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CARSIUM (Harsova) Romania.

An ancient center of Getaean origin on the right bank of the Danube. It commands a shallow spot in the river which served as an important ford for merchandise for the Wallachian plain from Histria and the other colonies. Opposite Carsium, on the left side of the Danube, one of the river's major tributaries, the Jalomitza, crosses the plain and becomes an important commercial artery for the Getaean settlements located in this area.

Carsium became part of the limes before the time of Trajan and was closely linked to the other military garrisons, especially Capidava and Troesmis, by means of the great Roman road that flanked the right bank of the river. The importance of this artery may be judged by the numerous times it was repaired between the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Diocletian.

Already from the Republican period, together with the other centers along the right bank of the Danube, Carsium became part of the governmental formation of the Odrysae, and more precisely of the Roman territorial organization named the Ripa Thraciae. A real castrum was built at Carsium in 103 during the Dacian wars, and it became part of the broader defensive system of the limes. From the age of Trajan until the fall of the Roman Empire, Carsium was continually reinforced, especially by troops of cavalry for rapid attack against the Daco-Getae who infiltrated Scythia Minor from the Wallachian plain or from Moldavia. These raids into the barbaricum were planned to end this pressure on Scythia Minor. That is to say, on the left bank of the Danube across from Carsium was a propugnaculum where a numerus Surorum sagittarium (CIL 3,7493) was quartered. Following this reinforcement of the garrison, small agricultural settlements such as vicus Verobrittiani, or later vicus Carporum, sprang up in the vicinity.

Nothing is known either of the form of the castrum or of the arrangement of its monuments. Architectural elements of several monuments from the Imperial age have been recognized however; and a bronze mask was found that is a copy of a Hellenistic original. The last precise notice of Carsium appeared at the time of Diocletian when the Milites Scythici were quartered there. BIBLIOGRAPHY. R. Vulpe, Histoire ancienne de la Dobroudja (1938) passim; id. & I. Barnea, Din istoria Dobrogei, II (1968) passim.


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