Ștefan Honcu

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Romanian Academy, Iași branch Institute of Archaeology

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Strategy and innovation in Late Antiquity. The case of small fortifications and rural settlements in Scythia Minor.


Starting with the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine I, around the Middle and Lower Danube, a new defense strategy of the Empire in Late Antiquity was shaping up. In this specific context, the construction of forts on the hinterland occurs on the territory of Scythia Minor province (“inner fortifications”), the building of small fortifications in the interior, alongside roads, and the fortifications on the limes are reinforced. Our paper aim to discuss the newly minor fortifications that had the role to protect the great inner fortifications and to be able to aid the first line of danubian limes. In the same time, around the small and great fortifications new rural settlements raised up. The role of these settlements was to provide with different types of products and people the newly built fortifications. The inner fortifications development generated an interesting system of rural settlements that can be interpreted alike an extension of the city in rural areas. It is interesting to notice that the rural settlements had a specific role in this “planetary satellite system” made up of a mother city and the satellites- in exploiting the agricultural land, to produce weapons and building materials etc. In conclusion, we can point out that the administrative and military reform of the Roman Empire was not only focused on modifying the ruling system and its military strategy, but especially on how the new administrative idea can be supported and put into practice in a long term context of innovative decisions implemented by the emperor.


This page is part of the project LABedia: Еncyclopedia of Late Antique Balkans, 4th-5th c.,
financed by the National Science Fund, contract КП-06-Н30/6, 13.12.2018