Romans in Xanten, Germania Inferior
Evertytime I come across a site with traces of Roman civilization, a city founded by Romans or where they have left other conspicuous evidence, I am amazed by their high level of everything - from living standards to technology. Like a kid I stand there and let my imagination go wild at the sight of columns, old roads or leftover water runs. Even more astonishing in this context is the plunge into the thousand year, Vatican controlled barbaric dark age rule, that followed the Greco-Roman period of early enlightenment and globalization. The medieval period in Europe seems to me the peak of forced human primitivism and a stark contrast to the previous eras.
Mid-western Germany, east of the Rhine River, was a Roman province called Germania Inferior. One of the camps and city foundings was Vetera, or Colonia Ulpia Traiana, present-day Xanten. It´s one of many excavation sites I´ve visited over time, and this one is a special site because of the reconstruction efforts going on. Archeological excavations have allowed a deeper understanding of the extremely high level of Roman domestic life. Housing, sanitation, heating, the system of water supply, only to be surpassed by present-day technology, give insight into the superior art of Roman engineering. Things come to life that have to be imagined elsewhere.
I guess that Roman rule was only possible through cruel and ferocious suppression of the conquered, in that sense it was also an era enabled by barbaric methods. Surely it was no comfort zone being a slave or a patriotic local trying to resist the invaders. But in comparison with the medieval period, Romans embraced many when they were willing to assimilate, offering everything Roman society had in its repertoire. Chances of rising to the top of the economical or political ladder was the same for all subjects within the realm.
Just like the block down the road - except that the original of this structure stood here almost two thousand years ago.
Smart design - a covered arcade against fowl teutonic weather.
Colored walls, carpets and furniture - the banality of everyday life today and back then.
Matter of course today, but a luxury in Roman times: Glass windows.
Citizens and leaders.
The colosseum built with local materials still being used today.
Every civilization has its deities - even in the furthest province.