19.1.15

Histria or Istros

Histria or Istros (Ancient Greek: Ἰστρίη, Thracian river god, Danube), was a Greek colony or polis (πόλις, city) near the mouths of the Danube (known as Ister in Ancient Greek), on the western coast of the Black Sea. Established by Milesian settlers in order to facilitate trade with the native Getae, it is considered the oldest urban settlement on Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios (ca 110 BC), dated its founding to 630 BC, while Eusebius of Caesarea set it during the time of the 33rd Olympic Games (657 – 656 BC). The earliest documented currency on Romanian territory was an 8-gram silver drachma, issued by the city around 480 BC.

Română
Ruinele cetăţii Histria
 Histria, cetatea grecească, a fost cel mai vechi oraș atestat de pe actualul teritoriu al României. În prezent, ruinele sale se află pe teritoriul administrativ al comunei Istria, în județul Constanța.
Histria a fost întemeiată de coloniști greci din Milet în jurul anului 657 î.C. (după istoricul Eusebiu din Cezareea) sau 630 î.C. (după Skymnos), ca port la Marea Neagră și distrusă prin secolul al VII-lea d.C. de invaziile avaro-slave.

Pe plan politic, Histria a jucat un rol important prin participarea la revolta orașelor pontice împotriva regelui macedonean Lisimah, la războiul împotriva Bizanțului și la conflictul care l-a opus pe Mithridates al VI-lea Eupator romanilor.

În jurul anului 260 i.d.Hr., Histria s-a aliat cu cetatea Callatis pentru a smulge orașului Byzantion controlul asupra portului Tomis.

Strabon scria că cetatea Histria se află "la o depărtare de 500 de stadii de gura sacră a Istrului".

Orașul Histria a avut o dezvoltare neîntreruptă timp de aproape 1300 ani, începând cu perioada greacă și terminând în perioada bizantină. În perioada greacă (sec. VII – I i.Chr.), orașul era format din două părți distincte, acropola și așezarea civilă, după un model des întâlnit în orașele antice grecești, structură care a fost menținută pană la abandonarea orașului în secolul al șaptelea p.Chr. [4] Unul din motivele abandonării orașului este și colmatarea vechiului golf al Mării Negre, în care era amenajat portul, golful devenind în prezent complexul lagunar Razelm-Sinoe.


În Histria au fost bătute primele monede de pe actualul teritoriu al României, și anume emisiunea de monedă proprie în jurul anului 480/475 a. Chr. Este vorba despre monede de argint turnate care au pe avers simbolul orașului, repezentat de un vultur pe un delfin spre stânga, și legenda IΣTPI încadrate într-un pătrat incus iar pe revers două capete umane alăturate și inversate.
Cetatea Histria a fost identificată, în 1868, de către arheologul francez Ernest Desjardins, iar cercetările arheologice propriu-zise au fost inițiate în 1914 de către Vasile Pârvan. Chiar în prima campanie de cercetări arheologice de la Histria, Vasile Pârvan a descoperit o inscripție intitulată Horothesia, care evidenția granițele teritoriul histrian în vremea lui Traian.  Săpăturile au fost continuate apoi sub conducerea lui Scarlat Lambrino, Emil Condurachi, Dionisie M. Pippidi, Petre Alexandrescu, Alexandru Suceveanu și Alexandru Avram.
Numele cetății Histria (Istria în limba greacă), e dat de denumirea fluviului Istros, cum era denumită Dunărea de către greci. Așezarea era înconjurată de un puternic zid de apărare (numai partea vestică a zidului cetății avea 10 turnuri și două porți ), era alimentată cu apă prin conducte lungi de peste 20 de kilometri, care alimentau și termele construite în epoca romană, străzile erau pavate cu piatră, și poseda atât instituții de educație fizică (gymnasion) cât și cultural-artistice (museion)


History
The colony was founded in the middle of the 7th century BC. (year 657 BC according to historian Eusebius) by colonists from Milet, to trade with the native Getae. The city had an uninterrupted growth for 1300 years, beginning with the Greek period and ending with the Roman - Byzantine period.
To the north Sinoe Lake was an open bay and to the south was another bay which served as the port. On the highest point of the coastal plain the acropolis was established with the sanctuaries. The settlement, erected in the 6th century, was 1/2 mile (800 meters) further west. It had a strong defense wall, collected water by aqueducts 12.5 miles (20 km) long, and had streets paved with stones.
In the archaic and classical periods, when Histria flourished, it was situated near good arable land. It served as a port of trade soon after its establishment, with fishing and agriculture additional sources of income. By 100 AD, fishing was almost the only source of Istrian revenue. There is no archaeological evidence indicating that trade with the interior preceded the foundation of Istros. Traders penetrated to the interior through Istros and the valley of the Danube, demonstrated by finds of Attic black-figure pottery, coins, ornamental objects, an Ionian lebes and many fragments of amphoras. Amphoras have been found in great quantity at Histria, some imported but some local – local pottery was produced following establishment of the colony and certainly before mid-6th century.
Around the turn of the millennium, Histria became a Roman town. In the Roman period between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, temples were built for the Roman gods, as well as a public bath and houses for the wealthy. Altogether, it was in continuous existence for some 14 centuries, starting with the Greek period up to the Roman-Byzantine period. The Halmyris bay where was the city founded was closed by sand deposits and access to the Black Sea gradually was cut. Trade continued until the 6th century AD. The invasion of the Avars and the Slavs in the 7th century AD almost entirely destroyed the fortress, and the Istrians dispersed; the name and the city disappeared.
The ruins of the settlement were first identified in 1868 by French archaeologist Ernest Desjardins. Archaeological excavations were started by Vasile Pârvan in 1914, and continued after his death in 1927 by teams of archaeologists led successively by Scarlat and Marcelle Lambrino (1928–1943), Emil Condurachi (1949–1970), Dionisie Pippidi, Petre Alexandrescu and Alexandru Suceveanu.

The town of Histria was founded in 654 BC. The town wall had a long and complex development over the centuries.

The territory of the Greek colony initially set on the coastal plain was divided into two main distinct areas, following an urban model known in the Greek colonial world. The highest quarter was chosen for the erection of the acropolis, possibly fortified at that time.
The large civil area to the west was surrounded by a 2.5m or less wide precinct wall that encompassed a surface of ca. 50ha. It consisted of a mud-brick and wooden superstructure, plated with square limestone plaques set in the pseudo-isodomic system of masonry on a bed of limestone and green schist ashlars. Both fortified urban cores were seriously modified in the late 6th c. BC.

The demographic and economic progress attested in the Classical period required the building of a new 2.60m, green schist and limestone wide wall, oriented north-south, that enclosed ca. 35ha. It protected the main area of the town and was doubled by a 9m wide defensive ditch at 7-9m to the west of the wall. At least two gates pierced the precinct wall. This surrounding wall was destroyed in the second half of the 4th c. BC. The west edge of the plateau continued to be fortified with a wall similar to that of the archaic period, with minor repairs and a 3m wide ditch to the west.

Two new defence walls were built in the Hellenistic period, one protecting the acropolis, and another, to the west, along the plateau edge, roughly surrounding the same large area as in the Classical period.
The acropolis' 4.50m wide precinct wall encompassed ca. 9ha. The new layout of the defence wall was a continuous line broken at spots which met the need for curtain towers. This wall consists of two trunks each built of well-chiselled large-sized stone ashlars set alternatively on edge and width and bounded with clay and schist boulders. In the late 4th or in the early 3rd c. BC the plateau edge was surrounded by a new 2.20m wide enclosure wall built of schist ashlars bound with earth and mud-bricks set in a rectangular moulds superstructure. The two double precincts ensured the town protection until the late 1st c. AD.

The economic prosperity as well as the demographic and urban development under the 1st c. A. D. Roman administration necessitated the reshuffling of the structure and layout of the entire occupied area. A new town wall was built by the late 1st – early 2nd c. AD, which expanded considerably the activity on the large sandy plateau to the west. It encompassed a large area of ca. 30ha and cut the plateau roughly on a north-south direction. The new precinct, built in opus caementicium of green schist ashlars set in regular horizontal courses bounded with mortar, was 1.80-1.90m wide and set on a ca. 2.10m deep socle-like foundation. The wall had two gates and interior bastions and rectangular towers built at regular intervals. The south gate was flanked by two protruding rectangular towers. The town wall seems to have suffered some damage in the second half of the 2nd c., probably during the Marcommanic wars. Repair works implemented in a less careful technique were identified at some sections of the wall. In the mid-3rd c. Histria was severely damaged, a fact that rendered indispensable the construction of a new surrounding wall from the outset.

Description
Archaeological evidence seems to confirm that all trade with the interior followed the foundation of Histria. Traders reached the interior via Histria and the Danube valley, demonstrated by finds of Attic black-figure pottery, coins, ornamental objects, an Ionian lebes and many fragments of amphoras. Amphoras have been found in great quantity at Histria, some imported but some local. Local pottery was produced following establishment of the colony and certainly before mid-6th century. During the archaic and classical periods, when Histria flourished, it was situated near fertile arable land. It served as a port of trade soon after its establishment, with fishing and agriculture as additional sources of income. By 100 AD, however, fishing had become the main source of Istrian revenue.

Around 30 AD, Histria came under Roman domination. During the Roman period from the 1st to 3rd centuries AD, temples were built for the Roman gods, besides a public bath and houses for the wealthy. Altogether, it was in continuous existence for some 14 centuries, starting with the Greek period up to the Roman-Byzantine period. The Halmyris bay where was the city founded was closed by sand deposits and access to the Black Sea gradually was cut. Trade continued until the 6th century AD. The invasion of the Avars and the Slavs in the 7th century AD almost entirely destroyed the fortress, and the Istrians dispersed; the name and the city disappeared.

The ruins of the settlement were first identified in 1868 by French archaeologist Ernest Desjardins. Archaeological excavations were started by Vasile Pârvan in 1914, and continued after his death in 1927 by teams of archaeologists led successively by Scarlat and Marcelle Lambrino (1928–1943), Emil Condurachi (1949–1970), Dionisie Pippidi, Petre Alexandrescu and Alexandru Suceveanu. The Histria Museum, founded in 1982, exhibits some of these finds. The excavation project and site also features prominently in the film The Ister.

Monuments
Basilica

Ruins of the first Greek colony

Courtyard of a house with Ionic columns in the ruins

The Apollo sculpture's inscription

Base of a cult statue in Histria dedicated to Apollon Ietros, i.e. Apollo the healer, 4th century B.C. It reads: _ _ _ΞΕΝΟΣ ΙΠΠΟΛΟΧΟ ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝΙ ΙΗΤΡΩΙ ΑΝΕΘΗΚΕΝ ΕΠΙ ΙΠΠΟΛΟΧΟ [ _?] ΤΟ ΘΕΟΔΟΤΟ ΙΕΡΕΩ Translated it means: _ _ _xenos, son of Hippolochos, dedicated this to Apollo the Doctor during the priesthood of Hippolochos son of Theodotos. Comments: the full name of the dedicator is broken away, but there is space for only 3 or perhaps 4 letters in the fractured area. Possibilities include, for example: Theoxenos, Timoxenos, Philoxenos, etc. the letter forms and the absence of the upsilon in the genitive singular suggests a date very early in the 4th century B.C. the cuttings on the top of the base are not typical of a free-standing figure with two delineated feet. Perhaps it was a statue with feet covered by a robe or other drapery.

Remains of the grand deity temple

Thermae I

A Roman sundial
  

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