Ancient name for the Danube, originally denoted only the upper course down to the whirlpools and cataracts of the Iron Gates below Belgrade. This stretch remained unknown to the Greeks, long acquainted with the lower course down to the Black Sea as the Ister, the sources of which long remained a matter of speculation. By the 1st cent. bc, when a Roman army first reached the river, the identity of the two had been realized, though many Roman poets preferred the Greek name. Under Augustus the province of Illyricum was extended to the Danube c.12 bc, which, except for advances into Germany and Dacia (2nd–3rd cents. ad), remained the northern limit of the empire for four centuries. Revered locally as a deity, the river was held in awe by the Romans. It was bridged in ad 105 by Trajan, a construction of the architect Apollodōrus 3 depicted on Trajan's Column. This followed repair of the tow‐path through the gorges in ad 100 and, in the following year, the excavation of a canal to bypass the barrier of the Iron Gates and permit navigation between the upper and lower courses.
Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) — Classical Studies.