What Was Austria Called in Ancient Times?

Austria is a country located in Central Europe, bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Its rich history dates back to ancient times when it was known by various names.

What Was Austria Called in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, Austria was known by different names depending on its rulers and geographical boundaries. Here are some of them:

Celtic Austria

During the Iron Age, Celtic tribes inhabited central Europe, including present-day Austria. The region was called Noricum by the Romans, who conquered it in 15 BC. The Celts who lived in Noricum were known as Norici or Noreiai.

Roman Austria

After conquering Noricum, the Romans renamed it Pannonia Superior and made it part of their empire. The capital city of Pannonia Superior was Carnuntum (present-day Petronell-Carnuntum in eastern Austria). The Romans also built other towns and forts across Pannonia Superior, such as Vindobona (present-day Vienna) and Brigetio (present-day Szőny in Hungary).

Medieval Austria

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, various Germanic tribes migrated into central Europe. In the 6th century AD, Bavarian tribes settled in present-day Austria and established a duchy called Bavaria. Later on, Charlemagne (also known as Charles the Great) conquered Bavaria and incorporated it into his empire.

In 976 AD, Leopold von Babenberg became Duke of Bavaria and ruled from his castle at Babenberg (present-day Melk Abbey). He founded a dynasty that ruled over present-day Austria until 1246 AD. During this period, Austria was known as Ostarrichi or Eastern Realm.

Habsburg Austria

In the late Middle Ages, the Habsburg dynasty rose to power and expanded its territories across Europe, including present-day Austria. In 1453 AD, the Habsburgs became Holy Roman Emperors and ruled over a vast empire that included Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and parts of Italy and Germany.

During this period, Austria was known as the Austrian Empire or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The capital city was Vienna, which became a center of culture and arts under the Habsburgs.


Austria’s history is rich and varied. It has been inhabited by Celtic tribes, conquered by Romans, ruled by Bavarians and Habsburgs, and transformed into a modern republic in the 20th century. By understanding its past, we can appreciate its present and look forward to its future.