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MURSA (Osijek) Yugoslavia.

On the right bank of the river Drava, where traces of neolithic and metal age cultures have been evidenced. It is generally assumed that Hadrian was the founder of the colonia Aelia Mursa (Steph. Byz. 458 M; CIL III, 3279) and that it was founded in 133 (CIL III, 3280). According to inscriptions in which the duoviri, decuriones, a quaestor, an augur, and even a procurator Augg. (CIL III, 3281) are mentioned, urban life flourished in the 2d and 3d c. At least temporarily Legio II Ad and in Late Imperial times Legio VI Herc were garrisoned here, and it was the seat of the praefectus classis Histricae (Not. Dig. occ. 32, 52).

Mursa was the scene of violent battles in 260 when Gallienus defeated Ingenuus, and in 351 when Constantius overcame Magnentius. In the course of the 4th c. the city was the seat of bishop Valens, known as the most zealous follower of Anus. It suffered destruction by Goths, Huns, Avars, and Slavs.

It is known that Mursa had important public buildings: 50 tabernae with double colonnades (CIL III, 3288), other buildings thought to have been erected by Hadrian (CIL III, 3280), a synagogue, a stadium outside the city gates (Zosimos II 50.2) and a chapel dedicated to martyrs outside the city walls. Being at a crossroads, it was connected with Aquincum, Sopianae-Savaria, Poetovio, Siscia, Cibalae-Sirmium, and the Limes. In the river bed are still lying columns that supported a stone bridge, important for trade and traffic with the Danubian Limes. The area of the town measured 760 by 680 m.

Of importance are inscriptions on altars and tombstones, sarcophagi, sculptures of gods and goddesses (Hercules, Mercury, Kybele). Jupiter, Hercules, and Silvanus were specially worshiped and a hieroglyphic inscription mentions Osiris and Isis.

The collections of small finds are rich in terra sigillata, oil lamps, bronze and terracotta statues, fibulae, glass, and masses of coins. The finds are exhibited in the Muzej Slavonije at Osijek and in the Arheološki muzej at Zagreb.


P. Katancius, Dissertatio de columna milliaria ad Essekum reperta (1782)I; D. Pinterović & M. Bulat, “Izvještaj o arheološkom ispitivanju na terenu Murse u 1968,” Osječki zbornik 13 (1971)MPI.

See numerous articles on Mursa with English summaries by M. Bulat in ibid. 6 (1958) 73-88I; 7 (1960) 5-11I; 9-10 (1965) 7-24I; and by D. Pinterović in ibid. 5 (1956) 55-94MP; 6 (1958) 23-63I; 7 (1960) 17-42I; 8 (1962) 71-122; 9-10 (1965) 61-74I and 77-95I; 11 (1967) 23-65 and 67-81I.


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