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The Battle at Mursa in 351 and its consequences
Puni tekst: pdf (154 KB),
Str. 9 - 29
The author analyzes original sources of the Late Antiquity and Byzantine writers about circumstances surrounding the Battle at Mursa in 351 between Constantius II and Magnentius and its course. Since this was one of the bloodiest battles from the period of the Roman Empire, the author also discusses its importance in an overall military and political situation of the late Roman Empire and the effects it had on its contemporaries as well as the tradition.
Although the contemporaries gave the Battle at Mursa cardinal importance and named it a certain historical turning point for the Roman Empire which started to decline soon afterwards, in reality its role was not such. Its immediate effects with regard to a huge number of victims definitely cannot be disregarded. It is best shown by the Constantius’s prudence with which he continued to offer resistance to Magnentius, who was ultimately defeated two years later. Namely, he did not want to increase the number of victims unnecessarily in forcing the decision. The population residing between the rivers of Sava and Drava undoubtedly suffered considerable damage during the war, because this part of Pannonian region was the scene of the fiercest battles. The renovation activities started even before the military actions had ceased completely, which is supported by the renovation of the traffic infrastructure in the area. Strategic and political importance of the Battle at Mursa had been clearly emphasised in the Emperor’s propaganda, which praised Constantius’s victory and regarded it as a turning point in his battle with Magnentius because it finally placed the authority in the hands of the legitimate emperor. Later attempts to give this battle a global political significance, which allegedly had a crucial influence on the future of the Empire, arose from the senate circles. An extremely lamenting and pessimistic notion of the consequences of this battle reflects a typically classcoloured standpoint, according to which the civil war was equally detrimental to all sides and it was the senators who were expected to take sides in a conflict in times of political turmoil, and if they had done so in that battle they would have faced negative consequences.
Roman Empire; fourth century; Pannonia; Mursa; Emperor Constantius II; usurper Magnentius
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