Historical Monument presentation:
The archaeological site "Cetatea Capidava"
Code CT-I-s-A-02600 , CAPIDAVA village; TOPALU commune
At the village’s W limit
Datation: 2nd – 7th c. A.D.
The Roman Empire had reached the Danube as early as 14 A.D., when general Aelius Catus organized a campaign across the river in order to keep the Dacians and their Sarmatian allies at bay. In 46 A.D., when the Sapaean Kingdom disappeared, small Roman forts were probably installed in the old Dacian settlements on the Danube’s bank, among which Capidava. Emperor Domitian realized the strategic importance of the area between the Danube and the Black Sea, using Dobrudja – whose ancient name was Scythia Minor –as a base for launching his campaigns against the Dacians across the Danube. The different results of these campaigns and the disorganizing effect of the two successive defeats prevented a systematic effort to fortify and establish garrisons on the Danube’s bank.
Emperor Trajan built, during the preparations for the Dacian-Roman wars, with the help of detachments of the Legio V Macedonica at Troesmis and XI Claudia at Durostorum a castellum on the rock at Capidava, whose task was to control the ford and establish there a garrison made up probably of the Cohors I Ubiorum. It seems that the fortification at Capidava was nothing else but a link in a system of forts among which we must mention those at Carsium, Cius, Troesmis, Noviodunum and Aegyssus. The fort also had a harbour, made up of a quay on the water, warehouses and other annexes on the terrace immediately above, as well as a public bath complex outside the walls, to the South-East. The quay was in fact the main installation of a station of the Danubian fleet – Classis Flavia Moesica – whose main base had been established at Noviodunum. E and NE of the fort lies the barrow necropolis, containing cremation graves with a rich inventory, and to the S lies a flat necropolis, containing more modest graves. We do not know if the fort built by Trajan had a role in the Moesian episode of the war, in the autumn of 101 A.D., when the great battle of Adamclisi took place. Anyway, it continued to protect the river line and the ford at Capidava, seemingly without remarkable events apart from the change of the garrison after 243 A.D., when Cohors I Ubiorum was replaced by the Cohors I Germanorum civium romanorum, which stayed in place until the end of the 3rd c. A.D.
Capidava lies on the Danube’s right bank, halfway between Hârșova and Cernavodă, and the road that connects the two towns passes right by the fort’s walls.
The fortification is a 105m x 127m rectangle, oriented NW – SE, with walls over 2 m thick and 5-6 m high, with 7 towers over 10 m high, 3 of which are rectangular, 2 have the shape of a circle’s quarter and two are intermediary U-shaped towers. It also has a 2.5 m wide gate on the SE side that connected it with the rest of the territory, as well as a strategic gate on the SW side of the tower facing the Danube, where the harbour lay.
The fort occupied an important place in the Roman defensive system and was part of the series of forts and fortifications built during the reign of Emperor Trajan at the beginning of the 2nd c. A.D., when the Danubian limes was organized. The location was very fit for the purpose of the structure, as it offered a vast surveillance area: it is a rocky cliff that rises between the base of the slope that descends towards the Danube from the NE and the river. The cliff has a strategic advantage, namely a natural ditch that started from the Danube, went around the fort on the NE side, almost reaching the fort’s E corner. The cliff’s shape also imposed the fort’s shape and orientation.
The site’s strategic importance determined the establishment of a military camp, as well as the emplacement and development of a civilian centre during the Roman period. The fort, located near a ford of the Danube, was built by detachments of the Legio V Macedonica and Legio XI Claudia. The Getian toponym Capidava – signifying “the fort at the curve”– confirms the existence of a pre-Roman settlement whose special geographical position signals its importance as a connection between the Dacians in Dobrudja and those in the Wallachian plain. The Tabula Peutingeriana offers us exact data on the distances between Axiopolis, Capidava and Carsium. These distances coincide with the ones between the modern day settlements Hinog – Capidava and Capidava - Hârșova. A milestone discovered at Seimenii Mici confirms the data provided by the tabula, as it indicates the distance of 18000 paces from Axiopolis to Capidava, that is precisely 27 km.
http://www.capidava.ro (pagina oficială)
Consiliul județean Constanța
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