Römer Park - Köngen
N 48° 40.663 E 009° 21.573
32U E 526467 N 5391692
Quick Description: Within a short time after 90/95 A.D. a settlement had grown up around the Köngen fort.
Location: Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Date Posted: 12/10/2006 12:04:08 PM
Waymark Code: WM1153
Köngen lies on an ancient Celtic trading route running between Speyer and Augsburg. Excavations on the grounds of the fort uncovered the remains of a Celtic settlement (400 B.C.).
The name of the Roman village is Grinario. The name can have several meanings, river, meadow, or a Celtic locality. This name is found in two stone inscriptions, on which inhabitants of Grinario are mentioned. Both stones are part of a Jupiter sanctuary, and were found on the outskirts of town along the Roman road to Rottenburg. One of these stones has an inscription dating from the 2nd half of the 2nd century A.D. which says, "The residents of the Rottenburg road of the village of Grinario have erected with their own money the permiter wall of the sanctuary around the best and biggest Jupiter to the glory of the Emperors house."
A consecration stone which was erected sometime between 150 to 230 A.D. had a similar inscription. The location of Grinario is also recorded on the so called Peutinger panel, a copy of a Roman map from the middle ages. Next to the highway, which runs from Basel-Augst via Rottweil to Augsburg, and 48 km east of the Rottenburg roadhouse, a horse changing station with the name Grinario is indicated. The next station "Clarenna" probably indicates the present city of Donnstetten.
The first roads built by the Romans were for military use. They were to achieve the shortest marching time between the forts, secure supply lines, and especially during wartime, allow for fast troop movements.
The Köngen fort must have provided the shortest possible connection via Rottenburg and Rottweil to the Legion camps of Strasbourg and Windisch (Switzerland).
To the north runs a road to the cavalry fort in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. To the southeast a road makes the connection with the fort at Donnstetten on the Alb.
The Rottenburg road begins at the southwest gate of the fort. In 1900, a milestone was found immediately in front of this gate (Porta Principalis Dextra). The inscription gives the distance to Rottenburg as 29 Roman miles or 29,000 paces (= 42.9 km). It was built under the Emperor Hadrian, therefore at a time when the cohorts were still stationed in the camp.
The Rottenburg road was nearly completely paved and at its beginning had a width of 8 meters. After 250 meters it became narrower. The north road (or Canstatt road) was the extension of the Rottenburg road which ran for almost 600 meters straight through the settlement. The Roman cemetary also lay along this road. Its continuation in the direction of Cannstatt is still called "Steiniger Weg".
Under Emperor Domitian (90-95 A.D.)the Limes advanced to the Neckar river line. The fort in Köngen was founded to secure the passage east of the river on the Mainz-Augsburg highway. After the last extension of the Limes between 150-155 A.D. under Antoninus Pius, Köngen lost its military relevance. According to the classification of Roman armies, one distinguished between Legion camps and auxiliary forts. The auxiliary forts were smaller in size than the Legion camps. The size of the Köngen fort (2.42 ha) indicates that a supplementary cohort ("cohors quingenaria") was stationed here. Such a supplementary cohort comprised a 360 man infantry and 140 cavalry. In 1885, Eduard von Kallee first recognized the strategic importance of Grinario. In 1896, the grounds were studied through the Limes commission. The defenses were excavated and the Principia and a part of the Praetorium, the bath, and the storehouses were catalogued. After the end of the study campaign, the southwest tower was reconstructed in 1911 by the Alb club. In 1986, an intermediate tower southwest of the back gate was integrated into the construction of the new museum. The technique and skill of the Roman builders can be studied at the foundation of this tower. During the construction of the museum it was discovered that the ancient wall was first made of wood.
Unter Trajan a stone fencing of the fort area emerged in the years 110-120 A.D.. The gates were flanked with towers. In addition came corner and intermediate towers. Their former location is today marked by Poplar trees. A main street cut across and divided the interior of the fort. This "via principalis" led from the right side gate ("porta principalis dextra") to the left side gate ("porta principalis sinistra"). The "principia", or headquarters, were found above this street. From the headquarters ran the "via praetoria" to the "porta praetoria". They were overlooking the enemy side. The "porta decumana", the back tower led to the camp village. A dry moat surrounded the camp. Exercises and assemblies were held in the "principia" vestibule. The living quarters of the commanders, the "praetorium", lay near the "principia". The soldiers themselves were lodged in team barracks of 80 soldiers and a centurio. In addition came more buildings such as storage for cereals and weapons.
Today, it is still not known how the cohorts stationed at Grinario were called. Two military diplomas found on the grounds of the fort are in fragments and betray neither the name of the commander, nor the name of the soldier, honorably discharged after 25 years of service.
Most Relevant Historical Period: Roman Empire > 27 B.C.
Admission Fee: 0.00
During daylight hours.
Web Site: [Web Link]
Condition: Partly intact or reconstructed
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