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Lower Danube: northern fortification wall at Abritus

Abritus is located about 50 km south of the Danube in the northeastern Bulgarian town of Razgrad, on the Hissarlik plateau. The Roman military base evolved from a 1st century AD castellum (fort) to a massive walled fortress by the early 4th century AD. The fort and related settlement continued to thrive into the early Byzantine period.

One of the most impressive remaining structures is the late 3rd-early 4th century northern fortification wall built to protect Abritus against invaders (fig.1). In AD 251 a battle with the Goths at Abritus had brought near-catastrophic defeat for the Romans. The Emperor Decius was fatally wounded and, according to Cassiodorus, the Emperor's son Herennius also died in the battle. The rebuilt fortress walls and towers, designed in the reign of Constantine I to avert further catastrophes, have been excavated and studied in depth by T. Ivanov and other Bulgarian archaeologists.

 [Fig.1: The northern fortification wall at Abritus (photo: T. Ivanov and S. Stoyanov 1985).]

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