Borani of Zosimus, the Bosporan Kingdom and the Raid against Trebizond/Trapezous Cover Image

Бораны Зосима, Боспорское царство и поход на Трапезунд
Borani of Zosimus, the Bosporan Kingdom and the Raid against Trebizond/Trapezous

Author(s): Kyrylo V. Myzgin, Serghei V. Didenko
Subject(s): Archaeology
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: coins; Trebizond/Trapezous; Gothic wars; Zosimus; Pharsanzes; amphorae; Boromlia horizon
Summary/Abstract: There is a fragment in Zosimus’ New History (Zos. I.32–33) about two naval raids of barbarians to the south-eastern and southern coasts of the Black Sea, which calls the Borani the organizers and principal participants. Ethnic identity and origin of this people remains unclear, being a subject of discussion among the experts. According to the account by Zosimus, the Borani together with other barbarians came to the Bosporan kingdom from the Danube area, and they appeared when Pharsanzes usurped the power 253/254 AD. The Borani used the Bosporan fleet to start their first naval raid from the Bosporan territory, against the city of Pituous. However, their attack was repelled by the vexillatio of legio XV Apollinaris stationed in the city under the commandment of Valerianus Successianus. In course of their second raid in 257/258 AD, which was also organized with support from the Bosporan fleet, the Borani succeeded in plundering Pituous and Trebizond/Trapezous. According to Zosimus, the barbarians took from Trebizond/Trapezous a great deal of money. Later on, the Borani disappeared from the pages of the New History, so their future remained unknown. From the most recent archaeological finds from the Roman period documented in the Eastern Barbaricum area, there are good reasons to suppose that, after the naval raids, the Borani settled in the region between the Dnieper and the Sivers’kyi Donets’ rivers. All the bronze coins minted in Trebizond/Trapezous and discovered to the north of the Black Sea so far originate from this place. Moreover, the finds of staters of King Pharsanzes, also concentrated in the area of interest, supply another argument for the relation to the events in the Bosporan kingdom in the 250s AD. Finally, the accumulation of the finds of amphorae of the type Shelov D in the said area suggests its stable commercial relations with the Black Sea emporia. Archaeological development of the forest-steppe zone between the Dnieper and the Sivers’kyi Donets’ in the middle and the second half of the third century AD is related to the sites of the Boromlia horizon discovered there. However, it would be still too early to attribute these sites to Zosimus’ Borani without any doubts.

  • Page Range: 311-336
  • Page Count: 26
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: English, Russian