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A settlement 16 km S of Székesfehérvár on both sides of the Sáirviz river. About A.D. 50 a military camp was constructed at the crossroads. It was garrisoned by the ala I Scubulorum for several years. After the departure of the mounted unit a civilian settlement was formed in the area of the castrum and probably raised to municipal rank under Hadrian. At the end of the 1st c. another military camp was constructed S of the city. This was garrisoned by the cohors Alpinorum equitata. After the partition of Pannonia in 106 Gorsium became the religious center of Pannonia inferior. The construction of its capital and forum was begun under Trajan; the former contained the ara Augusti Pannoniae inferioris. The city was devastated by the Sarmatians in 178 and by the Roxolans in 260. After the first catastrophe rebuilding was completed under Septimius Severus, who dedicated the reconstructed shrine of the capital in person. Following the entire destruction in 260, the city was rebuilt in the period of Diocletian and its name changed to Herculia. The history of the settlement may be followed to the middle of the 5th c., but the center of the city at the important crossing, persisted to the middle of the 16th c.

Excavations have uncovered the entire extent of the settlement. The forum, established at the crossing of the decumanus and the cardo, was closed by a colonnade on the N. Three long stairs interspersed with nymphaea once led to the buildings of the capital. Among these the apse of a large hall to the W contained the ara Augusti, with a sacrificial altar in front of it. The central stair represented the entrance to the shrine of the capital, to which access was given by a colonnaded area. The E side of the capital was occupied by an edifice that was perhaps the site of the consilium provinciae. The capital, devastated in 260, was occupied by a new city center in the 4th c.; its forum was moved somewhat to the N and an Early Christian basilica was raised at the crossing of the cardo and the decumanus at the beginning of the same century. Later another Early Christian basilica was constructed along the decumanus, to the NE corner of which a baptismal chapel was added at the beginning of the 5th c., fashioned from the reshaping of an ancient public fountain. In the first third of the 4th c. a palatium was raised along the decumanus in the neighborhood of the second basilica. During the 4th c. a row of tabernae stood on the S side of the decumanus, opposite the palatium. They were all built on the ruins of buildings destroyed in 260. Among the earlier edifices was a large horreum in the E part of the palatium and a building possibly of eastern derivation below the level of the second basilica, richly ornamented with wall painting and stuccos. The city center was surrounded by extensive city quarters among which excavations have been carried on only to the S.

Under Domitian a second military camp was established at a distance of 300 m from the crossing of the cardo and the decumanus, and beside it a minor vicus with simple huts dug into the ground and houses made of adobe bricks. This settlement survived the dissolution of the military camp; the potters' quarter of the city was here. At the beginning of the 4th c., during the largest extension of the city, stone buildings were raised here, among them a major, villa-like edifice. It was constructed at the end of the rule of Constantine the Great and was abandoned by the owner under Valentinian, as were the other dwellings of the neighborhood. On the site of this abandoned city quarter a cemetery appeared at the end of Valentinian's rule and was used by the impoverished inhabitants of Gorsium as late as the 5th c.

Till the Marcomannic wars the inhabitants of the city were Celtic Eraviscans with a number of Italian merchants and veterans. After the war Italians decreased; in the mass of the new settlers—partly Thracian, partly oriental—the local population was pushed into the background and finally disappeared.


E. B. Thomas, “Die römerzeitliche Villa von Tác-Fövenypuszta,” Acta Arch. Hung. 6 (1955) 79-152; J. Fitz, “Gorsium,” Székesfehérvár (1960); id., “Gorsium,” RE Suppl. 9 (1962) 73-75; id., “Gorsium,” Székesfehérvár (1964); id., “Gorsium, Excavations in a Roman Settlement of Lower Pannonia,” Acta Arch. Carpathica 10 (1968) 287-90; id., “Gorsium,” Székesfehérvár (1970); Zs. Báinki, “Villa II von Tác,” Alba Regia 4-5 (1963-64) 91-127.


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