“What have the Romans ever done for us?” – A Retrospective on Roman Cologne

Roman Cologne is gone: time to take a look back and forward onto 500 years!

Roman central power broke down in the 5th century in Cologne and the Rhineland. The political power that had held control over the region for five centuries was gone. Time to look back on Cologne’s first 500 years of existence. How does the Roman heritage up until today influence modern-day city of Cologne?

Visible Roman street layouts

Interactive city map. Link to it here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1ipNI04cEJYDNqsapTakk5kzyr1ZTbs2T&ll=50.9375683330207%2C6.961084213365201&z=16
Decumanus Maximus or today’s Schildergasse
Cardo Maximus or today’s Hohe Straße. In Roman times the street was way wider. 9 Meters but constant building into the street narrowed it down to today’s width.
This is the intersection of Cardo Maximus and Decumanus Maximus. The Forum must have been located here.

Origins of church buildings from Roman times

Church of St. Gereon with its antique central building.
Church of St. Ursula Von Hans Peter Schaefer –> Hps-poll – http://www.reserv-a-rt.de, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=536426
Church of St. Severin

Some Archaeological treasuries

Dionysios mosaic close to Cologne Cathedral
Segment of the Roman sewer
Foundation of the Ubiermonument. You can see a modern day pillar of bricks to stabilize it.
Tower wall of the Ubiermonument (sorry for the blurry picture)
Assumingly a watergate. Notice that it has been closed with bricks. Maybe in later times to prevent enemies from enterin the city?
A modell of the Praetorium Source: Nicolas von Kospoth (Triggerhappy) – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1071327
An excavated part of the Preatorium below the town hall of Cologne. As you can see in the back, when this picture was taken, the construction for the bigger museum has already started. The light in the back comes from the construction pit outside. We are still underground the modern street leve. Source by: Archäologische Zone Köln – Archäologische Zone Köln, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22774300 
Roman watchtower on Zeughausstraße
A few meters away from the tower there are large parts of the Roman City wall. Besides being tall anyway, it used to be way higher. 8 meters or 9 yards in height. Von I, VollwertBIT, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2474310
Lysolphturm (Lysoph Tower) in Cologne at an intersection of the car road „North-South-Drive“ (Nord-Süd-Fahrt) Once part of the northern Roman city wall of Cologne in ancient times up until the High Middle Ages. 
Parts of the Roman city wall are really not in good shape…
Residental home built ontop of Roman tower foundation.
Roman watchtower in Helenenstraße
Archaeological Zone in Cologne’s city center. The surrounding buildings are the Cologne city hall. Beneath all of this the Roman Pretorium and the medieveal Jewish Quarter are located. Currently, a museum is being built there.

Roman tomb in Cologne-Weiden

Behind this green door you will enter into a time around 2000 years ago. Von © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50057695

Sneak Peek to Frankish Cologne

The location of the Franks around 475 . “Les Francs rhénans” is the French term for “Ripuarian Franks”. By Odejea – Own workD’après :Michel Rouche, Clovis, Éditions Fayard, 1996, isbn2-213-59632-8, page 188.Hermann Kinder et Werner Hilgemann, Atlas Historique, (Traduction de Pierre Mougenot), 1964, réimpression 1983, Éditions Stock, page 112.les frontières indiquées sur cette carte, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8444101

2 thoughts on ““What have the Romans ever done for us?” – A Retrospective on Roman Cologne

  1. Such a completely wonderful episode! It was so comprehensive, yet in context of the previous episodes, it brings everything together. And so kindly speaks of Düsseldorf too. The length of the episode was perfect. Thanks for the great summary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your review Ed! I’m so glad that you liked the episode and found it comprehensive. That was my goal and not just warming up all the previous episodes like a meal in a microwave. (strange metaphor, I know) 😀 It’s always a pleasure to hear from people who appreciate the work I do here at The History of Cologne Podcast. If there’s anything else in particular that you’d like me to cover, please let me know.


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