The Age of Gallienus
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Class A Folles
Armenian Numismatics Page
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Denarii of Otho
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Maps of the Ancient World
Museum Collections Available Online
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Excellence Award
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Around 800 BC, the region was inhabited mostly by the people of the local Celtic Hallstatt culture. Around 450 BC, they merged with the people of the other core Celtic areas in the south-western regions of Germany and eastern France.
The country is mountainous and rich in iron and salt. It supplied material for the manufacturing of arms in Pannonia, Moesia, and northern Italy. The famous Noric steel was largely used in the making of Roman weapons (e.g. Horace, Odes, i.16.9-10: Noricus ensis, "a Noric sword"). Gold and salt were found in considerable quantities. The plant called saliunca (the wild or Celtic nard, a relative of the lavender) grew in abundance and was used as a perfume according to Pliny the Elder.
The Celtic inhabitants developed a culture rich in art, cattle breeding, salt mining and agriculture. When part of the area became a Roman province, the Romans introduced water management (Aqueduct) and the already vivid trade relations between the people north and south of the alps boosted - Noric steel was famous for its quality and hardness.
Archaeological research, particularly in the cemeteries of Hallstatt, has shown that a vigorous Celtic civilization was in the area centuries before recorded history, but the Celtic Hallstatt civilization was a cultural manifestation prior to the other Celtic invasions, The Hallstatt graves contained weapons and ornaments from the Bronze Age, through the period of transition, up to the "Hallstatt culture", i.e., the fully developed older period of the Iron Age.
The kingdom of Noricum was a major provider of weaponry for the Roman armies from the mid-Republic onwards. Roman swords were made of the best-quality steel then available from this region, the chalybs Noricus.
The strength of iron is determined by its carbon content. The wrought iron produced in the Greco-Roman world contained traces of carbon and was too soft for tools and weapons. It needed at least 1.5% carbon content. The Roman method of achieving this was to repeatedly heat the wrought iron to a temperature of over 800 C (i.e. to "white heat") and hammer it in a charcoal fire, causing the iron to absorb carbon from the charcoal. This technique developed empirically: there is no evidence ancient iron producers understood the chemistry. This rudimentary methods of carburisation made the quality of iron ore critical to the production of good steel.
The ore needed to be rich in manganese (an element which remains essential in modern steelmaking processes), and contain little or no phosphorus, which weakens steel. The ore mined in Carinthia (S. Noricum) fulfilled both criteria particularly well. The Celts of Noricum discovered their ore made superior steel around 500 BC and built a major steel industry.
At Magdalensberg, a major production and trading centre, specialized blacksmiths crafted metal products and weapons. The finished arms were exported to Aquileia, a Roman colony founded in 180 BC.
From 200 BC the Noricum tribes gradually united into Celtic kingdom, known as the regnum Noricum, with its capital at a place called Noreia. Noricum became a key ally of the Roman Republic, providing high-quality weapons and tools in exchange for military protection. This was demonstrated in 113 BC, when Teutones invaded Noricum. In response, the Roman consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo led an army over the Alps to attack the Germanic tribes at the Noreia.
Noricum was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 16 BC. For a long time previously, the Noricans had enjoyed independence under princes of their own and carried on commerce with the Romans. In 48 BC they took the side of Julius Caesar in the civil war against Pompey. In 16 BC, having joined with the Pannonians in invading Histria, they were defeated by Publius Silius Nerva, proconsul of Illyricum. Thereafter, Noricum was called a province, although it was not organized as such and remained a kingdom with the title of regnum Noricum, yet under the control of an imperial procurator. Under the reign of Emperor Claudius (41–54) the Noricum Kingdom was ultimately incorporated into the Roman Empire apparently without offering resistance. It was not until the reign of Antoninus Pius that the Second Legion, Pia (later renamed Italica) was stationed in Noricum, and the commander of the legion became the governor of the province.
Under Diocletian (245–313), Noricum was divided into Noricum ripense ("Noricum along the river", the northern part southward from the Danube), and Noricum mediterraneum ("landlocked Noricum", the southern, more mountainous district). The dividing line ran along the central part of the eastern Alps. Each division was under a praeses, and both belonged to the diocese of Illyricum in the Praetorian prefecture of Italy. It was in this time (304 A.D.) that a Christian serving as a military officer in the province suffered martyrdom for the sake of his faith, later canonised as Saint Florian.
The Roman colonies and chief towns were Virunum (near Maria Saal to the north of Klagenfurt), Teurnia (near Spittal an der Drau), Flavia Solva (near Leibnitz), Celeia (Celje) in today's Slovenia, Juvavum (Salzburg), Ovilava (Wels), Lauriacum (Lorch at the mouth of the Enns, the ancient Anisus).
Knowledge of Roman Noricum has been decisively expanded by the work of Richard Knabl, an Austrian epigrapher of the 19th century.The transition from Roman to barbarian rule in Noricum is well documented in Eugippius' Life of Saint Severinus, providing material for analogies for this process in other regions where primary sources from the period are lacking