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A Basterna (gr. Βαστάζω; dt. Also mule litter ) is a litter-like means of transport that was used in antiquity and in the early Middle Ages . Mostly women traveled with a Basterna.

The construction consists of an all-round closed cabin, which is tied to two flanking mules via two cross beams .

Gregory of Tours documents the use of the Basterna in the early Middle Ages. He reports that the Roman aristocrat Deoteria, out of jealousy, killed her own daughter in the middle of the 6th century by placing the girl in a basterna that had been tied to two wild bulls instead of mules. The animals tore the litter into the Meuse and the girl drowned.


  • Gregory of Tours, Historiae III, 26.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gregory of Tours, Historiae III, 26.