Pannonia (/pəˈnoʊniə/) was a province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Pannonia was located over the territory of the present-day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Provincia Pannonia
Province of the Roman Empire
20 AD–107 AD

Location of Pannonia
Province of Pannonia highlighted
Capital Carnuntum,[1] Sirmium,[2] Savaria,[3] Aquincum,[4] Poetovio[5] or Vindobona[6]
 •  Established 20 AD
 •  Division of Pannonia Between the years 102 and 107, Trajan divided Pannonia into Pannonia Superior (western part with the capital Carnuntum), and Pannonia Inferior (eastern part with the capitals in Aquincum and Sirmium) 107 AD
Today part of  Hungary
 Bosnia and Herzegovina


Julius Pokorny believed the name Pannonia is derived from Illyrian, from the Proto-Indo-European root *pen-, "swamp, water, wet" (cf. English fen, "marsh"; Hindi pani, "water").[7]

Others believe that the name is related to the god of the nature, goats and shepherds Pan and/or pan, the Proto-Slavic/Proto-Indo-European word for lord/master, which could mean Pan's Land or Land of the Master(s), which is more probable due the fact the Ionian fleet supplied Pannonia via the Black Sea and Danube, and Panionium festivities were also well known in the region to its Celtic, Adriatic Veneti and Scythian inhabitants.

Pliny the Elder, in Natural History, places the eastern regions of the Hercynium jugum, the "Hercynian mountain chain", in Pannonia (present-day Hungary) and Dacia (present-day Romania).[8] He also gives us some dramaticised description[9] of its composition, in which the close proximity of the forest trees causes competitive struggle among them (inter se rixantes). He mentions its gigantic oaks.[10] But even he—if the passage in question is not an interpolated marginal gloss—is subject to the legends of the gloomy forest. He mentions unusual birds, which have feathers that "shine like fires at night". Medieval bestiaries named these birds the Ercinee. The impenetrable nature of the Hercynian Silva hindered the last concerted Roman foray into the forest, by Drusus, during 12–9 BC: Florus asserts that Drusus invisum atque inaccessum in id tempus Hercynium saltum (Hercynia saltus, the "Hercynian ravine-land") [11] patefecit.[12]


Prior to Roman conquest

The first inhabitants of this area known to history were the Pannonii (Pannonians), a group of Indo-European tribes akin to Illyrians. From the 4th century BC, it was invaded by various Celtic tribes. Little is heard of Pannonia until 35 BC, when its inhabitants, allies of the Dalmatians, were attacked by Augustus, who conquered and occupied Siscia (Sisak). The country was not, however, definitively subdued by the Romans until 9 BC, when it was incorporated into Illyricum, the frontier of which was thus extended as far as the Danube.

Under Roman rule

Seuso and his wife at Lake Balaton
Seuso and his wife at Lacus Pelso (today Lake Balaton)
Roman Empire 125
The Roman empire in the time of Hadrian (ruled 117-138 AD), showing, on the middle Danube river, the imperial provinces of Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior and the 2 legions deployed in each in 125
Costantino nord-limes png
Map showing Constantine I's conquests of areas of present-day eastern Hungary, western Romania and northern Serbia, in the first decades of the 4th century (pink color).

In AD 6, the Pannonians, with the Dalmatians and other Illyrian tribes, engaged in the so-called Great Illyrian Revolt, and were overcome by Tiberius and Germanicus, after a hard-fought campaign, which lasted for three years. After the rebellion was crushed in AD 9, the province of Illyricum was dissolved, and its lands were divided between the new provinces of Pannonia in the north and Dalmatia in the south. The date of the division is unknown, most certainly after AD 20 but before AD 50. The proximity of dangerous barbarian tribes (Quadi, Marcomanni) necessitated the presence of a large number of troops (seven legions in later times), and numerous fortresses were built on the bank of the Danube.

Some time between the years 102 and 107, between the first and second Dacian wars, Trajan divided the province into Pannonia Superior (western part with the capital Carnuntum), and Pannonia Inferior (eastern part with the capitals in Aquincum and Sirmium[13]). According to Ptolemy, these divisions were separated by a line drawn from Arrabona in the north to Servitium in the south; later, the boundary was placed further east. The whole country was sometimes called the Pannonias (Pannoniae).

Pannonia Superior was under the consular legate, who had formerly administered the single province, and had three legions under his control. Pannonia Inferior was at first under a praetorian legate with a single legion as the garrison; after Marcus Aurelius, it was under a consular legate, but still with only one legion. The frontier on the Danube was protected by the establishment of the two colonies Aelia Mursia and Aelia Aquincum by Hadrian.

Under Diocletian, a fourfold division of the country was made:

Diocletian also moved parts of today's Slovenia out of Pannonia and incorporated them in Noricum. In 324 AD, Constantine I enlarged the borders of Roman Pannonia to the east, annexing the plains of what is now eastern Hungary, northern Serbia and western Romania up to the limes that he created: the Devil's Dykes.

In the 4th-5th century, one of the dioceses of the Roman Empire was known as the Diocese of Pannonia. It had its capital in Sirmium and included all four provinces that were formed from historical Pannonia, as well as the provinces of Dalmatia, Noricum Mediterraneum and Noricum Ripense.


Pannonia in the 1st century


Pannonia in the 2nd century

Pannonia03 en

Pannonia in the 4th century


Pannonia with Constantine I "limes" in 330 AD


Gerulata- a Roman military camp located near today's Rusovce, Slovakia.

During the Migrations Period in the 5th century, some parts of Pannonia was ceded to the Huns in 433 by Flavius Aetius, the magister militum of the Western Roman Empire.[14] After the collapse of the Hunnic empire in 454, large numbers of Ostrogoths were settled by Marcian in the province as foederati. The Eastern Roman Empire controlled it for a time in the 6th century, and a Byzantine province of Pannonia with its capital at Sirmium was temporarily restored, but it included only a small southeastern part of historical Pannonia.

Afterwards, it was again invaded by the Avars in the 560s, the Slavs, who first settled c. 480s but became independent only from the 7th century, and the Franks, who named a frontier march the March of Pannonia in the late 8th century. The term Pannonia was also used for a Slavic duchy that was vassal to the Franks.

Between the 5th and the 10th centuries, the romanized population of Pannonia developed the Romance Pannonian language, mainly around Lake Balaton in present-day western Hungary, where there was the keszthely culture. This language and the related culture became extinct with the arrival of the Magyars.

Cities and auxiliary forts

Aerial photography: Gorsium - Tác - Hungary
Aquincum, Hungary
Sirmium, Imperial Palace
Ruins of Imperial Palace in Sirmium

The native settlements consisted of pagi (cantons) containing a number of vici (villages), the majority of the large towns being of Roman origin. The cities and towns in Pannonia were:

Now in Austria:

Now in Bosnia and Hercegovina:

Now in Croatia:

Now in Hungary:

Now in Serbia:

Now in Slovakia:

Now in Slovenia:

Economy and country features

Pannonia popolazioni png
Ancient peoples in Pannonia

The country was fairly productive, especially after the great forests had been cleared by Probus and Galerius. Before that time, timber had been one of its most important exports. Its chief agricultural products were oats and barley, from which the inhabitants brewed a kind of beer named sabaea. Vines and olive trees were little cultivated. Pannonia was also famous for its breed of hunting dogs. Although no mention is made of its mineral wealth by the ancients, it is probable that it contained iron and silver mines. Its chief rivers were the Dravus, Savus, and Arrabo, in addition to the Danuvius (less correctly, Danubius), into which the first three rivers flow.


The ancient name Pannonia is retained in the modern term Pannonian plain.

See also


  1. ^ Vienna, Anthony Haywood, Caroline (CON) Sieg, Lonely Planet Vienna, 2010, page 21.
  2. ^ The third book of history: containing ancient history in connection with ancient geography, Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Jenks, Palmer, 1835, page 111.
  3. ^ The Archaeology of Roman Pannonia, Alfonz Lengyel, George T. Radan, University Press of Kentucky, 1980, page 247.
  4. ^ People and nature in historical perspective, Péter Szabó, Central European University Press, 2003, page 144.
  5. ^ Historical outlook: a journal for readers, students and teachers of history, Том 9, American Historical Association, National Board for Historical Service, National Council for the Social Studies, McKinley Publishing Company, 1918, page 194.
  7. ^ J. Pokorny, Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, No. 1481 Archived 2011-06-12 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Pliny, iv.25
  9. ^ The threatening nature of the pathless woodland in Pliny is explored by Klaus Sallmann, "Reserved for Eternal Punishment: The Elder Pliny's View of Free Germania (HN. 16.1–6)" The American Journal of Philology 108.1 (Spring 1987:108–128) pp 118ff.
  10. ^ Pliny xvi.2
  11. ^ Compare the inaccessible Carbonarius Saltus west of the Rhine
  12. ^ Florus, ii.30.27.
  13. ^ The Routledge Handbook of Archaeological Human Remains and Legislation, Taylor & Francis, page 381.
  14. ^ Attila, the Hun – Google Knihy. 2003. ISBN 0-7910-7221-5. Retrieved 2018-10-17.


  • Radomir Popović, Rano hrišćanstvo u Panoniji, Vojvođanski godišnjak, sveska I, Novi Sad, 1995.
  • Petar Milošević, Arheologija i istorija Sirmijuma, Novi Sad, 2001.

External links

Coordinates: 44°54′00″N 19°01′12″E / 44.9000°N 19.0200°E

Andronicus of Pannonia

Andronicus of Pannonia (Greek: Ἀνδρόνικος) was a 1st-century Christian mentioned by the Apostle Paul: Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

According to that verse, Andronicus was a kinsman of Paul and a fellow prisoner at some time, particularly well-known among the apostles, and had become a follower of Jesus Christ before Paul's Damascus road conversion. It is generally assumed that Junia was his wife, but they could have been brother and sister, or father and daughter, or no close relation to each other, but to Paul as kinsmen.


Brčko (Cyrillic: Брчко, pronounced [br̩̂tʃkoː]) is a town and the administrative seat of Brčko District. Located in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, it lies on the banks of Sava river across from Croatia. As of 2013, it has a population of 83,516 inhabitants.

It is the only existent entirely self-governing free city in Europe.

Dalmatia (Roman province)

Dalmatia was a Roman province. Its name is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae, which lived in the central area of the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It encompassed the northern part of present-day Albania, much of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia, thus covering an area significantly larger than the current Croatian region of Dalmatia. Originally this region was called Illyria (in Greek) or Illyricum (in Latin).

The province of Illyricum was dissolved and replaced by two separate provinces: Dalmatia and Pannonia.

Devil's Dykes

The Devil's Dykes (Hungarian: Ördög árok), also known as the Csörsz árka ("Csörsz Ditch") or the Limes Sarmatiae (Latin for "Sarmatian border"), are several lines of Roman fortifications built mostly during the reign of Constantine I (312–337), stretching between today's Hungary, Romania and Serbia.

Diocese of Pannonia

The Diocese of Pannonia (Latin: Dioecesis Pannoniarum, lit. "Diocese of the Pannonias"), from 395 known as the Diocese of Illyricum, was a diocese of the Late Roman Empire. The seat of the vicarius (governor of the diocese) was Sirmium.

Duchy of Pannonian Croatia

The Duchy of Pannonian Croatia (Croatian: Kneževina Panonska Hrvatska) was a medieval duchy from the 7th to the 10th century located in the Pannonian Plain approximately between the rivers Drava and Sava in today's Croatia, but at times also considerably to the south of the Sava. Its capital was Sisak.

Pannonia Film Studio

Pannonia Film Studio (also known as MAFILM Pannónia Filmstúdió) is the largest animation studio in Hungary, based in the capital of Budapest.

Pannonia Inferior

Pannonia Inferior, lit. Lower Pannonia, was a province of the Roman Empire. Its capital was Sirmium. It was one on the border provinces on the Danube. It was formed in the year 103 AD by Emperor Trajan who divided the former province of Pannonia into two parts: Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior. The province included parts of present-day states of Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The province was bordered to the east (across the Danube) by a Sarmatian tribe—the Iazyges. Later, the Vandals appeared to the north-east.

Pannonia Prima

Pannonia Prima was an ancient Roman province. It was formed in the year 296, during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Previously, it was a part of the province of Pannonia Superior, which, along with Pannonia Inferior, was gradually divided into four administrative units: Pannonia Prima, Pannonia Secunda, Valeria, and Savia. This transition was completed by the time of Constantine. According to the Notitia Dignitatum, Pannonia Prima was governed by a Praeses.

Pannonia Savia

Pannonia Savia or simply Savia, also known as Pannonia Ripariensis, was a Late Roman province. It was formed in the year 295, during the tetrarchy reform of Roman emperor Diocletian, and assigned to the civil diocese of Pannonia, which was attached in the fourth century to the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum, and later to the Praetorian prefecture of Italy.

The capital of the province was Siscia (today Sisak). Pannonia Savia included parts of present-day Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pannonia Secunda

The Pannonia Secunda was one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. It was formed in the year 296, during the reign of emperor Diocletian. The capital of the province was Sirmium (today Sremska Mitrovica). Pannonia Secunda included parts of present-day Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pannonia Superior

Pannonia Superior, lit. Upper Pannonia, was a province of the Roman Empire. Its capital was Carnuntum. It was one on the border provinces on the Danube. It was formed in the year 103 AD by Emperor Trajan who divided the former province of Pannonia into two parts: Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior. The province included parts of present-day states of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Pannonia Valeria

The Pannonia Valeria or simply Valeria, also known as Pannonia Ripensis, was one of the provinces of the Roman Empire. It was formed in the year 296, during the reign of emperor Diocletian, in a division of Pannonia Inferior. The capital of the province was Sopianae (today Pécs). Pannonia Valeria included parts of present-day Hungary and Croatia.

The province continued as an entity under the rule of the Huns until the rise of the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths in the 5th century.

It then became the central Avar realm then part of the Avar March, later grew into the Duchy of Pannonia and finally the Balaton Principality regaining Pannonia Secunda before being conquered by the Magyars.

Pannonian Basin

The Pannonian Basin, or Carpathian Basin, is a large basin in Central Europe. The geomorphological term Pannonian Plain is more widely used for roughly the same region though with a somewhat different sense, with only the lowlands, the plain that remained when the Pliocene Epoch Pannonian Sea dried out.

It is a geomorphological subsystem of the Alps-Himalaya system, specifically a sediment-filled back-arc basin. Most of the plain consists of the Great Hungarian Plain (in the south and east, including the Eastern Slovak Lowland) and the Little Hungarian Plain (in the northwest), divided by the Transdanubian Mountains.

The Pannonian Basin lies in the southeastern part of Central Europe. It forms a topographically discrete unit set in the European landscape, surrounded by imposing geographic boundaries - the Carpathian Mountains and the Alps. The Rivers Danube and Tisza divide the basin roughly in half. It extends roughly between Vienna in the northwest, Bratislava in the northeast, Ostrava in the north, Zagreb in the southwest, Novi Sad in the south and Satu Mare in the east.

In terms of modern state boundaries, the basin centres on the territory of Hungary, but it also covers regions of western Slovakia (the Eastern Slovak Lowland), southeastern Poland, western Ukraine, western Romania, northern Serbia (Vojvodina), the tip of northeast Croatia (Slavonia), northeastern Slovenia, and eastern Austria. The name "Pannonian" comes from Pannonia, a province of the Roman Empire. Only the western part of the territory (the so-called Transdanubia) of modern Hungary formed part of the ancient Roman Province of Pannonia; this comprises less than 29% of modern Hungary, therefore Hungarian geographers avoid the terms "Pannonian Basin" and "Pannonian Plain".

Pannonian Rusyns

Rusyns in Pannonia, or simply Rusyns or Ruthenians (Rusyn: Руснаци or Русини, Serbo-Croatian: Rusini, Русини), are a regional minority subgroup of the Rusyns, an Eastern Slavic peoples. They are located in the Central European region of Pannonia, which today covers almost all of Hungary, the southern-most parts of Slovakia, northeast Croatia, a tiny sliver portion of northeast Slovenia, and the northern-most part of Serbia (Vojvodina).

They are also considered to be related to the northern Carpathian Rusyns (Carpathian Ruthenians) who live in Carpathian Ruthenia (mostly in Ukraine and Slovakia, but also in Poland, Romania, Czech Republic and Hungary).


Petrovaradin (Serbian Cyrillic: Петроварадин, pronounced [petroʋarǎdiːn]) is one of two city municipalities which constitute the city of Novi Sad. As of 2011, the urban area has 27,083 inhabitants, while the municipality has 33,865 people inhabitants. Lying across the river Danube from the main part of Novi Sad, it is built around the Petrovaradin Fortress, historical anchor of the modern city.

Principality of Lower Pannonia

The Balaton Principality (Slovak: Blatenské kniežatstvo, Slovene: Blatenska kneževina) or Principality of Lower Pannonia, was a Slavic principality, vassal to the Frankish Empire, or according to others a comitatus (county) of the Frankish Empire, led initially by a dux (Pribina) and later by a comes (Pribina's son, Kocel). It was one of the early Slavic polities (Kocel's title was "Comes de Sclauis" - Count of the Slavs) and was situated mostly in Transdanubia region of modern Hungary, but also included parts of modern Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Austria.

At the beginning of the 9th century, many Carantanians were moved as settlers in Balaton Principality/Lower Pannonia, which was referred in Latin sources as Carantanorum regio or "The Land of the Carantanians". Carantanians/Alpine Slavs were the ancestors of present-day Slovenians. The name Carantanians (Quarantani) was in use until the 13th century.


Sirmium was a city in the Roman province of Pannonia. First mentioned in the 4th century BC and originally inhabited by Illyrians and Celts, it was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and subsequently became the capital of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferior. In 294 AD, Sirmium was proclaimed one of four capitals of the Roman Empire. It was also the capital of the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum and of Pannonia Secunda. Sirmium was located on the Sava river, on the site of modern Sremska Mitrovica in northern Serbia. The site is protected as an Archaeological Site of Exceptional Importance. The modern region of Syrmia (Srem) was named after the city.

Sirmium had 100,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest cities of its time. Colin McEvedy, however, put the population at only 7,000, based on the size of the archaeological site. Ammianus Marcellinus called it "the glorious mother of cities".


Vindobona (from Gaulish windo- "white" and bona "base/bottom") was a Roman military camp on the site of the modern city of Vienna in Austria. The settlement area took on a new name in the 13th century, being changed to Berghof, or now simply known as Alter Berghof (the Old Berghof).Around 15 BC, the kingdom of Noricum was included in the Roman Empire. Henceforth, the Danube marked the border of the empire, and the Romans built fortifications and settlements on the banks of the Danube, including Vindobona with an estimated population of 15,000 to 20,000.

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