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POROLISSUM (Moigrad) Sălaj, Romania.

The most important military center in NW Dacia, a Roman town with canabae, in a region of hills and valleys, near Moigrad and Jac.

The name, of Dacian origin, appears in ancient sources (Ptol. 3.8.6; Tab. Peut.; Rav.Cosm. 4.7).

Before the Roman conquest, there was a Dacian settlement on the Citera hill, and on the Măgura hill a Dacian cremation cemetery (1st-2d c.).

Porolissum gave the name to Dacia Porolissensis, created by Hadrian in 124. There was a strong military garrison here in two camps. On Pomet hill is one of the largest camps (226 x 294 m) in Dacia. Built first of earth, it was rebuilt of stone. Inscriptions discovered at the gates testify to the rebuilding of the camp under Caracalla, and to the hasty rebuilding under Gallienus. The interior wall is 1.5 m thick and has two ditches.

At a distance of 700 m NE on Citera hill is another smaller camp (66.65 x 101.10 m) first built of earth and later rebuilt of stone. The gates have squared towers at every corner projecting from the interior wall with trapezoidal towers inside. There is an inner and outer ditch. Stationed at Porolissum were Cohors I Brittonum milliaria Ulpia Torquata pia fidelis civium Romanorum, Cohors V Lingorum, Numerus Palmyrenorum Porolissensium Sagittariorum civium Romanorum (which later became Ala Palmirenorum Porolissensium) and Cohors I Palmirenorum Porolisensium.

The civil settlement, inhabited chiefly by veterans, developed on the S and W terraces of the camp. Porolissum, an important center for trade with the barbarians, was probably a customs station. Entering the province from Porolissum were roads that started from Aquincum and ended at the mouth of the Danube, and there ended here the main thoroughfare that started at the Danube and linked the most important centers of Dacia.

Under Septimius Severus the town became a municipium. Coins prove that it continued to be inhabitated after the withdrawal of Aurelian in 271.

The town had no stone precincts but was defended from barbarians by limes consisting of a stone wall alternating with an earth wall and a ditch strengthened by small earth castella and stone towers.

Excavations at the civil settlement have revealed the baths, an insula composed of four buildings closely aligned private dwellings, and a temple to Liber Pater. More recent excavations have concentrated on the amphitheater, the palestrae, and the necropolis with incineration tombs and small mausoleums on the Ursoieş hill.

The amphitheater, 100 m from the SW corner of the camp on Pomet hill, is on a terrace. Originally built of wood, it was later rebuilt of stone in the year 157 by order of the imperial procurator Tib. Claudius Quintilianus (CIL III, 836). The arena, elliptical in form, has an axis 60 m long. It is bordered by a stone wall, built in opus incertum and plastered on the side facing the arena. At the E gate, which has two rooms on either side, traces of the wooden piers of the first stage of construction have been discovered.

Among the finds are four military diplomas, one of which dates from August 11, 106, a time at which Dacia was already a Roman province. Bronze statuettes, an equestrian statue of the emperor Caracalla, inscriptions and sculptural monuments, gems of local cutting, are all to be found at the Museum of History and Art in Zalău and in the History Museum of Transylvania in Cluj.


C. Daicoviciu, “Neue Mitteilungen aus Dazien,” Dacia 7-8 (1937-40) 323-36; M. Macrea et al., “Santierul arheologic Porolissum,” Materiale şi cercetări arheologice 7 (1960) 361-86; (1962) 485-501.


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