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The Rhine border of the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD with the legion camps, including Argentoratum
Argentoratum on an 18th century map of Strasbourg
Mars Altar, between 30 BC. And 14 AD, found on the site of today's place Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune

Younger Argentoratum or older Argentorate is the name of the Roman camp at the site of today's Strasbourg in Alsace . The center of Argentoratum was on the Grande Île, an island surrounded by two arms of the Ill , on which the center of Strasbourg is still today.


Argentorate is a compound of Gaulish Argento-, probably a river name, and rate 'fortification'. Older research interpreted the name as Celtic for "White Castle".


Argentorate was established as a military outpost by the Roman general Drusus in 12 BC. Founded in the later province of Germania superior . A Gallic settlement was already in the vicinity .

Under the command of Gnaeus Pinarius Cornelius Clemens , the Legio VIII Augusta built a road from Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg) through the Kinzig valley to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) with a connection via the Rhine valley road to Mogontiacum (Mainz).

From 90 the Legio VIII was permanently stationed in Argentoratum. The camp at that time covered an area of ​​20 hectares and also housed a cavalry division of the legion. Other legions temporarily stationed in Argentoratum were the Legio XIV Gemina and the Legio XXI Rapax , the latter under the rule of Nero .

Strasbourg was possibly a bishopric from the 4th century . In 357 the battle of Argentoratum took place in the area . From the early 5th century, the Comes tractus Argentoratensis had its headquarters here. After the dissolution of the Roman border guards, the city was conquered by the Alemanni , Huns and Franks .


Systematic archaeological excavations under the direction of Jean-Jacques Hatt uncovered numerous traces of ancient Strasbourg between 1947 and 1953. These excavations were made possible by the destruction caused by the war in the old town. It was found that the camp had burned down and rebuilt a total of six times between the first and fifth centuries of our time: in the years 70, 97, 235, 355, in the last quarter of the 4th century and in the first years of the 5th century.

Under Trajan and after the fire of 97, Argentoratum had reached its greatest extent and strongest fortification. Numerous archaeological remains of the Roman settlement were also found in the western part of the city of Koenigshoffen along the former Roman road, today's Route des Romains . The most extensive necropolis and the most densely populated settlements of the civilian population ( vicus ) around the camp were located at this point .

In the years 1911–12, Hatt's predecessor Robert Forrer unearthed numerous fragments of a large mithraium in Koenigshoffen , which had been smashed in late antiquity, probably in the 4th century.

In 1956, the remains of a late antique apse building, which was interpreted as a church, were excavated below today's Église Saint-Étienne .

The finds from Roman Strasbourg are exhibited in the Musée archéologique de Strasbourg .


  • Robert Forrer : Strasbourg - Argentorate: préhistorique, gallo-romain et mérovingien . 2 volumes, Istra, Strasbourg 1927.
  • Jean-Jacques Hatt : Résultats historiques et topographiques des dernières fouilles de Strasbourg, de 1949 à 1951 . In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 1952, pp. 97-100 ( full text ).
  • Jean-Jacques Hatt: Les fouilles de Strasbourg et de Seltz en 1952 et 1953 . In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 1953, pp. 211-215 ( full text ).
  • Jean-Jacques Hatt: Argentorate - Strasbourg. Presses Universitaires de Lyon, Lyon 1993, ISBN 2-7297-0471-X .
  • Bernadette Schnitzler, Gertrud Kuhnle (eds.): Strasbourg – Argentorate, un camp légionnaire sur le Rhin . Musées de la ville de Strasbourg, Strasbourg 2010, ISBN 978-2-35125-086-0 .
  • Maximilian Ihm : Argentorate . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume II, 1, Stuttgart 1895, Col. 713 f.

Web links

Wiktionary: Argentoratum  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Argentoratum  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. CIL 13, 11605 ; Epigraphic database Heidelberg
  2. Cardo : Rue du Dôme, Decumanus : Rue des Hallebardes Argentorate: description (French)
  3. ^ German book of place names. Edited by Manfred Niemeyer. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, p. 615.
  4. Argentoratum as an example in the Enciclopedia Italiana zu Toponomastica (1937).
  5. Des origines à la Pax Romana (French)
  6. Le camp de la Legio VIII Augusta à Strasbourg (French)
  7. 4 rue Brûlée (French)
  8. Argentorate sous Néron (French)
  9. Les fouilles archéologiques (French)
  10. Le vicus et les canabae (French)
  11. Robert Forrer: The Mithra sanctuary of Königshofen near Strasbourg . Stuttgart 1915; Manfred Clauss : The Roman Cult of Mithras . 2001, pp. 170-171 .
  12. ^ Jean-Jacques Hatt: Fouilles romaines sous l'église Saint-Étienne à Strasbourg. In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 1956, pp. 476-479 ( full text ).

Coordinates: 48 ° 34 '57.9 "  N , 7 ° 45' 6.8"  E