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Amida and Tropaeum Traiani: a Comparison of Late Antique Fortress Cities on the Lower Danube and Mesopotamia

J. CROW

in The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264027
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734908 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264027.003.0017

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Amida and Tropaeum Traiani: a Comparison of Late Antique Fortress Cities on the Lower Danube and Mesopotamia

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Fortifications are now recognized as a defining feature of the late antique city and in a time of insecurity they were a positive factor for the maintenance of urban life as well as making an important contribution towards imperial defence. But in place of the fora, aqueducts and curiales of the high Roman Empire, the new foundations of the fourth century display new urban typologies derived, in part at least, from patterns of military organization rather than urban organization. This chapter compares the two frontier cities of Amida in Roman Mesopotamia and Tropaeum Traiani in Scythia as examples of new urban foundations in the early fourth century. Detailed structural evidence from the walls of Amida indicates two main phases of construction, one under Valens and a second under Anastasius following the major siege of 502. On the lower Danube the city of Tropaeum Traiani reveals similar features of major defences and urban layout with a range of internal structures including granaries and churches distinct from the typical attributes of the classic Graeco-Roman city.

Keywords: fortifications; defence; Amida; Mesopotamia; Tropaeum Traiani; Scythia; frontier cities; lower Danube; granaries; churches

Chapter.  8233 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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