|August 2758 auc||
Fr. Apulo Caesare C. Popillio Laena consulibus
One of the places in the world that I would like very much to see is the Danube River Gorge, especially the very rugged Djerdap Gorge where the Emperor Trajan had constructed a wooden (later a stone) tow path built by the Legions. Along the top of the mountains which soared over the gorge were constructed a series of watchtowers which overlooked the gorge. These towers are shown near the base of Trajan's column. These towers which were normally five times as high as a man (about 25 ft, or 8 meters). The base of the tower appears to by constructed of stone while the upper stories (20 ft. or 6+ meters) may have been built of a timber framing with the well-known 'wattle and dab" paneling. These surfaces were then plastered over and painted to look like a stone structure throughout.
The door as normally at the first floor level with a ladder
which could be drawn in case of an attack. The bottom level reached by
an inside ladder and wooden hatch was the storeroom and cooking area.
The middle or first level was the living quarters, the third level also
reached fro an inside ladder was the lookout level. There was a wooden
gallery at the second floor level for the lookout which had one door and
three windows closed by a wooden cover. From this level signals could
be sent by a fired torch at night. During the day smoke signals would
be used. Nearby the tower, on Trajan's Column are depicted stacks of straw
which were also used for signaling The signal towers were also ditched
The importance of the Danube as a commercial was recognized by the Romans whose markings on the cliffs record how they dragged river craft upstream against the current. With it's source in the Occident, and it's mouth opening on the Orient, the Danube Valley has proved to be a highway for invading armies. From the west came the Romans and other invaders throughout history.
The Danube River is rich in historic association. The river was known to the Greeks as the Ister. Herodotus called it, "The Greatest Of Rivers." In general it divided the Mediterranean world from from the barbarian lands to the East and North. Known to the Romans as the Danubius, it remained a boundary to the Empire until the Emperor Trajan added province of Dacia to the East and North of the Danube to the Roman Empire. This new province as the nucleus of the modern state of Rumania.
Thoughout the known history of the Danube it's flood waters in he delta area can rise as much as thirty feet, while in times of drought, the river slows to a trickle of it's former self, and sand bars are frequent along the course of the river. However the average discharge of the river sees to be fairly steady providing a flow in to the Black sea of more than 300,000 cubic ft a second. During the severe winters long stretch of the river are frozen solid. This spin ice break-up causes ice jams and severe flooding. These ice flows often destroyed the wooden tow path that the Romans had built along the southern shore. This annual destruction determined the Emperor Trajan to deepen the towpath into the rock walls, in order to avoid the projecting wooden gallery which was smashed by the swiftly flowing ice.
The Danube Basin consists of four minor basins:
Below Moldavia the river flows for approximately 60 miles over rapids and shallows through a passageway eroded over time through the hills which united the Carpathian Mountains with highland offshoots from the Alps.
The Danube as it moves South beyond Vienna and Carnuntum
borders the Hungarian Plain to the East. During the almost directly southward
course the Danube has Pannonia along the western shore of the great river.
The Hungarian Plain is divided nearly in half by the River Tisa which
also flows almost directly South. As the Danube River turns East it is
bounded on the South by Upper Moesia. The river Tisa joins the Danube
above Belgrade. This river (Tisa) is the western boundary of the
The Great Bridge will be the second part of our story about this great river and it's history.
The gorge itself is a deep one with mountains on either
side of the gorge towering at the time, in the vicinity of 800 to 900
ft above the river. The lake behind the modern iron gates Dam now covers
the towpath hewn from solid rock, built by Trajan and the Legions and
significantly reduces the height of the mountains above the lake surface
© NovaRoma 2005
Marcus Minucius-Tiberius Audens
Marcus Philippus Conservatus and Franciscus Apulus Caesar
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