Salzburg, once called Juvavia and Petena, is a very ancient city of Noricum and now a metropolis of Bavaria. They say that it had its origin in the time of Julius Caesar, not far from the Alps, which once belonged to the Norici but now, with everything disordered, are assigned to Germany. For the Norici, inhabitants of villages in the Alps, as Pliny writes, were once called Taurisci. At this time too, near Krain in the easternmost region of Germany, there are inhabitants who are called Tauri. For when the Cimbri assailed Illyricum, who lived in the Alps not far from Noricum, Gnaeus Papirius Carbo clashed with them, but withdrew without success (as Strabo says). After a brief interval, when three very powerful tribes, the Cimbri, Teutons, and Ambrones had invaded Italy at the same time, Plutarch says that they came down in part through Noricum, and both armies were destroyed under the leadership of Gaius Marius, one not far from Salzburg, namely in that place which is nearest the Alps, the other at the Adige. Three hundred forty thousand barbarians were killed and one hundred fifty thousand captured, writes Livy. That disturbance was fearsome for all Italy, not only the places in which the incursion occurred. And so Roman arms were carried hither thither through Noricum in constant movements and became nearly native to its inhabitants, as meanwhile it supported three entire legions that had been sent to nearby places. These Gaius Julius Caesar brought across to Gaul, as he himself writes, adding two more, during his mission in the Gallic War, which was waged beyond the Alps. There he made a passage through a rock that he had cut through by the labor of his soldiers, as one is able to learn from a very ancient inscription carved on a sheer rock on the high mountain, which they call Crucis, though in large part it has been worn away due to old age: “Gaius Julius Caesar –“ The rest cannot be read because of the roughness of the site and its antiquity. For Julius Caesar, with the assistance of his son- and father-in-law, chose Gaul in particular out of the other provinces, as with its advantage and opportunity there was suitable fodder for triumphs, and from the beginning he received Cisalpine Gaul with the addition of Illyricum, and in due course Outer Gaul with the senate’s approval. When they waged war on the Istrians, Pannonians, Illyrians, and Germans, access and return was open to the Roman forces by the way of this road, so to speak, where now Salzburg is located. Therefore when Caesar attacked the Germans he arranged for the construction of a very fortified citadel in the mountain passes in this place, so that his soldiers would have a helpful refuge there and his attendants aid and assistance thence. That was the origin of the fort of Juvavum, or in the vernacular language, Helfenburg. The river Juvarus, which adjoins it, also gave its name to the citadel, after which the city that was then founded was called Juvavia.

This city possesses marches, flatland, hills, and mountains. The marshes provide pasture and quite a few opportunities for fowling and hunting; fisheries also present themselves quite conveniently in diverse places. Germans from across the Alps pass through for the sake of commerce. And so the city of Juvavia was once glorious, fortified with walls and ramparts and lofty towers, and it was a royal capital. It had marble temples to the gods under its ancient populace. After it had flourished for a long time, in the time of Attila king of the Huns it endured invasions, devastation, and fire at the hands of the Huns, and with enormous loss of life it was rendered defenseless, depopulated, and completely ruined. Later Saint Rupert, in the year of Salvation five hundred and eighty, after he had brought Theodo, duke of the barbarians, and the neighboring places over to the faith of Christ, finally came to the Juvarum River which is now called the Salzach.


Storm Nylen



Image: Hartmann Schedel (1493). Liber cronicarum cum figuris et ymaginibus ab inicio mundi.
USC Libraries, Special Collections Call No: D17.S34 1493b, f. 152-153.

Text:Hartmann Schedel (2010). Liber chronicarum: translation.
USC Libraries, Special Collections Call No: D17.S3413 2010 v.1-v.4




Storm Nylen, “Salzburg,” Nuremberg Chronicle, accessed October 21, 2018,

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