The Romans of the Upper Rhine

This exhibition gives insight into the life of the Romans who colonised Germania. From the foundation of the province of Upper Germania circa 83 CE to the abandonment of the Limes in the 3rd century CE and the gradual decline of Roman supremacy, native Celtic-Germanic tribes were strongly influenced by the Roman culture.

Milestones which survived in excellent quality serve as an indicator of how well-developed the Roman road system really was. The safety of travellers was ensured by police, and road houses offered a place to rest. The roads could therefore be used not only by troops, but also by merchants who transported goods from the north to the south and vice versa.

Large farms, the villae rusticae, are a characteristic feature of Roman culture. They not only supplied the troops, but also produced food for the markets in the country and abroad. Alongside native grains, vegetables and fruit, the Romans also cultivated Mediterranean crops. It was the Romans who brought wine to Germany. This original cellar from a villa in nearby Wössingen is an example of a well-stocked villa cellar.

In the collection on religion, “classic” Roman deities are displayed next to fascinating figures of cult worship that emerged in Upper Germania. These represent a symbiosis of Roman and Celtic deities, and demonstrate how tolerant ancient religious beliefs could be. This is a strong contrast to the later monotheistic religions of the East. Long before Christianity, Roman merchants and soldiers brought the cult of Mithras, the Persian god of light and wisdom, to Germania. An impressive stone shrine from the Roman fort in Osterburken (near Heidelberg) is displayed in a walk-in exhibition space.