Trajan's Wall


Trajan's Wall

Trajan's Wall ("Valul lui Traian" in Romanian) is a complex of valla in Eastern Europe: in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.

Contrary to the name and popular belief, the ramparts were not built by Romans during Trajan's reign.

Romania

There are three valla in Romania, in south-central Dobruja, extending from the Danube to the Black Sea coast, built most probably by Byzantines between the 10th and the 11th century, during the reign of John I Tzimisces and Basil II.

The oldest and smallest vallum, the little earth wall, is 61 km in length, extending from Cetatea Pătulului on the Danube to Constanţa on the sea coast. Entirely made of earth, it has no defensive constructions built on it, but has a moat on its southern side.

The second vallum, the large earth wall, 54 km in length, overlaps the smaller one on some sections. It begins on the Danube, follows the Carasu Valley and ends at Palas, west of Constanţa. Its average height is 3.5 m, and it has moats on both sides. On it are built 63 fortifications: 35 larger ("castra"), and 28 smaller ("castella"). The average distance between fortifications is 1 km. Built during John Tzimisces's reign and destroyed by migratory population, it was reconstructed at a later time.The last vallum to be built, the stone wall, is also made of earth, but has a stone wall on its crest. It has 59 km in length, extending from south of Axiopolis to the Black Sea coast, at a point 75 m south of the little earth wall. The agger is about 1.5 m in height, while the stone wall on top has an average height of 2 m. It has a moat on its northern side and 26 fortifications, the distance between them varying from 1 to 4 km.

The commune Valu lui Traian (formerly "Hasancea") is named after the vallum.

Moldavia

The remnants in Moldavia comprise earthen walls and palisades. There are two major fragments preserved in Moldavia: Upper Trajan's Wall and Lower Trajan's Wall.

The Lower Trajan's Wall is thought to be dated by the 3rd century, and built by Antharic [The Goths By Peter Heather page 100] and stretches about 126 km from the village of Vadul in Kagul Region by the Prut River stretches into the Ukraine and ends at Lake Sasyk by Tatarbunar. The Coat of Arms of Cagul "uyezd" of Bessarabia, Russian Empire, incorporated Trajan's Wall.

The Upper Trajan's Wall is thought to be constructed in 4th century by Greuthungi goths in order to defend the border against the Huns [Peter Heather, "The Goths", page 100] . It stretches 120 km from Dniester River by Kitkany in Teleneshty Region to Prut River.

Fragments of Trajan's Wall are also found by Leova.

Ukraine

Trajan's Wall is located in Podolia and stretches through the modern districts of Kamenets-Podolskiy, Novaya Ushitsa and Khmelnitsky. A part of the Moldavian Lower Trojan's Wall ends in the Ukraine. See also Serpent's Wall.

References

*Rădulescu Adrian, Bitoleanu Ion, "Istoria românilor dintre Dunăre şi Mare: Dobrogea", Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 1979

Notes


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