- The Treveri and the Romans
- Urbs opulentissima
- Emperor and Christians
- The Holy City
- Electors and Guilds
- The Heavy Burden of War
- Modernization, Revolution, and Growth
- From the Catholic Stronghold to the “Bulwark” of the Brown Shirts
- Harbor City, University City, Large City
Urbs opulentissima - Trier’s First Period of Glory
(AD 70 to 269)
As early as AD 44, the geography Pomponius Mela described Trier as “urbs opulentissima” (exceedingly wealthy city). At the latest, beginning in the 2nd century AD, this designation appears to have been fitting. In this era, some of the grand structures were erected for which Trier owes its status as a UNESCO World Heritage city.
In AD 144, the now third Moselle bridge was erected at the same place as the previous bridges. The piers of this bridge, constructed of massive basalt lava blocks, have proven to be decidedly substantial: several thousand cars cross the “Roman Bridge” daily; it is and remains the shortest connecting from downtown to Trier-West.
With the so-called “Barbara Baths”, Trier had a bathing and leisure center whose dimensions were surpassed only by the Baths of Trajan in Rome. The baths were furnished with, among other things, heated swimming pools.
After AD 160, the city built a wall about 4 mi/6.4 kilometers long and over 26 feet/8 meters high. The Porta Nigra, then the north city gate, still bears witness today to the impressive dimensions of the Trier fortifications.
During approximately the same time, the Amphitheater was built, an oval with a capacity for over 18,000 spectators, for the popular as well as gruesome games of Antiquity: gladiator combats and animal hunts and fights.
A further monumental structure from the 2nd century AD was the circus, of which no remains are visible today. The seating capacity for this horse and chariot racing track is estimated to have been up to 50,000.
The 2nd and 3rd centuries AD were for Augusta Treverorum an era of almost uninterrupted peaceful development, one of economic and cultural flowering. The city had an extensive temple district. Aqueducts from the Ruwer Valley, among others, ensured a supply of fresh water for the city. Administratively, the city was a part of the province of Gallia Belgica. The most significant and powerful man in the city was the financial procurator, responsible for the incoming taxes not only in Belgica but also in the two Germanic provinces.
Text: Ralph Kießling
Literature: Gabriele Clemens/Lukas Clemens: Geschichte der Stadt Trier, Munich, 2007