A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Chapter 1

The History - The Oldest Time

By Josef Schramm
Translation by Brad Schwebler

    Excavations of the earliest time show that already in the older stone age people lived in the Batschka. The oldest known settlement cites lay near Theresiopel, Ludasch, Patschir, Morawitz, Topple, St. Thomas, so all in the area of the Löß Plateau.  These places found were attributed to the Würm ice age and should correspond to the late Solutvéen or early Magdalenian.  From the early stone age there are a whole row of known finds by the Löß Plateau as well as by the lower terrace. The oldest inhabitants of the Batschka reached their housing with a preference for steep drops.  In the Löß Plateau a gallery was driven into the mountain, and where this was not possible earth pits were made. These pits were the height of a sitting person buried in the earth.  Over that was a construction of wickerwork and clay.  The roof was made of branches and straw or from reeds.  Certainly in the whole land there were only a few people who lived on hunting, fishing, and perhaps already also some grain cultivation.

    With the help of their bronze weapons Illyrian-Pannonian and Thraco-Dakish tribes drove out the stone age people.  The housing was now made much more from wood, above all, there were no stones far and wide for hut construction.  The bronze age people did grain cultivation to a large extent and understood how to make one type of appliance such a sickles.

   The grain cultivation was then driven by breeds of livestock.  In the older iron age they came from the East Scythians, in the younger iron age from the West Celts to the land.  This livestock breeding had as a rule only  periodically inhabited housing, whose building and arranging did not require any special care.

   In the middle of the 1st century before Christ the Daker were conquered under the ruler Burbista of the Batschka.  In the first half of the first century our time calculations determined that the Sarmats and the Jazygs were the rulers over the land between the Danube and the Theiß, while the right shore of the Danube was firmly in possession of the Romans.

   With the Romans the history begins from now on with written news existing – if also often very sparsely.  The Romans did not build the “Roman humps” in the Batschka, but they did build two fortified castles: Onagrinum (Begetsch) and Titel.  The Romans did not place any value on the possession in the Batschka because this was an unfruitful flooded region at the time.  One point of interest of the Batschka are the “Roman humps”, that is the former fortified lines at the time which were ascribed to the Romans.  One can make out five such “Roman humps” with the help of the preserved stretch of land.  After the investigation of R. Fröhlich the great humps near Neusatz were treated as the work of a people of German origin from the time of the people’s migration.  For the small humps between Apatin and Tschurug Fröhlich assumed were of Jazyg origin.  It is conspicuous that the fortifications are constructed so the front faces the direction of the Danube and the Theiß rather than the roads on the other side of the Danube and the Theiß, not towards the land’s interior.  There the Romans rode on the Danube and the Theiß rather than the roads on the other side of the Danube and the Theiß, where the humps could only be reached by them.

   With the weakening of the Roman power came numerous riders from the East.  They conquered  the Batschka and from here on, attacking the rich province of Syrmia in the protected position between the swamps.  Huns, Eastern Goths, Gepids, and Langobards ruled the land until the Avars came in 568.  During this time Danube Bulgarians, Slavs, and Franks also migrated, and in the spring of 896 people of Magyar (Hungarian) origin came.

   At the settlement of the Magyars the livestock breeds stood in the foreground.  In the Batschka there were relatively favorable meadows, in damp times one could let the herds graze in the Löß plateau, in dry times in the otherwise swampy regions of the lower terrace.  The almost impenetrable Auland formed a natural “Gyepü”, that is, a broader wilderness for defense.  With the entry of the Magyars a new paragraph began in the Batschka.

[Published at 19 Sep 2005 by Jody McKim Pharr]

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