The great battle

Valvasor copper engraving: Battle at Cold river
Valvasor copper engraving: Battle at Cold river

On 17th January 365 in Milano died Roman emperor Theodosius 1, with full name Flavius Theodosius, named also Magnus (the Great), who on 5th and 6th September 394 at the battle in Frigid defeated anti-emperor Eugenius and victoriusly ended the long-term civil war. At the same time he finally defeated paganism in the Roman universal state. Therefore, this severe battle in Vipava valley is also marked as religious war.

At the head of the Christian army stood emperor Theodosius, born on 11 January 347 in the province of Hispania (Spain). On the eastern throne of the Roman empire he sat in year 379. Theodosius was a Chritian and an ardent supporter of Catholic orthodoxy. In year 392 paganism was banned and he legalized Christianity as the only religion allowed in the empire.

Theodosius army counted around one hundred thousand man, among them were barbarians, in addition to Huns and Alans, also 20 thousand Goths. Tactical-strategic threads held the general Stilicho, by mother a Vandal, who, although he is also a barbaric blood, in the Roman army reached the highest position (magister militum) and was by wish from emperor Theodosius after his death guardian of this younger sons Arcadia and Honor. The latter was as 10 year old boy a witness of bloody whirl on the battlefield in Frigid.

Theodosius army marched into battle in mid-May 394 from Constantinople, today’s Istanbul. Pagan army, numerically weaker than Theodosius (aroun 30 – 40 thousand soldiers), led Eugene (Eugenius Flavius), originally Christian, teacher of rhetoric, which was in year 392 proclaimed as anti-emperor by warlord and court allmighty Arbogast, by native Frank. In Eugenius army was this capable soldier and a skilful politican commander of Frankish mercenary troops. Eugene strolled into battle determined to defend the faith of their fathers and values on which rested the millennial Rome. His army marched into the battle from Mediolan (Mediolanum, today’s Milan).

The third “involved” is Frigidus, river, which with the battle on its banks came into history. Centuries later as Soča. Bloody battle, as poet Claudius Claudian of Alexandria says that “Frigidus changed the color of water, before heaps of dead people almost stopped, if blood have not drove him!” Frigidus or Cold water, which was from the spring to the mouth inscribed on the Tabula Peuntingeriani, colored map of the road network of the Roman empire from 3rd century, was our Hubelj or Vipava, maybe both rivers together. According to it Romans named the road station (mansio Fluvio Frigido), first Roman civil settlement on the ground of today’s Ajdovščina. When Theodosius and Eugene fought here, it was already fortified and called Castro.


Location of the great battle at Frigid is controversial, but it is likely to take place on the foot of the Julian Alps near today’s Vrhpolje at Vipava and stream Hubelj. To the victory of Theodosius army greatly contributed, for these places characerized, bora. For Theodosius the battle “Ad Frigidum” meant a total victory, but for pagans it meant total defeat. Pagans chamber was humiliated and in one generation, the influential pagan families in Rome, cease to resist Christianity and became a Papal families of late antiquity. On the alleged location of the battle, they still have not found any archaelogical remains. Nevertheless, in the vicinity of Vrhpolje they erected a memorial on the spot where, according to tradition, Theodosius prayed before the battle.


travel-slovenia-castra-viewFortress Castra
Castra Roman fort Castra with 14 towers was built around year 270 and was involved in the defense system of the eastern borders of Roman empire – Klaustra. Today is, among all Slovenian places, only in Ajdovščina preserved almost completely condensed Roman period walls. [_Read more_]

Hubelj is a river (according to some sources it is a stream), during rainy times mountain torrent, which flows along the border between cadastral municipalities Lokavec and Šturje. It originates from three karstic springs (waterfalls) at the foot of the hill Navrše [_Read more_]