Mustafa H. Sayar

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Prof. Dr.

University of Istanbul, Faculty of Letters Department of History

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Two New Provinces Two New Capitals Perinthos/Herakleia and Hadrianoupolis in Late Antiquity

During the administrative reform of emperor Diocletian, in 297 the provincia Thracia was divided into four smaller provinces; Thrake, Rhodope, Haeminontos and Europa.

The capital of the new province Europa was Perinthos, which since 286 renamed in Herakleia. Before the city of Perinthos/Herakleia became the capital of the Roman province in 46 AD., it was a settlement concentrated only on the peninsula. In the Roman period, the infrastructural constructions such as waterways and port buildings developed due to the connection of the city to the land transportation network which enables the trade with remote regions, spread to the old isthmus region which was previously sea and now turned into a land, extending to the north from the Diocletian’s to the Justinian’s period and these can be determined by researches in the area. Particularly in the area close to the western harbor, a monumental structure whose remains can be traced partially on the ground can be thought to be identical to the palace built in Herakleia as the pendant of Diocletian’s palace at Nicomedia. According to Procopius, Justinian had the old imperial palace in Herakleia and he has the city’s waterways repaired.

Ammianus Marcellinus mentions Hadrianoupolis with its Thracian name. Perhaps it can be interpreate as evidence for the existence of Thracian origin of the city in fourth century A. D. Probably during the crisis in the third century using the Greek language has decreased. This seems to be the beginning of the change in population in Thrace between 4th and 6th centuries. The capital of the new province Haemimontos was Hadrianoupolis.

The aim of this paper to compare the political and socio economic situations of two capitals the provinces, Europa and Haemimontos on the highways between Balkans and Bosphorus region, after the administrative reforms of Diocletian.


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