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Re: Durostorum

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  • James Mathews
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2012
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      Durostorum (later Dorostolum (Silectria)is a small city in Lower Moesia, on the right bank of the Danube River (on the borders of Dobruja in northeastern Bulgaria, formerly part of the Rumanian Dobrogea).  The place-name -- preserved in the old Bulgarian Drastar -- is probably of Thracian origin.

      Durostorum was a Roman military camp shortly before or after the beginning of the Christian era.  Following Trajan's conquest of Dacia, across the Danube, it became the garrison of a legion (AD 106-6) and a local headquarters of the river customs authority.  Antonius Pius  established an adjacent civilian settlement (canabae), to which Marcus Aurelius gave municipal status, after the place had suffered severely in an invasion by the German tribe of the Costoboci (170).  In 238 it was again devastated by another tribe, the Carpi, who deported part of its population as slaves.  The garrison at Durostorum was implicated in the short-lived revolt of Regalianus, governor of Upper Pannonia (238).  Under the later empire, it became the capitol of the province of Scythia, and increased substantially in importance.

      It was the center of Christianity in the Dobruja, and the first focal point of activities of Saint Dasius.  It was the custom of the Roman soldiers , on the occasion of the annual Saturnalia festival, to dress a young man as King Saturn, give him a splendid escort, and on the 30th day make him kill himself on the god's altar.  In 303, however, during the joint reign of Dioclecion and Maximian, a Christian named Dasius refused to accept the position (because he disapproved of the debaucheries accompanying the celebrations) and was beheaded.  The most famous son of Durostorum, however, was Aetius, the greatest general of the later Western empire, who was born there shortly before 400.

      The city possessed important buildings, and artistic monuments, including a finely painted grave which survives; to the East and southeast are the remains of fortifications.


      --Michael Grant, "A Guide To the Ancient World, A Dictionary of Classical Place Names," H. W. Wilson Co., 1986 (ISBN 0-8242-0742-4)

      Respectfully and Humbly Submitted;

      Marcus Audens

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