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Saturday, 13 December 2014 00:00


Scientific Report

Project PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0054

October – December 2011


In the period October – December 2011 the following key intermediary activities (as reflected in project proposal) were implemented for successfully accomplishing the stated project goals: 


1. A round table was organized on November 27-29 and was attended by all team members. Fifteen scientific papers and a conference were presented during this event. The main discussion topics addressed aspects related to research methodology, concepts used, stage of research. We also addressed the strategy for project activities coordination. The agenda of the event and abstracts of presentations can be found on the project website (

2. Five foreign study visits were made in order to accomplish the stated project objectives – Czech Republic (Dr. George Bilavschi), Poland (Dr. George Bilavschi), Germany (Dr. Victor Cojocaru, Prof. dr. Adrian Poruciuc) Bulgaria (Dr. Lucian Munteanu). The exact dates of the trips are included in expenditure record sheet.

3. During the International Session Pontica (5-7 October 2011 Constanta / Romania), project team members made five project-related presentations related. Dr. Victor Cojocaru made a presentation entitled “Antonia Tryphaena”. Dr. Andrei Opaiţ presented a joint work entitled “On Callatis ceramic production in Hellenistic and Roman times”. Dr. Julian Bîrzescu presentation was entitled “About the beginnings of the ‘sacred zone’ in Histria”. Dr. Florina Panait-Birzescu made a presentation on “Iconography of Apollo Ietros in the Greek colonies of the Black Sea”. Dr. Costel Chriac presented a joint work entitled “Medical and/or cosmetic tools in Moesia Inferior”.

4. We started our work on printing a collective volume at the prestigious German Publishing House Franz Steiner with the title “Die Außenbeziehungen pontischer und kleinasiatischer Städte in hellenistischer und römischer Zeit”. The editor from the Romanian part is Dr. Victor Cojocaru and the research problems touched upon in this volume are strongly linked to the project PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0054, a fact explicitly mentioned in the foreword of the work.

5. Project team members elaborated and handed over to print eight project-related papers related. Six of the eight studies are part of the above-mentioned collective volume and are signed by the following authors: Dr. Adrian Robu, Les relations de Byzance avec les cités du Pont Gauche à l’époque hellénistique: la guerre pour l’emporion de Tomis; Dr. Victor Cojocaru, Die Außenbeziehungen der griechischen Städte der nördlichen Schwarzmeerküste in hellenistischer und römischer Zeit auf Grundlage der epigraphischen Quellen; Dr. Ligia Ruscu, Die Beziehungen privaten und offiziellen Charakters zwischen Einzelpersonen und Staaten in Bezug auf die westpontischen Griechenstädte in hellenistischer und römischer Zeit; Dr. Mădălina Dana, Étudiants et enseignants du Pont-Euxin à l’étranger; Dr. Livia Buzoianu (in collaboration), Éducation, culture et religion à la lumière de deux inscriptions inédites de Tomis et de son territoire; Dr. Florian Matei-Popescu, The Western Pontic Greek Cities and the Roman Army. The seventh study, “Foreign Relations of the North Pontic Greek cities in the Hellenistic Age and Roman period based on epigraphic sources” was elaborated by Dr. Victor Cojocaru and will appear in “Cercetări Istorice (Historical Research)” (Iasi) no. 27-29. The last of the eight papers, entitled “Foreign Relations of Pontic Greek cities during the Hellenistic and Roman times”, edited by Dr. Victor Cojocaru and Dr. Andrei Opaiţ, was accepted by the “Prelegeri Academice (Academic Lectures)” (Bucharest) magazine for the year 2011. Please note that all above-mentioned studies indicate the name and number of the funding contract as follows: “This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority of Scientific Research, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN- II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0054”.

6. The project website ( was built and can be accessed in Romanian and English. It contains information about the project itself and its team members, as well as more data concerning activities undertaken within the project. The website can be accessed by copying the site address in the URL of net browser (Internet Explorer, Google chrome, Firefox, Mozilla, etc.). The project website will be soon accessible through any major search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). The website was developed by Dr. George Bilavschi and Dr. Diana Stah and Prof. Dr. Adrian Poruciuc translated and/or checked the materials submitted in English.

In what follows, we are going to present the extent to which project goals were accomplished (as reflected in the proposal). Please note that more details in this regard can be found on the project website, including abstracts of the presentations from the round table mentioned earlier.

· to obtain an overall picture of the external relations of Pontic Greek cities through exhaustive research – repertorying, mapping, commenting – the epigraphic and literary information (Dr. Victor Cojocaru, Dr. Ligia Ruscu, Dr. Mădălina Dana, Dr. Adrian Robu, Dr. Livia Buzoianu). Team members managed to establish the theoretical principles, concepts and issues related to networks and the relations between the Greek cities in general, and between Pontic cities and the Greek world in particular. To the degree it was possible, lapidary inscriptions and amphora stamps relevant for external relations of the North, West and South Pontic apoikiai were collected, systematized and commented. The current state of research on the history of Byzantium and Chalcedon cities in Hellenistic and Roman eras was revealed. It was agreed upon grouping external relations of Pontic apoikiai according to their external partner. In this respect, the official relations – political, military and diplomatic, as well as the personal relations were considered. Research carried out by Dr. Livia Buzoianu amply demonstrated the importance of ceramic epigraphy for building a complex picture of the external relations of the Greek cities on the shores of the Black Sea in the Hellenistic period.

· to identify a possible model for the integration of the west coast of Pontus in the Roman Empire (Dr. Florian Matei-Popescu). We determined the sources, main aspects of West Pontic regions integration in the Roman world and specified the actual research stage. Based on relevant examples, we tried to provide arguments related to the main goal of the project – to identify and raise issues, but not necessarily solve them in situations where sources were insufficient or less conclusive.

· to prepare a comprehensive study regarding ceramic containers used for the import and export of certain products: olive oil, wine, fish products (Dr. Andrei Opaiţ). We made a review of the main problems encountered by researchers focusing on amphorae from the North-West Black Sea area. New possible directions for research undertaken within the project were pointed out. We established the main criteria to be used in publishing/republishing and analysis of amphorae from the Roman discovered in the Greek cities of Dobrogea.

· to make a comprehensive study regarding the production and trade of glass vessels in the Black Sea area in Hellenistic and Roman era (Dr. Costel Chiriac, PhD. Sever Botan). We established the current stage of research based on documentary evidence and made a first comparative picture between the North and the West Pontic areas. The major goal was to follow the spreading of vitreous pieces that present a series of very interesting features. The undertaken research helped us draw a number of conclusions at the current stage, of which (for reasons of space) we would like to mention the different intensity in the spread of glass products from the cities on the coast to the interior – due to differences in social and economic development of societies surrounding these cities.

· to elaborate a comprehensive study regarding tiles production workshops in the Black Sea in the context of Hellenistic coroplastic and establish the relationship between the Pontic workshops and models of the Aegean world (Dr. Iulian Bîrzescu). We specified the sources, research stage and main methodological problems, achieving an interesting comparison between the imported raw material and the local production. We investigated – with convincing results – aspects related to production technique, as well as tiles form and function.

· to elaborate a comprehensive study regarding Pontic colonies relations with the Aegean world as reflected in the sculptural art (Dr. Florina Panait Bîrzescu). We adopted an approach aimed at questioning several aspects of the stated objective – the origin and stylistic traits of marble sculpture pieces found in the Pontic cities, models and sources of inspiration, adaptations of iconographic patterns in relation to their significance. The main focus of the undertaken research was the current stage of statuary, namely the adopted iconographic models for the Black Sea deities’ representations.

· to elaborate a comprehensive study concerning the movement of goods in the western Black Sea basin, as reflected by the “commercial type” seals found in the Greek towns the area in Roman times (1st–3rd centuries A.D.), since they are relevant to the connections with the micro-Asian world (Dr. Costel Chiriac). We proposed a new reading of some previously published seals inscriptions and brought to discussion unpublished pieces. In doing so, we intended to achieve a repertoire of centres producing the exported goods and, to the degree it would be possible, to make a chronological differentiation of seals. The first mapping of these centres of origins and places of goods discovery on the Pontic West coast was made. In addition to the idea that seals are the most tangible and direct evidence of trade routes supported by the West Pontic centres in Roman times, we underline here the repertoire of the 18 settlements whose names appear on the commercial seals of the 3rd–5th centuries A.D.

· to elaborate a comprehensive study regarding trade relations of the West coast cities in Roman times based on numismatic discoveries (Dr. Lucian Munteanu). We established the working method and separated the chronological phases that differ in terms of composition and structure of numismatic finds. A comparison of the first numismatic data from this area and their counterparts in other regions of the Roman Empire was made, a fact that allows the identification of a numismatic pattern characteristic of Greek cities of Moesia Inferior. Given the format of the present report we would like to mention here only one of the research findings resulted at this stage – it is possible to identify local currency sub-molds differing in function (civilian/military), geographic location (Danubian/Pontic limes) or origin (Greek/Roman) within the Moesian standard mold.

· to elaborate a comprehensive study on the Germanic factor presence in some Pontic areas and find evidence based on the old Germanic forms preserved in the current languages spoken in the area (Prof. Dr. Adrian Poruciuc). We undertook a first classification of Germanic peoples that had an impact on the Pontic territories in general and those of the north-western Black Sea in particular. We analysed the main problems in the field as reflected in current studies and came with a new research topics. Having analysed a vast amount of sources we would like to underline the necessity of revising some of the existing ideologically biased visions. Having done this, the valuable part of the older approaches should be preserved, combined all existing research findings in the area and, ultimately, be enriched with the more recent discoveries and interpretations.

Of a special importance was Dr. Diana Stah’s contribution to the project. The goal assumed by her within the project might initially seem of a rather administrative than scientific nature, though the effort made by her in this phase of the project may turn particularly important in the effort of the present team continue research a broader framework. In this regard, we underline three aspects that were clearly defined by our colleague D. Stah: 1. Opportunities of continuation the present project – PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0054 in the FP7 specific programs (Cooperation, Ideas, Capacities, Science in Society); 2. Ongoing FP7 projects relevant to the project PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0054; 3. Dynamics of European Research Policies and their short- and medium-term impact on research programs goals. Against such a background, the importance of initiating partnerships with foreign partner institutions became even more obvious. In doing so, we would be able to collaborate in the implementation of a European-funded project, which would bring to a new level the research directions undertaken in the current project.

At this point, the research outcomes reached within this project prove a high degree of novelty at a national and international level. On the other hand, our research findings offer us the chance to outline a credible alternative to a drifting historiographical horizon. This aspect is of paramount importance, especially in the light of the recent decades, when ideology of the system and occult interests work alongside with imposture and upstartism, in an attempt to change the direction of historical writing from its natural course.

In conclusion, we believe that – by fulfilling the objectives for stage 2011 – we made the first important steps in achieving the main goal of our project – the publication of a collective synthesis, which would address, in a more complex and compelling manner than before, the problem of external contacts maintained by the urban Pontic communities. As pointed out in the proposal, this would facilitate our future participation in an international dialogue on the Greek polis during Hellenistic and Imperial era. Ultimately, it would be a continuation of the discussion initiated and hosted by The Danish National Research Foundation between 1993 and 2003, which led to the publication of “An Inventory of Archaic monumental synthesis and Classical poleis”, ed. by M. H. Hansen & T. H. Nielsen, Oxford 2004.

The excellent collaboration we have had with all team members should be the most convincing answer given to anyone who doubted that a project involving a large number of Romanian researchers (from the country and from abroad) could be efficiently coordinated.


                                              Project director,

Dr. Victor Cojocaru

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 October 2016 17:35



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