Influence of Landscape and Climate Conditions on the Urban Fabric of Philippopolis in Antiquity

  • Dimitrina Popova Institute of Art Studies Bulgarian Academy of Sciences 21 Krakra Str., 1000 Sofia
Keywords: urban planning, Antiquity, Serdica, Philippopolis, Augusta Traiana, Roman province, Thrace, Roman towns, heritage of Bulgaria, Roman hinterland, landscape, climate


The main task of the research project that I present here is to identify possible settlement areas of permanent residence in Antiquity in the vicinities of the Roman town Philippopolis. In order to achieve a more complete picture of the ancient hinterland, I have conducted a comparative study and additionally developed graphical reconstructions of the hinterland of two other Roman settlements – Serdica and Augusta Traiana. All three towns were situated in the Roman province of Thrace and are now located in the territory of Bulgaria. The research project results in 12 drawings – territorial schemes. Three of them show the identified areas, while the remaining 9 drawings correspond to three factors according to which the areas were located. These factors are altitude, soil fertility and river networks in the hinterland of Philippopolis, Serdica and Augusta Traiana. The project’s significance is in its methodology and the fact that it addresses broader theoretical questions on Roman territorial settlement structure. The discourse of the study is influenced by the works of the French historian Fernand Braudel, where he argues for the importance of continuity, for the sustainable conditions of environment: landscape, water and climate. Braudel prioritizes the longue durée changes, rejects periodization in history and thus opens space for an entirely new interpretation of the past.