Ratiaria (or: Raetiaria, Retiaria, Reciaria, Razaria; Bulgarian: Рациария; Greek: Ραζαρία μητρόπολις;) was a city founded by the Moesians, a Daco-Thracian tribe, in the 4th century BC, along the river Danube. In Roman times it was named Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria.
The city had a gold mine in the vicinity, which was exploited by the Thracians.
It was not until the principate of Augustus that the Romans conquered the region, which was organised into a province named Moesia. In 33/34 AD Tiberius built the road linking the Danube forts including Viminacium and Ratiaria. The city was certainly less important than the nearby Sirmium, Viminacium and Naissus, but its associated fortress located along the Danubian Limes made it a key legionary station. Legio IV Flavia Felix was based here at least until the conquest of Dacia (101-106 AD), together with the fleet of the Classis Moesica under Vespasian.
After the conquest of Dacia, the castrum was abandoned and the settlement became a colonia within Moesia Superior named Colonia Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria (107 AD) after its founder the Emperor Trajan. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries Ratiaria became prosperous as a trade centre and customs port.
It is unclear whether Aurelian or the Emperor Diocletian replaced Dacia Aureliana with two provinces, but by 285, there were two: – Dacia Mediterranea with its capital at Serdica and Dacia Ripensis with its capital at Ratiaria. As the capital of the new province Ratiaria served both as the seat of the military governor (or dux) and as the military base for the Roman legion XIII Gemina.
The city became an important Christian centre in the 4th century and several bishops are recorded. Palladius of Ratiaria, an Arian Christian theologian, lived here in the late 4th century.
In AD 586 the town was sacked by the Avars.
Archaeological excavations of the site began in 1958 and have continued sporadically since then.
As provincial capital of Dacia Ripensis, it also was the Metropolitan archdiocese, yet was to fade.
The archdiocese was nominally restored in 1925 as a Latin Catholic titular archbishopric of the highest (Metropolitan) rank.
The incumbent is Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, having the following previous incumbents:
- Gustave-Charles-Marie Mutel (민 아우구스티노), Paris Foreign Missions Society (M.E.P.) (1926.01.11 – 1933.01.22)
- Andrew Killian (1933.07.11 – 1934.11.05)
- Anselm Edward John Kenealy, Capuchin Franciscans (O.F.M. Cap.) (1936.01.13 – 1943.12.08)
- Nikolay Avtonomov (1945.10.06 – 1979.08.13)
- Marian Oles (1987.11.28 – 2005.05.24).
- Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal (2016.05.03 – ).
- AE 1911, 214; AE 1919, 81.
- Ratiaria Web Site: http://www.ratiaria.archbg.net/excavations_en.html
- Cassius Dio, LI 23, 2-27
- Bury, p. 135. The date must be A.D. 283, and it is obvious that Aurelian set up the boundary stones, one of which Gaianus restored. There were, then, two Dacias when Diocletian came to the throne and, therefore, Mr. Fillow has inferred that we should read in our List: Dacia <Dacia>, that is presumably Dacia Ripensis and Dacia Mediterranea. Aurelian's Dacia mediterranea might have included Dardania, and Dardania, Mr. Fillow thinks, was split off as a distinct province by Diocletian.
- Kazhdan 1991, "Priskos"
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