Geographical sites:

  • Philippopolis (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #678332)
    Pleiades_icon Philippopolis settlement Geocontext: Shahba SYR
    Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 69 E4 Philippopolis


Text #6386

Martin & Grusková. "Scythica Vindobonensia by Dexippus(?): New Fragments on Decius’ Gothic Wars". Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Vol. 54
[pp. 736--737]


Folio 194r (lower text) lines 29–30 to 194v line 30:

Decius was concerned about the wrongdoing of the auxiliary troops and the capture of Philippopolis. And when the army was gathered, about 80,000 men, he wanted to renew the war if he could—as he thought that the situation was favorable to him, even though he had lost the auxiliary force—but also to liberate the Thracian captives and to prevent them from crossing to the other side. And for the moment, having built a trench at Hamisos [?], a place of Beroina [?], he stayed inside the encampment together with his army, watching for when the enemy were to cross. When the advance of Ostrogotha’s force was reported to him, he thought that he should encourage his soldiers, as a good opportunity arose. And he made an assembly, and when they had gathered, he spoke as follows:

“Men, I wish the military force and all the provincial territory were in a good condition and not humiliated by the enemy. But since the incidents of human life bring manifold sufferings (for such is the fate of mortals), it is the duty of prudent men to accept what happens and not to lose their spirit, nor become weak, distressed by the mishap in that plain or by the capture of the Thracians—in case any of you has been disheartened by these things. For each of these two misfortunes offers arguments against your discouragement: the former was brought about by the treachery of the scouts rather than by any deficiency of ours, and the Thracian town they [sc. the Scythians] took by ambushes rather than through prowess, having failed in their attacks. And weak …{and not}24 brave … […”

In the left (outer) margin: [De]cius’ address (demegoria)

Text #6481

Martin & Grusková. "Scythica Vindobonensia by Dexippus(?): New Fragments on Decius’ Gothic Wars". Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Vol. 54
[p. 737]


Folio 195r (lower text) lines 1–30:

…] (they) formed the rear-guard, claiming to be particularly valiant and having a reputation of being the fiercest. They pretended to withdraw but stayed in the area. Not shrinking from abiding there, they built a camp as secretly as they could and lodged not far from the enemies, so that the attack could be prepared within a short time. They did, however, refrain from lighting fires at night, fearing that they might be seen.

When they believed that the Thracians had become firmly convinced of their withdrawal—so much so that a rebellion against those in power had arisen (as tends to happen where there is a mass of people) and caused carelessness with the guard duty, and some had given themselves to merriment, as if the war had ended and they had achieved a splendid victory—at that point they decided to attack the town. For an advantage gained by betrayal had also encouraged them: a man had stolen away from the town and provided Cniva with information about the city (as was said, either out of hatred against one of those in power or in the hope of a big reward). And he convinced the Scythians to hold on even more firmly to their plan of attacking by promising them to give those who would be dispatched the signal in accordance with what had been agreed in the place where the fortifications could be climbed most easily. Five men, who had volunteered out of zeal and in hope of money, were sent out by Cniva by night as scouts to check what had been reported and to test the arranged betrayal. Prizes were set by the king: 500 darics for the first to climb the walls, for the sec [ond …

Text #6518

Martin & Grusková. "Scythica Vindobonensia by Dexippus(?): New Fragments on Decius’ Gothic Wars". Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Vol. 54
[p. 729]


It is impossible to say with certainty who is the author of these fragments. However, the subject matter as well as some details of style and wording point evidently to Dexippus of Athens and his Scythica, already the best preserved of the historians of the time.1

  1. On the fragments cf. G. Martin, Dexipp von Athen. Edition, Übersetzung und begleitende Studien (Munich 2006), and now L. Mecella, Dexippo di Atene. Testimonianze e frammenti (Tivoli 2013). Dexippus’ fragments in this paper are numbered according to Jacoby (FGrHist 100) and Martin, Dexipp. On Dexippus’ account of the events of 250/1 see most recently C. Davenport and Ch. Mallan, “Dexippus’ Letter of Decius: Context and Interpretation,” MusHelv 70 (2013) 57–73.

Text #8766

"Battle of Philippopolis (250)", in Wikipedia.

The Battle of Philippopolis was fought in 250 AD between Rome and the Goths. The Goths were led by King Cniva, and after a long siege, they were victorious. The king subsequently allied himself with the town commander and governor of Thrace, Lucius Priscus, to take on the Roman Emperor Decius. The battle took place at the Thracian city of Philippopolis, modern Plovdiv, Bulgaria.1

  1. Wikipedia’s source: Jordanes’ The Origin and Deeds of the Goths written in 551 AD, translated by Charles C. Mierow; Princeton University Press, 1915

Text #8767

"Decius", in Wikipedia.

The barbarian incursions into the Empire were becoming more and more daring and frequent whereas the Empire was facing a serious economic crisis in Decius’ time. During his brief reign, Decius engaged in important operations against the Goths, who crossed the Danube to raid districts of Moesia and Thrace.[10] This is the first considerable occasion the Goths — who would later come to play such an important role — appear in the historical record.1

  1. Wikipedia source for this remark: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Decius, Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus”. Encyclopædia Britannica 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 913.

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