Raetia (also Raetia or Rhätia ) was a Roman province, named after the Rhaetian. It included the northern Alpine foreland between southeastern Black Forest, the Danube and the Inn and handed in the south of the Ticino Alps ( " Lepontine Alps" ) On Grisons and part of North Tyrol to an upper portion of the Eisacktal. At times, she handed to about Schwäbisch Gmünd for Limes northwest beyond the upper Danube. The Roman province was established decades after the military conquest in the first century AD and the fourth in the southern / south-eastern Raetia prima ( Churrätien ) and divides the northern / north-western Raetia secunda. Their main cities were initially high probability Cambodunum ( Kempten ( Allgäu) ), later Raetorum Curia ( Chur) and Augusta Vindelicorum ( Augsburg).

Their territory covered only partially with the original settlement area of ​​the Reti. Since the 3rd century was formed in its northwestern region of the Germanic tribe of the Alemanni. In the earlier 6th century it was under the Ostrogoths; subsequently came under further penetration of the Alemanni in its eastern area of ​​the tribe of the Bavarians.


The northern boundary of the province was also the frontier of the Roman Empire to the unconquered part of Germania, Germania Magna was called. In the West Raetia limited initially to the imperial province of Gallia Belgica, since their division under Domitian ( 81-96 ) at Germania superior, instead, in the 4th century Sequana or maxima Sequanorum. Further southwest bordered on Vallis Alpes Poenina or Graiae et Poeninae. Noricum was the eastern neighboring province. In the south, the heartland of Italy, which was only from 300 AD ( Diocletian ) were included in the provincial division was equal to ( Gallia Transpadana, Venetia et Histria ).

The borders ran thus:

  • The northern boundary and defensive line formed between Castra Batava ( Passau) and the castle Eining at Kelheim Danuvius ( Danube ).
  • To the west, it was up to about 95 AD by the upper Danube and then marked by the 166 km long Limes, extending from the castle Celeusum (market Pförring ) in a northwesterly direction to Gunzenhausen ( Altmühltherme ), thence in a southwesterly direction ( in Schwäbisch Gmünd ) moved to Lorch, where Raetia and Germania superior bordering on the Limes be continued as Upper Germanic north (→ ORL: Course ). In the 3rd century it was abandoned, henceforth formed ( from west to east ) of the Upper Rhine, Lake Constance, the Iller Iller and from the mouth of the Danube River the northern boundary of the province of Germania Magna. From the eastern Lake Constance to the Iller and thence north along the Iller to the Danube, the new fortified boundary line of the Danube -Iller -Rhine- Limes has been created.
  • The western boundary ran south from the outlet of Lake Constance via Ad Fines ( Pfyn ) into the area between Lake Zurich and Lake Walen the Oberalp Pass, the Valley of Linth ( Glarus ) safely and that of the Reuss ( Uri) including Urseren and probably belonged dasHaslital to Raetia. and over the Furka Pass (perhaps) the Fletschhorn.
  • From there, the southern boundary moved over the Spliigen and the Maloja Pass Vinschgau to Brixen (confluence of Rienz and Eisack ).
  • The border of Noricum was northward through the Ziller Valley and the Inn ( Aenus, Oenus ) along the Danube.
  • The course of the southern border of Raetia in today's southern Ticino and Graubünden is controversial in research. One side defines the boundary line on the main Alpine ridge, because the subsequent extension of the dioceses of Milan, Como and Novara membership of the whole today's Canton Ticino and Misox and the Bergell and the Valtellina to three municipalities already probably doing in Roman times. The other side expects the field of Lepontier to Raetia and sets the border south of a line between Domodossola - Locarno and Bellinzona. The Bergell and the Valtellina, including Val Poschiavo and Bormio are generally expected but rather to Italy. However, neither side could teach decisive arguments or archaeological evidence to date.

Roman Rule

Original inhabitants

The name of the province, its later part of provinces, their administrative centers ( Raetia, Vindelicia, Augusta Vindelicorum etc. ) are related by the ethnic groups of the → Rhaetians and → Vindelici which, according to Roman sources the majority of the province inhabited or until their conquest Rome had inhabited, whose repeated attacks on neighboring areas should also have been the occasion for the decisive campaign of 15 BC.

In the Alps north of the line Como and Verona are said to have settled the Rhaetians. Several authors since ancient times they believed to be related to the Etruscans. Recent linguistic analysis Rhaetian and Etruscan inscriptions support this conjecture; in any event, the people is now regarded as not Celtic ( or even non- Indo-European ). Roman authors described the Rhaetians as "martial" to raids against neighboring peoples tending - what other appeared as a pretext for driving on Roman campaigns in the Alps.

In the same area but are also Celts like the Venostes in today's Vinschgau or the ( Indo-European, but not Celtic ) Veneti have lived. The latter gave Venetia ( the hinterland of Venice ) the name, but also the Bodensee was sometimes called Lacus Venetus.

On his train over the Alpine passes in 15 BC Drusus met the Breonen ( Breuni ), of which the Brenner Pass could have gotten to not uninterrupted recognizable manner his name. Strabo called them ( Indo-European, but non- Celtic ) as Illyrians. From an archaeological point of view but they could also have been Rhaetians, anyway Rhaetians were temporarily considered Celtic- Illyrian mixed people ( contrary to recent linguistic knowledge ). Indeed, one can also come across the assertion that the Breonen or even the Venosten were Raetian ethnic groups. We therefore find different " interpretations " of the term Rhaetians. Horace assigns the Breonen as a Vindelici.

The Vindelici settled, at least in today's Vorarlberg and Allgäu and from there perhaps to the Inn and Danube. They are generally regarded as the Celts. Under the geography section, the article about the Vindelici represents the difficulties to conclude from the sources to the relationships and differences between the listed sections of the population. Particularly "martial" and " predator lusting " next Rhaetians the Vindelici that Breonen and others were represented. A list of 46 in the Roman campaign of 15 BC, conquered the Alps peoples contained the Trophy of Augustus.

Roman advance to the Danube in 25 BC

Since 25 BC, the northern boundary of the former province of Cisalpine Gaul in northern Italy has been moved to the Rhaetian settlement area, about to the Valtellina ( Addatal ) and the Adige valley to about contemporary Bolzano addition. The Roman commander Drusus drew 15 BC with an army over the Brenner Pass and flanking over the Reschenpass in the north of the Alps. Previously, he had to break above Trento fierce opposition from the Isarken (Eisacktal ). In the same year, conquered his brother Tiberius, who later became Emperor, the area to the west and reached over the Rhine Valley to Lake Constance, where was the territory of the Vindelici. According to Strabo, he used an island on the lake as the basis for the fight against Vindelici.

Gaius Julius Caesar had established the Rhine to 51 BC as a frontier of the Roman Empire. Between 35 and 28 BC, Octavian and Marcus Licinius Crassus extended the Roman dominion in the Balkans on the lower Danube. The following year, 27 Octavian became Augustus. He summed up the plan to close the gap between the Rhine and the lower Danube and the Rhine and Danube to defend Italy against Germanic invasions already. The campaign of 15 BC, also subdued the Celtic kingdom of Noricum east Raetias; Drusus and Tiberius conquered 12 and 9 BC the last of the neighboring Pannonia Noricum. So the Romans were total reaches the Danube. This larger context remained over the next centuries determinative (see Marcomanni and Augustan Alps campaigns ).

Establishment and expansion of the province ( 1st / 2nd century)

Under the emperors Tiberius ( 14-37 AD) or Claudius ( 41-54 AD ), the area of ​​today Grisons, Vorarlberg, southern Bavaria and Swabia between the western Lake Constance, the Danube and the Inn and the northern Tyrol the province ( first military district) summarized Raetia et Vindelicia - soon only be called Raetia. Under Emperor Claudius was built attendant, armed with forts military road near their southern bank of the Danube to hedge a line until shortly before Regensburg leading from the origin Danube, the Danube. This road is now known among historians Donausüdstraße. She was joined by the Via Claudia directly with Augsburg and northern Italy. The first also Raetien associated Wallis was separated by 43 AD and as Vallis Poenina (or Alpes Poeninae ) independent province or merged with Alpes Graiae.

In the years grew Raetia to the northwest across the Danube addition (see Agri decumates ). Since Domitian ( 81-96 ) the construction of the Limes was tackled, a structural identification and securing the border of the claimed area of Rome, which did not follow waters or similar geographical features. To 90 AD, the northernmost point Gunzenhausen was reached. As construction of the Limes was completed under Antoninus Pius ( 138-161 ) (→ ORL: building history ).

This term " Raetia ", not only to the field of Vindelici and further to the north of the probable settlement of the Rhaetian, but still their settlement area was south of the Inn Valley, the heartland of Italy slammed ( former Cisalpine Gaul, Roman citizenship ). So the Valtellina for later Gallia Transpadana and today's region of Trentino- Alto Adige Venetia et Histria belonged to. This had been the 15 BC acquired prior to the northward crossing of the Alps areas.

Well under the emperor Trajan ( 98-117 AD) was Vindelicorum Augusta ( Augusta also Vindelicum; Augsburg today ) became the capital Raetias. With high probability, the seat of the governor was previously located in Cambodunum, today Kempten. The province was administered by a governor ( procurator ) of equestrian rank. In the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the latest shortly before 180, a legion ( Legio III Italica ) was stationed in Raetia. The governor ( legatus Augusti pro praetore ) was thus in the following decades, a senator praetorian rank.

Retreat, Alemanni ( 3rd century )

Under Septimius Severus beginning of the 3rd century with the Via Raetia was a second Roman road across the main Alpine ridge to Raetia. During the crisis of the 3rd century, the kingdom across the Danube advanced frontier was abandoned by and by. Details are not entirely clear from written sources, a greater role for the reconstruction of the former processes play newer archaeological findings ( → limit case). Longer time of the Roman withdrawal was related to a Germanic onslaught by 260; in fact, there have already been 230 again and again deep into the territory of the Reich cross- Germanic, including Alemannic looting and destruction. The deployed troops in Raetia were thinned. The use of Roman forces against the Goths and the Sassanids on the eastern frontiers was given priority. The Rhaetian frontier was never de jure, but de facto taken back to the Danube and west of the Iller to Lake Constance and Upper Rhine. The newly stationed garrisons there ( such as Guntia / Günzburg or Constance ) remained open until the 5th century.

The award given benenen Dekumatland between Main, Rhine, Neckar and Iller formed from Suebian immigrants and the previous Celto -Roman population of the Germanic tribe of the Alemanni →. In the eastern kingdom the Alamanni should the Duchy of Swabia form ( 10-11. Century, → figure). Their settlement area is recognized as a distribution area of ​​the Alemannic dialect to this day.

Division of the province ( 4th century )

During the Diocletian Empire reforms of the early 4th century Raetia part of the diocese of Italia and in the two sub- provinces of Raetia prima ( Curiensis ) and Raetia secunda ( Vindelica ) was divided. These were now of a Dux ( Dux Raetiae ) commanded by governors and lower rank, so-called Praesides, managed, who had their official residences in Curia ( Chur) and Augusta Vindelicorum ( Augsburg). Of these, the later German names " Churrätien " and " Vindelicia " deduced.

The dividing line and the areas of the sub- provinces go forth from sources but barely. In the 19th and early 20th centuries can be found (also in historical → cards) the view Raetia secunda just the Alpine foothills between Iller, Danube and Inn, Raetia prima Graubünden, the northern Alps to Kufstein and the Austrian Central Alps comprises up to Ziller.

This view came Richard Heuberger contrary → since 1931. Maybe since the dividing line is starting as at about Isny, over the Arlberg and then about the present border between Switzerland and Tyrol - indicated Gradient ( " Munster " " Stelvio "). It adheres to the assumption Raetia prima have essentially the original settlement area of ​​the → Rhaetians and Raetia secunda includes the → Vindelici; However, these settlements are themselves not clear. Rash was probably Heuberger thesis that the dividing line with the later boundary between the dioceses of Chur and Saeben -Brixen coincided.

That today Graubünden are Raetia prima and the Alpine foothills east of the river Iller to Raetia secunda included, is evidently out of the question, the uncertainty mainly concerns the membership of today's Austrian and South Tyrolean part of Raetia, besides also the area between Iller, Argen and Alpine Rhine estuary. (Compare also Raetia secunda: Division of the predecessor province. )

Alamanni, Franks, Ostrogoths and Bavaria: Raetia and the end of antiquity

In the course of the 5th century Germanic groups increasingly exceeded the northern borders of the Roman Empire; from this point, the transalpine part of Raetia ( Raetia secunda / Alpine foothills ) was affected. In part, it was his attackers were marauding gangs who took advantage of the increasing neglect of the Roman frontier defense. On the other hand it was warrior associations, who were recruited by the Romans to fight as foederati against internal and external enemies; after the collapse of the Western Roman central government they established their own kingdoms. Several developments, including mention the written sources, can thereby be traced with the help of archeology.

The Roman frontier forts on the Danube, were gradually abandoned around the middle of the 5th century, less because of military strikes, rather because about the military service anyway due to lack of supply collapsed ( mainly because of dwindling military pay ). The Vita Sancti Severini, according to the 470 nor Roman military camp embossed Quintanis ( Künzing ) and Batavis ( Castra Batava, Passau ) of Raetia secunda were last cleared, in fact, under the influence of constant raids by marauding Alemanni; this is confirmed with smears archaeologically.

(The following information is in the article Bavarians: ethnogenesis deepened. )

From about 500 sat enhanced colonization by a Alamanni, but at least parts of Romanized Celtic civilian population will be remained in the country, since a larger number of corresponding local and river names received. The Alemanni the northern provinces, who were defeated by the Franks under Clovis I 496 to Clovis once again demonstrated against the year 506, where they suffered a final defeat in the Battle of Strasbourg. Your districts were now irrevocably to the Franks, which brought an escape of the local Alemanni with it. These fled now after Raetia who were under the Warriors Association of the Ostrogoths at that time; the rex Theodoric she took a note of Magnus Felix Ennodius According to the year 506 AD in his kingdom, because he was of them hoped for a better border security against the advancing francs. Theodoric turned to his brother Clovis I and the Alamanni designed for intercession, but recognized the anger of Clovis for entitled to. He asked only to punish the guilty and recommended moderation in punishments. Theodoric promised that he would ensure that the Alamanni, who were in Raetia in the Roman territory, in turn, also behaved quiet. Between the lines Theodoric made ​​it clear by saying that he thus on the disputed territory of Raetia claim arose and the Alamanni would use as leverage against Clovis, if this is not anerkennte its hegemony there.

The settlement area of the Alamanni expanded by now from the River Iller up on the Lech. East of the Lech, which go today, most historians and archaeologists, originated from the remaining Celtic Vindelikern, the Roman civil population, is wandering the Alemanni and other groups ( elb ) Germanic tribes such as the Marcomanni, a new Germanic United Association, the Bavarians or Bavaria (see ethnogenesis ). In contrast to earlier opinions, there is evidently no evidence of immigration of a pre-existing uniform Bavarian tribe from what is now Bohemia, since a substantial continuity of the population is given in the foothills even after the collapse of the Roman Empire. However, this development was concerned about the Inn across the (former) Roman province of Noricum.

The compounds of Raetia to the south transalpine were but from now on, at least since the destruction of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian Ostgotenreiches by 540, not more politically decisive, and as the Roman culture and Latin language gradually lost their influence. However, Celtic and Roman terms and place names survived in the vocabulary of the remaining mixed population. Around Lake Constance found Irish monks in the 6th century to Pirminius strong feral Christian communities. It was followed by the establishment of new churches and monasteries on the island of Reichenau.

In the southern alpine region of the former Raetia (especially Raetia prima ) the political and especially cultural connection to Italy remained lasts longer, and the Latin or Romance language and the Christian faith survived the migration period. The term Raetia was later used only for areas in Raetia prima. In addition, the German name Churrätien appears.

Further division in the Middle Ages

In addition to a north-south divergence due to the shrinkage of Roman control over the foothills of the Alps formed and solidified in the wake an east-west division of the former Raetia:

  • The Alemanni settled not only the Alpine foothills of Raetia secunda up over the Lech, but also areas around the lake in the area of ​​Raetia prima. In the 10th century, the graubündische Churrätien finished with this and in the previous Raetia secunda and to the northwest Alemanni settled the Duchy of Swabia together.
  • The Bavarians not only shaped the east of the Lech, the culture of the Raetia secunda, but also taken gradually to the south of the entire previous Raetia this area owned ( within the meaning of the Duchy of Bavaria).

The Romanesque - its educated in the field of Raetia, separate forms are summarized as Romansh languages ​​- could be just to the south of the former Raetia ( Raetia prima ) hold. ( Romansh in the narrower sense is the Romanesque Churrätiens / Graubünden. ) The Christian faith ( and the Latin language ) was used by the bishops of Chur and Saeben (?) Or Bressanone maintained. The Raetia secunda fell apart culturally and politically along the Lech, from Raetia prima formed under the name → Churrätien, represented initially by the Diocese of Chur, which ruled the Inn Valley, only to Finstermünz. From there, from the earlier Raetia belonged to the diocese Saeben -Bressanone. Around 550 former Western Raetia is to Lech and in the south including Churrätiens under Frankish sovereignty. But the Franks were the religious essence, and thus language and culture Churrätiens exist. East of the Lech, the Bavarian Duchy is first attested 555, only under Charlemagne also gets this, and thus the whole eastern part of the former Raetia also under Frankish sovereignty ( 788 ).

The still existing boundaries in Finstermünz through the Inn Valley solidifies with the rise of the County of Tyrol in the 12th century in the East and with the alliance of the population of the diocese of Chur in the West against the desire of the bishop, his territory to transfer them to the Habsburgs ( Gotteshausbund 1367 ). This alliance followed the example of the confederacies of the western neighborhood and ultimately led to the integration of landscape in today's Switzerland. The County of Tyrol, however, fell in the 14th century permanently to the Habsburgs; to this is that the eastern part of the Alpine Raetia today distributed to Austria and Italy is based.

Raetia from the 18th century to today

The geographical term " Raetia " was throughout the Middle Ages and increasingly used in the 18th and 19th centuries for the Free State of the Three Leagues. When the Free State of the Three Leagues was admitted as a new State into the Helvetic Republic on 21 April 1799 that initially received the designation Raetia, later Grisons. To date, the adjective " rhätisch " or " Rhaetian " alternative for " graubündnerisch " or " Grison " used - such as for the Rhaetian Railway or Romansh.

Settlements, towns, cities and water

Many river names were borrowed from the Celtic. The name Ries for the landscape around Nördlingen stems from Raetia ago.

In the sources ( literary texts, tabs Peutingeriana, the Antonine Itinerary, Notitia Dignitatum, milestones ) the names of the settlements are given only in the rarest of cases, the nominative, rather, the nature of the case in the locative ( "Where" ), accusative ( "Where to? " ) or ablative ( "How "). The implementation of the particular case is often difficult, sometimes impossible, though denied the etymology.