Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

An extreme drought in the year 69 AD on Lower Rhine A quantitative reconstruction

Buy Article:

$39.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Written documents represent the most comprehensive source of information on historical droughts. In Central Europe, written documents normally reach back only to medieval times. Exceptions are documents by historians from Roman times, writing of coeval events. Documents are partially preserved and content useful information on climate conditions in Roman times. One important historian was Tacitus, amongst others documenting events in 1 st Century AD at Lower Rhine in region of present day Germany and the Netherlands. In book 5 of "The History" Tacitus describes a battle between Roman troops and the Germanic tribe "Bataver" taking place in Rhine channel during a drought in the year 69 AD. Caused by low water depth, a Roman transport ship ran aground in the shallows and was attacked by the Bataver tribe. The location, mentioned by Tacitus, is near the Roman camp Gelduba, which is part of today's city of Krefeld in north-western Germany. On the basis of Tacitus' descriptions, add by archaeological findings, it is possible to reconstruct parameters to estimate the discharge during the drought. For estimating the cross-section area as well as the mean flow velocity, all needed parameters can be reconstructed. Estimated discharge is less than 300 m3/s, hence minor than minimal ever gauged discharge on Lower Rhine, which was 530 m3 /s in 1947. Recent mean discharge on Lower Rhine at the city of Krefeld is 2150 m3/s. River Rhine was an important roman transportation route as well as a naturally frontier to hostile Germanic tribes. Droughts impeded navigation and weakened the frontier. It seems that droughts caused more economic damage and social conflicts to Romans than flood events.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2015

More about this publication?
  • Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie main volume is a peer-reviewed international journal presenting original contributions of high scientific standard from all fields of geomorphology, encompassing basic research and applied studies. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie (ZfG) invites the submission of original papers from the entire field of geomorphological research, both applied and theoretical. Authors are encouraged to submit their papers to the editor-in-chief. Please peruse the instructions to authors (PDF) before submitting your paper.

    Thematic Supplements
    ZFG regularly publishes thematic supplements. These supplement volumes are abstracted and indexed the same way the main volumes are indexed.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more