Scupi is an archaeological site where a Roman military camp was founded in the second century BC on the site of an older Dardanian settlement. It became later Colonia Flavia Aelia Scupi and many veteran legionnaires were settled there. A Roman town was founded in the time of Domitian (AD 81–96) and Scupi became the chief center for romanizing Dardania.
Scupi was ravaged several times by barbarians, in AD 269 by the Goths, in 5th century by the Huns and finally in the year 518 was completely destroyed by an earthquake. Life in Scupi stopped after the earthquake and it is assumed that the people from Scupi moved to live on Kale, a hill in the center of Skopje.
There are four building periods in Scupi. The first is the time of the alleged camp of two legions from 168 BC. The second is the foundation of the Roman colonia that ended with the invasion by the Goths in AD 269. The third period is most distinguished and is represented by the remains of one civil basilica, a complex of baths (thermae) and one townhouse. The last, the fourth period that begins roughly after the invasion by the Ostrogoths from AD 472 or 489 is represented by remains of an early Christian basilica and a townhouse with apse. Scupi was completely destroyed in AD 518.Today, only the early Christian basilica, the civil basilica, the baths and townhouses along the road are recognizable. The Roman theatre is completely decayed.
The Roman theater is estimated to have been built in the 2nd century AD because of the signs Colonia Scupi Aelia on the seats. It is assumed that the theater was built for Hadrian, the Roman emperor, who was visiting the Balkan cities. The decoration of the Roman theater was on the highest level, comparable to the best in the world from that time. Ivan Mikulčić writes that in the 1000 years of the ancient period, there is no building that has reached the refined level of art as in the Roman theater in Scupi.Nikola Vulić claims that the theater in Scupi is larger than the one in Stobi, and Duje Rendić-Miočević claim that is the largest on the territory of modern North Macedonia. The theater was used only for theater performances, comedies and tragedies. There is no architectural proof that the theater was used for gladiator games as it is the case in the theater in Stobi.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.