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APULUM (Alba Iulia) Romania.

The most important center of Roman Dacia. The name, linked with the name of the Dacian tribe Apuli is mentioned in ancient sources (Ptol. 3.8, Tab.Peut., Rav.Cosm. 4.7) and inscriptions.

Older archaeological excavations, the material discovered in the course of construction in the modern town, and especially the hundreds of inscriptions have documented the history of the two ancient towns that developed here. Their situation on the fertile land around the Mureş river, at the crossroads of several highways, and not far from the gold-bearing mountains, contributed to their development.

Legio XIII Gemina was stationed here, from the Roman conquest until the Aurelian withdrawal in the 270s. The camp of the legion on the river Mureş, at the place called Cetate (Fortress) today, was built of stone. The camp (600-750 x 500-400 m; ca. 24-30 ha) was destroyed to build various mediaeval structures, especially the 18th c. fortress on the same site.

South of the camp, farther up to the Mureş river, in the present Partoş district, the legion dug canabae, mentioned epigraphically from the time of Trajan until the time of Marcus Aurelius (CIL III, tab. cer. XXV) when the settlement there became the Municipium Aurelium Apulense (CIL III, 986). Under Commodus it became colonia Aurelia Apulensis. An inscription of 253 in honor of Volusianus, the son of emperor Trebonianus Gallus, calls the town col(onia) Aur(elia) Ap(ulensis) Chrisop(olis).

The ruins of this town were preserved until the middle of the 19th c. Among the many buildings, some paved with mosaics, a long edifice (49.90 x 14.65 m), used for handicraft workshops was discovered.

Parallel with this town a second town developed to the N, E, and SE of the camp. It became a municipium under Septimius Severus (CIL III, 976, 985, 1051) and coexisted with the colony Aurelia Apulensis. Its name was col(onia) nova Apule(n)s(is) and it was mentioned in the year 250 in an inscription in honor of Trajan, called “Restitutor Daciarum” (CIL III, 1176).

There were baths, temples, a Mithraeum, the residence of the governor(?), streets, aqueducts, buildings. Inscriptions mention: temples, porticos, basilicas, public wells, none of which remain.

After the administrative reforms made by Hadrian (in 118-120), the governor of Dacia Superior had his residence in Apulum. He was also the commander of Legio XIII Gemina; after the administrative reform of Marcus Aurelius in 168, this was the seat of the governor of the three Dacias, Legatus Augusti pro praetore Daciarum trium.

The importance of handicrafts is attested by the great quantity of ceramics, oil lamps, metal objects, and tiles and bricks bearing the seal of the Legio XIII Geinina and often accompaned by the name of the head of the workshop. Inscriptions testify to the existence of collegia: collegium fabrum, centonariorum, nautarum and dendrophorum. Treasuries, coins that attest an uninterrupted monetary circulation until the 4th c., money bags, and inscriptions all prove the commercial activity of this place. The inhabitants of the towns were granted ius Italicum.

Recent archaeological discoveries have identified two Roman necropoleis. A variety of religious cults existed according to inscriptions and remains of sculpture, and Aesculapius and Hygieia seem to have been the patron deities of the town.

The epigraphic and sculptural material is on display in the lapidarium of the regional museum in Alba Iuhia.


C. Daicoviciu, “Aşezarea autohtonă de la Apulum,” Studii si Cercetări de Istorie Veche 1-2 (1950) 225-28; I. Berciu et al., Cetatea Alba Iulia (1968) 8-13; M. Macrea, Viaţa în Dacia romană (1969) 125-28; A. Popa & I. A. Aldea, “Colonia Aurelia Apulensis Chrysopolis,” Apulum 10 (1972) 209-20.


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