Roman Liechtenstein

13 B.C. to 536 A.D.

When the Romans conquered the area they immediately deported the strongest and healthiest young Rätians to be sold into slavery or to serve in the armies. If the latter distinguished themselves in their service, they were allowed to return after 25 years to their villages as Roman citizens and given some land.

Roman rule was generally good for the area. They built a road high on the foot to the mountains, from Nendeln via Dux and past the site of the castle of Vaduz and through Triesen and Balzers and onto Chur, keeping well away from the boggy valley. This road still exists in Liechtenstein, known as the Fürstenweg (Prince's path). But the path had its own dangers such as avalanches and landslides.

Latin became the language of the area and villages were named (some of the names altering the Celtic or Rätic origins), such as Mauren (Murus), Gamprin (campus Rheni) and Vaduz (Vadutium). A Roman villa has been excavated on the edge of the forest in Nendeln, and near the church of St. Peter in Schaan (called Schalun in those days) a large building once stood. Possibly a fort, or an 'Octodurum' an eight towered building.

In Triesen the Romans erected a sulphur bath which in the Middle Ages was the scene of wild orgies. The God-fearing community said that the wicked went there to meet the devil. The buildings and well have disappeared, but a big stone is found there and bears the mark of the devil - a goat's hoof print, the stone is called the 'Devil's Stone'.

Agriculture flourished, including dates and olives. The Rätians exported cheese, honey, wax, wood and fish. Skilled workers came from Italy bringing stone and brick masonry skills. The Romans also eradicated the Rätians enemies - the Germanic tribes around Lake Constance, with Emperor Constantius oversaw his Commander-in-Chief, Arbetio force the Germans back through Liechtenstein and defeated them near Feldkirch in 354 A.D.

Peace ensued until the Huns invaded on their steppe ponies - they swept through the land murdering and plundering. The Romans did nothing, and the population tried to bury their treasures - now being discovered. The Huns did leave, but the valley was devastated. With Rome crushed, mass migration of the population caused more problems until the Eastern Goths conquered Rätia

Theoderich, the King of the Goths rule well and allowed other Germanic tribes, such as the Alemans to settle in Rätia This caused the gradual alteration of the language to German. Although Theoderich was a heretic, he allowed Catholic missionaries into the area giving rise to Christianity, supporting the returning Roman soldiers in their beliefs.

There is still a firm belief that the Rätia soldiers guarded the Cross of Christ, and St Peter himself sent out the first missionaries to the area. The first churches in the country, in Mäls, Schaan and Mauren are dedicated to St. Peter.

In 180, Rätia's greatest apostle, St. Luzius has appeared. He had been a king in England and converted the Christianity as a boy. When older, he left his crown, country and subjects to become a preacher. He when to Augsburg and then on the Roman road to Chur converting thousands. At the age of 80 he was stoned to death by the Romans because his influence was too great. He is now the patron saint of Liechtenstein.

The Rätians > Romans > Goths & Franks > Counts of Montfort > Barons of Brandis > Counts of Sulz > Counts of Hohenems > Princes of Liechtenstein > The modern day