Moesia

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Moesia was a province of the Roman Empire from the time it was annexed by the emperor Augustus in 27 BC until the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD. Moesia was a border province for much of its time in the empire, and as such was under constant attack from barbarian tribes. After Adrianople, the empire was unable to keep the barbarians at bay and they overran the province. Although Moesia was briefly regained in the middle of the 6th century due to the efforts of Justinian, the territory was lost for good in 602 AD.

Geography

Moesia originally consisted of a vast swath of land just south of the Danube River. However, in the time of Tiberius the province was split into Moesia Superior, which consisted of parts of present day Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Moesia Inferior, which consisted of modern day Bulgaria and a small part of Romania. These two regions were situated awkwardly between the civilized world of the Greeks and the various tribes that inhabited the area north of the Danube.

Strategic Importance

Rome was interested in Moesia for two reasons. The first was that the tribes north of the Danube, especially the Dacians, had proven dangerous and aggressive and the Danube was seen as an important and defensible border. Controlling the Danube was important not only for defense of the empire, but also for movement of supplies and communication. Secondly, Moesia was rich in silver and iron which were both in great demand at that time. In addition, although not an originally intended benefit, during its time as a province Moesia became a net exporter of grain.

References

  • Bolovan, Ioan et al. A History of Romania. Iasi, Romania : Center for Romanian Studies, Romanian Cultural Foundation, 1997. pp. 7-45
  • Castellan, Georges. A History of the Romanians. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989
  • Elton, Hugh. Frontiers of the Roman Empire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • MacKenzie, Andrew. A Concise History of Romania. London: United Printers and Publishers Ltd., 1985.
  • Mocsy, Andras. Trans. Sheppard Frere. Pannonia and Upper Moesia: A History of the Middle Danube Provinces of the Roman Empire. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974
  • Ovid, trans. Peter Green. The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.
  • Sherk, Robert(trans). The Roman Empire: Augustus to Hadrian. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988. #64, #120 pp. 104-5, 161-3.
  • Syme, Ronald. Lentulus and the Origin of Moesia. The Journal of Roman Studies, 1934.
  • Wells, Peter S. The barbarians speak : how the conquered peoples shaped Roman Europe. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Whitaker, C.R. Frontiers of the Roman Empire: a social and economic study. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
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