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Noreia

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Noreia

See Norea for the wife of Noah in Gnosticism
Roman province of Noricum, 1907 map

Noreia is an ancient lost city in the Eastern Alps, most likely in southern Austria. While according to Julius Caesar it is known to have been the capital of the Celtic kingdom of Noricum, it was already referred to as a lost city by Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79). The location of Noreia has not been verified by modern researchers.

Localisation

The Greek chronicler Strabo (64/63 BC – c. AD 24), as well as the Roman historian Appian (c. AD 95 – c. AD 165), report on the "Battle of Noreia" in 112 BC between a Roman army under consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo and Proto-Germanic Cimbri and Teutoni tribes. It is not known whether the location of the battle and the capital of Noricum are the same city. Nevertheless, based on ancient distance specifications, 18th century publications located Noreia near Murau or Neumarkt in Styria, which, however, has been continually put into question. Upon excavations in Sankt Margarethen near Mühlen in Styria, the residents in 1930 even changed the name of the village to Noreia, though further research showed that the finds are the remains of a medieval settlement.

As the handed-down distance from Aquileia – 1,200 stadia – more likely indicate a place in present-day Carinthia, several scholars assume that Noreia can be identified with excavated Celtic-Roman settlements on the Magdalensberg or in the nearby Zollfeld plain. Other theories assume a location in the Carinthian Glan valley at a sanctuary of the local mother goddess Noreia near Liebenfels, erected in the 2nd century AD. Other localisation attempts include the ancient Gurina settlement near Dellach or the ore mining area of Hüttenberg. Another possibility, favoured today, is the Gracarca mountain beside Lake Klopein in Carinthia, where a prehistoric hilltop settlement and several graves of Celtic princes have been found.

It is also possible that there is more than one location named "Noreia", which possibly just denotes a "Noric city". There seem to be two identical entries in the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 12th century copy of a Late Roman road map. On the map an older Noreia, about 3.5 km in diameter, and a new city of the same name, measuring 7.5 by 3.4 km, can be found in the region of modern Styria. It is more probable, though, that the double entry of a Roman station called Noreia is a copyist's error.

Literature

  • Karin Erika Haas-Trummer, Noreia. Von der fiktiven Keltensiedlung zum mittelalterlichen Adelssitz. Eine historische und archäologische Spurensuche bis 1600, Wien - Köln - Weimar 2007.
  • Stefan Seitschek, "Noreia - Viele Antworten, keine Lösung", Keltische Forschungen 3 (2008), 221-244.

External links

  • www.noreia.at: Noreia - Research, history, and mythology (German)
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