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Legionary Pottery from Vindonissa*

  • Elisabeth Ettlinger


Vindonissa, the only Roman legionary fortress in Switzerland, was occupied during the first century A.D. to guard the frontier against Germany. Because of the exactly defined period of habitation the pottery of this place is of special importance.

The legionary fortress at Vindonissa is situated on a plateau between two rivers and on the north side the ground slopes steeply down to the R. Aare. Some time after the foundation of the fortress, which is probably to be dated shortly after the Varus catastrophe of A.D. 9, perhaps after the third decade of the first century, the soldiers began to throw all the rubbish of the fortress down this slope.



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This paper was read on 7th July, 1950, to the Commemorative Meeting of the foundation of the Colonia at Colchester.



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1 For the fortress see Laur-Belart, R., Vindonissa, Lager und Vicus (Römisch-germanische Forschungen Bd. 10), 1935.

2 Bettermann, K., Saalburg Jahrbuch VIII, 97129.

3 Hawkes and Hull, Camulodunum (Soc. Ant. Research Reports XIV, 1947) 228.

4 J. H. Holwerda, Het in de Potterbakkerij van de Holdeurn gefabriceerde Aardewerk uit de Nijmegsche Grafvelden (Oudheidkundige Meddedeelingen 1945, Supplement).

5 E. v. Bonis, Die kaiserzeitliche Keramik von Pannonien (Dissertationes Pannonicae Ser. 11, no. 20), 1942.

6 Simonett, C., Tessiner Gräberfelder (Monographien zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte der Schweiz Bd. 3) 1941, 106, 145. For the chronology see also N. Lamboglia in Riv. di studi Liguri 1943, 193.

7 See Drack, W., Die helvetische Terra-Sigillata-Imitation des i. Jhh. n. Chr., Basel, 1945; Ettlinger, E., Die Keramik der Augster Thermen (Monographien zur Ur- und Frühgesch. d. Schweiz Bd. 6), 1949, 42 f.

8 For this and the following facts see Ritterling, P-W s.v. ‘Legio’ and CAH XI, 158 f.

9 E. Stein, Die römischen Beamten und Truppenkörper im römischen Deutschland unter dent Prinzipat, 1932, 158, 188.

10 F. Staehelin, Die Schweiz in römischer Zeit 3 1949, 551.

11 F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, inscript. no. 423.

12 Quite recently P. Lambrechts and S. de Laet published a study on the Gundestrup cauldron, which they attribute to the Mithraic cult, accepting Drexel's dating in the first century B.C. (Gentse Bijdragen tot de Kunst-geschiedenis 1950, 89). If their theory is right, the Gundestrup cauldron would be an important indication of early Mithraism in the Danubian countries.

* This paper was read on 7th July, 1950, to the Commemorative Meeting of the foundation of the Colonia at Colchester.

Legionary Pottery from Vindonissa*

  • Elisabeth Ettlinger


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