Originally a Thracian city
near modern Ghighen in the district of Pleven at the
confluence of the Iskar river and the Danube. It was the
headquarters of the Legio V Macedonica and later was
raised to the status of a colony by Trajan. It regained
military importance after Dacia was abandoned in 275
and when the bridge of Constantine was built over the
The town was an irregular pentagon in shape, surrounded by a wall and a ditch, and later expanded quite
far beyond the initial circuit wall. It had two aqueducts.
The decumanus has been identified, and outside the walls
an apsidal bath complex with subterranean galleries dating to the middle of the 3d c. The building operations
of the legions stationed there are documented by brick
stamps. There is evidence of ceramic and metal works.
Most of the inscriptions and monuments belong to the
2d c. and give evidence of peoples from Asia Minor and
from the province of Gaul, the establishment of the city,
and numerous religious cults including Mithra. Noteworthy are sarcophagi decorated with festoons and masks
and large architectural friezes of the same type. The
funeral stelai, with a triangular pedimental element and
later decorated with ornamental vines are distinguished
from the two close groupings of Ratiaria and Novae.
The medallion with portrait bust is also in evidence and
numerous statues. A noteworthy mosaic with an emblem
represents a scene from an unknown work of Menander: The Achaeans.
A museum has been built on the site.
S. Fern, Arte romana sul Danubio
(1933) 381, 386I
; C. M. Danoff, RE
XVII (1936) 2033-38; A. Frova, “Lo scavo della Missione arch. it. in Bulgaria,” BIA
10 (1943), 11 (1948)PI
; id., “Antichi monumenti religiosi di Oescus,” Studi Mistrorigo
T. Ivanov, Rimska mozaika ot Ulpia Eskus