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NAISSUS (Niš) Yugoslavia.

The birthplace of Constantine the Great and Constantius III on the Nišava river 239 km S of Belgrade (Singidunum).

Following a Roman victory over the Dardani who occupied the region, the town was founded in the late 1st c. B.C. as a central base for Roman legions. When the province of Moesia Superior was organized in A.D. 15, Naissus became an increasingly important commercial and military center. Claudius II defeated the Goths near Naissus in A.D. 269.

Constantine I returned often to Naissus during his reign (A.D. 306-37) and the city profited by his visits. He founded Mediana as a small suburb of Naissus 4 km from the city on the road to Serdica (modern Sofia) and often stayed there himself. Constans, Constantius II, and Julian all passed some time in Naissus and Mediana and it was visited by many of the succeeding emperors (Amm. Marc. 21.10.5, 12.1; 26.5.1). The city was destroyed in the Hunnic invasion of 441. After a brief revival during the reign of Justinian, the city passed into Slavic hands in the late 6th c.

Part of the royal residence with mosaic floors has been excavated at Mediana and a small museum built around one of the rooms. A bath has also been uncovered as well as parts of other residences. A late Roman cemetery was excavated recently within the confines of the Turkish fortress at Niš where part of the city wall of Naissus can still be seen. Four Early Christian churches and a number of vaulted tombs with Christian wall paintings (4th-6th c.) are in the suburb of Jagodin Mahala.

The Archaeological Museum at Niš has a moderately large and varied collection of antiquities from the region.


Lazar Mirković, “La nécropole paléochrétienne de Niš,” Archaeologia Jugoslavica 2 (1956) 85-100.


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