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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.


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.


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