Saturday, January 1, 2000

Felix Romuliana: Does the model city of Late Antiquity really belong to the 4th-6th centuries CE?

Original document: "Gunnar Heinsohn: Felix Romuliana Does the model city of Late Antiquity really belong to the 4th-6th cent. AD?" (via, synopsis []: Felix Romuliana is regarded as an ideal embodiment of a purely Late Antique (4th-6th c.) city in the Roman province of Moesia (today's Gamzigrad in Serbia), because in the earlier Imperial Antiquity of the 1st to early 3rd centuries there appears to be simply nothing at all in that splendid urban space erected around 305 CE for Emperor Galerius (293-311 CE). Go to the article (.pdf) []

- Page breaks are not included on this page, please refer to the original document for page numbers.
- Notes by the author are marked in parentheses with initials GH (Gunnar Heinsohn), as presented in the original document.
- Highlights in red and/or bold are as placed by the author Gunnar Heinsohn.
- Images are presented according to approximate sequence in-line with the text.
- Footnotes by the author are seamlessly embedded into the text.
- Images are cited in a modified form to accommodate for source details.


Felix Romuliana: Does the model city of Late Antiquity really belong to the 4th-6th centuries CE?

GDANSK, 15 March 2017

Felix Romuliana is regarded as an ideal embodiment of a purely Late Antique (4th-6th c.) city in the Roman province of Moesia (today's Gamzigrad in Serbia), because in the earlier Imperial Antiquity of the 1st to early 3rd centuries there appears to be simply nothing at all in that splendid urban space erected around 305 CE for Emperor Galerius (293-311 CE).

Painting (1864; by Felix Kanitz [1829-1904]) of the ruins of the palatial compound near Gamzigrad/Serbia. An inscription discovered in 1986 allowed its identification as Felix Romuliana, an imperial city dated to Late Antiquity (4th - 6 th c. CE).

Image via "Exhibition: With Felix Kanitz in Serbia" (2012, [], whose subject produced a detailed report for Germany about Serbia, published posthumously, 1909 [].

LEFT: Location of Felix Romuliana (Gamzigrad/Serbia). "Gamzigrad-Romuliana, palais de Galère" (image via []

RIGHT: Reconstruction of buildings inside the palatial compound (37,200m2; north is to the right). The smaller internal walls and towers, dated a few decades earlier, had been mostly left intact. The “Porticus” arrow points to the residential palace of Emperor Galerius (293-311 CE).
Image via "The late antique Imperial Palace Felix Romuliana at Gamzigrad / Serbia" (German Archaeological Institute, []:

The excavation of Felix Romuliana is regarded as an extraordinary gift to archaeologists because it is free of the complications that hamper so many other sites, such as precisely separating 1st-3rd c. urban substance from new building strata belonging to the 4th-6th c. period. Moreover––with the exception of primitive huts built in some towers once the city was ruined––it "was later never built over" ("nie modern überbaut worden") (DAIST 2013). At Felix Romuliana one can be sure that anything resembling antique substance at all will belong to Late Antiquity and not to the 1st-3rd c. period preceding it.

LEFT: Galerius (293-311 CE) on an Aureus coins from Nikomedia (image via coin dealer website) []:

CENTER: Monumental head of Galerius adorned with “civic crown” (found in Felix Romuliana) (image via []:

RIGHT: Galerius with radiate crown (in use since Hellenism) on Aes coin (image via []:

Partial visualization of the palace compound of Felix Romuliana with two pagan temples before later––5th c. ––changes by Christians. The palace of Galerius is located in the upper right. It may (to the right of the palace) have included an aula for audiences (image via []:

Palace compound of Felix Romuliana (lower sections) with the urban areas (in total some 30 buildings) discovered by magnometer since 2004. A three-nave basilica (100 m long) is located in the upper right corner of the “northern quarter”. A circular monument (35 m in diameter) can be seen in the lower left part. [Image via "Felix Romuliana: Ein archäologisches Denkmal von Weltrang", pg. 16, pub. 2011, by Römisch-Germanische Kommission]


Still, the absence of the 1st-3rd c. period also caused surprise because Felix Romuliana can boast a rich urban history up to the end of the 1st c. BCE, i.e., right up to the 1st-3rd c. CE hiatus: it has “a long settlement continuity from the Neolithic period over the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, the Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages” (“eine lange Besiedlungskontinuität von der neolithischen Zeit über die Bronze- und die Eisenzeit, die Spätantike bis ins Mittelalter hinein“) (DAIST 2013, see already Petkovic 2011a, 40).
Just between the 1st and 3rd c. CE the city’s evolution is totally and mysteriously stalled.

Only during the Late Antique period (3rd to 6th c.), which appears to emerge out of thin air, does evolution pick up again with “different construction and expansion phases” (“mit unterschiedlichen Bau- und Ausbauphasen“) (DAIST 2013). Since the German-Serbian excavations (2004 to 2012), one even knows “the localization of a necropolis belonging to the palace and its succession of settlements [up to the 6th c.], whose evidently dense occupation indicates a large population” (“die Lokalisierung einer zum Palast und seinen Nachfolgesiedlungen gehörenden Nekropole, deren offenbar dichte Belegung auf eine zahlenmäßig große Bevölkerung schließen lässt“) (DAIST 2013).

After its downfall, the urban, extremely stable city of Felix Romuliana would never be rebuilt. The end must have been violent, because additional urban areas, which significantly exceed the palace district in size, will be discovered under ground only after 2004. There may not have been many survivors; because only for a short time were the "interior spaces of the fortress towers [...] used as protected shelters" (“Innenräume der Festungstürme […] als geschützten Wohnraum“) (Felix 2011, 15).

The shelters turned these partially ruined towers into small city walls. These emergency shelters were not cleared until the 11th century: “After the abandonment of the provincial areas by the Romans /Byzantines in the early 7th century, an early medieval settlement was established here, which existed until the 11th century. Since then, the circa 230 x 190 m walled site remained uninhabited” (“Nach der Aufgabe der Provinzgebiete durch die Römer/ Byzantiner im frühen 7. Jh. n. Chr. etablierte sich hier eine frühmittelalterliche Siedlung, die bis ins 11. Jh. existierte. Seitdem blieb das ca. 230 x 190 m große ummauerte Areal unbewohnt“) (DAIST 2013).
For the more than 400 years between the late 6th and early 11th centuries, there was, however, no building evolution in the emergency accommodations. There are no archeological remains for some 400 years of use. There is substantial evidence for only a few decades, or even less. Those 400 years were written into the excavation report to meet a textbook chronology that is not understood but deeply venerated. If––keeping in mind the meagre evidence for the makeshift shelters––we count backwards from the final abandonment of Felix Romuliana in the eleventh century to the catastrophe in which it perished, we would arrive at a date in the 10th century. That is the time of the “Tenth Century Collapse” (Heinsohn 2017).
From there, however, there is gap back to the late 6th century that is as blank as the city’s 1st-3rd c. period. Thus, between 1 and 1,000 CE there are only some 300 years with building strata in Felix Romuliana.

Yet, we must remember that not only missing building strata from the 6th to the 10th century (when dating the shelters in the 10th / 11th century) create difficulties in Felix Romuliana. It is also incomprehensible why Imperial Antiquity did not leave any buildings between Augustus (31 BCE - 14 CE) and Severus Alexander (222-235 CE). Since Marcus Licinius Crassus (consul in 30 BCE) had already conquered Moesia in 29 BCE, it remains an enigma why suddenly the fertile area of Felix Romuliana, which had been in full use since the Neolithic period, was suddenly abandoned.

Galerius’s Late Antique palace complex in Felix Romuliana was built by Legio V Macedonica (the bull and eagle were its symbol), a Roman legion that had been set up in 43 BCE by Octavian and Consul Gaius Vibius Panza Caetronianus (who fell in 43 BCE against Mark Antony). We know nothing about the early decades of that legion ( 2015). Maybe it fights in 20 BCE under Tiberius (the later Emperor of 14-37 CE) against the Parthians. It is indisputable that in 6 CE the legion was in the province of Moesia, with sufficient time to build something. It is also known that right there, in 33/34 CE (now under Emperor Tiberius), the legion did road-construction along the Danube (Clauss EDCS, 1649). Tiberius, on the other hand, is famous for the splendid Ziegeldurchschuss walls (alternating layers of bricks and natural stones) at his Villa Iovis in Capri (completed in 27 CE). The Legio V Macedonica also participates in the construction of the gigantic Danube Bridge (1135 m; 103-105 CE) under Emperor Trajan (98-117). All this happens in close vicinity of Felix Romuliana, where the legion supposedly did not work before the 3rd/4th c. CE.

Also, for around a quarter of a millennium (1st-3rd c. CE), there are no Aeolian layers in Felix Romuliana with vegetation or small animal remains, etc., which are to be expected if a city lies fallow for such a long time. In addition, the construction of the 4th - 6th century is irritating because of its Imperial Antique (1st-3rd c.), and sometimes even late Hellenistic, appearance. Once again, the curse or the miracle of the archaeology of Late Antiquity (4th-6th c.) comes to the fore, depending on the point of view: “The Mediterranean region in the 3rd to 6th century looks very Roman. [...] Late Antiquity, whether in East or West, is essentially a part of the ancient world” (Lavan 2003, XI).

LEFT: Reconstruction of the palace of Galerius in Felix Romuliana (begun 298 or 305 CE) in the style of the early 1st c.
CE. The remains of architectural decor focus on the labyrinth and Dionysus [].

RIGHT: 3D-autocad model of the palace compound of Felix Romuliana. On a hill, called Magura, some 1,000 m away,
were found the foundations of two mausoleums (probably for Galerius and his mother

Felix Romuliana still amazes in the early 4th century CE by its absence of Christian traces, despite its cultural proximity to the Greek part of the empire where Christianity had been in full development since the 1st c. CE. During the governorship (111-113 CE) of Pliny the Younger (61/61-113 CE) in Pontus-Bithynia, Christianity was, e.g., no longer stoppable. It had “spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms” of Asia Minor (Pliny: Letters 10:96). Yet, as if they had lived in the early 1st rather than in the early 4th c. CE, Galerius and his entourage had not yet evolved from paganism.
“The palace decoration revolves round themes of labyrinth and Dionysus, realized in mosaics and sculptures. The small temple has a crypt which is atypical for Roman temples of the type of tetra style prostilos, associating of the double cult a––in the cella of the temple a Roman god was paid homage to while in the crypt a ritual devoted to local divinities was held. This is supported by historical sources testifying that Romula, who was a local of Dacia Ripensis, followed the cult of a wood divinity” (Institute 2005).

Ziegeldurchschuss walls around Felix Romuliana (3rd/4th c. CE) in the style of the 1st c. CE as found in Villa Iovis/Capri (27 CE) built for Emperor Tiberius. He had been commander of Legio V Macedonica that erected Felix Romuliana some 300 years later [Foto J. Sidorczak-Heinsohn]

Reconstruction of the Western Gate of Felix Romuliana in Ziegeldurchschuss (bricks altered with natural stones) technology with semi-circular arches typical some 300 years earlier at the end of Late Hellenism (late 1st c. BCE). The octagonal towers have a diameter of 23 m, and are 22 m high. [Canak-Medic/Stojkovic-Pavelka 2011, 72]

Also, the circular structure (16 columns, 35m in diameter) in the district found north of the palace compound would make more sense in Felix Romuliana’s missing Imperial Antiquity (1st-3rd c.) than in its lush urban context of Late Antiquity (4th-6th c.): “Archaeological examination of some structures in the northern district indicates several phases of occupation of which the earliest can be dated before the palatial complex. A temporal and functional classification of the conspicuous round structure has so far not been successful. It could have been a victory monument comparable to the Emperor Trajan’s Tropaeum Traiani near Adamclisi (Romania)” (“Durch die archäologische Sondierung einiger Strukturen auf dieser Fläche deutet sich an, dass hier außerdem mit mehreren Benutzungsphasen zu rechnen ist, wobei die ersten Phasen vorpalastzeitlich zu datieren sind. Eine zeitliche und funktionale Einordnung der auffallenden Rundstruktur ist bisher nicht gelungen; es könnte sich um ein dem trajanischen Tropaeum Traiani bei Adamklisi (Rumänien) vergleichbares Siegesmonument gehandelt haben“) (DAIST 2013).

Tropaeum Traiani (108/109 CE) with a massive central pillar and ca 40 m in diameter at Adamclisi (Romania; reconstruction) [ 4644-uniunea-europeana-finanteaza-reabilitarea-monumentului-triumfal-tropaeum-traiani.html]

Tropaeum with a massive central pillar (4th/5th c. CE) and, at least, 35 m in diameter at Felix Romuliana (reconstruction of basic structure) [Felix 2011, 19].

The Legio V Macedonica, responsible for building Felix Romuliana in Moesia after 300 CE, is also stationed in Moesia around 100 CE. It is there and then where Emperor Trajan provides his legions for his two Dacian Wars (101–102, 105–106). From that very location in Moesia Legio V (under her Sicilian commander, Quintus Pompeius Falco) goes, in 101 CE, to the first Dacian War to which the Tropaeum Traiani in Adamclisi is dedicated. The early 5th c. circular tropaeum north of Romuliana’s palace compound resembles, even to mainstream historians, Trajan’s Adamclisi structure of 300 years before. That does not necessarily mean that Legio V had contributed to Romuliana’s tropaeum. Yet, in the early 2nd century such a structure would make sense as another victory monument to the Dacian Wars. But what could it stand for in the early 5th century?

Felix Romuliana’s 4th/5th c. architecture is indistinguishable from 1st/2nd c. architecture. Its religious iconography, as well as its tropaeum, resemble 1st/2nd c. items, too. Moreover, small finds like fibulae indisputably date from the 2nd/3rd c. as well as from the 1st c. (Petkovic 2011b, 173; 186) when the city did not yet exist. There must have been people living in Felix Romuliana during the 1st-3rd c. wearing Roman dress of the same period. Where are their residential quarters, water pipes and latrines? Why does the current dating for Felix Romuliana begin around 250 CE and not at the beginning of the first century or immediately after the completion of the city’s pre-Roman Iron Age around 50 BCE? Why is Felix Romuliana––in spite of all the finds that fit the culture of Imperial Antiquity––not placed in the 1st and 2nd century? Neither architectural or cultural nor stratigraphic reasons are used for this.

The Late Antiquity dates for Romuliana’s residential quarters and temples were established quite differently. They were not derived from the archaeological context of the city but via coins that had been found in the estate of Galerius’s parents close to Gamzigrad. There, too, it was not stratigraphy that settled the dates of the coins but the years listed in modern coin catalogues: “Galerius was probably born on the estate of his father in Gamzigrad. Aurelian (270-275) and Probus (276-282) coin finds from the excavated oldest building of the excavation site suggest that this villa rustica was built and used in the middle of the 3rd century. Romula probably still lived in the villa rustica” (“Galerius wurde vermutlich auf dem Landgut (villa rustica) seines Vaters in Gamzigrad geboren. Münzfunde des Aurelian (270–275) und des Probus (276–282) aus dem freigelegten ältesten Gebäude der Ausgrabungsstätte lassen den Schluss zu, dass diese villa rustica Mitte des 3. Jahrhunderts erbaut und benutzt wurde. Romula lebte wohl auch weiterhin in der villa rustica“.) (Galerius Palast 2017).

Are there more scholarly ways than citing desk-conceived catalogue dates to find the chronological position of, e.g., Aurelian (270-275)? There are no reports about the stratigraphy below the villa rustica of the parents of Galerius where his coins were found. It appears as if Imperial Antiquity (1st-3rd c.) is missing there, too. Yet, the most prominent building project of Aurelian were Rome’s majestic walls built from 270 to 275 CE. Bricks found in situ carry stamps of emperors who commissioned repairs. One of these renovators was Emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE) as evidenced by bricks with "Hadrian’s brickstamps" (“hadrianische Ziegelstempel“) (Schade 2008, 63). Nobody understands how Aurelian’s wall could have undergone repairs 150 years before it was built. Moreover, Rome’s walls are built, like those built around Felix Romuliana, in the typical Ziegeldurchschuss technology (bricks altering with natural stone) in use since Late Hellenism and the time of Augustus (31 BCE to 14 CE). The walls must therefore have been erected long before Aurelian’s coin dates and even before Hadrian’s repairs because they also contain 1st c. bricks. With Aurelian’s evidence-based date (270-275 CE=14-9 BCE) the walls were built after the civil wars that had devastated Rome from 88 BCE [Gaius Marius against Sulla] to 31 CE [Octavian’s victory against Mark Antony] (see for the parallelization of Roman emperors with border emperors, now dated some 290 years apart, Beaufort 2013; Heinsohn 2014, 38 f.).

Stamped bricks found in situ are an important dating tool. Yet, they turn into a feared Nemesis of historiography if they wreak havoc on the neat division of the Roman Empire into Antiquity (1st-3rd c) and Late Antiquity (4th-6th c.). If brick-stamps run counter to conventional dating young archaeologists are sternly reminded not to follow reason, i.e., question chronological dogma but blindly obey it: “The caveats important in the use of evidence provided by brick stamps include […] the well-attested tendency, especially during the third century A.C. and later, for bricks from earlier construction to be re-used in later building projects where, of course, the dating attested by the stamps become meaningless even if found in situ (for instance, the Aurelianic walls surrounding Rome, built between A.D. 270 and 275, contain numerous bricks stamped during the two preceding centuries which have nothing to do with the date of actual construction of the walls” (Anderson 2002).

The walls built during the peace period of Augustus in the late 1st c. BCE were meant to forestall future internecine warfare inside the empire’s capital. Galerius (305-311 CE=21-27 CE) was––like all Tetrarchs––a border emperor (details in Heinsohn 2014, 38 f.). Therefore, he respects the inviolability of Rome, where Tiberius reigns. Galerius is on record for 28 travels and military campaigns. Yet, he did not enter Rome a single time (Barnes 1982, 49-87).

Thessaloniki was the capital of Galerius. Its 4th c. architecture is no less surprising than Romuliana’s because it strongly resembles 1st c. urbanism. That splendid city had been part of the Roman Empire since 146 BCE. It soon became the capital of the province of Macedonia, and for a short time, even the supreme administrative authority for the entire Greek eastern part of the Roman Empire. The Hellenistic cityscape up to the 1st c. BCE is archaeologically well established. The same applies to Late Antiquity from the late 3rd c. CE onwards. However, the expected massive urban evidence for the 1st - 3rd c. CE, known, e.g., from the epistles of Paul the Apostle (5-67 CE), is very difficult to see. The same is true for the 6th to 10th c. for which building strata are missing entirely.

LEFT: Thessaloniki during Late Hellenism (ending in the 1st c. BCE).

RIGHT: Thessaloniki during Late Antiquity (late 3rd c. CE onwards). There is no corresponding evidence for Imperial Antiquity (1st to 3rd c. CE) [].

Partial reconstruction of Thessaloniki, the capital city of Galerius in Late Antiquity (4th-6th c. CE) with a typical 1st c. cityscape and architecture. The direct access from palace to circus follows Rome’s 1st c. CE model []

Reconstruction of Circus Maximus (Rome; 1st c. CE) with direct imperial access after which the circus of Galerius in Thessaloniki had been modelled some 300 years later in the early 4th c. CE [].

Still, during the Late Antique flowering of Felix Romuliana, but before its final downfall, there are traces of a major upheaval in the palace compound in the 5th c. CE. Investigations since 2004 show that the strong pagan presence is suddenly replaced by Christians and their churches. They dominate the area until the final devastation of the city: “The three church buildings, similar in size and ground plan, west of the palace, which were unknown until now, indicate, together with the churches built in the enclosure [of the northern district], an intensive post-palatial settlement period” (“Die westlich des Palastes drei bislang unbekannten, nach Größe und Grundriss) (DAIST 2013).

Foundation of one of the churches built, in the 5th c. CE, at Felix Romuliana [Živić 2003;]

In the stratigraphic reconstruction of the author, the massive shift toward Christianity was brought about by the plague-crisis cum Antoninian Fires in the period of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 CE) when Quadi and Asiatic (proto-Hunnic) Iazyges invade Italy.

[begin table text]
Events in Pannonia and Italy during Imperial Antiquity (2nd c.) that are duplicated in Late Antiquity (5th c.), and triplicated in the Early Middle Ages (9th c.) [sources in Pohl 2002].

Antiquity (2nd c.)
Asiatic Horse-people. >IAZYGES under BACA (Sarmato-Huns; FEW MATERIAL TRACES in Pannonia) atttack Italy-Fri-ulia (Marcus Aurelius 170s). Persecution of Christians but triumph, too. >IAZYGES ENIGMA- TICALLY DISAPPEAR FROM PANNONIA WITHOUT FUTURE MATERIAL TRACES.
Germanic partners of Asians. >IAZYGES allied with Goth-like QUADI who are settled around RAVENNA in late 2nd c. CE.

Late Antiquity (5th c.)
Asiatic Horse-people. >HUNS WITH MATERIAL TRACES in Pannonia endanger Italy-Friulia.[Iazyges briefly ‘re-born‘ under BEUCA in 460s.] >Scull-trepanation. Persecution of Christians but triumph, too. >HUNS ENIGMATICALLY DISAPPEAR FROM PANNONIA WITHOUT FUTURE MATERIAL TRACES.
Germanic partners of Asians. >HUNS are allied with GOTHS who are settled around RAVENNA in late 5th c. CE.

Early Middle Ages (9th c.)
Asiatic Horse-people. > HUNGARIANS from Pannonia (NO MATERIAL TRACES) attack Italy-Friulia. >Scull-trepanation. Persecution of Christians but triumph, too. (Bulgaria etc.). >HUNGARIANS MENTIONED BY CAROLINGIANS BUT LEAVE NO REMAINS IN EARLY MEDIEVAL PANNONIA.
Germanic partners of Asians. >Hungarians parallel with GOTHIC VIKINGS.

High Middle Ages (10th/11th c.)
Asiatic Horse-people. >HUNGARIANS of 10th c. (MATERIAL TRACES IN PANNONIA) appear to have no origins. They regard the Huns (disappeared in the 6th c.) as direct predecessors with nothing to show for 300 years in between.
Germanic partners of Asians. GOTHIC VIKINGS.
[end table text]

That fateful event is duplicated as Late Antiquity’s plague some 290 years later when Goths and Asiatic Huns invade Italy in the 5th century. It is triplicated around the 860s when Hungarians invade Italy. In all three periods, there were triumphs but also persecutions of Christians. Their massive programs of church buildings provide the lasting witness of this revolution to the majority religion some 60/70 years before the fall of the empire. Only for a few years do survivors still seek protection in the remains of walled towers.

LEFT: Reconstruction of Trier/Treves whose Roman street system was intact and maintained in the 10th c. CE [].

RIGHT: Reconstruction of Trier/Treves in 1120 CE when the Roman street grid had suddenly disappeared under soil. The ruins of the amphitheatre were used as protection for primitive huts of survivors [Lucas Clemens;].

Counting backwards from the final abandonment of Felix Romuliana in the 11th c. CE, the fall of this architecturally Roman and, by now, spiritually Christian city must have taken place in the 10th century when a major conflagration hit all of the known world (Heinsohn 2017). As strange as such a late date may sound to the educated ear, it is now confirmed for the city of Trier/Treves that, as another capital of the border emperors of the Tetrarchy, had been a sister city of Thessaloniki. Its circus was stratigraphically dated to the 2nd c. but later assigned to Late Antiquity (4th c.) to obey chronological dogma (Jürgens 2014b). Its rectangular Roman street-grid was buried under soil. The ruins of the amphitheatre (tenth largest of the Roman Empire) were used––just like some towers still standing in Felix Romuliana––as a miniature city wall for protecting the simple huts of survivors (Jürgens 2014a): “During the 10th century Trier underwent a fundamental change of its topographical structure. Its antique street system was still used and even repaired when it belonged to a province of the Carolingians [8th-10th c; GH]. Now it was replaced by new paths that––comparable to the situation in many bombed German cities in the post-war period––developed out of trails beaten between the ruins“ (“Im Verlauf des 10. Jahrhunderts änderte Trier grundlegend sein topographisches Gefüge. Das noch bis in die karolingische Provinzzeit genutzte, teilweise sogar ausgebesserte antike Straßennetz wurde im nördlichen Stadtbereich zugunsten neuer Wegeführungen aufgegeben, die – durchaus vergleichbar der Situation in vielen zerbombten deutschen Städten der Nachkriegszeit – aus ‚Trampelpfaden‘ zwischen den Ruinen entstanden waren“.) (Clemens 2014, 335).

Yet, even after passing through many waves of carpet-bombing the people in Dresden, Berlin or Hamburg never lost track of their cities’ street systems. The survivors of Trier/Treves were neither so lucky nor so many. They suffered the same fate as Rome whose antique structures remained intact up to the 10th century, too: "The eleventh century marked another turning-point in Rome's urban history. Excavations have revealed that this period is characterized, in all strata, by a significant rise in paving levels, and the consequent obliteration of many structures and ancient ruins” (Santangeli Valenzani 2013, 133; in more detail Heinsohn 2017).

Let us not forget that Thessaloniki, too, has no building strata from the 6th-10th c. CE when it undergoes fundamental administrative changes. They must have affected by the situation of the 6th c. decline, which makes sense only if this demise actually occurred in the 10th century. As at Felix Romuliana, there are only some 300 years of urban substance for the 1st millennium CE at Thessaloniki.

This allows the following summary: Even in Felix Romuliana our textbook chronology is not checked against the archaeological evidence, but rather is unconditionally believed. This figure framework is superimposed on the uncovered findings without hesitation. The resulting bizarre conclusions will only be overcome when stratigraphy and stylistics will have their say in writing history. For the city, the stratigraphy-based sequence is juxtaposed with the chronology ideas of mainstream. Felix Romuliana is neither a material proof for Late Antiquity nor its model city. It is just another example of a city of Roman culture that has been artificially divided into three periods (Imperial Antiquity, Late Antiquity, and Early Middle Ages). Actually, Roman culture of the 1st millennium CE only has some 300 years of urban substance. Stratigraphically––whatever current textbook dates––that precious hard evidence occupies the 8th-10th c. period.

[begin table text]


11th century HIGH MIDDLE AGES
Permanently abandoned. The makeshift shelters are vacated, too.
930s catastrophe until final abandonment.

EARLY MIDDEL AGES 7th//8th – early 10th century
The makeshift shelters in preserved towers have no stratigraphy for 400 years (600-1000). They merely lasted a few decades after the 930s catastrophe.
Identical with Imperial Antiquity and Late Antiquity

6th century Devastation of Felix Romuliana (including 5th/6th c. churches).
Survivors built makeshift shelters in still utilizable towers.
10th Century Collapse (930s)

3rd/4th – 6th century LATE ANTIQUITY
Since the 2nd half of the 3rd c. the model city of Late Antiquity takes off. It undergoes several “different construction and expansion phases” (DAIST 2013) that all resemble 1st-3rd c. architecture and building decor. Legio V Macedonica builds (early 4th c.) Felix Romuliana in Roman province Moesia. Radical changes occur in the 5th c. when paganism is pushed aside by Christians (attested for by many new churches).
8th-10th century Identical with Imperial Antiquity and Early Middle Ages. Christian revolution due to plague and Antonine Fires of 170s=450s=860s.

1st- 3rd century IMPERIAL ANTIQUITY
Enigmatic hiatus but no windblown layers. 1st – 3rd c. CE Fibulae are witness of a Romanized population. Yet, not a single house or latrine was found. The expected architecture would have used Ziegeldurchschuss technology. It only arrives 300 years later. Legio V Macedonica builds (early 1st c.) in Roman province Moesia but reaches Felix Romuliana only 3000 years later.
Identical with Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages.

“Long settlement continuity from the Neolithic period over the Bronze Age and the Iron Age” (DAIST 2013)
Up to the end of the 7th c. CE
[end table text]

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Thanks for editorial help go to Clark WHELTON (New York).

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