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The provinces and dioceses of the Roman Empire after the death of Theodosius I in ca. 400AD
Province of Pannonia highlighted
Pannonia map
Ancient peoples in Pannonia
Pannonia is an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italymarker, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia.Pannonia was located over the territory of the present-day western half of Hungarymarker with parts in Austriamarker, Croatiamarker, Serbiamarker, Sloveniamarker, Slovakiamarker and Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker.


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


Its original inhabitants were the Pannonii (Pannonians), a group of 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 (Sisakmarker). The country was not, however, definitely subdued until 9 BC, when it was incorporated into Illyricum, the frontier of which was thus extended as far as the Danube.

In AD 6, the Pannonians, with the Dalmatians and other Illyrian tribes, revolted, and were overcome by Tiberius and Germanicus, after a hard-fought campaign which lasted for three years. After the rebellion was crushed in 9 AD, 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 (the western), and Pannonia Inferior (the eastern) portion. According to Ptolemy, these divisions were separated by a line drawn from Arrabona (Győrmarker) in the north to Servitium (Gradiškamarker) 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 at first under a praetorian legate with a single legion as garrison, after Marcus Aurelius under a consular legate, still with only one legion. The frontier on the Danube was protected by the establishment of the two colonies Aelia Mursia (Osijekmarker) and Aelia Aquincummarker (Óbudamarker) by Hadrian.

Under Diocletian a fourfold division of the country was made:

Diocletian also moved parts of today's Sloveniamarker out of Pannonia and included them into Noricum.

In the middle of the 5th century Pannonia was ceded to the Huns by Theodosius II, and after the death of Attila successively passed into the hands of the Ostrogoths (456–471), Lombards (530–568), Avars (560s - c.800), Slavs (living there since c. 480s; independent between c.800 - 900), Magyars (modern Hungarians) (since 900/901); Habsburgs and Ottomans (since 1526; the Ottoman rule ended in 1686). After the First World War, the region was divided between Austriamarker, Hungarymarker and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker (renamed to Yugoslavia in 1929).

Cities and auxiliary forts

Aerial photography: Gorsium - Tác - Hungary
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:

Economy and country features

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 Arrabomarker, 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


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

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