Germania inferior

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The Praetorium in Cologne, the seat of the governor of the province of Lower Germany

Germania inferior ("Lower Germania ") was a Roman province . It comprised the parts of today's Netherlands and Germany located west of the Rhine , as well as parts of Belgium . Originally, since Augustus , this area was an army district which administratively belonged to Gaul . The province was only established under Domitian around 85 AD. Its capital and seat of the governors of Lower Germany was the Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium , today's Cologne . In the course of a late antique administrative reform, the Germania secunda was established .

Germania inferior was the northern neighboring province of Germania superior (Upper Germany) and lay east of the Belgica .


The ethno-political situation of the Roman Rhine border around 70 AD

The first encounters between Roman troops and Gallic or Germanic tribes in the area of ​​the later province took place around 50 BC. During the Gaul campaign of Gaius Julius Caesar .

Roman provinces under Trajan (117 AD)

A permanent Roman military presence began with the Drusus campaigns from 12 BC. After the campaigns in Germania on the right bank of the Rhine were stopped , most recently under the leadership of Germanicus , four legions remained stationed in permanent camps : two legions in Xanten / Vetera and one legion each in Neuss and Bonn .

At the beginning of the four-emperor year 69, Vitellius , the supreme command of the army in Lower Germany, was proclaimed emperor by the legion stationed in Bonn. As a result, he moved to Italy with the armed forces available to him. Probably out of dissatisfaction of soldiers from the Batavian tribe with the treatment by Vitellius, the Batavians rebelled in 69 under the leadership of Iulius Civilis . Among other things, the legionary camp Vetera near today's Xantens was destroyed. The province was finally established under Emperor Domitian .

Since the establishment of the province

The province of Lower Germania was established under Domitian (bust in the Capitoline Museums, Rome).

The province experienced an upswing from the late first century. The construction of a section of the Cologne city wall on the Rhine side can be dated to the years 89/90 with the help of dendrochronology . The Eifel aqueduct to Cologne was probably built in the Domitian era.

After his accession to the throne in the late autumn and winter of 97/98, Emperor Trajan stayed in Cologne for a few months. The elevation of the settlement near Xanten to Colonia Ulpia Traiana took place around 100 AD, the construction of the Xanten city wall probably began in 105/106.

Until around 230 the Rhine border was evidently largely at peace. Then the first armed events can be inferred. After armed conflicts with Germanic peoples, Emperor Valerian and his son Gallienus came to the border in 256 . They moved into quarters in Cologne, where a mint was also set up. While Valerian was at war mainly in the east of the empire until his capture by the Sassanids under Shapur I , Gallienus stayed in the west. In 259 he was able to defeat the Alamanni and Juthungen who had invaded Italy. He left his son Saloninus behind in Cologne, among other things in the company of a high dignitary named Postumus .

After an invasion by hostile Franks , the Roman troops stationed on the Rhine succeeded in defeating the invaders on the way back and stealing their booty. Postumus allowed the soldiers to keep the booty and was proclaimed Emperor of the Gallic Empire in 260 . Saloninus, who was still proclaimed emperor, holed up in Cologne. The usurper Postumus besieged the city, Saloninus was extradited and murdered together with his tutor. Cologne was initially the capital of the Imperium Galliarum, before the end of the Sonderreich, Trier took over this function. In 274, Emperor Aurelian finally defeated Tetricus I as the last ruler of the Gallic Empire and reintegrated it into the Empire.

The unrest of the 3rd century can be proven archaeologically in Lower Germany. Thus, the then second most important city of the province, the Colonia Ulpia Traiana (also near the modern Xanten), destroyed in 275 by Germanic tribes to a large extent, as well as the castle Vetera II , which replace the destroyed Vetera I had been erected , was destroyed. A number of Roman villas were believed to have been destroyed in the 270s and 280s. Roads and settlements were secured with small fortifications, so-called burgi . For the Burgus villa house , for example, a building after 268 is secured by coin finds.

In the course of the late antique administrative reforms begun under Emperor Diocletian , the province was renamed Germania secunda .


The sources on the provincial governors are not uniform. Well-known personalities include the future emperors Vitellius and Didius Julianus . Others are only known from epigraphic evidence. Since some office holders are unknown, the list of governors of Lower Germany shows gaps.


In the east the Rhine was the border of the province, in the north it extended to the North Sea. The expansion in the west has been discussed in science. It is certain that the area extends into the Meuse area; recent research also includes the Tungrer area east of the Meuse. In the south, the Vinxtbach formed the border with the province of Upper Germany.

The geological conditions in the area of ​​the Province of Lower Germany are relatively different. North of the low mountain range, i.e. from the Eifel and Ardennes in the south, there is a wide loess zone . This eventually changes into loamy alluvial soils . Good soils are rare in the low mountain ranges. Ores occurring there (for example iron and lead ore) were verifiably mined in Roman times. Quarries supplied building material, but also stone coffins. The loess loam of the Börden landscapes has been converted into fertile parabrown soils over a large area in the Lower Rhine Bay ( Jülich Börde , Zülpicher Börde ), which offer very good conditions for arable farming. The loamy soils adjoining to the north (e.g. on the Kempen clay plate) were probably mainly used as pasture for livestock in Roman times.


Names of various indigenous tribes have come down to us from Latin sources. According to this, Batavians lived in the area of ​​the mouth of the Rhine . The settlement area of ​​the Cugernians was connected to the south . The Ubier are located in the south of the Lower Rhine Bay. To the east of these was the Sunuk territory . Those parts of the population that can be recognized by inscription finds also point to immigrants from different parts of the Roman Empire. This includes soldiers who, according to the origin of their gravestones, may come from distant regions.

No population figures from the province have survived from antiquity. The determination of data can therefore only be based on estimates that take into account, for example, the presumed population density within settlements and their areal size as well as the distance and the presumed population of villas. For the walled urban area of ​​Cologne, estimates for the 2nd century vary between 20,000 and 40,000 people. According to this, about 40,000 more people are likely to have lived in the civil vici. The population in the villas may have been around 75,000. Together with the troops, the estimate at this time for the administrative area of ​​the CCAA results in a population of around 150,000 people. North of the fertile loess areas or in the Eifel, with different economic conditions, a lower population density can be expected.


The tomb of Poblicius from Cologne

Anthropological evaluations of bones from burials can enable statements to be made about the people themselves, for example about age, gender, body size or diseases. In addition, different burial customs have been observed in Lower Germany. The cremation custom prevailed until the 3rd century. Different forms of cremation are observed, such as those in ash boxes or urns , fire graves , but also the form of the bustum , in which the pyre was erected directly above the grave pit. The number of body graves has been increasing slowly since the end of the 2nd century, and in the end of the 3rd century body burials are the norm.

Finds of human bones from the ancient urban cemetery of Cologne were variously associated with martyrs in the Middle Ages , and the bones were venerated as relics . In the church of St. Ursula , located on the burial ground in the north of the city, a large number of alleged martyrs' bones were used to design the walls in the Golden Chamber. For example, St. Gereon in the east and St. Severin in the south of the city lie on the ancient burial grounds . In Xanten, for example, Roman burials were discovered under the Viktorsdom , some of which were also associated with the veneration of martyrs at this point. From Nijmegen numerous burials from urban cemeteries are also known.

Graves have been found in various places near the Bonn military camp; almost 300 burials were discovered on Irmintrudisstrasse alone. A grave field area with numerous cremation burials is known from Neuss. The necropolis of the Gelduba Fort is the largest of its kind in the province with over 6000 excavated and published burials from Roman times and the early Middle Ages.

Sections of vicus burial grounds were found near Rheydt-Mülfort or in Jülich. A larger cemetery area has also been excavated in Zülpich.

The number of graves and grave groups found at Roman manors and the number of burials per grave group is not uniform. Even with extensive excavations, sometimes only a few graves or no graves at all are known to a villa rustica. There can be over 30 individuals in larger grave groups.

Funerary monuments and tombstones

Gravestone of Marcus Valerius Celerinus and his wife Marcia Procula, Cologne.

Numerous grave monuments (or parts thereof) and tombstones have been preserved in Lower Germany. One of the best-known monuments is the tomb of Poblicius in the Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne . The Caelius Stone , a cenotaph of the centurion Marcus Caelius, who was missing in the Varus Battle , is in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn . On the tombstones there are often data such as the name of the deceased, the occupation, in the case of soldiers, the military unit and the length of service as well as the origin. In most cases, however, the grave monuments can no longer be assigned to a specific fire or body burial site.

Burial chambers

Inventory of the Roman grave in Cologne-Weiden after an engraving from 1843.

The Roman grave in Cologne-Weiden is an important burial site. The furnishings include a marble sarcophagus from around 300, the stone imitation of a Roman wicker chair and several busts (of the deceased). The basement of the Weiden burial chamber is designed as a dining room ( triclinium ); memorial services for the dead could possibly take place here. Other burial chambers are known from Cologne and the surrounding area, but they are more simply designed, for example the Roman grave in Efferen .

Grave goods

Many grave goods in Lower Germany are consumer goods and therefore allow an insight into the material culture of the living population. Often only the dishes are left of the food and drinks that have been added. Significant finds include, for example, slide glasses from graves in Cologne in the 4th century. The perfume bottle in the form of a gladiator helmet from Cologne belongs to the field of cosmetic gifts. The tribute customs are not uniform within the Roman Empire, even in the province of Lower Germany there are regional differences. Jugs with a spout on the side (Niederbieber 64 vessel type), three of which were usually placed in the grave, are relatively common, for example, in Cologne and southern Lower Germany, further north such as in Gelduba / Krefeld-Gellep or further south in Upper Germany they are rare . In southern Lower Germany, additions were also deposited more frequently in side niches, such as in Krefeld-Gellep grave 3223. Addition customs in Lower Germany have also changed over time. For example, oil lamps such as those in the ash box in grave 3639 from Krefeld-Gellep were often found in graves until the early 3rd century, and in late antiquity only a few lamp additions can be proven.


Urban settlements


Corner tower (Römerturm) of the Roman city wall of Cologne.

The capital of the province was Cologne, the ancient Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, which received city charter in 50 AD. The approximately 96 hectare city center was enclosed by a wall that, according to dendrochronological studies, was built on the Rhine side in 89/90. The city was apparently planned on the drawing board, it is divided into insulae . The governor of the province was stationed in Cologne, the governor's palace, the praetorium, is open to the public. Some decurions , i.e. members of the city council, are known by name from inscriptions. Decurio Masclinius Maternus from Cologne died in 352, so the city council still existed in late antiquity. The public buildings included temples, of which archaeological remains are known. According to tradition in Suetonius, a sword from Julius Caesar is said to have been kept in the sanctuary of Mars in Cologne, which Vitellius took when he was usurped. Thermal baths and wells, but also some private houses, were supplied by a long-distance water pipe. An amphitheater has so far only been indirectly proven by inscriptions (e.g. for a gladiator doctor), but not by building findings. Evidence of an upscale lifestyle in private houses is provided by mosaics, for example in the peristyle house with the Dionysus mosaic or wall paintings.


Interior reconstruction in the Xanten Archaeological Park

The Colonia Ulpia Traiana near Xanten was not built over after antiquity and therefore offers particularly good research opportunities. The walled urban area, divided into insulae, has a size of about 72 hectares. Today the Roman city is developed and protected as an archaeological park . Originally existing stone buildings were badly damaged by stone robbery, so the city wall has not been preserved and has been partially reconstructed. Some buildings have also been partially or fully reconstructed within the site, such as the port temple or a Gallo-Roman temple. In the area of ​​the public thermal baths, the Roman Museum was built, in which archaeological finds are exhibited. The amphitheater is used for open-air events. A functional bathing facility has been rebuilt in the Herbergsthermen, replicas of residential and craft houses give an impression of everyday life in the city.


The civil town of Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum , located near a military camp, today Nijmegen, was the main town of the civitas Batavorum . Parts of the civil town were destroyed by the flooding of the Waal in post-Roman times. A part of the city wall has been archaeologically proven.

Excavations in Voorburg by Caspar Reuvens (1827–1834)


Voorburg ( Forum Hadriani ) was the capital of the Civitas of the Cananefaten . Archaeological excavations took place as early as the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Parts of a city wall and thermal baths were also identified.

Storage suburbs

Civilian settlements (canabae) emerged at military camps, for example in Neuss / Novaesium or near camp Bonn .


Village-like settlements ( Vici ) served as sub-centers. The founding of some Vici is probably due to their convenient location at crossroads and fords, for example Iuliacum , i.e. Jülich, is located at a crossing of the Rur . There are numerous road connections in the vicinity of Tolbiacum , Zülpich. Aquae Granni , the predecessor settlement of Aachen , was founded near medicinal hot springs. The typical design in Vici is the strip house . These are narrow, long rectangular buildings with the narrow side facing the street. They served as residential buildings, and commercial or sales rooms could also be accommodated in the front part of the street. There were also buildings for public use in Vici. The bathing facility in Zülpich has been preserved. In the vicinity of vici sanctuaries have sometimes been found, for example at Nettersheim . Numerous remains of Jupiter's columns have been found in Jülich .


Numerous villae rusticae have been identified, especially in the fertile regions with loess soils . A villa in Cologne-Müngersdorf with outbuildings and grave fields was presented in a monograph by Fritz Fremersdorf as early as 1933 . A number of villas have now been excavated in the area of ​​the lignite opencast mines between Cologne and Aachen.

Villas in the loess zone

In the case of large-scale excavated villa complexes in the loess zone, the enclosure is usually oblique-angled. So-called " protovillas " have been documented for the early Roman period , which were still built in wooden post construction and have interiors partitioned off with posts ( e.g. at Jüchen-Neuholz ). Models for such buildings are known from Gaul .

Excavation photo of the Villa rustica in Blankenheim, 1894

Main buildings, which are at least partially made of stone and have a tiled roof, only became common in the middle imperial period. The main building, often a portico villa with corner projections , is more often on the edge of the enclosure than in the middle. The number of proven outbuildings varies. Usually these are distributed irregularly over the enclosed courtyard area, an axial distribution as in Blankenheim is the exception. Both the size and the design of the main building differ considerably. Ursula Heimberg distinguishes villas of the "hall type" with a large central hall for the housekeeping as well as some side rooms from villas of the "row type", in which many smaller rooms are arranged next to and behind one another. If there are risalits, the number is different (1-4 risalits), they can be integrated into the facade or protrude laterally at the corner. The division into sizes resulted in a three-part division with smaller main buildings with a facade width of less than 20 meters, medium-sized ones with a width of 20 - 40 m and a few large formats with facade widths of 80 - 100 m. Fireplaces and ovens have been found several times in villas, and about half of the excavated facilities also had cellars. Sometimes remnants of upscale architectural features have been observed in the villas. These include heating systems and bathrooms, but also wall paintings, marble fittings, window glass or, in rare cases, references to mosaics.

Outbuildings were made of wood, sometimes at least partly in stone, and mostly have a rectangular floor plan. Sometimes interiors are proven. In some outbuildings, traces of piling were observed, which supported a floating floor for the dry storage of grain. Handicrafts are documented in some villas, and glass furnaces are known in the area of ​​lignite opencast mines. Occasionally there are references to gods worship in the area of ​​the manors, such as parts of Jupiter's columns . In late antiquity, a small fortification, a burgus, was built on some of the complexes to protect them . The water supply was ensured by wells when no flowing water was available. A villa in Old Inden even has an elaborate qanat water pipe . Ponds were created to feed the cattle.

The size of the enclosed courtyard areas is not uniform; for example, it was around 3 hectares at Villa Hambach 69 (Ha 69) and around 10 ha at Villa Ha 512.

There are sometimes burials in the area of ​​the villas. These are occasionally within the courtyard boundaries, also in the vicinity of the buildings, but more often directly inside or outside the courtyard boundary. Individual burials as well as smaller grave groups or grave fields can be found. The largest number of graves has so far been discovered at Villa Hambach 132 (Ha 132). There, a total of 81 burials were excavated in 5 grave groups or grave fields, spread over a period of around 350 years. If all residents were included, about 6-8 people would have lived on the homestead. But this number is probably too small. It is to be expected that some of the inhabitants were buried in other places and that some graves were lost due to erosion.

The ecological farm environment can be described using plant and animal remains from well sediments. Significant plant remains include cereal grains and husks as remains from threshing, fruits of trees, bank edge vegetation as an indication of ponds, seeds or other remains of garden plants, seeds of hedge plants that may have served as yard fencing, or specialized wild plants that are about Ways to survive and provide evidence of an infrastructure in the courtyard area.

The size of the economic areas can be determined in well-researched areas in the area of ​​open-cast lignite mining. The farms in a selected area in the Hambach opencast mine are between 300 and 800 m apart. From this, farm sizes of 50-100 hectares have been calculated.

Villas in northern Lower Germany

North of the loess zone, livestock was the main occupation in agriculture. Stable houses were built here during the Roman Empire.


The main industry in the province was agriculture. Mineral resources such as ores or clay, stone or sand deposits were also demonstrably used. There is evidence of manufacturing in individual villas and larger settlements. Finds of imported goods from amphorae to oyster shells as well as inscriptions by traders indicate commercial transactions. The military was an important buyer of the goods. The soldiers not only had a great need for basic food and other everyday goods, but could also afford luxury goods with their pay.


For example, barley and wheat varieties , as well as spelled , emmer and millet were grown as grain in the loess regions . Rye and oats , on the other hand, probably only played a minor role. Legumes such as peas, lentils and field beans from local cultures provided protein for the diet. Vegetables and lettuce also grew in the gardens of the villas. The estimated population of a villa rustica was probably not enough to bring in the grain harvest on the calculated agricultural area (see above) alone. Therefore day laborers from neighboring settlements were probably also employed at harvest time. In northern Lower Germany, livestock farming was a profitable and common form of economy on poorer soils. In the loess zone, cattle or horses were probably only kept as work animals in small numbers.

Agricultural implements are occasionally known from original finds. Some small bronzes, which are almost only found in women's graves in Cologne, are reproduced from agricultural implements. Therefore, for example, the use of plow and harrow or scythe and winnowing basket are known.

Use of mineral resources

Roman lime kilns in Iversheim

At Gressenich , calamine was mined and made into brass. Copper ores were mined near Nettersheim-Zingsheim. The use of lead ore deposits in the Eifel has also been proven.

Rock analyzes show that in the province Liedberg sandstone or sandstone near Nideggen were mined and used. On Drachenfels of the Rhine was Trachyt won. Bluestone deposits near Aachen were also used in Roman times. Tuff or basalt were imported from the Eifel, limestone from the Meuse or the Upper Rhine. Quicklime was produced in the Roman lime distillery in Iversheim . The mineral resources used in the province also included clays from which bricks and roof tiles were made.


Different manufacturing industries can be assumed for the province. Glass furnaces were found in Cologne, and for late antiquity, glass production has also been documented in the area of ​​the Hambach Forest or at Burgus Asperden. Pottery can be easily traced from the remains of pottery kilns. Such pottery furnaces were found in Cologne and Jülich, for example. Terra Sigillata was produced at Aachen-Schönforst . In Soller the pottery of a Verecundu made, among other things, mortars that were exported to Britain.

Traffic routes

Excerpt from the Tabula Peutingeriana with places and road connections in the province of Lower Germany. In the center of the picture above Agripina (Cologne) and Bonnae (Bonn).

The province was accessed by highways, subordinate roads and paths. The Rhine was important as the main waterway. Rivers such as the Erft or the Rur , the latter as a tributary of the Meuse, and even streams were also used with smaller vessels.


Cobbled Roman street in Cologne (Hafenstrasse)
Archaeological section through a Roman road made of gravel in Cologne, Apostle monastery.

According to the reports of the ancient author Strabo, under the governorship of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa , among other things, a road was built that led from Lyon via Trier to the Rhine to the oppidum Ubiorum (Cologne) and to Novaesium (Neuss). At Zülpich there was a connection to Reims from this . The military camps on the Rhine were connected by the road that ran along the river, which could be used to reach Mainz as the capital of Upper Germany, the Alps and Italy to the south. Another main traffic axis leads from Cologne via Iuliacum ( Jülich ), Heerlen , Maastricht and Tongeren as well as Bavay to the coast to Boulogne-sur-Mer . The highways, which could be used in any weather, were necessary for rapid troop movement. There are numerous side streets between the main streets and smaller settlements. Occasionally remains of pathways have been observed near villas, which indicate a developed infrastructure. Parts of the road network are known from the Tabula Peutingeriana , the drawing of an ancient road map. In some places Roman milestones or league stones were found, which indicate the distance to the nearest city. Archaeological excavations have shown that the highways in Lower Germany outside the places were not paved. In the opencast mine of the Rhenish lignite mining area, road bodies were cut that consisted of a layer of gravel from 6.20 m to 7.50 m wide. The top was curved so that the rainwater could drain away. Damage from traffic lanes or potholes was repaired with gravel. Next to the roads there were also sandy paths that could be used for driving cattle, for example. This enabled the route to be 25 m wide. In cities there was also street paving, in Cologne a piece of the paved Hafenstraße next to the Roman-Germanic Museum was reconstructed. Parts of the Roman road network are used continuously to this day. With the projects “Via Belgica” and “Agrippastraße”, the ancient origins of the modernized traffic routes are presented to the public.


The most important waterway for the province of Lower Germany was the Rhine. In Cologne or Xanten, near Bonn, Krefeld-Gellep (Gelduba) or Moers-Asberg (Asciburgum) ports or landing sites are known. The remains of Roman ships have been found near Xanten and Cologne. Fir wood from the Black Forest or the Vosges was used for the construction of Cologne's city wall on the Rhine side, and in later times such wood was transported as rafts. Indirect evidence of long-distance transports on the Rhine are, for example, building materials such as tuff from the Eifel or limestone from the Upper Rhine, but also amphorae as transport containers for luxury goods or oysters from the North Sea. In addition to its economic importance, the Rhine was of considerable military importance; the Roman Rhine fleet was stationed in the Alteburg naval fort south of Cologne.


The Roman army in the province called itself Exercitus Germaniae Inferioris (about "Armed Forces Lower Germany" and abbreviated to EXGERINF on inscriptions ). Due to the border situation on the Lower Germanic Limes , the number of troops stationed here was very high, the troops stationed here consisted of several (up to four) legions and auxiliary troops .


Partly reconstructed port temple in the Xanten Archaeological Park. Only the foundations are preserved in the original.

The religious landscape in Lower Germany is very different. The central sanctuary for the army district and the later province, the ara Ubiorum, was located in Cologne. Presumably it was dedicated to the goddess Roma and Augustus . Little has been preserved of large stone temple complexes in cities; the foundations of the podiums are accessible , for example, under the church of St. Maria in the Capitol in Cologne or at the so-called port temple in Xanten. The most common temple shape documented in the province, however, is that of the Gallo-Roman temple . Such Gallo-Roman common temples are known from urban contexts such as Colonia Ulpia Traiana as well as from rural sanctuaries, such as in the temple district of Pesch . A veneration of Roman deities is attested by inscriptions. Oriental and Egyptian deities and later Christianity also came to the province with the Romans. Numerous indigenous goddesses and gods were also worshiped, some of which were of local or regional significance. Other types of monuments, such as terracotta depictions of matrons, also provide an indication of the knowledge and worship of the various deities.

Roman deities

The worship of numerous Roman deities in Lower Germany is proven by inscriptions and images. These include Iupiter and Juno as well as Venus , Minerva and Diana , Apollo , Hercules or Mars . In some cases these deities have been associated with indigenous religious ideas. The name of a native god could then be added to that of a Roman one with a similar scope. In Aachen, for example, Apollo Grannus, merged from Apollo and Grannus , was worshiped.

Native deities

Weihaltar of T. Flavius ​​Constans for the goddess Vagdavercustis, RGM Cologne

In a province like Lower Germany, the native gods played a major role in Roman times. For the province, the reverence of the matrons was essential for the shaping of the “religious-cultic landscape”. According to the inscriptions of the donors, there were sixty so far found both urban-Roman (Cologne, Bonn) and rural by Gallo-Romans, Romans and Teutons with votive stones Places were considered. Of the more than 850 stones found, more than half have Germanic epithets, some of which can indicate comprehensible functions, such as protection and the granting of blessings for a certain place, a body of water or for the population of a civitas or a specific Germanic ethnic group. The veneration of the Matronae Aufaniae in Bonn, for example, is characterized by high-quality monuments from donors of the urban upper class from Cologne as well as from the military ; these goddesses are documented there and through other sites within the province with over 90 altars / votives. Other matrons, on the other hand, have only been handed down in a few consecrations or, if necessary, are only documented by presumably explicit local references (see list of matron names ). Significant places of worship are particularly in the settlement area of ​​the Ubier in the Rhenish loess zone and lignite districts ( temple district of Eschweiler-Fronhoven , Morken-Harff ) and in the northern Eifel foreland such as striking in Nettersheim and Bad Münstereifel ( Görresburg , temple district Pesch , temple sanctuary Zingsheim ).

Individual deities such as the goddess Vagdavercustis , whose cult is attested in several places, were also worshiped . Others, however, probably had a local meaning. For example, only one consecration stone from Hürth is known of the goddesses Aveha and Hellivesa , only one consecration from Iuliacum , Jülich has been handed down for the goddess Unica .

Cult activities for native gods in Lower Germany are not described in ancient sources, but information is provided by the stone monuments mentioned. The fact that local gods were honored with stone monuments at all is already a clear sign of Romanization . The imperial bodyguard Titus Flavius ​​Constans is depicted at the sacrifice on the Cologne altar of the Vagdavercustis, he is dressed in a toga and, according to Roman custom, steps with a veiled head ( capite velato ) to the smoker at the consecration stone. He is accompanied by a long-haired sacrificial servant with an open (incense) box and a flute player. A similar sacrificial scene can be found on an altar donated by the Cologne councilor C. Candidinus Verus in Bonn for the Aufan matrons.

Oriental and Egyptian cults

With the Romans, various oriental cults also came to the province. The worship of Mithras is proven by finds of Mithraea in Cologne and in the vicinity of Gelduba. Stone monuments were z. B. consecrated for Isis and Osiris , Cybele , Magna Mater , Iupiter Dolichenus , Serapis Apis and Serapis. So-called Sabazios hands are related to this deity.


The existence of a Jewish community in Cologne has so far been proven by a rescript by Emperor Constantine I of December 11, 321.


Glass bowl from the Wint-Hill group with a carved image of Adam and Eve (4th century). Krefeld-Gellep, grave 2711

The Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon , who wrote around 180 AD, mentions Christian communities in the two Germanic provinces in his books against the heresies (Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 1,10,12). In research, however, it is controversial whether this statement can already be seen as an indication of an episcopally organized community in Lower Germany at this time. In 313 a Cologne bishop was first mentioned by name, Maternus . When the ancient predecessor buildings of today's churches were used as Christian cult buildings can often not be determined exactly. In a building within Cologne Cathedral, for example, built-in elements from the Merovingian period (keyhole-shaped ambo , baptistery ) clearly demonstrate that it was not used as a church until the early Middle Ages.

In the 4th century, additions with Christian decorations were occasionally placed in the graves (such as glass vessels from the Wint-Hill group ). Such additions have so far been found in Cologne itself and in the grave fields of manors close to the city (Cologne-Braunsfeld, Cologne-Müngersdorf ), also in Nijmegen and in military settlements (Bonn, Krefeld-Gellep).



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  • Thomas Grünewald, Sandra Seibel (Eds.): Continuity and Discontinuity. Germania inferior at the beginning and at the end of Roman rule. Contributions to the German-Dutch colloquium at the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (June 27 to 30, 2001). (= Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde - supplementary volumes. 35). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2003, ISBN 3-11-017688-2 .


  • Marion Brüggler: Villa rustica, glassworks and burial ground. The imperial settlement site Ha 132 in the Hambach Forest. (= Rhenish excavations. 63). Zabern-Verlag, Mainz 2009, ISBN 978-3-8053-4207-0 .
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  • Michael Gechter: The urban area in Lower Germany in the 2nd century AD. In: Henner von Hesberg , Hans-Joachim Schalles , Paul Zanker (ed.): The Roman city in the 2nd century AD. Colloquium Xanten 2nd to May 4, 1990. (= Xantener reports , Volume 2) Rheinland-Verlag, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-7927-1252-0 .
  • Ursula Heimberg : Settlement Structures in Lower Germany. In: Guido von Büren, Erwin Fuchs (eds.): Jülich, city - territory - history . Festschrift for the 75th anniversary of the Jülich history association 1923 eV, (=  Jülich history sheets . 67/68). Kleve 2000, ISBN 3-933969-10-7 , pp. 189-240.
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  • Dela von Boeselager : Roman glasses from graves on Luxemburger Strasse in Cologne. In: Kölner Jahrbuch. 45, 2012, pp. 7-526.
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  • Renate Pirling: The Roman-Franconian cemetery of Krefeld-Gellep . (= Germanic monuments of the migration period series B, The Franconian antiquities of the Rhineland. Volume 10). de Gruyter, Berlin 1979.
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  • Renate Pirling: The Roman-Franconian cemetery of Krefeld-Gellep . (= Germanic monuments of the migration period series B, The Franconian antiquities of the Rhineland. Volume 13). Steiner, Stuttgart 1989.
  • Renate Pirling, Margareta Siepen: The Roman-Franconian burial ground of Krefeld-Gellep 1975–1982 . (= Germanic monuments of the migration period series B, The Franconian antiquities of the Rhineland. Volume 17). Steiner, Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-515-06916-X .
  • Renate Pirling, Margareta Siepen: The Roman-Franconian burial ground of Krefeld-Gellep 1983–1988 . (= Germanic monuments of the migration period series B, The Franconian antiquities of the Rhineland. Volume 18). Steiner, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-515-07453-8 .
  • Renate Pirling, Margareta Siepen: The Roman-Franconian burial ground of Krefeld-Gellep 1989–2000 . (= Germanic monuments of the migration period series B, The Franconian antiquities of the Rhineland. Volume 19). Steiner, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-515-07974-2 .
  • Renate Pirling, Margareta Siepen: The finds from the Roman graves of Krefeld-Gellep: Catalog of the graves 6348–6361. (= Germanic monuments of the migration period series B, The Franconian antiquities of the Rhineland. Volume 20). Steiner, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-515-08891-1 .
  • Heike Pöppelmann : The late antique-early medieval burial ground of Jülich, Kr. Düren. (= Bonn contribution to prehistoric and early historical archeology. 11). Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-936490-11-4 .
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Traffic routes

  • Jan Bemmann , Ursula Brosseder, Hans-Eckart Joachim : The Rhine as a European traffic axis. (= Bonn contributions. 16). Bonn 2013, ISBN 978-3-936490-16-9 .
  • Josef Hagen: The Roman roads of the Rhine province. 2nd Edition. Bonn 1931.
  • Landschaftsverband Rheinland, Rheinische Bodendenkmalpflege, Bonn: Erlebnisraum Römerstraße Cologne-Trier, Erftstadt-Kolloquium 2007. (= materials for the conservation of monuments in the Rhineland. 18). Treis-Karden, 2007, ISBN 978-3-9806426-9-9 .
  • Marcell Perse: Via Belgica, on the move on the Roman road Cologne-Jülich-Heerlen. JP Bachem Verlag, Cologne 2011, ISBN 978-3-7616-2364-0 .

Web links

Commons : Germania Inferior  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Burghart Schmidt: A dendrochronological finding on the construction of the city wall of the CUT . In: Bonner Jahrb. 187, 1987, pp. 495-503.
  2. M.-T. Raepsaet-Charlier: Diversity and cultural richness in the civitates of Lower Germany. 2002/2003, p. 36 map 1.
  3. ^ W. Eck: Cologne in Roman times. 2004, pp. 311-314.
  4. Preliminary report by Michael Gechter: The Roman grave field Bonn, Irmintrudisstrasse . In :: Archeology in the Rhineland. 1999, pp. 102-105.
  5. ^ Preliminary report by Paul Wagner: Roman graves in Zülpich . In: Archeology in the Rhineland. 1995, pp. 77-79.
  6. ^ Burgart Schmidt, Thomas Frank: wood dated. In: M. Trier, F. Naumann-Steckner: ZeitTunnel. Exhibition catalog. Cologne 2012, pp. 48–50.
  7. Suetonius Vitell. 8.1
  8. ^ Elisabeth Maria Spiegel: Excavations in a Roman settlement in Cologne-Widdersdorf. Kölner Jahrbuch 35, 2002, pp. 699–782, list with a compilation by Burgi, pp. 720–724.
  9. Bernd Päffgen: The Qanat water pipe of the villa rustica in Old Inden . In: Archeology in the Rhineland. 2005, pp. 89-90.
  10. ^ M. Brüggler: Villa rustica, glassworks and grave field. 2009, p. 125.
  11. ^ W. Eck: Cologne in Roman times. 2004, pp. 85-93.
  12. Codex Theodosianus 16.8.3
  13. ^ So comes W. Eck: Cologne in Roman times. 2004, p. 631 for seeing the reference from Irenaeus as evidence of the existence of a Christian community in Cologne in the 2nd century.

Coordinates: 51 °  N , 5 °  E