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SUCIDAVA (Corabia) Romania.

Most of the ancient remains of this settlement are covered by a section in the modern city called Celei. The settlement flourished on a high terrace on the left bank of the Danube, at the end of an ancient road connecting the river to the Carpathian mountains. The plain extending to the N, one of the most fertile, is suitable for the growing of grain. The proximity of the river assured the local inhabitants a supply of fish, as well as reeds and wood for building. Across the river, Sucidava was connected to the S Balkans by the Isker valley. The ancient locality of Sucidava is mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum and in Procopius (De aed.).

During the free Dacian period, Sucidava was the political and economic center of the Suci, a Dacian tribe that had trade relations with Hellenistic cities and the Roman Empire, as proven by coins and stamped amphorae. It came under Roman domination during Trajan's Dacian wars. It is during this time that the Dacian citadel was destroyed and replaced by a Roman necropolis. The Romans built an earthen camp and founded a civil center covered today by modern houses. Its first garrison was Cohors I Lingonum. The Roman city (2d-4th c.) covered an area of ca. 25 ha and had a port on the Danube. Toward the middle of the 3d c., it was protected by a trapezoidal fortification including a trench, a stone wall, and an agger. Excavations have uncovered the N and S gates of this fortification, which were guarded by square or semicircular towers. Towers are also found on the corners. The Roman road, 5.5 m wide, crossed the city (N-S). It was paved with stones that still show the ruts left by many vehicles. Judging from these ruts, the distance between the two wheels was 1.5 m. A puteus was discovered in the city. It was reconstructed and is still in use as a source of drinking water, although it dates from the 2d c. A.D.

Sucidava remained a simple pagus from the administrative point of view. However, it was the capital of a territorium Sucidavense, administered by two quinquennales assisted by the curiales delegated from the villages. As a meeting place, they chose the Temple of Nemesis. In addition to growing grain, the inhabitants were also vine-growers, to judge from the will of a local landowner carved on a stone slab. Many veterans of the Roman garrisons of Moesia inferior settled in Sucidava. An inscription of the period of Commodus gives proof of the presence of a customs post between Dacia and Moesia, controlled by two servi villici. In addition to the brick and pottery works, among the workshops of the city were plumbarii, for the excavations have revealed over 100 lead frames for mirrors. Terra sigillata and wines were imported. The economic prosperity of the locality is also shown by the many discoveries of Republican, Imperial, and Byzantine coins, of which there were seven deposits. Under Gallienus and Aurelian, a citadel was constructed on the terrace, over the Roman necropolis. This defensive construction was continually reinforced and restored under the Tetrarchy or under Constantine the Great. It was twice destroyed by the invasions of the Huns. Its last restoration was ordered by Justinian. It was finally destroyed by the Avars and the Slavs.

Inside the citadel was found the oldest Christian basilica known N of the Danube. A secret fountain provided with an underground corridor brought in drinking water from outside the wall (6th c.). Constantine the Great had a great stone and wood bridge across the Danube built here. This bridge, 2400 m long, was a copy of the bridge of Apollodorus at Drobeta. In 328, the same emperor repaired the Roman road that went from Sucidava to Romula (milliarium). A strong Roman garrison was stationed at Sucidava after the abandonment of Dacia. In the 4th c., it was commanded by a praefectus legionis V Macedonicae.

The material from excavations is in the museums of Corabia, Bucarest, and Orlea.


CIL III, 8042; 14490-93; AnÉpigr (1914) 122; (1939) 19, 95, 96, 321; (1959) 321-23; (1961) 87; (1969) 202.

V. Pârvan, “Ştiri nouă din Dacia Malvensis,” ACRMI 36 (1913) 63; D. Tudor, “Sucidava, I-VII (Rapports de fouilles),” Dacia 5-6 (1935-36) 387-422; 7-8 (1937-40) 359-400; 11-12 (1945-47) 145-208; and MCA 1 (1953) 693-742; 7 (1961) 473-94; 8 (1962) 555-64; 9 (1970) 281-96; id., “Ein Konstantinischer Meilenstein in Dazien,” Serta Hoffilleriana (1940) 241-47; id., Prima basilică creştină descoperită în Dacia Traiană (1948); id., “Sucidava: une cité daco-romaine et byzantine en Dacie” = coll. Latomus 80 (1965); id., Sucidava (1966); id., Oraşe (1968) 323-40; id., Oltenia romană (3d ed., 1968) 202-14, 425-49; id., Podurile romane de la Dunărea de la Dunărea de Jos (1971) 155-92; R. Syme, Danubian Papers (1971) 171.


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