The Romans in the Harz Mountains: 235/236 AD. Roman legions and auxiliary troops as well as Germanic tribes face each other on the western edge of the Harz in a swampy valley on the slope of the Harzhorn and on its heights. The Roman Empire must fight for its power, for much of both domestic and foreign policy is no longer going according to plan. Soon a fierce battle unfolds on the northern border of the largest empire in the ancient world, which requires the entire military spectrum of the army.
Rome – in the most powerful empire of antiquity there is a crisis
The 3rd century was a time when the structures within the Roman army and its administration began to change. Not only auxiliary troops, consisting of soldiers from subjugated provinces, became an important element. Also Germanic peoples, which were settled as federates on the territory of the Reich, increasingly served the army. Rapidly changing rulers were now the so-called soldier emperors, who no longer belonged to any dynasty. Those who had distinguished themselves as commanders could be fortunate enough to be appointed emperors. Rome’s challenge now is to put its rule on a solid footing. In addition, many parts of the Roman Empire suffer from the economic consequences of the wars.
The Romans in the Harz Mountains – Rome tries to secure its provinces
In the border regions along the Rhine and Danube there is almost uninterrupted fighting. For the military operation in the Harz Mountains Maximius Thrax decides, just freshly proclaimed emperor – he should not enjoy this privilege for long – and ambitiously set off for the campaign to Germania. He wins against the Germanic groups on the northern border and at the same time, through his commanders, ensures success against the Sarmatians on the Danube. On the way south Germanic troops block the Romans the march on the pass at the Harzhorn. The Romans avoid the mountain ranges and attack on command of their emperor from above with concentrated forces. Infantry, cavalry and artillery are used against the attack of the Germanen and are ultimately successful thanks to their cavalry. However, since the southeastern provinces of the empire are also threatened by hostile attacks, the troops move on quickly after their victory.
From the Roman sandal to the site of the century
The things you can’t discover on a walk: In the year 2000, probe-walkers found a Roman sandal – the prelude to the excavation work on the Harzhorn. And the terrain spur over the Nettetal is steeped in history anyway. Actually, the two hobby archaeologists were looking for traces of a medieval castle. At that moment, they had no idea that their discovery would take them much further back in time and would trigger a significant excavation project. A short time later, the scientists also successfully unpacked their metal detectors.