Sites & cities that bear the name of Sofia


Today in : Bulgaria
First trace of activity : ca. 7,000 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Serdika, Serdica, Ulpia Serdica, Serdonpolis, Σερδών πόλις, Triaditza, Τριάδιτζα, Sredets, Срѣдецъ, София, Sofiya, Atralisa, Strelisa, Stralitsa, Stralitsion, Sofya, صوفيه

Description : Sofia was inhabited since at least the 30th millennium BC. A neolithic settlement around the National Art Gallery is traced to the 3rd–4th millennium BC. The earliest tribes who settled were the Thracian Tilataei. In the 500s BC, the area became part of a Thracian union, the Odrysian kingdom. In 339 BC Philip II of Macedon destroyed and ravaged the town. The Celtic tribe Serdi gave their name to the city. The earliest mention of the city comes from an Athenian inscription from the 1st century BC, attesting Astiu ton Serdon, i.e. city of the Serdi. A local inscription and Dio Cassius recorded that the Roman general Crassus subdued the Serdi and beheaded the captives. Around 29 BC, Sofia was conquered by the Romans. It gradually became the most important Roman city of the region and became a municipium, or centre of an administrative region, during the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117) and was renamed Ulpia Serdica. The city was burnt and destroyed in 170 by the Costoboci and the city was rebuilt, this time with its first defensive walls between 176-180 under Marcus Aurelius as evidenced by inscriptions above the gates. The city expanded again, as public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large theatre, were built. When Emperor Diocletian divided the province of Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of the latter. Roman emperors Aurelian (215–275) and Galerius (260–311) were born in Serdica. In 268 a Gothic raid ravaged and burned parts of the city including the theatre which was abandoned. The city continued to expand and became a significant political and economical centre, more so as it became one of the first Roman cities where Christianity was recognised as an official religion (under Galerius). An amphitheatre was built over the remains of the theatre under Diocletian (284–305) and later under Constantine the Great (306–337). The Edict of Toleration was issued in 311 in Serdica by the Roman emperor Galerius, officially ending the Diocletianic persecution of Christianity. The Edict implicitly granted Christianity the status of "religio licita", a worship recognized and accepted by the Roman Empire. It was the first edict legalising Christianity, preceding the Edict of Milan by two years. Moreover, in the Edict of Milan, only one sentence was dropped: “Ne quid contra disciplinam agent.” So the Edict of Milan preached unconditional religious tolerance where the Edict of Serdica stated a conditional tolerance (meaning of disciplinam here is: unless they, the christians, disturb the good or social order of the State). For Constantine the Great it was 'Sardica mea Roma est' (Serdica is my Rome). He considered making Serdica the capital of the Byzantine Empire instead of Constantinople. The Tetrarchs' and Constantine's efforts to secure a large supply network for the Danube army by building a large number of horrea in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries appears to have included Serdica as a principal gathering base due to the 8 horrea discovered by excavation. In 343, the Council of Sardica was held in a church located where the current 6th century Church of Saint Sofia was later built. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and was renamed Triaditsa. Serdica again flourished during the reign of Justinian I, when its defensive walls were reinforced by doubling their thickness and adding more towers, and whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809.

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