Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Our last Roman Ruin – Carnuntum

Watercolour sketch
©2014 Charlene Brown

Carnuntum, which we explored on June 12, is about half way between Vienna and Bratislava.  It originated as a Roman army camp during the reign of Augustus in the early first century CE.  During the second century, especially under Tiberius, Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius, it grew in importance, becoming the centre of Roman fortifications along the Danube and a major trading centre on the Amber Road from the Baltic Sea. However, it was destroyed in the 4th century and eventually abandoned during the subsequent Barbarian invasions.

The public baths at Carnuntum, part of the ruin of which is pictured here, were among the largest Roman Baths north of the Alps. When first unearthed, these remains were named Palastruine because the complex was so generously proportioned and lavishly equipped, it was erroneously thought to be the governor’s palace (palace ruins). In Carnuntum’s heyday colourful marble imported from every part of the Roman Empire decorated the walls, and the floors were covered with impressive mosaics.