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Information about the place (6)
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
A Milesian colony on the Romanian coast of the Black Sea, between
Istros (to the N) and Kallatis (to the S). It was probably founded in the 6th
c., although its name does not appear in the texts until the 3d c. In the Hellenistic
period, the only known phase of its history, it was involved in the war between
Byzantium and Kallatis (allied to Istros), which in fact was fought for control
of the Tomis emporium (Memnon, fr. 21 = FHG 3, p. 537). Tomis was a member of
the Pontic koinon created toward the end of the 1st c. B.C. and immediately annexed
by Rome (the period when Ovid, sent into exile by Augustus, came to Tomis to die),
and quickly became the chief city of the Dobruja region as well as the metropolis
of the whole W part of Pontus.
This prosperity was gravely threatened in the 3d c. A.D. by the invasions
of the Goths, and was not reaffirmed until the time of the Tetrarchy, when Tomis
was made chief city of the new province of Scythia. Under the protection of Constantine
and his successors, Tomis, now Christianized and the seat of a bishop, was to
flourish for the last time. Toward the end of the 7th c. it was abandoned by its
inhabitants as were all the Scythian cities.
The ancient Milesian colony has not been excavated systematically
because it lies under the modern city. However, there have been chance finds of
epigraphic and architectural monuments. The most important of these monuments
is the circuit wall that protected Tomis on the N-NW and S-SW sides by closing
off the promontory on which the city was built. This wall seems to have been built
in the 2d c. A.D., but it was rebuilt several times up to the end of antiquity.
Roughly 3 m thick, it has an external facing of large squared blocks; semicircular
towers flank the gates. One of these towers apparently dates from Justinian's
reign, but constructions of the same type are attested in the reigns of Diocletian
Another significant monument, unearthed in 1959, is the so-called
mosaic building. This is a huge complex of commercial buildings designed on three
levels, which also served to cover and support the cliff, which is 20 m high at
this point. The upper terrace, which overlooked the sea, had a mosaic floor surrounded
on three sides by walls faced with polychrome marble. The mosaic covers an area
of roughly 2000 sq. m and is fairly well preserved. It gives the impression of
a brightly colored carpet decorated with geometric and plant motifs. The story
below consists of 11 vaulted rooms designed to be used as warehouses. Some of
them were found to contain dozens of amphorae along with several anchors and some
iron clamps. On the first floor up from ground level, which gives directly onto
the nearby quays, a certain number of warehouses were found, also filled with
amphorae; others are in the process of excavation. Close by this fine complex
several warehouses designed for storing grain are being excavated, along with
the ruins of a bath building (one large room that has been uncovered measures
not less than 300 sq. m).
The port installations date from the 4th c. A.D. By this time Tomis
had been Christianized and its four basilicas date to the 4th and 5th c. One,
on the W cliff, is small and somewhat poorly preserved. A second is in the courtyard
of No. 2 secondary school. It has not been possible to excavate this building
completely, but it is larger than the first basilica and more carefully built.
Near the altar is a rectangular crypt, its walls covered with paintings. The third,
in the W section of the city, is ca. 35 m long and 18.8 m wide; it has an apse
8 m in diameter and a vaulted crypt, poorly preserved. The fourth is the largest
in the whole of Dobruja. It had three naves, separated by marble columns and a
huge crypt divided into seven interconnecting rooms arranged in the shape of a
cross. Close by this great basilica a cache of 23 statues and reliefs was found,
no doubt a remnant of the religious war that raged throughout the Empire in the
D. M. Pippidi, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Sep 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Tomis or Tomi (Tomis, Strab. vii. p. 319; Ov. Tr. iii. 9 33; Geogr.
Rav. iv. 6, &c.: Tomai, Ptol. iii. 10. § 8; Tomi, Plin. iv. 11. s. 18; Stat. S.
i. 2, 255; Itin. Ant. p. 227, &c.; in Mela, ii. 2, Tomoe: we also find the Greek
form Tomeus, Steph. B. s. v.; Arrian, Per. P. Eux. p. 24), a town of Lower Moesia,
on the Euxine, and the capital of the district of Scythia Minor (Sozom. H. Eccl.
vii. 25; Hierocl. p. 637). It was situated at a distance of about 300 stadia or
36 miles from Istros or Istropolis (Anon. Per. P. Eux. p. 12; Itin. Ant. p. 227),
but according to the Tab. Peut. 40 miles. It was a Milesian colony, and according
to the legend the place where Medea cut up her brother's body, or where their
father Aeetes got together and buried the pieces (Ov. l. c.; Apollod. i. 9, 25;
Hygin. Fab. 13.) The legend is no doubt connected with the name of the town, which,
however, is still better known as the place of banishment of Ovid. Now Tomisvar
or Jeni Pangola.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
Now Tomiswar or Jegni Pangola; a town of Thrace (subsequently Moesia), situated on the western shore of the Euxine, and at a later time the capital of Scythia Minor. It is renowned as the place of Ovid's banishment.
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
- Tomi: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
- Tomis: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
Names of the place
Apsyrtus (Apsurtos). The son of Aeetes, king of Colchis, whom Medea took with her when she fled with Iason. Being pursued by her father, she murdered her brother, cut his body in pieces, and threw them into the sea, that her father might be detained by gathering the limbs of his child. Tomi, the place where this horror was committed, was believed to have derived its name from temno, "cut".
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
The Catholic Encyclopedia
A titular metropolitan see in the Province of Scythia, on the Black Sea. It was a Greek colony from Miletus. In 29 B.C. the Romans captured the country from the Odryses, and annexed it as far as the Danube, under the name of Limes Scythicus. The city was afterwards included in the Province of Moesia, and, from the time of Diocletian, in Scythia Minor, of which it was the metropolis. In A.D. 10 Ovid was exiled thither by Augustus, and died there eight years later, celebrating the town of Tomi in his poems. Few places had so many Christian memories as this town, in the barbarous country of the Getae; e.g. Sts. Macrobius, Gordianus, and their companions, exiled to Scythia and slain in 319, venerated on 13 Sept.; Sts. Argeus, Narcissus, and Marcellinus, also slain under Licinius and venerated 2 Jan.; a great many others whose names only are known, and who are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology for 3 April, 20 June, 5 July, and 1 October. The first bishop may have been Evangelicus, mentioned in the Acts of Sts. Epictetus and Action (8 July), and who must have lived at the end of the third century. Eusebius (De Vita Constantini, III, 7) mentions a Scythian bishop at Nicaea who may have belonged to Tomi. Mention should be made of St. Bretanion, martyred under Valens, and whose feast is observed 25 Jan.; Gerontius, at the Council of Constantinople, in 381; St. Theotimus, writer and friend of St. John Chrysostom, venerated 20 April; Timotheus, at Ephesus in 431; John, ecclesiastical writer, d. about 448; Alexander, at Chalcedon in 451; Theotimus II, in 458; Paternus, in 519; and Valentinian, in 550. The Province of Scythia formed a single diocese, that of Tomi, and autocephalous archdiocese, subject to the patriarch of Constantinople. It is mentioned in 640 in the Ecthesis of Pseudo-Epiphanius (Gelzer, "Ungedruckte . . . Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum", 535). Shortly afterwards the Bulgarians invaded the region and the Archdiocese of Tomi was suppressed. The city subsequently belonged to the Byzantines, again to the Bulgarians, then to the Turks, and finally to the Rumanians since the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. The town of Tomi is near Constantza, the capital of Dobroudja and a port on the Black Sea, which has about 15,000 inhabitants. There is a Catholic parish. A statue of the poet Ovid stands in the chief square.
S. Vailhe, ed.
Transcribed by: Thomas M. Barrett
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.