Augsburg: Art in Public: On the Trail of the Romans in Augsburg

Augsburg has a small, free open-air museum on Domplatz. Roman ruins tell about the history of the city.

So far we have mainly introduced individual creatures in this series. But there’s also a really small open-air museum with a lot of applied art to look at, especially in times of pandemics, and that’s free, a must-have talk of the day.

It is located in a prominent historical place
The Roman and Medieval periods of Augsburg and the early modern times of Augsburg can be read clearly. They show – with detailed explanations – fragments, food remnants, and impressions from precisely these broad ages: the foundations of a large Roman apartment building, the foundation stones of a chapel from the early Middle Ages, the blueprint for a small medieval basilica and – after the structures built above no longer exist. Main features of the parade ground as it was established in 1808 after secularization.

In 1954, a Roman wall was added to the Cathedral Square in Augsburg

In our inner eyes, we are in South Cathedral Square. It is a great historical spot in the city, which is not poor in historical sites. In 1954, the so-called Roman Wall was added there, which at the present time – the Dominican Church has been closed for years, and the warehouse is closed – provides valuable services in terms of viewing Roman antiquities.

Tomb relief depicting the Roman textile trade.

Photo: Annette Zweibf

In detail and in selection: the Roman apartment building arose from the heyday of the economy of Augusta Vindelicum as the seat of the Roman governor of the Alpine province in Raetia: the second century after Christ, the Emperor Hadrian has just granted city rights. The room layout becomes apparent in the bird’s eye view from the cathedral square; The building, which might have been used as a business or lodge, might have had a bath – or at least floor heating. The well system has also survived, which was in use until the early Middle Ages, when a chapel with a visible apse was built again today. During the reign of Bishop Ulrich, Saint Johann was built on top of it in 960 – it was used as a baptistery and cemetery. Its chest has also been exposed or clearly marked with brick walls since 1932.

Five friezes blocks may have come from a Roman temple

All this is easy to understand – skiing through the centuries – but not the former site of the Epiphany Church and the site of the “Finstere Gräd” pass, which once led from the cathedral to St. Johann and served as a covered tomb site for the nobles.

The so-called Roman wall, where a group of Roman stone fragments can be seen: architectural fragments such as the five frieze blocks, which may have been used as a temple one day; Tombstones, such as the headstones of Marcus Aurelius Carus that are likely pine cones, as well as well-known reliefs of a wine cart with oxen; Monuments in honor of dignitaries such as emperors and rulers, and finally evidence of the worship of deities, such as a high-quality Mercury relief. Quite a few of these have been renewed for reasons of rampant sabotage and air pollution.

Then there is the altar of Jupiter, which a police officer / soldier erected on December 13, 194, marking his “retirement”.

Today, however, we imagine what it would be like if that became the norm at every retirement age.

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