Tomis

Constanţa (Tomis), Romania

Tomis (also called Tomi) was a Greek colony in the province of Scythia on the Black Sea's shore, founded around 500 BC for commercial exchanges with local Dacian populations. Probably the name is derived from Greek Τόμη meaning cut, section.

Greek Ruins of Tomis in Constanta, Photo: Denis Barthel (Source)

According to the Bibliotheke it was founded by Aeetes:

"When Aeetes discovered the daring deeds done by Medea, he started off in pursuit of the ship; but when she saw him near, Medea murdered her brother and cutting him limb from limb threw the pieces into the deep. Gathering the child's limbs, Aeetes fell behind in the pursuit; wherefore he turned back, and, having buried the rescued limbs of his child, he called the place Tomi. " ( Bibliotheke I, ix, 24 )

According to Jordanes (after Cassiodorus), the founder of the city was a Getae queen (Jord. De origine actibusque Getarum, "The origin and deeds of the Goths"):

Tomyris plunges the head of the dead Cyrus into a vessel of blood, Alexander Zick.


"After achieving this victory (against Cyrus the Great) and winning so much booty from her enemies, Queen Tomyris crossed over into that part of Moesia which is now called Lesser Scythia - a name borrowed from Great Scythia -, and built on the Moesian shore of the Black Sea the city of Tomi, named after herself."

Roman Mosaic in Constanta (Source)

In 29 BC the Romans captured the region from the Odryses, and annexed it as far as the Danube, under the name of Limes Scythicus.

In AD 8, Ovid was banished here by Augustus and died there eight years later, celebrating the town of Tomis in his poems.

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.

It then belonged to Byzantines, Bulgarians, Turks and then to Romanians since 1878. Today, this city is called Constanţa and it is located in Romania.

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