Featured Visit to the Harzhorn Battlefield and Göttingen Coin Cabinet

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, May 14, 2018.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    Here are some impressions of the Harzhorn Battlefield for those of you who do not have a chance to visit it. Beware - the site is impossible to reach via public transportation, even the taxi shuttle has been discontinued.

    The futuristic info building is only open on Sundays. Note the Autobahn in the background - it passes through what is the only pathway between two mountain ridges that would have been impossible to cross for the supply carriages of of an ancient army train.


    Here is what a Legionary wore in 235 a.D.:


    ... and this is what he carried with him (25 kilos in total) for more than 700 kilometers from Mainz on the Rhine to the Elbe and back (the easternmost roman military camp found so far is at Hachelbich in the former GDR):


    Scientific research makes it possible to reconstruct single fights in the area. This is the spot where a Roman cavalryman died in battle after fighting his way to the top of the hill. The red signs mark the spots where torn pieces of his chain armor, his belt buckle and other parts of his equipment were found:


    By drawing an exact survey of the numerous missiles, volleys of arrows as well as potential positions of catapults and archers became visible.
    This is where salvoes of rapid fire from a torsion gun must have created a massacre amongst the attacking tribesmen:


    Afterwards I visited the beautiful city of Göttingen, home to the world´s largest collection of plaster casts of antique statues from all major museums
    ( http://viamus.uni-goettingen.de/fr/e/uni/d/01/02 ):


    Last but not least I had a chance to browse through the coin cabinet of the University of Göttingen. Here is one of hundreds (!) of trays from their ancient collection:

    P2130138 (1).jpg

    I could have spent days in there... and in their numismatic library :)

    Hope you all had a nice weekend as well !!!

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  3. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Professional Teenager

    Wow...I really hope to see this in person, one question, what was the reason for the building structure? It is a rather odd shape
  4. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice pics, thanks for sharing!
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  5. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector Supporter

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  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Just a guy making his way in the universe

  7. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great write up Julius , thanks
    I think the Roman legionaire has the wrong sword attached, would expect a gladius not a spatha which was used by the cavalry:

    gladius 2.jpg
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  8. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    well, perhaps it was to demonstrate both foot and riding soldiers..
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    totally kool Julius!! thanks for sharing!.:)
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  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    What fascinating places to visit. Thanks for sharing the photos.
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  11. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Very nice, thanks for sharing!
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  12. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    Great pictures and it looks like the extra effort you made to get there was worthwhile! Thanks for letting me visit vicariously through your eyes.
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  13. ancientcoinguru

    ancientcoinguru Supporter! Supporter

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  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

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  15. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    Great writeup. Thanks for sharing those pictures.
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  16. lrbguy

    lrbguy Well-Known Member

    Could it represent the formidable mountain pass he spoke about?

    Thank you for sharing your experience of the place and the day. It was nice to tag along.
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  17. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

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  18. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, I really liked that book as well! It is the only monography available in English language.
    The best information about the battle is this (in German):
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  19. Bart9349

    Bart9349 Junior Member


    I agree that this is a well-written and entertaining book by Paul Pearson. I recommend it highly.

    In the book, Pearson writes, "Radiocarbon dating of wooden artifacts tied the battle [at Harzhorn] unequivocally in the first half of the third century." Numismatic evidence includes denarii of Severus Alexander and Julia Mamae "advancing the terminus post quem [the earliest possible date for something] to 228."

    What is surprising is the distance into hostile territory that the battlefield was found. The battlefield is found farther north and east than anyone had predicted.
    "Hence the late date surprised just about everyone because the Romans were not supposed to have penetrated this far into Germany after the first century" [after the Varus disaster at Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE].

    "The battlefield is no less than 350 kilometers across barbarian territory ... and would have taken a Roman legion the best part of a month to approach ...."
    "And the layout of the battle suggests the Romans were engaged on their return journey."

    Thank you Julius for sharing the pictures.

    Note: Hamilton books is a good source for discounts on this book and others on ancient Rome.
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  20. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, in all probability Maximinus followed Drusus´path and reached the Elbe river near the modern City of Magdeburg.


    The findings from the roman marching camp at Hachelbich (75 kilometers east of the Harzhorn!) are shown at an exhibition at Nebra right now.

    When I visit the place I will also take a look at the famous sky disc (ca. 1700 BC) found there in 1999 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebra_sky_disk ).

    alde, dlhill132, chrsmat71 and 10 others like this.
  21. Deacon Ray

    Deacon Ray Well-Known Member

    Fascinating battlefield images and essay, @Julius Germanicus ! When I visit battlefields, I will often just sit down somewhere and take it in. I must confess that I listen intently and try to hear/imagine the sounds and voices of the past. I've visited many of the Napoleonic battlefields in Europe and I'm always moved by the quiet pastoral beauty of the present day surroundings versus the nightmarish life and death events that men and women experienced there on the same spot.
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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