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Portrait of an Ubier woman from Cologne. The hair-covering hoods were part of the costume of married women
Gravestone of Fannius of the Ubier tribe, bodyguard ( corporis custos ) of Emperor Nero; he lived for 28 years and was buried by his collega (comrade) in Rome

The Ubier ( Latin Ubii ) were a West Germanic people who Caesar described as already civilized.


The Ubier initially lived on the right bank of the Rhine in Germania magna , as the Romans called it, opposite the Treverern and south of the Sugambrer . Their area extended fairly from the Sieg over the Lahn to the lower Main .

The Ubier were one of the first Germanic tribes to engage in lively trade with the Romans, to train them with their sons, and finally to agree to pay tributes. In addition, they made auxiliary troops (preferably cavalry) available to the Romans who, according to their political motto “ Divide et impera ”, used them to suppress other Germanic tribes and subject them to tribute. This behavior of the Ubians brought them the mistrust, envy and finally also the hatred of the other neighboring tribes, which is why there were numerous arguments between the Ubians and their neighbors.

The Ubier came under pressure and between the fronts of the Romans and the other Teutons and threatened to be worn out. Therefore they were 19/18 BC. Moved from Agrippa during his second governorship to the left bank of the Rhine, to the later Roman province of Germania inferior . Until about the reign of Emperor Domitian , the left bank of the Rhine was part of the province of Gallia Belgica . Here they lived in the area near Bonn and Cologne , near Aachen on the right the Wurm and the valley of the Ahr . This is important because it is often claimed that the Ubier were Roman-friendly Germans on the left bank of the Rhine. On the left bank of the Rhine, however, they only became part of the Roman resettlement policy.

The main town of Ubii was Ara or Oppidum Ubiorum which later by Claudius to Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium appointed Cologne. After their resettlement, the Ubier, or at least the "Cologne part" of the tribe, were also known as the "Agrippinenser" (Agrippinenses).

The northernmost border of the Ubier area was marked by the Gelfbach (from the Middle Ages Mühlenbach) which flows into the Rhine at the former Roman fort Gelduba near Krefeld-Gellep . The Germanic Cugernians , a subgroup of the Sugambri on the right bank of the Rhine , settled north of this brook .


Roman Gaul and Germania on the right bank of the Rhine around AD 70.

The first Germanic campaign to Caesar took place in 39/38 BC. Under the governor Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa . He fought the rebellious Gauls, crossed the Rhine, subjugated the Ubier tribe and was granted a triumph , which he did not carry out (Tac. Ann. XII 27.1; Cass. Dio XXXXVIII, 49, 3-4; cf. Strab IV 3.4 p. 194 C; Tac. Germ. 28).

The information given by Tacitus notes that the subject Ubier was relocated to the left bank of the Rhine in the area of ​​today's Cologne as the time of the resettlement of Agrippa. The move of the Ubians was probably a lengthy process that was officially confirmed or concluded by Agrippa. Agrippa developed the concept of protecting the Rhine line through the direct presence of Roman troops, but above all through the settlement of reliable Rome-friendly tribal groups on the left bank of the Rhine (Ubier and Batavers; establishment of the central place oppidum Ubiorum) and through permanent contractual relationships with the tribes bordering on the right of the Rhine . Rome's policy was mainly aimed (with a few exceptions) at keeping land seekers out of the secure provincial area.

The End

The Ubians only took part in the uprising of Julius Civilis in AD 69 and 70, and only for a short time. After the expansion of the Franks across the Rhine from the 3rd century onwards and the later capture of Cologne, the largely Romanized descendants of the Ubians were absorbed into the Rhine Franks , who were also called Ripuarians after the 6th century .


  • Werner Eck : Cologne in Roman times. History of a city under the Roman Empire. Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-7743-0357-6 (H. Stehkämper (Ed.): History of the city of Cologne in 13 volumes, vol. 1). P. 31 ff.
  • Johannes Heinrichs : Ubier, Chatten, Bataver. Middle and Lower Rhine approx. 70-1. v. Based on Germanic coins. In: Th. Grünewald: Continuity and Discontinuity. Germania Inferior at the beginning and at the end of Roman rule. Berlin 2003. p. 266 ff.
  • Johannes Heinrichs: Civitas ubiorum. Studies on the history of the Ubier and their area. Stuttgart 2002.
  • Karl Strobel : Economic structures between the Maas and the Rhine in Roman times: The development of a central European economic area 50 BC until 500 AD In: Franz Irsigler : Between Maas and Rhine: Relationships, encounters and conflicts in a European core area , Kliomedia Verlag , Trier 2006, p. 82.
  • Johannes Heinrichs , Stefan ZimmerUbier. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 31, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2006, ISBN 3-11-018386-2 , pp. 355-361.

Web links

  • About the Ubier on the website of the archaeologist Jürgen Franssen

Individual evidence

  1. ^ AE 1952, 145
  2. Eck 2004, p. 49
  3. Feinendegen / Vogt (ed.): Krefeld - the history of the city, volume 1. Christoph Reichmann - chapter: The border at Mühlenbach / page 104f, Verlag van Ackeren, Krefeld 1998, ISBN 3-9804181-6-2
  4. Feinendegen / Vogt (ed.): Krefeld - the history of the city, volume 1. Renate Pirling - chapter: The Frankish time - historical introduction. Verlag van Ackeren, Krefeld 1998, ISBN 3-9804181-6-2 , pp. 206f.