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Dacia ripensis (Greek: Δακία Ρειπήσιος, English translation: "from the banks of the Danube"[1]) was the name of a Roman province (part of Dacia Aureliana) first established by Aurelian (circa 283 AD when the boundary stones were set by him and one of them was restored by Gaianus[2]) after he withdrew from Dacia north of the Danube River. Ratiaria was established as the capital of Dacia ripensis (it was previously a colony founded by Trajan located within Moesia Superior). The capital served both as the seat of the military governor (or dux) and as the military base for Roman legion XIII Gemina. According to Priscus, Dacia ripensis was a flourishing province during the 4th and 5th centuries AD. During the early 440s, however, the Huns captured the province (prior to this, there were conflicts between the Romans and the Huns whereby the latter group captured Castra Martis through treacherous means[3]). Even though the province recovered briefly from Hunnic rule, it was eventually decimated by the Avars in 586.[4] On a more specific note, Aurelian developed Dacia ripensis on a stretch of the Danube specifically between Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior.[5] During the reign of Emperor Trajan, many fortresses and fortifications were constructed within the province. These fortresses/fortifications entailed Singidunum, Viminacium, Tanata (Τανάτα), Zernis (Ζέρνης), Doukepratou (Δουκεπράτου), Caputboes (Καπούτβοες), Zanes (Ζάνες), and Pontes (Πόντες).[6]


Famous individuals

Roman Emperor Galerius was born in Dacia ripensis.[7]


  1. ^ Loring, p. 330.
  2. ^ Bury, p. 135. The date must be A.D. 283, and it is obvious that Aurelian set up the boundary stones, one of which Gaianus restored. There were, then, two Dacias when Diocletian came to the throne and, therefore, Mr. Fillow has inferred that we should read in our List: Dacia <Dacia>, that is presumably Dacia ripensis and Dacia mediterranea. Aurelian's Dacia mediterranea might have included Dardania, and Dardania, Mr. Fillow thinks, was split off as a distinct province by Diocletian.
  3. ^ Maenchen-Helfen, p. 389. What the Romans could not anticipate was that the Huns would take Castra Martis in Dacia Ripensis by treachery.
  4. ^ Jones, p. 231. When founded as a colony by Trajan, Ratiaria was within Moesia Superior: when Aurelian withdrew from the old Dacia north of the Danube and established a new province of the same name on the south (Dacia Ripensis), Ratiaria became the capital. As such it was the seat of the military governor (dux), and the base of the legion XIII Gemina. It flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries, and according to the historian Priscus was μεγίστη καί πολυάνθρωπος ("very great and with numerous inhabitants") when it was captured by the Huns in the early 440s. It appears to have recovered from this sack, but was finally destroyed by the Avars in 586, though the name survives in the modern Arcar.
  5. ^ Hind, p. 191. The emperor Aurelian formed two provinces of Moesia Superior and Inferior. In fact, Dacia Ripensis was formed out of a stretch of the Danube between Moesia Superior and Inferior, while Dacia Mediterranea was the old inland Balkan region of Dardania.
  6. ^ Sasel, p. 84. The area we are concerned with is mentioned only by Procopius in the work De aedificiis. Here, after the description of Justinian's strategic fortifications in inner Illyricum, there follows a survey of the fortresses along the Danube in Dacia Ripensis, beginning with Singidunum (4, 5), then Viminacium and on to the fort of Τανάτα, followed by Ζέρνης, Δουκεπράτου, Καπούτβοες, Ζάνες, Πόντες... Procopius adds a postscript ωνόμασται του Ρωμαίων αυτοκράτορος Τραιανού έργον to his mention of the Καπούτβοες fort. Because of Trajan's intensive building activities, there must surely have been inscriptions set up on his orders along this sector (e.g. on the Danube bridge, by the canal, or at the fort) and Procopius or his source was probably quoting one of them here. Since this quotation stands immediately next to the place-name Caputboes, we may perhaps directly associate it with the recently discovered text.
  7. ^ Mackay, pp. 207-208. Lactantius and the Epitome de Caesaribus state that the emperor Maximus was of peasant origin. His birthplace is unknown but his mother's brother, the emperor Galerius, was born in Dacia Ripensis, part of the former province of Moesia Superior (Epit. de Caes. 41.14).

See also


  • Bury, J. B. "The Provincial List of Verona." The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 13 (1923), pp. 127-151.
  • Hind, J. G. F. "Whatever Happened to the 'Agri Decumates'?" Britannia, Vol. 15 (1984), pp. 187-192.
  • Jones, C. P. "An Epigram from Ratiaria." The American Journal of Philology, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Vol. 109, No. 2 (Summer, 1988), pp. 231-238.
  • Loring, William. "A New Portion of the Edict of Diocletian from Megalopolis." The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 11 (1890), pp. 299-342.
  • Mackay, Christopher S. "Lactantius and the Succession to Diocletian." Classical Philology, Vol. 94, No. 2 (April 1999), pp. 198-209.
  • Maenchen-Helfen, Otto J. "The Date of Ammianus Marcellinus' Last Books." The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 76, No. 4 (1955), pp. 384-399.
  • Sasel, Jaroslav. "Trajan's Canal at the Iron Gate." The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 63 (1973), pp. 80-85.


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