Нумизматични данни за историята на Сердика през V век

Numismatic data on the histor y of Serdica in the 5th c.

  • Dochka Vladimirova-Aladzhova Department of Numismatics and Epigraphy, National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Saborna Str., 1000 Sofia


The history of Serdica in the course of the 5th c. is associated with enemy threats on the part of Huns and Goths, sieges and conquest of the city. In his chronicle the Antique author Priscus the Thracian mentions Serdica three times in connection with the Huns’ invasions; one of them was in 448 and he notes that the town was destroyed. In 466 – 467 the Huns again attacked from the northwest, crossing the Danube River and then today’s Northern Bulgaria to reach Serdica. They were stopped by Anthemius, commander of the Imperial army and the firmly fortified walls of Serdica prevented the enemy from rushing toward the centre of the Empire.

Among the great number of coins from the 5th c. found in the course of the archaeological research in recent years the pieces of Emperor Theodosius II (408-450) and Leo I (457-474) prevail including a golden coin of each of them. During campaign 2016 in the northern sector of St. Nedelya Square more than 500 coins from the 4th – 5th c. were discovered. The latest of them belong to Emperor Leo I (457-474) coming from the large building N 1. In the final quarter of the 3rd – early 4th c. the latter underwent serious reconstructions; new walls were built duplicating the beds of demolished earlier walls and others were flattened to the new floor levels in some of the rooms. The floor in the side parts of the large room was raised with a padding of stones and sand, and the whole space was covered with a pavement of slabs nearly rectangular in shape. Probably it was designed as a yard or open space. In parallel with the channel stone chutes for atmospheric waters were running reshaped from cornices. Most of the area of the building was revealed and explored to the floor levels in the rooms from the 5th c. One of the southern rooms contained a layer of destructions and traces of fire, with burnt pottery and sacks with cereals and bean cultures (wheat, rye, peas and lentils). The coins were spread all over the room floor. They are in a poor condition due to the fire. The preserved pieces in the hoard are less than 10% as approximately 15% of them allow partial or complete identification. The rest are highly fragmented. The compromised surface and integrity of the coins makes their identification difficult and in certain cases – almost impossible. Nevertheless, the analysis of these coins provides important information about the history of Serdica in the 5th c.

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