a Roman province in Europe, was bounded on the S. by M. Haemus, which separated it from Thrace, and by M. Orbelus and Scordus, which separated it from Macedonia, on the W. by M. Scordus and the rivers Drinus and Savus, which separated it from Illyricum and Pannonia, on the N. by the Danube, which separated it from Dacia, and on the E. by the Pontus Euxinus, thus corresponding to the present Servia
The Greeks called it Mysia (Μυσία
), and the inhabitants Mysians (Μυσοί
), and sometimes European Mysia (Μυσία ἡ ἐν Εὐρώπῃ, D. C. 49.36
; Appian, App. Ill. 6
), to distinguish it from Mysia in Asia.
The original inhabitants of Moesia were, according to Strabo, a tribe of Thracians, and were the ancestors of the Mysians of Asia (vii. p. 295). Of the early history of the country, little or nothing is known. In B.C. 277, a large body of Gaulish invaders entered Moesia, after the defeat and death of their leader Brennus, and settled there under the name of the Scordisci. The Romans first entered Moesia in B.C. 75, when C. Scribonius Curio, proconsul of Macedonia, penetrated as far as the Danube, and gained a victory over the Moesians. (S. Ruf. Brev.
7; Jornand. de Regn. Succ.
50; Eutrop. 6.2
But the permanent subjugation of Moesia was probably effected by M.Licinius Crassus, the grandson of the triumvir, who was proconsul of Macedonia in B.C. 29. (Liv. Ep.
134, 135; D. C. 51.25
; Flor. 4.12
This may be inferred from the statement of Dio Cassius (53.7), who represents Augustus two years afterwards (B.C. 27) speaking of the subjugation of Gallia, Mysia, and Aegypt. Further, in A.D. 6, Dio Cassius mentions the governor of Mysia (55.29), and in A.D. 14 Tacitus speaks of the legatus Moesiae (Ann.
1.79); so that there can be no doubt that it was reduced into the form of a province in the reign of Augustus, and that the statement of Appian is incorrect, that it did not become a Roman province till the reign of Tiberius. (Ill.
In the reign of Tiberius, Moesia was laid waste by the Dacians and Sarmatians, being then without a garrison, contrary to the usual Roman practice, for a legion was generally stationed there. (Suet. Tib. 41
6; Tac. Ann. 16.6
As a frontier province of the empire. it was strengthened by a line of stations and fortresses along the south bank of the Danube. A Roman wall was built from Axiopolis to Tomi, as a defence against the Sarmatians and Scythians, who inhabited the delta of the Danube. Moesia was originally only one province, but was divided into two provinces, called Moesia Superior and Inferior, probably at the commencement of Trajan's reign. (Marquardt, in Becker's Romisch. Alterth.
vol. iii. pt. i. p. 106.) Each province was governed by a consular legatus, and was divided into smaller districts (regiones et vici
). Moesia Superior was the western, and Moesia Inferior the eastern half of the country; they were separated from each other by the river Cebrus or Ciabrus, a tributary of the Danube. (Ptol. 3.9
.) They contained several Roman colonies, of which two, Ratiaria and Oescus, were made colonies by Trajan, and Viminacium by Gordian III. (Marquardt, l.c.
) The conquest of Dacia, by Trajan, removed the frontiers of the empire farther north, beyond the Danube.
The emperor Hadrian visited Moesia, as we are informed by his medals, in his general progress through the empire, and games in his honour were celebrated at Pincum. In A.D. 250 the Goths invaded Moesia. Decius, who was then emperor, marched against them, but was defeated and killed in a battle with them in 251. What the valour of Decius could not effect, his successor, Trebonianus Gallus, obtained by bribery; and the Goths withdrew to the Dniester. When Aurelian gave up Dacia to the Goths, and withdrew his troops and part of the inhabitants to the south side of the river, he formed a settlement in the heart of Moesia, which was named from him Dacia Aureliani.
Vol. I. p. 745.] In 395 the Ostrogoths, being hard pressed by the Huns, requested permission of the Romans to pass the Danube, and settle in Moesia.
The request was acceded to by Valens, who was then emperor, and a large number took advantage of the privilege. They soon, however, quarrelled with the Roman authorities, and killed Valens, who marched to oppose them. The Goths, who settled in Moesia, are sometimes called Moeso-Goths, and it was for their use that Ulphilas translated the Scriptures into Gothic about the middle of the fourth century.
In the seventh century the Sclavonians entered Moesia, and the Bulgarians about the same time, and founded the kingdoms of Bulgaria and Servia.
Moesia was occupied by various populations; the following are enumerated by Ptolemy and Pliny (Ptol. 3.9
; Plin. Nat. 3.26
): the Dardani, Celegeri, Triballi, Timachi, Moesi, Thraces, Scythae, Tricornesii, Pincensii, Troglodytes, and Peucini, to which may be added the Scordisci. (Liv. 40.57
The relative situations of these people were somewhat as follows: the Dardani, said to be a colony from Dardania in Asia, dwelt on the borders of Macedonia. The Triballi dwelt near the river Ciabrus; the [p. 2.368]
Timachi by the river Timachus. The Triconesii, who derived their name from Tricornum, were on the confines of Dalmatia. The Peucini inhabited the island of Pence, at the mouth of the Danube. The Thraces were near their own country; the Scordisci, between the Dardani and Dalmatia. The Moesi, or Mysi, proper, inhabited the heart of the country to which they gave their name, on the banks of the river Ciabrus.