Trajan’s Walls

Trajan’s Walls. A series of defensive walls in southwestern Ukraine built by the Roman emperor Trajan in the late 1st to early 2nd century AD in order to prevent steppe nomads from descending on the recently conquered (and colonized) province of Dacia. Slavic tribes (particularly the Antes) used the walls in the 3rd to 4th centuries as a defense against incursions into their lands. For this purpose they filled in the ditches along the northern elevations of the walls and dug out ditches along their southern portions. Remains of the walls can be found today in Vinnytsia oblast, Khmelnytskyi oblast, and Ternopil oblast. Similar walls of uncertain origin, known as Zmiiovi Valy, were built in the Dnieper River region.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]




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