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Roman Empire and neighboring tribes around AD 125

The Carps ( Latin Carpi or Carpiani ) were an ancient people in southeastern Europe. Claudius Ptolemaeus was the first to mention them in his Geographia, written between 130 and 148, as Καρπιάνοι ( Karpianoi ) and at the same time the Carpathian Mountains as Καρπάτης ὄρος ( hó Karpátes oros ).


Their assignment is disputed. They can have spoken a Dacian , a Germanic or a Sarmatian and therefore Iranian dialect. Sources from the Roman Empire state that Daci, Costoboci and Carpi lived outside the Roman-controlled part of Dacia . Despite this comparison, some recent historians summarize these tribes as free Dacians .

In Roman war reports before 240, the Carpi were not emphasized. From the middle of the 3rd century, when the Goths , who had meanwhile moved from the Vistula region to the west of today's Ukraine, began to carry out raids on Roman territory , the Carpi were also mentioned in sources and, together with other invaders, referred to as Scythai ( Scythians ), what especially the classical approach of Roman authors such Dexippus was due (see also Reich crisis of the 3rd century ).

According to the historian Jordanes of late antiquity , they were "a warlike race, often hostile to the Romans". They carried out their raids in league with Germanic or Sarmatian peoples, such as the Roxolani , Bastarnae and Goths.

Alliance of the Gothic King Kniva

Trains of the "Scythian" alliance of the Goths 250–251

Emperor Philip Arabs had to make peace with the Carps. Decius was able to end her attack on the Roman province of Moesia inferior (Lower Moesia ) in 248 . But in 250/251 an alliance of "Scythian tribes" (i.e. Goths and other groups) under the Gothic king Kniva first plundered Napoca , then besieged Nicopolis , from where a Roman army under Decius drove them and finally prepared a devastating battle for this army in the battle of Abrittus Defeat in which Decius and his son were killed. Despite individual Roman victories, the alliance under Kniva grew stronger and stronger and undertook war and raids through Illyria , to Athens, which they brought under their control, and to Italy, where the Senate had to take emergency measures to secure the city of Rome. Amplified by Bastarni and Herulians the allied strains even built on the estuary of Tyras ( Dnjestr ) a Black Sea fleet with which they - in vain - Moesia (Moesia) and attacked by the 269 Bosporus lead to Thessaloniki to siege. Only then did Roman troops succeed in pushing the invaders back to Dacia, and after two successive victories by Emperor Claudius Gothicus , the alliance disintegrated.

Roman federates

Claudius' successor, Aurelian , got the Carpi under control with a victory in the year 272 and received the honorary name Carpicus from the Senate . He settled captured Carpi near Sopiana (modern Hungarian: Pécs and German Fünfkirchen) in Pannonia , but decided a little later to give up the province of Dacia, whereupon a large part of the Carpi settled there. Diocletian , who ruled 284-305, disciplined the Carpi again with resettlements and was given the nickname Carpicus Maximus for it in 299 . Later they got restless again. During his reign, Emperor Constantine had large earth walls built in order to keep uncontrolled tribes in the mountains away from the federates located in the Pannonian plain. After his death, the Gothic Terwingen brought the Wallachian plain under their control. It is unknown whether they also gained control over the Carpi or whether they became independent. The historian Zosimos wrote around 500 AD that Theodosius I , emperor from 379 to 395, repulsed the Huns , Skiren and Karpodacians . According to the chronicler Eutropius , who lived around 340-390 , a large number were settled as foederati in the border areas. Zosimos' mention of the Carpodaci for the late 4th century is their last literary trace. It is possible that the name of the Carpathian Mountains is derived from them.



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