I have begun reading our next chat subject, the novel Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem, luckily having found it in a neighboring town's library. The story begins in Britannia and on Hadrian's Wall – of which we will be hearing soon from Heloise. But it really centers on the Roman provinces west of the Rhein river where our hero Paulinus Gaius Maximus is given the task to try and hold off invasion from the beyond the river, with one puny legion, beginning around 400 CE according to the timeline from the novel.
When Maximus and his soldiers arrive in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) they are briefly quartered within its massive gates. One of those gates, now known as Porta Nigra, still exists.
I traveled the region in 1999 and posted a report on my website – and bear with me while I fix broken links, a never ending task; and I really should rescan the photos with my current equipment <sigh>
The Porta Nigra is as imposing a structure as Maximus tells us, and here are my photos and some early etchings which I photographed off the walls, thus the flash reflections. More on Trier. From there, Maximus moves to Moguntiacum (Mainz). The Antique Maritime Museum displays models of war ships that traveled on the Rhein. These are probably more realistic in size than the ones from the novel, given the relative narrowness of the river between Koblenz and Mainz, and even more so its treachorous currents. And the Moselle, which the boats would have had to navigate first coming from Augusta Treverorum, is even narrower.
This is a far as I have gotten, more or less, in my read tonight . . . stay tuned.