previous next

OESCUS Bulgaria.

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 Danube.

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 (1953)I; T. Ivanov, Rimska mozaika ot Ulpia Eskus (1954)I.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: