Far away from Rome, on the unpredictable Danube, the Roman Empire set up its border – limes. This established border extended from northern England, i.e. from the border with Scotland, across Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria up to Iraq and Iran, including the Near East with Turkey and the entire sub-Mediterranean part of North Africa. A series of fortifications were built on either side of the road along which the legions marched during the campaigns against the barbarian tribes across the Rhine and the Danube. About 40 legion camps, the so-called castrums (castrum) were built on that long defence line criss-crossed with thousands of smaller forts. They served for stationing Roman troops, i.e. legions which were 5000 to 6000 strong. What is particularly important to note is that the crack Roman troops were recruited precisely on our areas. The army coming via a ramified road network from distant Asian and African provinces easily reached the most remote areas of the western part of the Roman Empire, followed by traders and craftsmen, so that cities cropped up soon along all major road communications. Starting from the middle of the third century AD, the former marginal border provinces of Upper Moesia and Lower Pannonia became the focus of events in the Empire in the following almost two hundred years. Illyricum and its crack troops gave birth to seventeen emperors who ruled the Empire during the period of the deepest crises. It is indicative that from the latter half of the third to the middle of the fourth centuries AD, when the Roman Empire was undergoing a crisis, this area gained in importance.
The most recent archaeological explorations on the site of Viminacium (Viminacium), the capital of the Roman province of Upper Moesia (Moesia Superior), in late ancient time First Moesia (Moesia Prima), have shown that this large city and legion camp was the transition point between the West and the East, at the time when Rome as the capital was transferred to the East, to Constantinople. This is attested by the abundance of items found in Viminacium in recent years, especially relating to the first decades of the fourth century AD. The Roman emperors born either in the rich cities on the limes or in rugged hinterland changed the face of the world that existed until then. Having in mind that seventeen Roman emperors were born on the territory of present-day Serbia represent a fifth of the total number of all Roman emperors and the largest number of emperors born outside Italy, a project titled ITINERARIUM ROMANUM SERBIAE or ROAD OF ROMAN EMPERORS IN SERBIA was launched. The purpose of the project is to link together all these places of immeasurable historical and archaeological importance so as to make up a whole as existed when the Roman Empire stood on the banks of the Danube. Only in this way can the names of cities and palaces recorded on yellowed papyri from old archives be brought back to life. The ruins emerge slowly from the ground which covered them for centuries. What used to be systematically destroyed needs now to be raised anew. The ancient glory of Roman cities on our soil must be restored. The Road of Roman Emperors should link up all the places with rich ancient heritage to make up a cultural route more than 600 km long and put them to use as a resource for enhancing cultural tourism. They represent not only Serbia’s heritage but also that of Europe and the world.
Sirmium was one of the imperial and most important cities in Serbia in ancient time, a legionary camp, one of the four imperial cities, as well as a diocesan centre. It was originally the administrative centre of the province of Lower Pannonia (Pannonia Inferior) and, after Diocletian’s administrative reforms, it became the centre of Second Pannonia (Pannonia Secunda). From 324 AD onwards it became the seat of the Illyrian diocese of the great prefecture of Italia Africa Illyricum. The original settlement was set up on the territory of the autochthonous tribes, the Sirmians and the Amantines (civitas Sirmiensis et Amantinorum). During the Flaviuses, most probably under Domitianus’s rule (81-96 AD), Sirmium gained the status of a colony. There are epigraphic records of Sirmium as Flavia Sirmium, colonia Sirmium, Sirmensium or Sirmiensium. How important the city of Sirmium was, is also confirmed by the fact that it has been mentioned as the place where Marcus Aurelius died and the place where he had an imperial palace. Also, Maximinus of Thrace, usurpers Ingenuus and Regulianus, as well as Aurelian, Probus and Claudius Gothicus, Galerius, as well as Licinius stayed in Sirmium for a short or a longer period. As it is known, Constantine the Great definitely expelled Licinius from this city in October 314 AD. Sirmium developed rapidly thanks primarily to waterways, although the land routes leading from the West to the East ran precisely through that area. Sirmium came into being at the intersection of several communication lines. One of the most important was the route starting in Aquila in northern Italy and called Via Militaris. Another important route was the one linking the Danube frontier with Sirmium, whereas others ran towards the right bank of the Sava, towards Dalmatia and towards the mouth of the river Bosna, via the station Ad Basante. These routes bridged the river Sava with two bridges. One of the bridges is historically known as the place across which Licinius fled from Constantine. The second bridge is known as Pons Basentis and also as the place where martyr Iraeneus was beheaded. During the early period of the Empire Sirmium had the same status as Viminacium in the neighbouring province of Upper Moesia (Moesia Superior). During late ancient times, in particular during the period of tetrarchy at the beginning of the fourth century AD it became one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire. The city retained this high rank only for a short time because, due to the onsets of the barbarians, the capital of the Empire was transferred to Hellas. The city preserved its importance as a military stronghold and a place of concentration of the army for the operations against the approaching barbarian tribes. In the fourth century AD Sirmium has been mentioned as one of the most beautiful and one of the richest cities in Illyricum. Six emperors were born in Sirmium or in its immediate surroundings: Traianus Decius, Hostilian, Aurelian, Probus, Maximilianus Herculius and Gratian. As we are informed by the author Aurelius Victor, who is very knowledgeable of the circumstances in Pannonia, Traianus Decius was born in a small place called Budalia or Bubalia in the immediate vicinity of Sirmium. Aurelian, as we learn from sources, was also born in Sirmium. He came from a poor family (Sirmii familia obscuriore). The importance of Sirmium not only for the province of Pannonia but for the Roman Empire as well, is also attested to by the fact that the Roman emperor Claudius Gothicus (268-270 AD) spent a large part of his life in Sirmium. He was born in the province of Dalmatia and died in Sirmium during the epidemic of plague. The Roman emperor Aurelian was succeeded by Probus (276-282 AD), who was born and slain precisely in Sirmium, in the so called “Iron Tower” (in turrem ferratem). One of the tetrarchs, Maximianus Herculius, came into prominence due to his loyalty to Aurelian and Probus. He was born in Sirmium around 250 AD and after a failed plot he committed suicide in 309 AD or 310 AD. What is particularly important for the architecture of Sirmium is the fact that Maximianus Herculius built the imperial palace precisely at the place where he was born and where his parents worked as day labourers (ubi parentes eius exercebant opera mercenaria). Its strategic position which brought about its fast development proved to be an adverse circumstance at certain times. Easily accessible, situated in lowlands, it was invaded in alternation by the Goths, Huns, Gepids, Avars and Slavs. The Romans made great efforts to restore their power in the city, but their attempts more oft en than not were in vain. This period which lasted more than 200 years, from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD, left the city completely in ruins. Several places in the territory of present-day Serbia were confirmed as places of martyrdom where those who believed in Christianity lost their lives. The word martyr itself precisely says that it is the one who suffered because he believed in his faith. According to the number of martyrs, or if we look up the terminological root of the word in Greek, which means “witness”, Sirmium undoubtedly ranks first. In late ancient times it was known as one of the important centres of Christianity. In the papers of the Aquilean Council of 381 AD, Sirmium has been mentioned as “the head of Illyricum” (caput Illyrici). It is indisputable that according to the number of Christian martyrs Sirmium occupied the first place. The first historically confirmed bishop of Sirmium was Iraeneus (Iraeneus). His name is listed in the universal calendar of martyrs which is known under the name of Hieronymus’s Martyrologium (Martyrologium Hieronymianum), which was compiled in northern Italy and dates back to late ancient times. Unfortunately, its original has not been preserved but it reached us in the form of a number of transcripts from the Carolingian period. According to the Roman calendar Iraeneus was killed on the 8th of the Ides, i.e. on 6 April 304 AD, on the Resurrection Day, as it has been mentioned. Persecution of Christian martyrs from Sirmium continued and only a few days later, more precisely on 9 April, Iraeneus’s deacon by the name of Demetrius was killed. Besides Iraeneus and Demetrius, mentioned as martyrs are also gardener Sinerot (whose martyrdom has been confirmed), St. Anastasia, whose remains were first moved from Sirmium to Constantinople in the second half of the fifth century AD, during patriarch Genadius and later on, at the beginning of the ninth century AD, from Constantinople to Zadar, as well as Hermagora and Hermogen. The names of the martyrs indicate that most of them originate from Greece and that the spreading of Christianity was coming from that side. Bishop Domnus has been mentioned as a participant in the famous council of Nicaea which was convoked in 323 AD. During the rule of Constantius II Arianism was also confirmed as a doctrine in Sirmium. At present the remnants from ancient times can be found beneath the modern city and have only partly been put on display, to the extent allowed by the space left between modern buildings. The situation on the ground limits extremely the volume of explorations, but provides at the same time the entire infrastructure necessary for the display of ancient heritage. The excavations carried out since-mid twentieth century and subsequently, unearthed parts of a hippodrome, a number of luxurious houses decorated with frescoes and mosaics, city ramparts, a monumental palace – imperial residence, parts of water supply system (aqueduct), etc. During 2008 the imperial palace and nearly 200 square meters of mosaics of extraordinary beauty will be covered with a special construction made of laminated wood. The present-day settlement – Sremska Mitrovica, is a relatively small regional centre of incomparably lesser significance than the Roman city had more than 1600 years ago.
CITY OF MANY NATIONS
Belgrade (Singidunum) is a settlement with a long tradition dating back to early prehistorical times. It is situated at a strategic point on the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers, where inland waterway and road communication lines intersect. The most important remains include Kalemegdan and the area covering the inner city core. The stages of the city may be roughly associated with the Celtic settlement, existence of a Roman city and a legionary camp, the medieval city that in the course of history belonged to Byzantium, Hungary, Serbia and to Ottoman Turkey. It had the greatest importance at the time of Roman domination when, beside the camp of the legion Fourth Flavia (Legio IIII Flavia Felix), a big and rich civilian settlement developed. The city, owing to its strategic position, rapidly developed and first got the status of a municipality (municipium), a city with partial autonomy, and later on, even the status of a colony (colonia) or a city with full autonomy. It became a municipium at the time of Hadrian, while it acquired the status of a coloniae at the time of Gordian III. Belgrade, though straddling a major strategic crossroads, was less important in ancient times than it is nowadays. Although it achieved the rank of a colony representing the highest rank in the evolution of the provincial town, it was the second or even the third city in the hierarchy behind Viminacium and, later on, Iustiniana Prima. Its favourable position not only contributed to the development of commerce and craft s, but also attracted barbarian tribes which kept coming and disappearing in the area of south Vojvodina. It was perhaps this vulnerability to attacks that was crucial for the city not to be in the foreground almost until the present times. It was systematically destroyed in barbarian onslaughts from the Huns in 441- 443 AD and from the Avars in 584 AD. During the early Byzantine period, it was reduced to the status of a mere frontier fortification. It gained in importance again in 1403 when, despot (ruler) Stefan Lazarevic declared it the capital of Serbia, which it is today as well. Successive fortifications and settlements have made it possible for the items belonging to the early and late Middle Ages to be almost completely destroyed. The modern settlement, modern-day Belgrade, was built immediately above the ruins of the ancient settlement. This is precisely the reason why the look of the ancient city is known only fragmentarily. Only rare and poorly preserved items, primarily the thermae on the plateau between the Student Square and Knez Mihailova Street witness to the big ancient urban centre. The ramparts of the ancient castrum can now be seen only in some places like, for example, in the Roman Room of the Belgrade City Library where they are on display together with parts of the water supply system. During the construction of an underground car park in the area between the Belgrade City Hall and the National Assembly building, archaeologists explored a Roman necropolis containing 56 tombs.
Viminacium is the capital of the province of Upper Moesia (Moesia Superior), subsequently, First Moesia (Moesia Prima) and the permanent camp of the Seventh Claudia Legion (VII Claudia Pia Fidelis). Based on the most recent archaeological finds, it is estimated that the military camp was probably set up in the first decades of the 1st century AD. Stereoscopic analysis, and that of the digital soil sample, indicate that the original camp (castrum) was twice the size of a camp normally considered to be billeting the 7the Claudia Legion. This is unequivocal proof that immediately after it had been created, Viminacium was where two legions were based. This civilian settlement under the rule of Hadrian was granted the status of a municipality (municipium); however, the finds of the thermae indicate that life in this city was very dynamic already at the time of Domitian (81-96 AD). The municipium status also implied civilian administration. During the reign of Gordian III (238-244 AD), it became a colony (colonia) of Roman citizens and was given the right to coin its own local money. Colony was the highest status that a city could be granted within the borders of the Roman Empire. Amid the preparations for the Dacian Wars (Dacia – present-day Romania), between 101- 107 AD, Emperor Traianus chose Viminacium for his troop build-up and as the staging area for attack on Decebalus, king of the Dacians. With its position in the plain, the last wide and open space before the Đerdap gorge, it was ideally placed for amassing larger military forces even at that time and on many other occasions later on, during its long history as a city. Downstream from Viminacium, it is only in the area of Kladovo that it is possible to regroup any larger forces. It is precisely for this reason that in the Đerdap gorge could be found only smaller fortifications for auxiliary units. Its location where the Mlava river empties into the Danube has enabled its rapid economic development. Exceptional finds in the necropolies around the city confirm the assumption of great wealth of its residents. The threat posed to the city as a result of the construction of the thermal power plant and coal mining at the open-cast mine Drmno has made necessary extensive excavations of the city necropolis. The excavations revealed more than 14,000 tombs with extraordinary contents and more than 40,000 artefacts, of which more than 700 gold and silver artefacts and dozens of unique world value. The Viminacium necropolis contained a number of fresco-painted tombs, including the one with a fresco depicting a young woman, which belongs to the masterpieces of late ancient fresco-painting from all territories of the Roman Empire. The use of most sophisticated technologies contributed to the detection of 21 artefacts prior to archaeological excavations. It was the first time that stereoscopic analysis of an archaeological site was made in our country, along with an analysis of satellite pictures, and a wide use of geo-radars, magnetometers, thermal vision filming, application of GPS (Global Positioning System) of sub-centimetre precision, including the use of three dimensional soil and object scanning by a 3D scan. Inside and around the city, archaeologists unearthed an amphitheatre, streets surrounded by buildings, monumental thermae and traces of a developed infrastructure, most notably streets, an aquaduct and sewerage. Multidisciplinary studies are now underway of the urban core and the immediate surroundings. In addition to archaeologists, they also involve geophysicists, mathematicians, electrical engineers and experts in three dimensional models of objects in the ground, remote control detection and satellite navigation. The fact that Viminacium is located in the furrows, among the fields, and that there is no modern settlement built above the Roman ruins, provides a unique opportunity to learn about all aspects of life in ancient times. The one-time Roman city and the military camp of Viminacium occupy more than 450 hectares of greater city and 220 hectares of inner city area. Situated on a clearing amid hundreds of hectares of arable land, it contains artefacts and fragments thereof from the Roman period, scattered about in the fields. Archaeological explorations undertaken in the last quarter of the twentieth century helped Viminacium to come slowly out of the scarce historical accounts and to become a city which, in its history that stretches over six centuries (1st-6th centuries AD), enjoyed a dynamic development and was a place where not only the cultures of the East and West met, but also one gladly descended on by the merchants from the Roman Empire. It seems that the material base of this city, whose goods attracted buyers even beyond the borders of the home province, was the basis for the establishment and maintenance of various art workshops in this area. It was these workshops that left us, from the 4th century, some of the best known works of the fresco-painted tombs of the late antique period. Fresco-painting, together with numerous tombs, also provided significant information about the beginnings of Christianity in this region. The unearthed, built tomb with the Heavenly Rider and Christ’s monogram, gives an idea of how the process of transition from paganism to Christianity evolved and how first Christian communities were created in these territories.
The size and importance of Viminacium is the consequence of several factors, of which special mention should be made also of the rich hinterland in the Mlava valley, but also an exceptionally favourable geographic position, both within the system of defence lines of the northern borders of the empire and a network of communications and commerce. Out of the facilities examined thus far, a certain number of them have already been covered by specially built constructions made of laminated wood and have been put on display.
Thermae (thermae) are typical Roman buildings. As public facilities, they appear at the time of the Empire, both in Rome and in the provinces. It is known that thermae are not only body care facilities, but also places for rest and for various social activities. Architecturally, they were facilities which varied from one city to another. Hence, Viminacium’s thermae may also be singled out not only because of their luxury, but because of their specific architecture. The long period of time during which they were in use (1st - 4th century AD) makes possible a clear distinction between individual stages in their construction. The thermae were already in use in the 80s AD and during the excavations on the site, archaeologists found fragments of an amphora with a preserved seal IMP DOMITIANI, which unequivocally points to the younger Vespasian’s son, emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) and his involvement in this territory in the fighting of 85, 86 and 88 AD, when the Dacians overran the Moesian region. Taking into account the fact that the area of Viminacium is most ideally placed for troop regroupings at the entrance of Đerdap section, it is possible that it was Viminacium where Domitian stationed his legions. It is known that Domitian also subdivided administratively the province of Moesia into Upper, which he referred to as Moesia Superior, and Lower, Moesia Inferior. Archaeological excavations registered a total of 5 conchae of which 4 served as tepidaria (warm water pools), whereas the fifth was a frigidarium (cold water pool). The thermae were preserved at the hypocaust level, which reflects several stages of construction. Remnants of frescoplastering and marble tiling indicate that the thermae were luxuriously decorated. The flooring at the old thermae, which was placed on the small brick pillars, was covered with mosaics. A large number of discovered candles testify to the fact that the thermae were certainly used also at night.
The Roman camp (castrum) at Viminacium was built in the first decades of the 1st century AD. The existence of an earthwork fortification, although not archaeologically confirmed, was very likely built as early as the beginning of that century, and is associated with one of the first Moesian legions, Fourth Scythica or Fifth Macedonica. The erection of the first stone fortification, in the middle or in the second half of the 1st century AD, is associated with the Seventh Claudia Legion, which was based there throughout the ancient Roman period. The camp’s dimensions have been determined by geophysical methods and by analysis of digital soil sampling. They were 443 metres by 387 metres. These methods determined that the original camp was twice that size and that there is reason to believe that two legions were probably stationed there, most likely until Domitian’s edict of 86 AD. That year the order was issued that due to the threat posed to the Roman Empire, it was prohibited to station two legions at the same place. This method helped to determine the dimensions of the original camp and they are 774 metres by 443 metres. Although the Viminacium ruins were recorded as early as the 18th century by Count Marsilly, the first archaeological excavations on the site were associated with the works of Mihajlo Valtrović, at the end of the 19th century and of Miloje Vasić, at the beginning of the 20th century. Protective excavations of 1976- 1997 examined the Viminacium necropolis, while systematic archaeological excavations undertaken since 2002 have initiated exploration of the Roman city and the military camp. The excavations of 2002-2003 unearthed the north gate of the legion’s camp, the so-called Porta Praetoria. The remnants of the entrance gate with massive tiling, cesspool and lavishly decorated architectural elements point to the powerful defensive system for which the camp was built on the then northern frontier of the Empire. The unearthed store of bronze coins dating back to the beginning of the 4th until the middle of the 5th centuries AD indicates the time of the destruction of the camp which, after the Hun invasion in 441 AD was abandoned and had never since been restored to its former glory. Aerial pictures, as well as geo-radar and geomagnetic filming carried out on the site of the former castrum, provide a true picture of the camp with its ramparts, gates, turrets, the legion’s headquarters and barracks lying beneath the fertile cultivated fields of Stig.
The mausoleum was explored in two campaigns, in 1997 and 2002 and was unearthed in its entirety. It was built by using big stone blocks, with semi-pillars scattered around the ruins and with a massive boundary wall. The mausoleum dates back to the mid-third century AD, which provided a basis for its further identification. The construction itself, made up of two segments, containing an underground crypt and a temple above ground, shows that it is a mausoleum used to bury a very important high-ranking person. The fact that part of the mausoleum has the shape of a temple indicates that the person in question was related to gods and that the site served for deification. The historical events show that these territories were extremely troubled in the middle of the third century and that they were the ground for battles in which Roman emperors took part themselves. It is possible that the mausoleum belonged to the Roman emperor Hostilian, who spent some time in Viminacium in 251 AD. Hostilian acceded to the throne after the tragic deaths of his father, Traianus Decius and his brother, Herrenius Etruscus, who were both killed in an ambush on the Danube battlefield near the ancient city of Abritus, in present-day Bulgaria. An unprecedented event that a Roman emperor was slain in battle shocked Rome, because that was the first time in almost thousand years of Roman history that an emperor died in that way. Hostilian, during several months of 251 AD, carried out strategic deployments of Roman legions in the territory from Germania all the way to where the Danube empties into the Black Sea, which was prompted by the dangers coming from the Gothic onslaught, as recounted by Zosimus, an author from the second half of the fifth century and a senior state official under emperor Theodosius. Zosimus, who used older sources, such as the Greek historians Dexipos from the second century and Eunapius from the second half of the fourth century, wrote that Caius Valens Hostilian stayed there for almost a whole year with his mother Herenia Etruscila. Even other sources like Aurelius Victor, Pseudo-Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, who all lived in the fourth century, wrote that Hostilian deployed Roman troops on a wide expanse from the central to the lower Danube River basin. Unfortunately, in November 251 AD, Hostilian died of plague. The place of his death was not explicitly mentioned, but judging by all indications it was Viminacium, because it is not known that Hostilian left the territory of Viminacium, especially bearing in mind the danger of consolidation of military troops and possible attacks by barbarians on the frontier (limes) of the Roman Empire. It is possible that the site of the mausoleum was used to bury or cremate his body, with full honours. Amid the burnt remains, fragments of a glass bowl have been found in an extremely bad condition, burnt and molten, as well as fragments of a fibula and bronze decorative nails which reinforced and formed a wood coffin. Immediately next to the burning site on the grounds of the mausoleum, two dozen gold artefacts and a golden fibula or buckle were found. Besides the overarched tomb, a stone sarcophagus also belongs chronologically to this period. In all likelihood, the central grave containing the cremated body of the deceased, the overarched grave and the stone sarcophagus are all part of the unique mausoleum compound. The mausoleum is situated 450 metres from the east gate of the legion’s camp in Viminacium, on the section of the road leading to Ram (Lederata). Being ransacked probably after 313 AD, following the Milan Edict, it served as a special cult place where Christians used to bury their dead. Its quadrae and pillars were secondarily used to build Christian graves in the fourth century. Of particular interest is the grave with a structure where a Christian woman was buried with two rings, an iron one containing a Christian symbol, HI-RO, and a silver one having a gem depicting an agnostic image. The burnt remains of the deceased, along with the remains of the dead from the other graves, were sent for DNA tests to the Australian Institute for Molecular Genetics. The DNA test results should provide data not only on the sex and age of the deceased, but should also give an answer to the question whether or not the deceased had perhaps suffered from bubonic plague. They will be compared with the remains of the interred dead female person, which were found in the mausoleum in the grave containing an arched structure.
The Domvs has more than 120 beds for lodging researchers, students and visitors
Domus Scientiarum Viminacium
The Viminacium Scientific-Research Center (Domus Scientiarum) has been designed as a multi-purpose facility. Besides the fact that scientists from Serbia and from abroad will use its studies, libraries and atria for research, workshops with students, summer schools and organization of congresses and topical meetings, it will serve for accommodating tourists who show an increasing interest for visiting Viminacium. The facility is designed in the shape of a Roman villa rustica. It has two levels: the upper one, containing working and accommodating premises, and the lower one with the museum, storerooms and conference halls. The upper level consists of a set of atria, around which are workshops, laboratories, studies and rooms for accommodation of professional teams as well as for visitors. Next to them is the library with the reading room, document center, kitchen and dining room, a replica of Roman thermae, used as a small spa center. The lower level represents a partially isolated zone with increased security and strict climatic control of museum collections and storerooms. Visitors, congresses and conferences, besides other tourist attractions, bring the revenue further used for financing continual research and the development of the archaeological park. Domus Scientiarum represents the top level in archaeological tourism, with a unique atmosphere of ancient Rome, where the visitor can be whatever he wants – an archaeologist, a legionary or even an emperor.
Litography by Bartleit, early 19th century
Remains of the pillars that supported Trajan`s bridge near Costol
ĐERDAP, THE IRON GATE
Đerdap is the largest and the most beautiful national and archaeological park site in Serbia. The area of the gorge is the habitat of rare plants and wildlife species. Archaeological relics testify to the history dating back to the earliest pre-historical period until the present day. At Đerdap, during the Mesolithic period a culture of Lepenski Vir was developed, and several millennia after, with the arrival of the Romans, Đerdap became the frontier of the empire, or limes. A number of small fortifications were erected along the river bed, and in order to ensure their supply, they built a road which represents an extraordinary engineering feat glorified by a number of imperial plaques that were put there in the previous periods. Of all these plaques, only two remained to the present day, and they belonged to Emperor Trajan.
ROMAN ARCHITECTURE IN THE ĐERDAP AREA
Roman architectural aptitudes are evidenced in a number of works carried out in the area of the Đerdap gorge. The most important among them is definitely the road built in the rock and the Sip Canal, as well as imperial plaques glorifying these works. The Sip Canal, whose contours may be seen even today, was built almost at the same time when the Bridge near Kostol (Pontes) was built. Evidence of this is a plaque found near the castrum Diana. This was done to avoid the rapids – cataracts and to enable navigation on the Danube. Its strategic significance is testified to by a fortification (Diana) which served to protect the entrance into the Canal. The roads built by Romans are an admirable engineering project. This is primarily true of the road which existed in the narrowest sections of the gorge and which is, unfortunately, now submerged. These roads were particularly useful in wintertime when the Danube was frozen and the navigation came to a halt. In Pannonia (Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior) and in Upper Moesia (Moesia Superior) roadbuilding complied with all standards of Roman engineering works. But at Đerdap such works amounted to an extraordinary undertaking. Its construction began approximately in 30 AD and lasted until 33 or 34 AD, under the authority of the administrator of the province of Moesia (Moesia). Its repair works were done at the time of Emperor Claudius in 41-44 AD. The road was extended at the time of Emperor Domitian and that of Emperor Trajan. Some of its sections were cut into the rock, while others were underpinned by wooden supports above the water surface. It did not suffice to cut 2 metres deep into the rock to provide a link, and that was why the road was enlarged by cross logs, 6 metres long and running into the rock. The logs were propped by supports placed in the cavities or cuttings into the rocks beneath the road level. Thus, the footpath was extended by about 2-3 metres above the river surface itself. This great undertaking is proven by the existence of a number of plaques which were erected at Đerdap. All these works are to be given credit for to the Roman army as a whole. The Romans had very few pioneering (engineer) units. Engineering works were carried out by entire legions. Forcing the rivers was applied extensively by the Roman army. Building pontoon bridges created no problem for the Romans. Evidence of it exists on Trajan’s Column and on Marcus Aurelius’s Column. Such bridges were placed on interconnected boats which could be put in place within a short time. Above these boats there was a superstructure strong enough to bear any loads. Throughout history, the limes suffered huge damage and not because of the wars but because of neglect, greed or lack of understanding of historical values. The construction of Lake Đerdap meant that 109 km of the Danube river basin had to be flooded. So far, 20 known ancient sites have been submerged under water. They include Taliata and Transdierna. Among the imperial plaques which survived the fall of the Roman Empire only two may be seen at present. They praise the works of Emperor Trajan. The first has been moved from its original location during the time of the construction of hydroelectric power plant Đerdap. It is situated in the lower gorge and may be approached only by boat. The other, unearthed in 1969, is situated at the entrance to the Đerdap I power plant. The other plaques were destroyed over time. One of Tiberius’s plaques was destroyed by dynamite by builders of the road at the time of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1930. The other Tiberius’s plaque was flooded by the Danube waters in 1971, at the time of the start of preparations for the construction of the power plant Đerdap I. There were two Domitian’s plaques. One of them was carved into the rock near Gospođin Vir (the Lady’s Whirlpool) about five metres above Tiberius’s plaque. The other was located some 200 metres upstream from the Lady’s Whirlpool. Both plaques bore the same inscription. One of them was destroyed by explosive during the construction of a road in 1930 at the same time as one of Tiberius’s plaques.
A station on the Diana Falls (Statio cataractarum Dianae) is a Roman and early Byzantine fortification on the banks of the Danube near Karataš in the vicinity of Kladovo. The fortification used to be at the entrance to the canal made in the first decade of the second century AD. In that section, the Danube had many whirlpools, rapids and underwater rocks that made navigation almost impossible. It was precisely for this reason that emperor Trajan built a canal running parallel with the river bypassing the impassable section and enabling an unimpeded navigation on the Danube. This great engineering work is commended by a small Trajan’s plaque that is nowadays at the entrance into the hydro-electric power plant Djerdap I. The strategic function of this camp was precisely to protect and ensure an unimpeded navigation in this canal.
The fortification existed in the period from the first to the sixth centuries. In comparison with the original line of the ramparts, in the fourth century there was a significant increase in its size and elevation of new lines of the wall. After the Hun invasion and its destruction, Iustinian I rebuilt it, but this did not prevent it from falling swiftly during the invasion of the Avars. Diana is one of our best explored border camps. Besides the wall and turrets inside the fortification containing military barracks, the headquarters and other facilities, the interior represents an excellent example of Roman military engineering.
This site is situated near Kladovo, 3 km from Kostol, eastwards. It is an important compound containing ancient ruins because they are grouped in one site of the remnants of the big bridge and the fortification. Access to the bridge on the right-hand side of the bank was protected by a smaller fortification called Pontes. It should be stressed that, although the bridge was not operational all the time, crossing at this place was provided throughout the ancient times. The fortification at Pontes was comparatively modest in size, 120 by 120 metres. The garrison was made up of auxilliary units (auxilia) at all times.
During the elaborate preparations for the second Dacian War Emperor Trajan undertook a number of construction works of which probably the most imposing one was the construction of a bridge on the Danube downstream from Kladovo near the place called Kostol. Access to the bridge is protected by two fortifications: Pontes (on the right bank of the Danube) and Drobeta (on the left bank). The architect Apolodorus of Damascus managed to span the river using twenty stone pillars. It was built between 103 and 105 AD. It was 1,127 metres long, placed on 20 pillars with 50-metre spacing. Being that long and over the troubled waters of this river, it is one of the biggest bridges built in ancient times. However, the most recent excavations make another interesting assumption that there were two bridges. The smaller one was situated on the right bank of the Danube, spanning the Sipian Canal that was also built at the time of Trajan. Even the very name Pontes is a plural – meaning bridges, supports such an interpretation. The best source to explore this bridge is precisely Trajan’s Column in Rome detailing the outlook of an incredible structure. An accurate account of building the bridge is not known considering that the existing sources recount two versions of the story: one that it was demolished by the Romans themselves and the other that it was torn down by the river. According to Dion Cassius, the bridge was destroyed by the Romans during the rule of Hadrian, but according to Procopius it was destroyed by the flooding waters of the river. Nowadays, it may be assumed that both versions are true. It is likely that Hadrian, because of the peril posed by the barbarians, removed the upper structure made of wood, while the basic stone structure remained untouched. In this way, the bridge was only disabled for further use, but could still be repaired for future crossing. This assumption is made on the basis of news of repairs made to the bridge at the time of Severus and Constantine. On the other hand, it may be assumed that eventually, it was totally destroyed by flooding after several centuries of being occasionally in use. Unfortunately, today we can only see one pillar on the right bank of the river.
Golden jewelry from Šarkamen
Šarkamen is a late ancient Roman residential and memorial site. It is situated about 25km west of Negotin, in a narrow and closed valley called Vrelo, which is away from communication lines, trade routes and any trace of modern life. The name Vrelo is derived from the source of the Vrelo river, which flows out at this place from a nearby cave. On the other hand, the entire area, consisting of a narrow valley created by the Vrelo river from its source up to the village also named after the river, is known as Šarkamen. A simplified version of Kanitz’s statement that Šarkamen was a Roman castrum protecting the road between Prahovo (Aquae) and Donji Milanovac (Taliata), has actually survived until the start of systemic excavations in 1994 when the explorations were taken over by Professor Dragoslav Srejović. In a space of 500m by 300m, there are five architectural cores, which have been only partially defined: the fortification, memorial grounds, large representative building, barn, bridge. Already at the time of excavating the fortification, instead of the expected military post, the traditional ramparts, gates, turrets and facilities associated with the military and typical of Roman military camps along the limes during the late ancient Roman period, archaeologists noted some elements indicating that the problem of Šarkamen was much more complex and intriguing. Also, that it was fully consistent with the concept that was clearly evident in the case of Gamzigrad as well. These late ancient Roman residential and memorial quarters are square as to base, 90m by 90m, however its walls were made of stone and have decorative libage-like layers of brick, using the technique opus mixtum. The grounds contain ten turrets, of 9m in inner diameter and 15m in outer diameter. The fortification was built, in the spirit of, and according to, the tenets and architectural standards of the fortification at Gamzigrad. However, it was smaller in size. It used the same kind of bricks containing the stamps of Fifth Macedonica Legion (Legio V Macedonica), which was stationed at Oescus (Oescus), now Gigen in northwestern Bulgaria. Like Gamzigrad and Šarkamen, it belonged to the late ancient Roman province of Riparian Dacia (Dacia Ripensis). A conclusion may be drawn that these buildings were built simultaneously. It is assumed that the works on the fortification at Šarkamen began immediately after Maximinus Daia had declared himself Caesar in 305 AD. The central point is definitely the memorial grounds comprising 5 facilities – a small tumulus with the remains of buried ancestors, a paved platform used for practising the funeral cult, most probably a pedestal for porphyry statue of an emperor, workshops for statue sculpting and a mausoleum with a crypt (“overarched building”), which resembles very much the Romuliana mausoleum at Gamzigrad. The Šarkamen mausoleum was probably the burial place of Romula’s daughter, sister of Galerius, mother of Maximinus Daia. Beside the mausoleum, by the crepidome, the archaeologists unearthed fragments of a monumental porphyry statue of Emperor Maximinus Daia, seated on the throne. Unearthed were segments of the throne, draped and nude segments of the emperor’s statue. One may assume that it was modelled on Galerius’s statue on the throne at Gamzigrad or on another similar statue from Antiochia. The statue was made of fine-grained marble brought from a quarry in Greece or Asia Minor. Missing from the statue were the head and the attribute in the right hand. North of the mausoleum there was a tumulus containing a necropolis made up of 6 graves, evidence of an unusual way of burying the dead. Cremation was the principal method of burial; the remains of bodies burnt at the stake were moved to urns or simple grave pits with few and poor possessions. The definition of Šarkamen was added the most important contribution by the archaeologists’ unearthing a set of gold imperial jewellery in the niche of a natural rock at the bottom of the mausoleum crypt. The pieces of jewellery included: 2 earrings, 3 rings, 3 necklaces, 2 round-shaped hairpins, a heart-shaped pendant and 9 gold foils. The jewelry, which was probably only a portion of the funeral stock is chronologically rather solid and dates back to the second half of the third and the beginning of the fourth centuries. It originated from major centres, perhaps from imperial workshops at Viminacium, Serdica or most likely from Naissus. The gold find indicates that the dead woman occupied a senior position economically and socially. Each piece of the gold jewellery symbolizes something and may be associated with a certain deity, thus more closely indicating the background of the location itself. Also exceptional is the finding of nine gold foils, four of them containing imprinted imperial portraits from the front of coins belonging to the tetrarchy period (Diocletian and Constantius Chlorus). The gold foils with descriptions of deity could represent the offerings pledged to the shrines of Jupiter Dolichenus, Juno, Mars, Apollo, and Sabasius. It is possible that these gold foils symbolize deification, apotheosis of the dead woman and glorification of the divine essence of the imperial house. The jewellery from this mausoleum is indirect evidence of the imperial and divine importance of the dead woman, empress mother. Maximinus Daia (305-313), by proclaiming himself as Caesar on the eve of 1 May 305 AD at the Court of Diocletian’s in Nicomedia, got the possibility to build in Šarkamen, miles from anywhere, the place of his birth, an edifice that would show to everyone in the empire that he was the ruler and god-given to lead the Romans to a better and more certain future. His early death prevented him from completing this grand project, and further excavations will show how much he had accomplished and future archaeological finds will reveal what he had intended to achieve with this architectural undertaking.
Peristyle of the Imperial Palace
In 1969, discovery of gorgeous mosaic with depiction of Dionisius inspired further excavations. Remains of monumental palaces with floor mosaics began to reveal...
SERPENT`S LAYER ON RUINS OF THE IMPERIAL PALACE
Far away from the major roads, in the middle of nowhere in Riperian Dacia (Dacia Ripensis), part of the former province of Upper Moesia (Moesia Superior), unearthed was the site of luxurious buildings protected by massive walls having hexagonal turrets. The remoteness of the location is evidenced also by its modern name – Gamzigrad. Indeed, before the archaeologists had systematized the ancient remnants, only snakes and lizards – reptiles inhabited the ruins of ancient Romuliana. The excavations revealed that this site was an ordinary farm in the third century AD. At the end of the third and beginning of the fourth centuries, it became a huge and sumptuous imperial palace. Its swift development followed the accession to the throne of Galerius (Caesar 293-305 AD, Augustus 305-311 AD), who was born there and where his ritual funeral took place. Within the ramparts, the archaeologists saw two groups of luxurious buildings inside of which there were temples with high podiums, thermae, reception halls and private imperial chambers. The buildings were lavishly decorated with frescoes, plastering and floor mosaics with figural and geometric motives. The original base of the site is approximately rectangular in shape, 210m by 180m, having two entrances. Shortly after, the site was enlarged, from 12 to 20 massive turrets, with octagonal bases and two entrances, one of which was on the west side, of a secular nature, and the other, on the east side, of a sacral nature. As we learn from Lactantius, a Christian author, this monumental character was necessary in order that Galerius “…spend his old age safely and peacefully within the unassailable ramparts…”. The residential quarters were built by alternating white and green stones, and bricks, or by using the technique opus mixtum. A combination of colours, stones and bricks gives the whole site vivid colours and polychromy. The bricks contained imprints of the stamps of the Legion Fifth Macedonica (Legio V Macedonica), the same stamps as those in the grounds of Šarkamen. Gamzigrad is the site that had a stormy history and went through ups and downs that are occasionally found only in ancient legends and myths. Witness to the troubled past is also its very name indicating a snake’s nest or a place more likely to be inhabited by reptiles than people. This small rural settlement, by a twist of fate, gave a ruler to the Roman Empire. Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximian (Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximian) repaid his homeland by building a magnificent palace in the hinterland of Riperian Dacia. The very background to the unearthing of the site and the interpretation of the palace appear as surreal as its history. The first person to visit it was Felix Kanitz, who did so on two occasions, in 1860 and in 1864. Later on, he published sketches he made on the occasion of these visits. The large fortification was interpreted as a major military camp (castrum). This simplified interpretation was undermined and altered with the start of systematic explorations in 1953, when first luxurious buildings were unearthed. The discovery of the exquisite mosaic with Dionysus in 1969 prompted further works and soon after emerged even more monumental remnants of luxury buildings containing mosaics on floors. In 1972, remnants of a massive emperor’s sculpture made of porphyry were found and a few years later remnants of a big temple that removed any doubt as to the importance of Gamzigrad. The last mystery of Gamzigrad remained to be its ancient name. This secret of the ruins became known in 1984 on the occasion of the excavations led by Dragoslav Srejović, which unearthed an archivolt containing the inscribed words FELIX ROMULIANA. Having found out its ancient name, the history of Gamzigrad was supported by the writings such as those of Aurelius Victor and Procopius. The Palace at Gamzigrad belongs among the tetrarchian imperial palaces including Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the never completed palace at Šarkamen. It was built from approximately 300 AD to the very death of Galerius in 311 AD. However, it was not only this palace that was protected by the mighty ramparts that Galerius left behind. Also unearthed on a hill called Magura in 1989-1993 were two looted and demolished mausoleums containing the mortal remains of an imperial family. This Sacred Hill (Mons Sacer) is where Galerius and Romula were consecrated as gods according to ancient pagan rituals. Its remoteness from roads resulted in the palace’s degradation and its rapid ruin after the change of imperial rulers. Within a span of less than a century Romuliana became again just a settlement inhabited by peasant farmers and a small military garrison. The sumptuous palace lay empty among the ruins torched since the invasion of the Huns.
CITIES IN DARDANIAN LANDS
NAISSUS AND MEDIANA
Niš and Brzi Brod
Naissus is an important Roman and early Byzantine city which used to be the site of today’s city of Niš. Later on fortifications and the present-day settlement have almost completely destroyed the remnants of this ancient city. The Romans inhabited the area of the city as early as the first century AD after they had defeated the Dardanians. Its location on an important commercial route conditioned its rapid economic development which was particularly evident in the fourth century AD, when it was home to a workshop for the manufacture of arms and a workshop for making silverware. Of particular interest are its finds such as a bronze head of Emperor Constantine, statue of the emperor seated on the throne and a store containing silver plates made to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Licinius’s reign. The explored section of the necropolis proved that the citizens of Naissus were wealthy people. In particular, mention should be made of tombs with frescoes including those of the earliest Christian images in the region of Illyricum.
Mediana is one of the most important ancient archaeological sites in this territory. It is situated on the left bank of the Nišava river near Naissus. It is a sumptuous holiday home which was built, as assumed, for Constantine and his successors. The central building is a villa with a peristyle decorated with amazing floor mosaics. In addition to this building, also unearthed were thermae and an emporium, as well as a developed system of water supply with an aqueduct and a water tower. The structure dates back to the early fourth century AD. Excavations on the site of the holiday home are being carried out even today, under the supervision of experts from the Belgrade Archaeological Institute.
During excavations at Mediana in 2000, the hoard composed of segments of bronze railing was found. Bronze railing consisted of three cancelli, one semicancellus cast together with herm and herms with the busts of Aesculapius and Luna. It was presumed that in portrait of Luna could be recognized Faustina, the second wife of Constantine the Great. Following historical events it was supposed the railing had been made before 325 AD in some of Gaulish workshops. The railing was not initially produced to be exposed in Villa at Mediana, but was probably brought following the desire of Emperor Julian who spent some months in Naissus during 361 AD.
CITY IN WILDERNESS NAMED AFTER IUSTINIAN
Caričin Grad or Iustiniana Prima, as referred to in paleo-Byzantine age, is known as one of the most important Byzantine cities inside the Balkan Peninsula. Tsar (emperor) Iustinian I, whose origins are related to the highlands of southern Serbia, decided to build in his homeland a city that will glorify his name. It is situated not far from Lebane, near Leskovac, in the hills away from major roads. Above the ancient ruins there is no present-day settlement. The entire life span of the city is less than one hundred years and precisely this fact reflects its scientific importance. A brief segment of history may be observed in closed conditions. The city consists of three cascading lines of ramparts of which each constituted a separate defence line. So far, archaeologists have explored a number of basilicas and squares, streets with auxiliary facilities, a major portion of the ramparts and a segment of the water supply system with an aqueduct and a large reservoir. Archbishops who used to reside at the archbishopric basilica at the acropolis of Iustiniana belonged to the highest level of administration under whose jurisdiction and authority was the entire Ilyricum. Floor mosaics in the luxurious facilities are masterpieces of early Byzantine art.
Miomir Korać, PhD
Institutions / project holders:
Archaeological Institute Belgrade
Centre for New Technologies Viminacium
Institutions / cooperating in program
Ministry of Culture - Republic of Serbia
Ministry of Science – Republic of Serbia
Ministry of Tourism – Republic of Serbia
Ministry of Economy and Regional Development – Republic of Serbia
Ministry of Capital Investments – Republic of Serbia
National Investment Project (NIP)
Institute for protection of cultural Monuments of Republic of Serbia
Regional Institute for protection of cultural Monuments Sremska Mitrovica
Regional Institute for protection of cultural Monuments Niš
Institute for protection of cultural Monuments – City of Belgrade
National Museum Belgrade
Archaeological Museum Đerdap
Lepenski Vir Museum
Museum of Srem – Sremska Mitrovica
Belgrade City Museum
Regional Museum in Zaječar
Regional Museum in Niš
Regional Museum in Leskovac
IDEA OF THE PROJECT
Project Itinerarium Romanum Serbiae is the international project based on multiple levels and with multiple goals:
- It is planned as a combined project of science and culture using latest methods in research
- It is intended to revive and connect ancient Roman Roads, of which many correspond to present day communications
- It is planned to build on this route a network of 100 boarding houses, replicas of Roman villas (villa rustica), resting places (mutatio) and motels (mansio)
- The aim is to employ local population according to a system of family manufacture. In boarding houses would be employed 800 man and women. Four times more people (3000-4000) are planned to enroll in business supporting those boarding houses in the form of catering, souvenir production and so on. These boarding houses would be positioned on the route on distance of 5-10 km. Their position would be in natural environment, in forests, crop fields and pastures, mostly along rivers Sava, Danube, Morava and Timok.
FOCAL POINTS OF THE PROJECT:
- Economically sustainable project – main problem are generally initial investments
- Thematically linking of all similar Archaeological Sites in country and abroad
- Development of economy and tourism through
- Production of Souvenirs
- Employing of new workers on sites and archaeological parks
- 100 boarding houses, replicas of Roman villas, on route in order to provide accommodation for visitors
- Building and development of local infrastructure
- Improving of standard of local communities:
- Special attention focused on economical development of poor regions (southern and Eastern Serbia)
- Development of local small industry and family workshops
- Reviving of old craftsmanship which ceased due to economic crises
- Rising standard of local communities due to higher traffic of people and goods
- Development of Archaeological tourism on national level
- Promotion of National treasures and improvement of reputation of Republic of Serbia
WAYS OF PROMOTION:
- Through popular web sites and multimedia presentation
- Through popular publications
- Through re-enactment events (roman fests, legionary parades, chariot races, gladiatorial combats etc.)
- Through popular music concerts
- Rising conscience of local communities about Serbian cultural treasures and its international importance
- Protection of cultural heritage through its use in economical projects
- Initial infrastructure for multimedia presentation and surveillance is already made. Wireless internet with security cameras is fully functional. These cameras can be also used in remote presentation of sites by web visitors.
Serbia is homeland of 18 Roman emperors among who are Constantine I and Justinian I. This is the largest number of emperors born in some province out of Italy. On the territory of Serbia we have imperial city (Sirmium), provincial capitals (Sirmium and Viminacium), imperial residences and villas (Felix Romuliana, Šarkamen, Mediana and Iustiniana Prima), combined with fortified frontier with many cities, legionary and auxiliary forts (Singidunum, Diana, Pontes, Naissus). These sites represent enormous heritage from antiquity. All previously mentioned makes Serbia one of the central points in Roman Empire for centuries.
Global problem related to development of route is either outdated or not existing infrastructure. Roads in some sections are bad and damaged. There are no boarding houses, motels, hotels or restaurants. All facilities planned to accommodate and improve tourist visit do not exist.
On territory which is covered by route exist 5,669 beds. Most of these beds are in 20 hotels 60.58% (3.362) which belong to low categories of accommodation. Road and tourist signalization is missing on almost all parts of the route, especially on those which are remote of highways.
Sites are not protected against looters and do not have permanent guard service except Viminacium.
Major problem within sites themselves is missing of educated guides. They are either missing adequate knowledge of foreign languages or missing information about history and archaeology. Educating them according to all European standards is one of priorities of the project.
Roman culture as paneuropean heritage and first “European Union” is widely recognized and attracts tourists where ever it is presented. Promotion of Roman heritage has no burden like national tourism, which could discourage visitors because of recent political events.
Goal of connecting many valuable archaeological sites into one connected route will bust number of visitors to those sites which are not on regular tourist routes or along major highways.
Further development of the idea is to promote and provide information about complete roman heritage through information presented about all sites on every site. In that way even visitors who cannot see all sites can learn everything. Sites included in this route are not competing but working together with same and unique goal.
Since archaeological sites were never observed as one single product they were not included in one presentation project. This changed and so far all sites are developing in equal manner and under single international standard for presentation.
MODEL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
Project is classified as a project of National interest for preservation and protection of cultural heritage. The best way to preserve any archaeological site is to revive it and make a tourist attraction of it. Bringing people will protect it from many threats which include looting or illegal building on the area of site. This will also raise awareness of local population about great treasure they poses and motivate them for further protection in order to exploit it. Local population not interested in protection of their own heritage is one of the greatest threats. Enormous possibilities and ways to exploit cultural heritage makes it one of potentially most payable projects.
Cultural heritage can be used as a base for economic and regional development. We have chosen to use an economic model that already proved to be functional, prosperous and financially sustainable. That is the model of Viminacium, Roman city and military camp.
In only six years we have created archaeological park that only during last year over 55.000 tourists visited by land and additional 10.000 came via river cruises along Danube. The fact is that more than 600 tourist river cruisers pass along Danube with more than 200.000 visitors aboard. This model of presentation of archaeological sites was already promoted on all major tourist fairs in Milan, Berlin, London, Cologne, Pestum and so on. Presentation and rapid development of this site is a basic development model that is applied in general planning for all other sites. Examples of Pompeii in Italy and Viminacium in Serbia are the best examples of prosperous archaeological sites that attract large numbers of visitors.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROJECT
Project is planned not as local cultural route, but as international project linking all cultural projects and routes related to Roman archaeology and Roman emperors. That plan is already emphasized on main project map where we marked the routes to closest and most important related roman cities. Project is nevertheless open for all international cooperation. Roman Empire was predecessor of European Union and modern borders do not correspond to Roman provinces. Because of that Projects related to Roman age should not be observed through present day national filters which could narrow presentation and vision of the Roman Empire and its Emperors. Full presentation of Roman heritage could be achieved only through international cooperation what many exhibitions so far proved. Thematic exhibitions as “Constantine the Great” in Trier, “Hadrian empire and conflict” in London, “Rome and Barbarians” in Venice and so on, prove that international vision of the empire is essential to understanding our past.
Roman cities as Aquincum, Sopianae, Intercissa, Mursa, Siscia, Spalato, Pola, Emona, Poetovio, Nicopolis, Osecus, Ratiaria, Sarmizegetusa, Apulum, Doclea. Scupi, Heraclea, Stobi, Athena, Sparta, Olympia, Pompeii, Neapolis and finally Rome are something what makes this project unfinished if not connected in one major cultural route. Only project planned in Roman dimensions can achieve full presentation of cultural Heritage. Finally connecting our sites to cities as Mediolanum, Trier and Nicomedia can fully present Tetrarchial Age of Rome and beginnings of domination of Christianity.