Eastern Gate

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The Eastern Gate of Roman Plovdiv, an artist reconstructionThe Eastern Gate of Roman Plovdiv, an artist reconstruction

When: 2nd century gate, street, buildings and fortress wall completely rebuilt in the 4th century. Partial repairs in the 5th century

Where: Aleksandar Malinov Square


In the year 123, or probably in 131, Emperor Hadrian (117-138) left Philippopolis and continued his travels in the Balkan provinces of the empire. He and his trusty companions - the Praetorian Guards and the emperor's personal cavalry - hit the westbound Via Diagonalis. Several hours later, the marching of feet and the clatter of hooves on the pavement died away, and Philippopolis, which had lived in the swing of festivities in Hadrian's honor, slowly returned to its daily routine.

The visit of Hadrian was probably short - it didn't get any mention from the historians of the day. But it happened, and the city has preserved several pieces of evidence about it.

One of them was left in the eastern necropolis - the tombstone of a soldier, whose purpose in life was to go where the emperor goes. Marcus Ulpius Statius was an eques singularis, a member of the emperor's personal cavalry. How did he die is unclear, the laconic inscription that his brother commissioned to a local mason never explained it. But if the rider was in Philippopolis, the emperor also should had been there.

 

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