Drobeta (Drobeta Turnu Severin, Mehedinți County)


Placed across the south-Danubian fortification Pontes/Transdrobeta, the Roman camp from Drobeta was built with the purpose of protecting the northern head of the Roman stone bridge, built by the order of Emperor Trajan, between the two Dacian wars.

Drobeta, an important commercial, administrative, military and urban mark of the Roman had a strategic position from the geographic point of view. A strong garrison placed here could block the access to the Danube from east to the Iron Gates, or from north to the south of the river.

Taking into account the stratigraphy, the inner constructions of the fortification and also the monetary circulation, there could have been five phases of construction: I - in the time of Emperors Trajan and Hadrian; II - the middle of the 3rd century; III - at the end of the 3rd century (Diocletian); IV - from the 4th century to the beginning of 5th century; V - the period between the reigns of Emperors Anastasius and Justinian.

The toponym 'Drobeta' was used for the camp as well as for the civilian settlement from Turnu-Severin. The literary sources (Ptolemy, III, 8; Tabula Peutingeriana, VII, 4; NotDignOr, XLII, 6, 16, 24), the stone and brick inscriptions (IDR, II, p. 20 et seq.) certify its under the following forms: Drubetis-Drobeta-Drubeta.

There has been suggested that, in the 6th century, the old name -Drobeta- had been forgotten, the toponym Theodora being used instead, mentioned by Procopius (De aedificiis, IV, 6, 15). The origin of the toponym 'Theodora' has been a very controversial because of the lack of clear epigraphic and literary sources.

The civilian settlement in Drobeta was laying north, east and west of the camp.

After the Aurelian withdrawal the Roman camp and the civilian settlement continued to exist also in the Late Roman Period. Thus, in this period, at Drobeta, used to work an officina that manufactured lead mirrors. Nearby, there were portuary facilities for the traffic on the Danube River.

A circular-shaped building (at present under the waters of Danube), connected by a wall to the eastern enclosure of the Roman camp has recently been considered a defence and signal watchtower. On the eastern side of the camp, along its most exposed part, three defence ditches and valla were raised.

The porturary facilities that have been discovered, at least one of them dating back to the 4th century, demonstrate an intense river traffic through the Drobeta-Pontes ford.

The discovery, inside and outside the fortification, of several kilns for burning pottery and bricks, proves the existence of ceramic workshops in Drobeta. This may suggest that the demand for construction materials could have been provided also by the local production.

Of great important are also the bricks bearing the stamp DRVBETA, as they certify the way the name of the settlement was pronounced. Nothing contradicts however the possibility that "Drubeta" was the name of a military unit.


The destruction of the camp from Drobeta probably occurred in the late 4th century or at the beginning of the 5th century and it should be attributed to the Huns. After this moment the name Drobeta name was most likely abandoned.

During the 6th century, the entire fortification was rebuilt by the emperor Justinian.

Drobeta arhiva INP

Drobeta reconstituiri

Drobeta artefacte

Drobeta cetate

Drobeta harta veche

Drobeta planuri

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