Schlacht bei Argentovaria

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Argentovarian Battle
Date 378
Location near the present Oedenburg-Biesheim near Neubreisach
Output Roman victory
Conflict parties

Roman Empire



Naniemus and Mallobaudes

Priarius †

Troop strength
several cohorts + reserve approx. 40,000


approx. 30,000

The Battle of Argentovaria took place in Alsace in 378. Argentovaria is associated in current research with the departed site of Oedenburg near Biesheim. The long equated with Argentovaria Horbourg is since the extensive archaeological excavations of the years 1998 to 2005 in Oedenburg[1] is no longer tenable.

Previous story

The Western Roman Emperor Gratian was preparing his troops to support the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens in the Battle of Adrianople against advancing Huns and Goths in the province of Illyria. A Lentien of the imperial bodyguard received home leave because of an urgent matter and told at home about these preparations.


The Lentienses took advantage of this, gathered the inhabitants from all districts and prepared for a campaign. In February they crossed the frozen Rhine with at least 40,000 armed men and invaded the Roman provinces by plundering. Gratian now had to recall the cohorts he had left for Illyria and reunite them with the reserve he had held back. Under the supreme command of the two Franks comes Naniemus and the Frank king comes Mallobaudes, the Romans marched against the Lentians. In the battle, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, 30,000 Lentienses and their king Priarius are said to have fallen.


According to Ammian, only 5,000 Lentians survived, fleeing to the dense forests of what is now the Black Forest on a mountain that sloped down all around. The Romans neither succeeded in taking the mountain nor in encircling the refugees. Due to their good local knowledge, the Lentienses were able to escape the stubbornly pursuing Romans again and again. Finally, however, the Lentienses capitulated and asked for mercy. This was granted in exchange for recruits for the Roman army.

Historical sources

  • Ammianus Marcellinus XV 4 and XXXI 10


  • Karlheinz Fuchs, Martin Kempa, Rainer Redies: The Alamanni. 4. Edition. Licensed edition. Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1535-9 (exhibition catalogue, Stuttgart u. a., Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg u. a., 1997-1998).
  • Dieter Geuenich: Geschichte der Alemannen. Verlag Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-17-012095-6.

See also: list of wars, list of battles

Individual references

  1. Michel Reddé et al: Oedenburg. Une agglomération d’époque romaine sur le Rhin supérieur : Fouilles françaises, allemandes et suisses à Biesheim-Kunheim, in: Gallia, Jg. 2005, Vol. 62, No. 1, pp. 215-277