Fortifications

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Southern round tower of the Trihalmie fortifications, the 3rd CenturySouthern round tower of the Trihalmie fortifications, the 3rd Century

Decius crossed the mountain again. Cniva knew that the emperor was planning to clash with the Goths on their return, but chose to stay in Thrace. The richest and the fattest of all cities in the province was near, and part of his army, which had crossed the Danube separately and had altogether missed the Nicopolis failure and the Beroe victory, was besieging it and was waiting for Cniva's orders.

The city, of course, was Philippopolis.

Cniva ordered an attack on the mighty city walls.

While the Goths encircled Philippopolis, people inside the city were anxious of what the future would bring. The walls were good as they were built in the great old days of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180), and within them there was also an army. It had arrived with Titus Julius Priscus, the governor of Macedonia and an imperial legate of Thrace. Priscus had hoped that he would help Decius near Beroe, but at Philippopolis he learned that he was too late.

Priscus did his best to defend the city but the Goths prevailed. They broke the defense, entered Philippopolis and laid it to sword and fire. The damage was so great that it left a thick layer of ashes and destruction in the city's stratigraphy.

Priscus survived the carnage. He accepted Cniva's sovereignty and promised help against Decius, asking for the throne of the empire as a reward. Cniva agreed and hurried north for his decisive clash with Decius. The battle near Abritus (today Razgrad) was fatal. Decius was killed, as was his son and heir. Priscus declared himself an emperor. The Senate in Rome, however, had another opinion and declared him a state enemy. Soon, Priscus was dead. Cniva disappeared from the chronicles, his fate remaining a mystery.

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