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SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: (Roman) Colonia Agrippinensis, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Colonia
DEFINITION: A site on the left bank of the Rhine, West Germany, that was colonized by the Roman general Agrippa in 53 BC. A fortified settlement was established c 38 BC and it became a Roman colony in 50 AD. It was named Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, shortened to Colonia. It became the capital of the province of Lower Germania, which was an important commercial center. After 258 AD it was, for a time, the capital of an empire comprising Gaul, Britain, and Spain. In 310, Constantine the Great built a castle and a permanent bridge to it across the Rhine. About 456 it was conquered by the Franks, and it soon became the residence of the kings of the Ripuarian part of the Frankish kingdom. Ceramics and glass were manufactured in Cologne in Roman times. Traces of the Roman period survive including the principal elements of the street plan, town walls and gates, Roman and Gallo-Roman temples, water installations, Rhine port, bridges and fort, pottery and glass factories, and villas and cemeteries. In the 5th century, the Roman town was overrun by the Franks. During the Frankish and Carolingian periods and much of the Middle Ages, Cologne was a major bishopric and a leading commercial and cultural center. Spectacular Frankish royal graves dating to the mid-6th century have been uncovered.

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