Mediana is an important archeological site from the late Roman period, located in the eastern suburb of the Serbian city of Niš. It represents a luxurious residence with a highly organised economy. Excavations have revealed a villa with peristyle, thermae, granary and water tower. The residence dates to the reign of Constantine the Great 306 to 337. Although Roman artifacts can be found scattered all over the area of present-day Niš, Mediana represents the best-preserved part of Roman Naissus. In 1979, Mediana was added to the Archaeological Sites of Exceptional Importance list, protected by the Republic of Serbia.
Constantine the Great (280–337) was born and raised in Naissus. He erected a majestic residence in one of the luxurious suburbs of ancient Naissus, where he often resided and attended to state affairs. Historical records testify it was in Naissus that he passed several laws – in 315, 319, 324, and 334.
After Constantine’s death in 337, the imperial residence in Mediana was used by several other emperors, either as a place of rest on their long journeys or during preparations for war. Thus, Constantine’s sons, Constantius II and Constans, stayed in Naissus in the winter of 340, for they signed an edict there. Later on, Constans used it as a temporary residence. According to the Hieronimus’ Chronicles, after Vetranio, commander of the Danubian army, had been proclaimed emperor in Sirmium, he surrendered the insignia of imperial power to Constantius II in Naissus, doubtless at the imperial villa, in 350.
Julian the Apostate unexpectedly spent some time in Naissus on his expedition against Constantius II, at the end of 361. During his two-month stay, Julian wrote from Naissus long epistles to the Senate, to Athens, Corinth and other Greek towns, explaining his policy and seeking support. Valentinian’s stay in Naissus in 364 is attested by several imperial edicts.
According to Olympiodorus of Thebes, Naissus was the native town of another Roman emperor – Constantius III, husband of Galla Placidia, father of Valentinian III.In 364 AD, Imperial Villa Mediana was the site where emperors Valentinian and Valens met and divided the Roman Empire and ruled as co-emperors.
The residence was abandoned after the city of Naissus was devastated by Attila’s hordes in 442.