“At The Roman Stone”

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This post’s title is the translation of Am Römerstein, a street in the Bavarian town of Gilching. It’s a road the Beau takes regularly for business. The name always intrigued me — where is, or was, this Roman stone, anyway?

Gilching

A look at a map of Gilching shows that Am Römerstein intersects (and for a short stretch follows) the old Roman road Via Julia from Salzburg to Augsburg (through Gilching it is named, appropriately, Römerstrasse. Click on the link above to see a simple map of the entire road. Gilching is on the red line just above the area between those two lakes.) So the street got it’s name from being at or near a milestone on the Roman road. Salzburg, not yet the summer destination of the Euro-chic, was important for it’s salt mines, salt in earlier times being a very valuable commodity. (Worth another blog post at a later time. The names of many places in Germany and Austria come from their importance in the salt trade.) Augsburg was Augusta Vindelicorum, the capital city of Roman province Raetia and all the Roman roads in and around the Alps lead not to Rome, but to there.

Back to my milestone. With the help of Zeitspringer (who blogs chiefly about archaeological outings in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and who is a great source of information on the subject, his blog is well worth perusing if you read German), I learned that a stone erected in the 1860s and dedicated to the Roman Road is included in a list of monuments on Gilching, including it’s location. A trip over there brought us to Number 15 Am Römerstein, where we found this monument,

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Roman Road
from
Augusta Vindelicorum
(Augsburg)
to
Juvavum
(Salzburg)

This, by the way, is definitely not the same stone mentioned (and shown) in Gilching’s Wikipedia entry (g), a small tube-shaped stone with engraved Latin text, a copy made more recently than the monument at 15 Am Römerstein. So where is the milestone photographed and shown in the Wikipedia entry? Turns out, it’s just a bit further down the road (g), in the center of town.

I assume that the street Am Römerstein, therefor, is named after the 19th-century monument to the Roman road, and not for the site of the Roman milestone (although it’s also entirely possible that the former was erected on the actual site of the original, and the later copy was placed somewhere more convenient and available.) A sign erected near the copy stone gives a very interesting account of the original’s fate. Milestones have been hauled off and used as building stones since the Late Antiquity. This particular stone was taken to Hattenhofen (there are four communities in the area with that name, most likely they mean the one in Fürstenfeldbrück County) in the 16th century, and then used as a cornerstone in Günzlhofen Castle. After the castle fell to ruin it came it Munich, first in the Royal “Antiquarium” and later as part of the Bavarian national collection of prehistoric artifacts, and exhibited with it. Here is where it met it’s ultimate fate, on a date with an Allied bomb in 1944.

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