Many people may think that Germany was never part of the Roman Empire, but that is only half true. Parts of the south and west of what is today Germany were very much part of the Roman Empire. Much of what was beyond direct Roman control was still influenced by and traded with the Roman Empire.
Some of the farthest Roman Frontiers were in Germany. Travel to Scotland and one can see some far-flung Roman Ruins there too - like the Antonine Wall. In Armenia, one can even still a stunning Roman temple still standing.
What To Know About Romans In Germany
The Romans stylized the many peoples across the Rhine as "Germania" and in the late 1st century BC they tried to conquer much of what is today Germany. These campaigns took place under the Roman emperor Augustus and got as far as the Elbe River that runs down the center of Germany today. The Romans succeeded in creating a short-lived Roman province called Germania Antiqua in 7 BC.
But they were soon disastrously defeated at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD which obliterated their entire army there. After that, the Romans were dissuaded from trying to conquer Germania and the Rhine became the Roman border.
In the years after that most of what is today, Germania remained agrarian and traded extensively with the Roman Empire. There were also many Roman campaigns in the region. But the parts that are west of the River Rhine and South of the Danube River were incorporated into the Empire.
While the Roman Empire, in the end, didn't overlap with very much of what is Germany today, there are still many Roman archeological sites to visit there today. Some of these are quite spectacular - many are forts, frontier forts, settlements, and more along the Rhine and Danube Rivers - known as the Limes Germanicus (the frontier of the Roman Empire).
- Limes Germanicus: The Frontier of The Roman Empire In Germany
The Roman City of Trier
Trier is a German city right on the border with Luxemburg. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany and was a Roman colony from the 1st century AD after the Romans first subdued it in the 1st century BC. It was founded as Augusta Treverorum in around 16 BC being named after the Roman emperor Augustus although the earliest settlement was founded by the Celts in the late 4th century BC.
- Augusta Treverorum: Means "The City of Augustus among the Treveri"
- Oldest: It Is Considered Germany's Oldest City
It grew to become the capital of the Roman province of Belgic Gaul It even went on to become one of the Roman capitals of the Tetrarchy of the end of the 3rd century and oversaw much of the Western Roman Empire (at that time it was known as "second Rome").
By the 4th century, it was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire with a population of between 75,000 and 100,000. It was a center for the manufacture of armor, ballistae, and woolen uniforms for the Roman soldiers.
Some of the more impressive Roman ruins include:
- Porta Nigra: The largest and best-preserved
- Aula Palatina: Was The 67 Meter Long Throne Hall Of Roman Emperor Constantine - today A Protestant Church
- Amphitheater: The Roman Trier Amphitheater
- Roman Bridge: Built In The 2nd Century AD Across The Moselle - Today the Oldest Bridge north of the Alps Still crossed By Traffic
- Baths: Ruins Of Three Roman Baths - Including The Largest North Of The Alps
- Trier Cathedral: Traces its Origins Back To Roman Times
Other Roman Ruins To See In Germany
There are many other Roman ruins in Germany - far too many to list out here. Here are some of the more notable Roman ruins in Germany.
Saalburg Roman Fort:
This fort was part of the Upper Limes Germanicus just northwest of Bad Homburg in the modern German state of Hesse. Travel there today and one will be able to see a near-complete reconstruction of the Roman fort by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1897 during the German Empire.
Today there are also various artifacts on display that help bring the Roman times to life. For more information on can visit their Official Website.
Mainz - Mogontiacum:
Mogontiacum was a strategically placed Legionary base that developed into a regional administrative center. It was also a gateway for Roman attacks into Germany. It was on the Rhine at the mouth of the river Main. There are various Roman ruins to be seen.
LVR Archaeological Park Xanten:
Here one can see the ruins of the Roman settlement Colonia Ulpia Traiana, on the banks of the Lower Rhine. it was founded in 70 AD, and grew to be the second most important post of the province.
- See: Reconstructions Of An amphitheater, bathhouse, and defensive wall.