Viminacium was a major city of the Roman province of Moesia, and the capital of Moesia Superior. Viminacium was the base camp of Legio VII Claudia, and hosted for some time the IIII Flavia Felix. It was destroyed in 440 by the Huns, but rebuilt by Justinian I. During Maurice’s Balkan campaigns, Viminacium saw destruction by the Avars in 584 and a crushing defeat of Avar forces on the northern Danube bank in 599, destroying Avar reputation for invincibility.
Viminacium Ancient City and Military Camp
Viminacium… It used to be such a radiant town! Monumental temples, wide streets, luxurious villas, extensive baths, an amphitheater… The barbarians devastated it a few years ago and nearly nothing remained of its previous glory. In the town itself, some of the houses and public buildings have been restored, and life is slowly returning, but in these troubled times I did not have confidence in the local people.
(…) In my lifetime, albeit short, I have not seen a town which has such a good location. Roads leading to the south to Naissus and Hellas diverge there; to the east, the via Lederatea, leads to the land of the Dacians. Rivers here are wide and navigable. Travelling along the Danube we would quickly reach Pannonia, Noricum, Raetia, or Dacia. Wherever you look, you see orchards, tilled fields, forests. People are all over the fields, working diligently; one would say that everything is under control. And then, in a moment, when your gaze falls on the ruins of the camp of the Legion VII Claudia and the devastated great temple of the Capitoline Triad, you become aware of the recent destruction. And the military camp was a wonder to behold! Nearly as large as the legionary bases in Castra Regina, or Vetera. Even now, the mighty stone towers can be seen in the distance. And what to say about the Porta Praetoria! Imposing architectural features! I have never seen anything like them! In the town itself lived a very old master-painter … I cannot remember his name, but I know that in painting frescoes for villas and grave memorials he surpassed his spiritual teacher, the famous Flavius Chrysantius. I felt the sorrow of Caius in the past, and I started to console him with the idea that the town would soon recover fully and that he would enjoy again everything that a man of his knowledge and culture can appreciate.