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Power and Powers

What were the effects of the conquests and changing forms of rule throughout the centuries on the life of the people in the Rhineland? What traces did the Romans, the Franks, or the medieval aristocracy leave behind? In the years from 58 to 51 B.C. the Roman military leader Caesar conquered Gaul, Belgium, and the Germanic regions to the left of the Rhine, integrating them into the Roman Empire for centuries. Despite numerous ventures across the Rhine, Rome was only able to gain a foothold in Germania Magna for a short period of time. In the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in the year A.D. 9, these ambitions came to an abrupt end with the complete annihilation of two Roman legions. The LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn houses the grave monument of the captain Marcus Caelius, the only uncontested piece of evidence for this event that altered the course of history. Until around the mid-5th century, Roman rule prevailed along the Rhine. Then the Germanic Franks seized power. The early Middle Ages had begun. It was characterized by a warrior society. An outstanding attest to these times is the grave of the "Lord" of Morken (ca. A.D. 600). The bow helmet that had been crafted in the Mediterranean region and the shield that stems from Scandinavia show the extent of the far-reaching connections and networks early medieval elites had at their disposal. Over the course of the Middle Ages, feudal structures come about, which are characterized by the establishment of numerous aristocratic castle-based lordships. Only at the end of the Middle Ages does the middle class gain in strength, striving to get a share of the political rule. Aristocrats and wealthy citizens proudly display their family coats-of-arms on altarpieces, grave monuments, and vessels. During Baroque times, art became an important expression of princely power. In the Rhineland it is the Cologne Elector Clemens August, who, like no other, lived a life of art as a means of demonstrating his princely power and status, be it with painting or with building palaces. The darkest chapter in German history, the Nazi Era, not only perverted the instruments of the power of the state, but also abused art with cold calculation for its own ideology. Anyone whose art was not in keeping with the art of the heroic and victorious Nazi image, was ostracized, persecuted, and had to fear for his or her life.


LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Colmantstr. 14-16, 53115 Bonn

Tel. +49 (0) 228 / 2070 - 0, Fax +49 (0) 228 / 2070 - 299

Opening Hours Museum

TUE - FRI, SON 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., SAT 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., MON closed

Guided tours for school groups available from 10 a.m.

Opening Hours Library

MON - FRI 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.