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SCARBANTIA or Scarabantia (Sopron) Hungary.

A statio 59 km S-SE of Vienna on the important route that connected the Adriatic Sea with the Danube. It was on the SW end of Lake Fertö. Pliny (HN 3.146) calls the settlement Oppidum Scarbantia Iulia, which still belonged to Noricum under Tiberius. The town reached the rank of municipium under Vespasian (tribus Quirina . . .), at this time it already belonged with its territorium to Pannonia. With its developed network of streets, its forum with the Capitolium, its waterworks, its amphitheater, it was one of upper Pannonia's busy commercial towns from 106, after the division of the province into two parts. Imperial building projects took place at the forum under Antonius Pius. Between 167 and 180, during the time of the Quadic-Marcomannic wars, the town was sacked several times by the enemy; it was rebuilt afterwards, but did not develop significantly during the 3d c. As a result of the reorganizations during the Tetrarchy, the town's strategic significance came to the fore; it defended the new capital of Pannonia Prima and the road to Italy from the N, i.e. it supplied the troops, stationed on the limes, with food and weapons. Under the Constantinian dynasty an area (250 x 404 m) in the center of town was surrounded by an elliptically shaped fortress wall. The stretch of wall (3 m thick and ca. 8 m high) had 34 horseshoe-shaped bastions, two gates fortified with towers, and several smaller passages. The Passio S. Quirini mentions a well-populated Early Christian congregation on the territory of Civitas Scarabatensis at the beginning of the 4th c. Peasant soldiery lived behind the town walls in the second half of the 4th c. (Not.Dig. occ. 34 dux Pann. 1.30). At the beginning of the 5th c. one of the barbaric groups of the Hun-Alan-Goth triumvirate lived in the town together with the remaining romanized families. Their legacy can be traced through the 6th c.

Since the 1950s excavations of Roman architectural remains have been pursued in the section of town which has been thickly populated since antiquity. Of these are to be seen some sections of stone-covered streets, several rooms of the bath and ruins of its calidarium with hypocaust, the remains of a group of buildings with a portico which closed in the forum's E side. The outline of the amphitheater can be traced on a hillside outside the city. Several sections of the elliptical city wall of the Late Empire, with a few bastions, were excavated and restored. The ruins of the N city gate can be seen in a protective building at the foot of the mediaeval fire-tower; the more important remains of stone were also placed here.

The Franz Liszt Museum contains the more important Roman remains, among them carvings, glass and bronze objects. In the museum's Roman lapidarium are the statues of deities of the Capitolium, altars, a relief of Mithras, tombstones, and carvings from buildings.


F. Kenner, Mitt. d. k. k. Centr. Comm. (1857) 381; Fluss, Scarbantia, RE II (1923) 355; K. Praschniker, Öst. Jahreshefte 30 (1937) 111; A. Radnóti, “Sopron és környéke régészeti emlékei,” Csatkai-Dercsényi Sopron és környéke müemlékei (1956); A. Mócsy, Die Bevölkerung von Pannonien bis zu den Markomannen-Kriegen (1959); L. Barkóczi, Acta Arch. Hung. 16 (1964) 257ff; S. K. Póczy, Sopron a római korban (1966); Soproni Szemle I-XXII, passim.


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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.24
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