previous next

POETOVIO (Ptuj) Yugoslavia.

The city developed at a point where the Drau was crossed by a prehistoric trade route. It stands where a projection of the Slovenske Gorice hills approach the Drau on its left bank, and on the right bank the higher terraces come quite close to the river. The Drau has torn away considerable sections of the ancient city in the course of the centuries, and along with them the ancient legionary camp (VIII Augusta, XIII Gemina) whose presence is known with certainty from the water supply system. The position of the stone bridge built under Hadrian is known from the discovery of parts of it in the bed of the river. Poetovio was one of the Augustan occupation fortresses which kept the character of a military agglomeration throughout the whole of the 1st c. A.D.

The legionary legates of Illyricum, met in Poetovio in 69 and decided to support Vespasian's claim to the principate. The legions were immediately sent to N Italy and at Bedriacum played a decisive part in the struggle. Trajan sent the garrison to Vindobona and gave the agglomeration the status of a colonia.

Near the fortress on the S side of the Drau a canabae settlement formed around the head of the bridge. The road leading W from the fortress to the Norican border was flanked by the military necropolis. To the S of it was the Vicus Fortunae, known from inscriptions and in part from archaeological discoveries. It was probably a settlement for crafts and industries, and had its own forum with appropriate buildings as well as horrea and, from the 4th c., a Christian cult center. In this area along the road to Aquileia, the statio publici portorii Illyrici was established in the 2d c. It is well documented because those in charge of it were fanatical Mithraists. More to the S in this suburb was a sacred center for oriental gods (Nutrices Augustae, two Mithraea, sacrarium of Vulcan-Venus, sanctuary of Iuppiter Ammon with Fons perennis; preserved). In the fertile ager to the S, which was systematically parceled out under Trajan (literary and epigraphic sources mention a missio agraria for soldiers), were found villae rusticae.

The N bank of the Drau is narrow because of two strategically important hills which lie close together: the citadel hill on the E, the Panorama on the W. Between them runs the local road to Flavia Solva. At the foot of Panorama (and under the present-day city district called Viçava) a section of the Roman city was uncovered with military buildings from the 1st c. In the course of time it extended on terraces up the S side to the top and spread over onto the E and N sides. Along with sumptuous public buildings were found sanctuaries for oriental cults as well as a late antique necropolis with Christian monuments at the foot of the N slope in the valley of the stream called the Grajena. Poetovio had its own bishop; and here in the time of Diocletian, Bishop Victorinus was martyred.

A Bronze Age and Hallstatt settlement was discovered on the neighboring citadel hill, as well as sporadic Iron Age finds and a Roman fortification (preserved). There was probably a Roman cult center there. The late antique buildings and an Early Christian church were in good condition. The road to Mursa runs E along the S foot of the citadel hill and near the port district. The road was flanked by a long necropolis which extended into the Early Christian graveyard. It is possible that the remains of the funerary basilica will one day be discovered. In this part of the city the artisans were grouped (potters, etc.).

M. Valerius Maximinus, who fought decisively in the wars of Marcus Aurelius and was named senator for his bravery, came from Poetovio. From that time on the city was never without a garrison, particularly during the 3d c. when Pannonia was an area of usurpers, barbarian raids, and ceaseless fighting. In the struggle between Magnentius and Constantius II for Italy and Illyricum (352) and between Theodosius and Maximus (388) decisive battles were fought before the walls of Poetovio. The period of consolidation which followed was interrupted in the 5th c. by Atilla. This was the time of the last Roman emperor, Romulus called Augustulus, son of a woman from Poetovio who was the daughter of Count Romulus.


M. Abramić, Poetovio (1925)MPI; B. Saria, Archaeologische Karte von Jugoslavien, Blatt Ptuj (1936)MP; id., RE 21 (1951); W. Schmid, “Izkopavanja v Ptuju,” Časopis za zgodovino in narodopisje 31 (1936)PI; V. Hoffiller & B. Saria, Antike Inschriften aus Jugoslavien (1938)I; J. Klemenc, Ptujski grad v kasni antiki (1951); id., 21; Z. Šubic, “Le complexe de fours à briques romains,” Arheološki vestnik, 19 (1968)PI; E. Will, “Les fidèles de Mithra à Poetovio,” Adriatica praehistorica et antiqua (1970); J. & I. Curk, Ptuj (1970)PI.


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