IRENE's TRAVELOGUE

JUNE/JULY 2002

TRACING ROMAN GERMANIA II

The Trip
Kaiseraugst
Augsburg
Regensburg
Weißenburg
Aalen
Aschaffenburg
Miltenberg
The Saalburg II
Cologne II
Neuß
Southwestern Black Forest
Schwäbisch Hall  Berlin

MORE TRAVEL
Tracing Roman Germania 1999
Tracing Roman Germania 2003 in the works
Ancient Rome as seen in the year 2001
Augsburg Cathedral - click here for images

click on images for picture files

head from an equestrian statue - click here for images

AUGSBURG  Augusta Vindelicum (also augusta vindelicorum)

view towards cathedral from the DomhotelWhere to begin? With the view from my hotel patio over the roofs towards the cathedral? Augsburg is an overwhelming city! There is so much history and culture in this place of ancient origin! The Romans first arrived when Drusus and Tiberius conquered the local tribes and a castrum was built. While Tiberius was emperor, a settlement was founded and named Augusta Vindelicum, from which Augsburg takes its name. You may find a brief history and timeline here.

Augsburg is the birthplace of persons of fame: Hans Holbein the Elder, Leopold Mozart, and Bertold Brecht. Each is commemorated in his own way: The Staatsgalerie exhibits paintings by Holbein and his contemporaries, and the home of the Mozart ancestors is a small museum now and the seat of the German Mozart Society. On the museum page, there is a photo of a piano built 1785 by the famous piano builder Johann Andreas Stein. Brecht's birthplace is a museum as well. Here is the biography of Brecht in English, and a German Brecht website. There were also Jacob Fugger, a 16th century merchant (more on the Fuggers below), and Rudolf Diesel, known for his invention of the Diesel motor.

The city was heavily bombed in the war, but many of the old buildings have been rebuilt. Here is a selection from my photos. There are many old churches and various museums. The 18th century Schätzlerpalais has a great Rococo Ballroom – albeit in badly need of repair, and houses a museum. A walkway leads to the adjoining above-mentioned Staatsgalerie. Next to the Dom (Mariendom, cathedral), is the Diözesanmuseum, the museum of the Catholic Diocese. It is situated across from the Dom Hotel, a family run hotel garni which I can recommend highly. The museum has a great collection of sacral art, especially from the 11th through 13th centuries, including a bronze door from the Cathedral, dating back to the original structure from 1065. It is the second only portal with relievo art north of the Alps. I was lucky to catch a special exhibition, “Kunst baut Brücken” (art builds bridges), a selection of 20th century art from the collection of Pope Paul VI, representing expressionism, surrealism, avant-garde, and cubism. It included artists such as Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, James Ensor, Emil Nolde, Gabriele Münter, Paul Klee, Otto Dix, Ludwig Gies, Max Ernst, Graham Sutherland, Salvador Dalì and Giacomo Manzù.

An important family in Augsburg were the Fugger merchants. The Damenhof (Lady's Courtyard) in the Fugger Mansions, see my photo, is a beautiful courtyard in the Renaissance style. It is now a restaurant, where I stopped by several times to rest and relax. The Fuggers' most important and lasting legacy is the Fuggerei, the oldest social settlement in the world, dating back to 1516. Its small apartments are for the needy and indigent, who had to pay on florin per year. It still provides this service today, in modernized apartments for €1 per year. Here are my photos. Jacob Fugger, however, also was involved in the sale of indulgences and opposed to Martin Luther. In 1518, he involved the Cardinal Kajetan in requesting Luther to renounce his theses, which the latter refused. The issue was finally laid to rest in Religious Peace of Augsburg in 1555.

Tiberius - Fourree Denarius - click here for story
courtesy
Doug Smith

Tiberius - Fourree Denarius -
14-37 AD - 3.0g
TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS / PONTIF MAXIM
Livia as Pax seated; Plain legs on chair

Augusta Vindelicum

Founded by Tiberius, Augusta Vindelicum received its town charter (municipium) in 121 A.D. from the emperor Hadrian. It seems not certain yet whether it became the seat of the governor of the province of Raeticum at that time or earlier under Claudius. In any case, Augsburg, Cologne, and Trier constituted the three most important settlement north of the Alps. Augusta Vindelicum survived until the fourth century, and many inscriptions of its government have been found. But even with the Romans gone, it remained a continuous settlement.

Augsburg has a long tradition of archaeology and collecting, dating back to the 15th century and the humanist Conrad Peutinger. The first museum, the “Antiquarium Romanum”, was founded in 1822, largely based on the collections of Johann Nepomuk Ritter von Raiser.

The Römermuseum is now housed in the prior Dominican church St. Magdalena, which was secularized 1803. It dates back to 1515, but later received a baroque interior.

It's a very nice museum! It contains the largest collection of stone monuments in Bavaria. Unfortunately, I could not see all, as a new exhibition was being set up and some sections were closed off. There are altars, funerary monuments – several of wine merchants, and many other artifacts. An outstanding piece is the bronze head of a horse, part of an equestrian statue from the 2nd century. As is usual, there are also pre-historic finds exhibited. Again, I was lucky: There was an exhibition of glassware, Glass Ausstellung Transparenz und Farbenspiel – not sure how long this link will be up—many of the pieces from the Landesmuseum in Bonn, which is currently closed for renovations. Here are my photos of these and other things in the museum.

Archaeological projects are ongoing in Augsburg, but I did not have the chance to see any. Time is always short when one travels…

© Irene B. Hahn 2002

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