Even the boring wash of pieces of ceramics and stones after work on the site may be exciting, if they are found on the Heracleia Synica forum. Today under the mud on a stone piece with irregular shape, but smoothly processed at the front, the archaeologists have discovered part of an inscription. Clearly three letters in ancient Greek are read– ΡΙΑ, and a trace of the fourth is seen when capturing and enlarging the picture.
After consultation with the leading epigraph Nicolay Sharankov the specialists are close to the hypothesis that on the fragment might be written …ΑΡΙΑ – [Καίσ]αρι Ἀ[δριανῶι] or …ΔΡΙΑ – [Ἀ]δρια[νόν]. Both options point to an inscription, including the Roman Emperor Hadrian / or Adrian, as it is still popular to write his name now/. It is much less likely to be an epitaph on a monument, put by a woman for her husband – then the fragment should not be found on the Agora. And the way the back of the inscription looks like, brings the thought, that the piece is broken off by a large stone block.
The archaeologists are now ambitious to find the other parts of the inscription, to assemble the puzzle of letters and eventually seek the connection between Heraclea Sintica and Hadrian, who ruled the Roman Empire from August 10, 117 A.D. until his death on July 10, 138 A.D. During his time, the state experienced an economic upturn and cultural prosperity for long-lasting peace, achieved with the efforts of a smart and educated statesman. He is also liked by the romans for his internal policy – shortly after his ascension to the throne he forgave all obligations to the Fiscus and ordered receipts to be burned publicly at the Rome Forum, and then started working against corruption in the administration and maintained low tax rates. Exactly this emperor was honored in the periphery of the Empire too, because he often travelled on inspections through the provinces making generous donations.
“It is possible Herakleans’ attention to Hadrian to be related to the redistribution of territories in the province of Macedonia at the beginning of his rule /117-120/A.D. – Nicolay Sharankov commented. – This caused turmoil and riots so the Emperor had to personally intervene. Heraclea Sintica lost territories in connection with the founding of Particopolis (Sandanski), but for compensation it received privileges; at that time Heraclea began to strike coins, propaganding towns ancient roots, as a reaction against the newly created and devoid of history competitive city. This conflict continued with full force during the rule of the next Emperor Antoninus Pius, then the two cities competed in writing letters with mutual accusations and requests for privileges.”