Conceptually the Route contains four different categories of preserved archaeological sites which are representative of the rule of the Roman Emperors in the Danube Corridor.

The category which gives the theme its title has sites which are directly associated with the emperors. A similar category comprises sites associated with the Roman conquest of the Danube region and the emperors who managed the military campaigns.Two other categories consist of locations which resulted from an emperor’s military policy in the region and urban entities brought into existence by the emperors’ policy of building loyalty and cohesion among conquered indigenous peoples by encouraging acculturation to Roman standards.

The wine part of the Route blends in conceptually with the introduction of Roman culture and social mores into the Danube region.

Geographical Scope

The geographical coverage of the Route themes encompasses a central axis along the Danube Corridor in the four country region which is anchored in the west by the Adriatic coast of Croatia and in the east by the Black Sea and delta of the Danube in Bulgaria and Romania.The western and eastern terminal points are important to note because these are the directions from which the Roman armies penetrated and gained control of the Danube corridor.Some of the older sites (for example, Salona and Narona, Histria) on the Route are located in those areas.

The Sava-Danube connection through Croatia and Serbia, continuing with the Danube by Bulgaria and Romania provided the river highways for the bulk movement of goods (including distinctively Roman wine and olive oils and also fine table wares).Information and imperial officials, sometimes even the emperors themselves, could be passed quickly along the rivers.Parallel to the Danube river corridor were two important land routes which, in the first place, served to connect the European half of the Empire with the East. It ran from the head of the Adriatic along the Sava valley to connect with the Danube just downstream from Sirmium and then continued along the Danube to the confluence with the Morava river near Viminacium where it turned south and east to eventually arrive at Constantinople (Istanbul).

This was what a British scholar (Sir Ronald Syme) in the 1930’s called the Trans Balkan Highway, a functional description which is still useful today.The second trunk road ran along the south bank of the Danube and linked the series of military installations which protected the frontier and controlled commercial traffic on the river.The Romans, more precisely, called both roads viae militares (military highways) because of the frequent troop movements to meet border crises along the route.Emperors with their armies often faced off in civil war along the Danube corridor.

The amphoras are the linkage between wine transport and wine consumption in the Danube corridor.These ceramic containers for liquids were designed to be stacked in the holds of sea-going vessels and river transports.Three commodities typical of Roman taste were carried in the amphoras:wine, olive oil and the ubiquitous fish sauce called garum.For the soldiers in the forts, also for Romans in civilian settlements and later Romanized natives in the Danube region these items, especially the wine, were daily necessities and also highly prized status commodities.Wine and olive oil were introduced into the region by Roman traders and military suppliers originally to satisfy soldiers’ demand.Eventually, however, wine was being produced locally, probably beginning in the later Empire.Curiously enough the wine amphoras were apparently only single-use containers, and so were discarded after they were emptied; this process created large quantities of amphora fragments in refuse areas on sites for later recovery and analysis by archaeologists.

Chronological Scope

In the ancient period the Route coincide with the chronological development of Roman control and occupation of the Danube region.For practical purposes this means the beginning of a substantial and enduring Roman presence during the period of Julius Caesar’s dominance in Roman politics (the 50’s and 40’s B.C.) and ending with the reign of Theodosius the Great (A.D. 379-395).Roman armies were in the region before that time but did not establish a permanent presence.Most scholars relegate the fifth century A.D. to the realm of Byzantine history and Byzantine emperors.

  • My Danube
    Trip Plan

    Your Trip Plan is currently empty. Add a city, location or route to create your trip plan.

    Follow us on social media