Die Schweiz in Römischer Zeit, by Felix Staehelin. 8vo; xvi + 659 pages, with 205 photographic illustrations and plans. Basel: Benno Schuabe & Co. Verlag, 1948. Price Sw. Fr. 31.20.
This is the third revised edition of a monumental work first issued in 1927, an authoritative volume on Roman Switzerland, o£ interest to mountaineers chiefly because of its discussion of passes and roads. Since few passes of the Central Alps were in use before the Middle Ages, the chief Roman entry into Switzerland was by way of the Great St. Bernard (Summus Poeninus), on whose summit there was once an altar to Jupiter. The many votive offerings of officials, soldiers, and pilgrims are still to be seen in the hospice, while the mile-stones (milia passuum, the German Meile of 1.5 km.) are to be seen in museums. The first section of the book deals with pre-Roman time and the Roman conquest, with the establishment of such colonies as Augusta Raurica (Basle Augst) and Aventicum (Avènches); the second section describes culture, in relation to Alpine and subalpine roads, settlements, agriculture, public life and religion. Nearly all of this was destroyed by barbarian invasion, but sufficient remains, notably at Avènches, to fairly represent the conditions of Switzerland 1700 years ago. It is amazing to find country villas, of the third century A.D., 120 feet long, with mosaic floors and central heating.
J. M. T.