Provincia Dacia Mediterranea
Επαρχία Δακίας Μεσογείου (Greek)
|Province of Roman Empire|
The northern Balkans, including Dacia Mediterranea, in the 6th century
|Capital||Serdica (now Sofia, Bulgaria)|
• Dacia Ripensis partitioned
• Devastated by Avar invasion
Dacia Mediterranea (Mid-land Dacia; Greek: Δακία Μεσόγειος, romanized: Dakia Mesogeios) was a late antique Roman province, whose capital city was Serdica (or Sardica; later Sradetz or Sredets, now Sofia).
The date for the establishment of Dacia Mediterranea is uncertain. It was traditionally held to have been established at the same time as Dacia Ripensis, with both provinces being carved out of the former Dacia Aureliana as part of the Diocletianic restructuring of the Roman provinces during the 290s. However, as Dacia Mediterranea contained cities that were never part of Dacia Aureliana (such as Naissus), it is now believed that the province was established in the 320s, during the reign of Constantine I, and was formed with territory taken from the provinces of Dardania, Thracia and the partition of Dacia Ripensis (with Ripensis losing its capital, Serdica, in the process, a city that was previously also the capital of Dacia Aureliana).
Lying immediately south of Dacia Ripensis, the province was governed by a Consularis. In 535, the emperor Justinian I (527-565) created the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima as a regional primacy with ecclesiastical jurisdiction over all provinces of the Diocese of Dacia, including the province of Dacia Mediterranea. During this time he also strengthened the fortifications of various cities in the province, including Serdica, Naissus, Germania and Pautalia. He also added forts to existing cities, such as Remesiana.
Dacia Mediterranea was caught up in the devastation of the Avar and Slav invasions of the late 6th and early 7th centuries, and was lost at the same time as the Diocese of Dacia, although pockets of the province continued to remain in Byzantine hands, such as Serdica and its immediate surrounds. These south-eastern remnants were eventually absorbed into the Theme of Thrace by the late 7th century.
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