Fortifications

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Hisar Kapiya Gate, PlovdivHisar Kapiya Gate, Plovdiv

When: Parts inherited from the Hellenistic period, creation of a comprehensive system in AD 172, remodelled in the 5th-6th centuries

Where: Parts of acropolis fortifications on Nebet Tepe, Atanas Krastev Square (Lapidarium), Round Southern Tower and Hisar Kapiya on Trihalmie


Cniva, the Goth chieftain who acquired the position after the recent death of his predecessor Ostrogoth, knew he had to do something. He had the power, true, but the fierce men under his command wanted more from a leader. The Roman Empire was within a hand's reach, laying rich and weak just to the south of the Danube. His warriors craved for the adrenaline boost of the battle. They dreamed to storm over Roman cities, to conquer and pillage them, to kill their men, rape their women, take their riches and return home covered in blood, gold and glory. It was 251, and their appetite for war was great, as in the previous two years they had already tasted success in raids under other men's leadership.

The empire was ripe for sacking. So Cniva and his men crossed the Danube and poured into the realms of Emperor Trajan Decius (248-251).

Decius, however, surprised Cniva's army while it besieged Nicopolis ad Istrum, about 100 km south of the Danube, and defeated it. The Goths fled. But instead of retreating north of the river, Cniva led them southward. The invaders crossed the Stara Planina mountain, and ended in the rich valley of the Maritsa. There, by the city of Beroe (today Stara Zagora), they met Decius again. The Goths won and forced Decius to run, the first time when a Roman emperor fled the Barbarians.

 

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