münster further north.

You can see that the whole Berlin area and Baltic Sea coast is north-east of the Elbe which confluences into the North Sea near Hamburg, while in the south part of the old province of Raetia in the Alpes now is Germany (the other part is mostls Switzerland), and in the west, Germany stretches towards Trier on the 'Roman' side of the Rhine.

Hedemünden is situated between Kassel and Göttingen, Kalefeld a third on the way between Göttingen and Hannover, and Kalkriese near Osnabrück.

The following maps show the Limes Germanicus:

The Upper German - Raetian Limes (map found here)

This is an overview over the Limes, the German border between the Roman Empire - namely the provinces of Germania Superior and Raetia - and Germania Magna or 'free Germania' that extended east of the Rhine and north of the Danube.

West of that straight north-south line in the midst of the map (the Odenwald Limes) you can see another line of forts along the Neckar river. That was the extent of the Limes under Hadrian; Antoninus Pius then pushed it a bit further east (about AD 150-160).

The Saalburg Fort can be found near the town of Koblenz (Confluentes) though that closeness is due to the small scale of the map. It's actually closer to Frankfurt which is not shown but can be found on the map above. But Moguntiacum (Mainz), the capital of the province Germania Superior, is listed, as is Xanten further north in the province of Germania Inferior.

The Limes in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria (map found here)

This maps shows the places along the Limes I've visited in 2014, namely Aalen and Weissenburg (Biriciana) but also Walldürn and Osterburken at the Odenwald Limes which I visited a few years ago. Aalen is close to the spot where the Limes takes a sharp turn east to rejoin the Danube.

The towns of Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and Regensburg are also shown.
 
Comments:
Those are really helpful maps, thank you. You'll have to link them prominently in your side bar so readers can refer to them easily when reading your next posts! Are they from a museum exhibition? If so, full marks to the museum.
 
The first two are from the Hedemünden exhibition in Hannoversch Münden (that nice little half timerberd town at the Weser/Fulda confluence i posted about im summer), the third I found on Google. :)

I got a good map of the Limes from the Saalburg museum as well, so that will appear at some point here. Photographable Medieval maps are a bit trickier to find; it may be that I'll just have to put up a modern map of fe. the Harz area. It's something I plan to do in near future, but not several posts in a row, that would become boring. ;)
 
Gabrile

Great maps!

Maps really make things clearer, publishers who do miltary history/fiction without maps hould be turned over to mercies of you plot bunnies!
 
These are very helpful maps! I'm really hoping to get to Xanten one of these days - it's not too far from here, but somehow I haven't made it there yet. :-)
 
Cool! I love maps. All the better to plan invasions by! If I were a renegade engineer that is. And 'collected' provinces. :)
 
Thank you, Hank. My plotbunnies are pretty quiet these days. I suspect they've figurered out what happens to plotbunnies in my stories, mwuahaha. :)

Kathryn, I have Xanten on my list, but it had been pretty low there because I thought it's too much of a Roman Walt Disney. But there's a new museum now, so it may be worth a visit if you can catch it outside the tourist season.

Constance, you innocent eyes are not fooling me (the Corgies taught you that look). :D Of course, you plan an invasion.
 
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The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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Location: Goettingen, Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


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The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


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A Time of Feuds

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

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Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Livonia
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Towns of the Hanseatic League

Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuania

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


Poland

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


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The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
(to come)


Other Times

Prehistoric Times

Germany

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Orkney

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Scandinavia

Gotland
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd


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Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
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Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

Biographies

European Nobility
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History in Literature

Biographies of German Poets and Writers
Theodor Fontane

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
(Translated by me)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


Geology

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The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


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