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Author: Laxman Burdak, IFS (R).

Margus was an ancient Roman city situated at locality of present-day Požarevac (Serbia). Margus is also name of a River. Margus River, the Roman name of Great Morava.


Latin name Margus was in use after the Roman conquest in the first century BC. Before the Roman conquest, the area was inhabited by Thracians, Dacians and Celts. Nearby Viminacium was the provincial capital of Moesia Superior, of which Margus was part.

In 435, the city of Margus, under the Eastern Roman Empire, was the site of a treaty between the Byzantine Empire and the Hun leaders Attila and Bleda. One pretext for the Hun invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire in 442 was that the Bishop of Margus had crossed the Danube to ransack and desecrate the royal Hun graves on the north bank of the Danube. When the Romans discussed handing over the Bishop, he slipped away and betrayed the city to the Huns, who then sacked the city and went on to invade as far as the gates of Constantinople itself.[1]

Battle of the Margus

The Battle of the Margus was fought in July 285 between the armies of Roman Emperors Diocletian and Carinus in the valley of the Margus River (today Great Morava) in Moesia (present day Serbia).[2] [3] Diocletian's victory was the tipping-point that led to the eventual resolution of the Crisis of the Third Century and the return of stability to the Empire.

Carinus led the larger force, but the loyalty of this army was definitely questionable. Carinus had allegedly alienated men whose support his success depended upon, including mistreating the Senate and its womenfolk and seducing the wives of his officers.[4] The exact circumstances of the battle are in doubt, but it is known for certain that Carinus was killed in the course of the battle, most probably by one of his own officers.[5][6]

Diocletian was then left in sole control of the Roman Empire. The tide of the battle may have tilted to Carinus at first, only to shift in Diocletian's favor after the defection of Carinus' Praetorian Prefect, Aristobulus. Some scholars suspect that Aristobulus was the officer responsible for the murder of Carinus, an argument that gains credibility in the fact that Diocletian afterward rewarded Aristobulus by confirming him in office as Praetorian Prefect and Consul for the remainder of 285.[7]

Aristobulus' Rationale:

Although the battle decisively decided the issue of Roman leadership in Diocletian's favor, it is likely that, with the eastern provinces behind him, Diocletian would eventually have outlasted Carinus even if he had found himself on the losing side at Margus. After his victory, Diocletian administered the oath of loyalty to Carinus' former troops, then turned his attention to the Danube frontier where the Marcomanni and Quadi were conducting raids across the border.

Jat History

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[8] writes - Continuing our quest for more variants of the word Jat as an ethnic term, we now turn to Central Asiatic countries and their chronicles. In the countries of the Oxus valley we come across the word Jatah or Jeteh75 , Zutt or Az-Zutt76 , Jith or Git77 during medieval and early medieval times, now only as names ot various places including villages, towns, canals, rivers and mountains but also those of the Jat people who inhabited them after their deportation78from India. From classical historians and geographers of the first century BC as well as from those of first century A.D. have come down to us variants like Xanthii or Zanthii or Xandii79 Iatii or Iatii80, used for the people living on the banks of the Oxus between Bactria,

The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations: End of page 344

Hyrkania and Khorasmia81. Xuthi or Zuthi 82 for those who occupied Karamanian desert and Drangiana 83, One scholar84 suggests that those people gave their name as Zatale or Zothale to the irrigation channel from the Margus rive. All these terms are said85 to be variants of the term Jat with their "parental house on the Oxus" and their original seat or colony in Sindh as well as "on the Margus (Zotale or Zothale) river". This reference definitely indicates that the Jats were spread over the region bounded by Indus in the east and the Oxus in the West in Central Asia. This learned scholar seems perplexed in deciding the original habitat of the Jats in spite of the fact that earlier scholars like Pliny, Diodorus Siculus and Megasthenese had claimed that contemporary Indians were indigenous.


  1. Heather, Peter (2005). The fall of the Roman Empire : [a new history] (Repr. ed.). London: Macmillan. pp. 301–4. ISBN 978-0-330-49136-5.
  2. "Middle Imperial Romans (193-324 AD)(DBA II/65ab)"
  3. "Roman Emperors - DIR Carinus"
  4. Barnes, T.D. "Constantine and Eusebius" Harvard University Press (1981), p.5
  5. "Middle Imperial Romans (193-324 AD)(DBA II/65ab)"
  6. Nischer, E. C. "The Army Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine and Their Modifications up to the Time of the Notitia Dignitatum" Journal of Roman Studies, The. Vol. 13, (1923), p.1
  7. Southern, P "Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine" (2001), p.135
  8. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/Jat-Its variants,pp.344-345