Archaeologists from the Archaeological Institute of Serbia have made an exciting discovery in the excavations of the ancient Roman city of Viminacium. While digging for remains of the city’s main street, they stumbled upon the foundations of an imposing structure that immediately caught their attention.

As they continued to excavate, they were surprised to find that it was the foundation of a triumphal arch, a monumental construction erected in Rome to honor emperors. Triumphal arches were built to celebrate significant military victories, and during their construction, inscriptions and sculptures commemorating the achievements of the honored leader were placed.

Archaeologists Dr. Sasa Redzic, Dr. Ilija Dankovic, Dr. Mladen Jovcic, Dr. Angelina Raichkovic, Kristina Zivkovic, and Petar Kojadinovic identified that this particular triumphal arch had foundations 10.40 meters wide and 6.25 meters high, similar in dimensions to other Roman triumphal arches that reached about 12 meters in height.

The big surprise came when, carefully digging in the frozen ground, they found a piece of marble slab with the inscription of the emperor’s name to whom it was dedicated: it was Emperor Caracalla. With this key piece, researchers were able to solve the mystery.

Caracalla ruled the Roman Empire between the years 198 and 217 AD. It is known that in 195 AD, when he was still young, he was declared Caesar in Viminacium by his father, Emperor Septimius Severus. It was likely during this time that this triumphal arch was erected in his honor.

The archaeologists conclude that the arch was built to commemorate a very important historical event for the fate of the Empire: Caracalla’s appointment as heir and successor to his father in Viminacium.

With this discovery, Serbia becomes part of the small group of countries with Roman triumphal arches, architectural works valuable for the study of the Empire.

Caracalla is known for issuing, in 212 AD, the edict granting Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Roman Empire. This reform changed the nature of the Empire, making it a state for all its free citizens, not just an Italic minority. Researchers believe that Caracalla made this decision inspired by his early military experience with the legions of the northern Empire.

The discovery of this triumphal arch in Viminacium sheds new light on a key historical figure like Emperor Caracalla. Excavations continue to unravel more secrets of this important Roman city.


Novosti | Archaeological Institute of Serbia

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