(Adamclisi) Dobrudja, Romania.
A Geto-Dacian settlement S of Dobrudja midway on the route between Constanţa and
Silistra (Bulgaria) at an important crossroads. The site
was changed by Trajan into a statio; and a vicus sprang
Mentioned in only three sources of the late antiquity,
the site was identified by excavations at the turn of the
century. The life of the site in the 2d and 3d c. is known
particularly through inscriptions reused as building material for the 4th-6th c. fortress. In the beginning the site
was populated by Dacians and veterans of Roman military units from the lower Danube. In 115-116 the inhabitants, under the name of Traianenses Tropaeenses, dedicated a statue to the emperor Trajan. A millianium (A.D.
118), discovered S of the site, indicates that early in his
reign the emperor Hadrian ordered the repair of the
imperial road passing through the settlement. Under
Antoninus Pius a powerful detachment of Legio XI
Claudia settled here. The site became a municipium
shortly before 170 (the year of the invasion of the Costoboks) during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.
In the course of the 3d c. the fortress was repaired
under Septimius Severus, Severus Alexander, and Gordian, but later, the site gradually lost its importance and was destroyed by the Goths at the end of the 3d c. Rebuilt from the foundations by Constantine the Great
and Licinius (313-16) after the general victory over the
barbarians, the Tropaeensium civitas existed until the
late 6th c. when it was destroyed by the Avaro-Slavians.
The visible ruins belong to the 4th-6th c. The circuit
wall enclosed an irregularly shaped plateau of ca. 10 ha
and was provided with horseshoe-shaped defensive towers (a single one was rectangular). Three gates have been
unearthed: two on the E and W sides and a smaller one
on the S side. The main street (ca. 300 m long), lined
on both sides with porticos, linked the E and W gates.
Under its pavement lay one of the aqueducts and a drain.
A large basilica forensis (4th c.) stood near the center of the fortress, S of the main street. On both sides
of the same street, excavations have brought to light the
ruins of four Christian basilicas (4th-6th c.), three of
them with crypts, and one with an elegant baptistery. A
cemetery basilica stood on the hill N of the fortress.
On a high plateau (ca. 2 km E of the site) was the
triumphal monument erected by Trajan (109) to commemorate his victory over the Dacians and their allies.
The only remnant of it preserved in situ is the nucleus
(in opus coementicium) with seven steps and the first
(incomplete) row of regularly cut stone blocks. The relief-carved stones, once dressing the monument, as well
as the tropaion are exhibited nearby. The monument,
ca. 40 m high, consisted of a cylindrical structure with
diameter equal to the height with a conical roof of scale-like stone plates. Two superposed hexagonal bases supported the tropaion (over 10 m high). A row of 54 metopes (48 are preserved) were placed between two
richly adorned friezes. The metopes were separated by
pillars, also carved in relief. The sculptures of the metopes illustrated episodes in the battles against the Dacians
and their allies. The cylindrical structure was crowned
by 26 crenellations (22 are preserved in place) each
showing a prisoner in relief carved, bound to the trunk
of a tree. The same inscription was engraved on two
opposite facades of the upper hexagonal base, and states
that the monument was dedicated to Mars Ultor, in honor
of Trajan's victory over the Dacians and their allies.
The remains of a square altar (12 x 12 m; 6 m high)
are ca. 200 m E of the triumphal monument. Some 3800
names of soldiers who died in battle are inscribed on
its walls. About 50 m N of the same monument, an
earthen mound covered a circular mausoleum (40 m in
diameter), probably the tomb of the commander killed
in battle and listed first on the altar. Both the altar and
the mausoleum seem to be contemporary with the triumphal monument.
G. Tocilescu et al., Das Monument von
Adamklissi: Tropaeum Traiani
(1895); V. Pârvan, “Cetatea Tropaeum. Consideraţii istorice,” BCMI
1-12, 163-91; V. Barbu, Adamclisi
(1965); F. Florescu,
Das Siegesdenkmal von Adamklissi: Tropaeum Traiani
(1965); G. Bordenache & R. Vulpe, “Tropaeum Traiani,”
7 (1966) 1022-25; R. Vulpe & I. Barnea, Din istona Dobrogei
, II (1968) passim; TIR
, L.35 (1969) s.v.; A. Ştefan, BMI
41.3 (1972) 43-53.