Germania Inferior  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Germania Inferior was a Roman province located on the left bank of the Rhine, in today's southern Netherlands, parts of Belgium, and North Rhine-Westphalia left of the Rhine.

The principal settlements of the province were Castra Vetera and Colonia Ulpia Traiana (both near Xanten), Coriovallum (Heerlen), Albaniana (Alphen aan den Rijn), Lugdunum Batavorum (Katwijk), Forum Hadriani (Voorburg), Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum (Nijmegen), Traiectum (Utrecht), Atuatuca Tungrorum (Tongeren), Bona (Bonn), and Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne), the capital of Germania Inferior.

The army of Germania Inferior, known from inscriptions simply as EX.GER.INF. (Exercitus Germania Inferior), had several legions at its service: of these, the Legions I Minervia and XXX Ulpia Victrix were the most permanent. The Roman Navy's Classis Germanica, charged with patrolling the Rhine and the North Sea coast, was based in Castra Vetera and later in Agrippinensis.

The first confrontations between a Roman army and the peoples of Germania Inferior occurred during Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars. Caesar invaded the region in 57 BC and in the next three years annihilated several tribes, including the Eburones and the Menapii, whom Caesar called "Germanic" but who probably were Celtic or at least mixed Celtic-Germanic. Germanic influence increased during Roman times, leading to the assimilation of all Celtic peoples in the area.

Germania Inferior had Roman settlements since approximately 50 BC and was at first part of Gallia Belgica; it was established as a Roman province in the year 90, later becoming an Imperial province. It lay north of Germania Superior, together with which it made up Germania. The epithet Inferior refers to its downstream position.

After the final abandonment of the province it became the core of the Frankish Kingdom.

See also


Jona Lendering, De randen van de aarde. De Romeinen tussen Schelde en Maas, (2000 Amsterdam)

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