Civilized Barbarian

My extended family owns a piece of land in Walldorf in southern Germany in which, in 2018, remains were dug up of a roman villa from the second century.


In antiquity, the location was in the countryside, and the villa was a centre of agricultural activities. It is the type of villa called Villa Rustica.Villa RusticaA Villa Rustica consists of a complex of buildings that is walled in. The buildings include living quarters, some of which were luxurious, as well as buildings such as grain storage facilities. There were painted walls and heated floors. Imprinted in a soft limestone floor, the dig even found footprints left by the hobnails that the romans used to fortify the soles of their shoes.  

For the villa here, the Romans had also diverted a creek (the Leimbach) to supply power to a mill on the site. The Villa was likely helping to supply Roman troops that defended the Roman Empire's nearby eastern border (the Limes Germanicus) against the Barbarian tribes of the Alemanni.

The dig also found wooden remains of much older Celtic dwellings from the Iron Age as well as younger and again wooden remains of dwellings of Alemanni settlements that were built after the Alemanni broke through the Limes in the year 213. 

So from which side of the Limes were my ancestors, were they civilized or barbarian? Both, of course. Going back 1900 years means going back some 100 generations, i.e., were it not for extensive "overlap", there would have to have been some 2^100 (which is about 10^30) ancestors at that time.