Irgenhausen Castrum

Pfäffikon, Switzerland

Irgenhausen Castrum is a Roman fort situated on Pfäffikersee lake shore. It was a square fort, measuring 60 metres in square, with four corner towers and three additional towers. The remains of a stone wall in the interior were probably a spa.

In the Roman era, there was a Roman road from Centum Prata (Kempraten) on Obersee–Lake Zürich via Vitudurum (Oberwinterthur) to Tasgetium (Eschenz) on the Rhine. To secure this important transport route, the castrum was built. The native name of the fort is unknown: Irgenhausen was mentioned in AD 811 as Camputuna sive Irincheshusa, so maybe the castrum's name was Cambodunum, the Roman name of the neighboring village of Kempten.

For the dating of the fort there are two theories: the first assumes that the fort was built at the time of the Emperor Diocletian around AD 294/295. The other theory, based on the Roman coins found inside the castrum, dated the construction from 364 to 375, in the era of the Emperor Valentinian II. As early as AD 400 the castrum was evacuated and destroyed by Alamanni invaders.

In addition to the remains of the towers and surrounding wall, there were found the remains of stone interior buildings: a three-roomed building was seen as a spa. Another building with three rooms has been interpreted as principia, the headquarters of the fort. At the southern corner tower a hypocaust system of an older villa rustica from the 1st to the 3rd century was excavated. The other buildings were made of wood and therefore cannot be individually identified. However, some military barracks, a horreum and a praetorium was probably built inside the fort. In the middle of the hill there was a sunken room. Most of the relics found inside the fort date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and are thought to be relics of the villa rustica on whose ruins the fort was built. At the present time, a red ribbon in the wall shows where the Roman wall ends and the restored wall begins.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 294-375 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Switzerland

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Linija George (8 months ago)
Loved it
David Old Brand (9 months ago)
Nice place for a break from the sun.
Theo Robert Stutz (2 years ago)
Nice view over the lake and very good point for a recreation ?
Roger Ernst (2 years ago)
A beautiful place
Vikrant Singh (2 years ago)
Wonderful to watch the sunset from here.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.