Trajan Column, Rome, Forum Trajani
The kingdom of Dacia (modern Transylvania-Romania) was a hard nut for the Roman to crack. It irritated Rome for 150 years from the time of Julius Caesar before being conquered by Trajan – and then at the second or best putted the third attempt, the Romans dealt with this sophisticated and rich enemy.
Table of Contents, Cuprins:
Why did Decebalu attack Roman Moesia?
Rome at the Lower Danube
Rome's early involvement in the Balkans came as a result of Philip V of Macedon's links with Hannibal. While Rome was fighting for its very existence it responded by supporting the Aetolian Greek states in their war with Philip and the Achaean league led by Philopoemen.
In the Second Macedonian War (200-196 B.C.) Rome following the defeat of Hannibal contributed ground forces to the struggle. At the Battle of Kynoskephalia 197 B.C. the flexible legion defeated the phalanx in open battle. Philip was forced to withdraw to his Macedonian heartland.
Rome's war with Seleucid Syria spilt over into the Balkans when Antiochus III invaded Greece in 192 BC. with Aetolian support he attempted to hold the Roman army at Thermopylai. Elephants on both sides battled in the pass while a Roman force under Cato flanked the position causing the Seleucids to flee back to Asia Minor. The Romans went on to control Western Asia Minor after the decisive victory at Magnesia 190 BC.
In 172 BC Rome entered the Third Macedonian War in support of its ally Pergamum. Perseus of Macedonia repulsed two Roman invasions from Illyria and bought off the Illyrian and Gallic tribes to the north. The decisive battle of the war took place at Pydna in the Elpeus valley (168 BC). Roman elephants broke the Macedonian left wing but their centre was forced back by the phalanx. Only when the phalanx hit rough ground and became disordered did the flexible maniples of the Roman legions gain the advantage. Macedonian losses of 25,000 ended the monarchy and Macedonia was split into four republics. In 146 BC the Achaean League was defeated at Corinth and all Greece fell under Roman control.
The Roman Civil War 88-82 BC provided an opportunity for rebellion in Greece supported by Mithridates VI of Pontus. A Roman army led by Sulla captured Athens (86 BC) and then defeated the Pontic armies at Chaeronea and Orchomenus.
Internal Roman difficulties came to a conclusion at the Battle of Actium 31 BC (near Prevesa on the Ionian coast). Octavian's fleet commanded by Agrippa defeated the fleet of Anthony and Cleopatra.
The early AD years of the Balkans were dominated by the expanding Roman Empire. The frontier was on the Danube with the Balkans divided into the provinces of Illyricum, Pannonia, Moesia, Thracia, Macedonia and Achaea. There were numerous revolts against Roman rule (e.g. Pannonia AD6-9) and frontier fighting with the Dacians over the Danube.
This period saw the strengthening of the legion to over 5,000 men divided into 10 cohorts. Each cohort consisted of 6 centuriae, somewhat confusingly, of 80 men. These reforms introduced by Augustus formed the basis for the Pax Romana of the next 200 years.
by Lica, Vasile an Associate Professor for Ancient History and Historiography of the University of Galati (Romania).
The Coming of Rome in the Dacian World provides a full and detailed account of the Roman policy being executed in the area of the Lower Danube. Besides, this book is the first analysis of the juridical forms of the Roman foreign policy in the Danube area, ranging from the first contacts to the establishment of the provincia Dacia. For the first time, the ancient sources are systematically and completely analysed in order to highlight the evolution of these forms from temporary, unofficial contacts to constant relations established through various agreements.
The relations between Pompeius and Burebista, the diplomatic and juridical consequences of the settlement at the frontier of the Empire under Augustus in the Danube area are presented in detail without neglecting the relations between the Julio-Claudian emperors - especially Nero - and the Getae and the Dacians.
The author minutely reconstructs the provisions of the two foedera in A.D. 89 and 102, pointing out their differences as well as their similarities. He concludes that Trajan intended to transform only parts of Decebalus' kingdom into a provincia in A.D. 102; the latter was to rule as rex socius over a kingdom that had been considerably lessened and was carefully watched. In the three appendices three special problems are being analysed: the relations between Pompeius, Mithradates and Oroles, the Dacian hostages taken by the Empire and the Roman captive hostages of the Dacians.
The author emphasises in the principal conclusion of the book that "in the Danube area Rome did not create - for its relations with the Dacorum gentes - a new form, atypical to its well-established pattern of having and maintaining relations with the externae gentes."
Archaeology has furnished evidence for deliberate destruction of some Dacian sites, and the abandonment of hillforts, with resettlement on lower ground: a normal feature. Here, however, the re-settled peoples appear to have adopted local styles of buildings: conservative traditions seem to have continued. As a whole, the province experienced a considerable influx of both soldiers and civilians. In this new world, the natives are virtually invisible in the epigraphic record. Perhaps, as they were on the home territory, they saw no need to proclaim their identity. However, heroic names like Decebalus were used both in Dacia and elsewhere, while Dacian gods continued to be worshipped. In a stimulating essay Leo Rivet stated that one of the sources for the study of Roman Britain is ‘evidence by analogy’. This session, with speakers from Amsterdam, Vienna and Cluj-Napoca as well as Edinburgh, Manchester and York, and archaeological evidence from the Antonine Wall to the Lower Danube cited to support arguments, underlined this important point. The range of material evidence may be daunting, but the challenge is exciting
By David Breeze [email protected]
In 97 AD Emperor Nerva appointed co-emperor the general Marcus Ulpius Trajan, who added Nerva to his name and for this reason was regarded as Nerva's adoptive son. The Senate ratified the decision by which for the first time the highest responsibility of the Empire was entrusted to a representative of the provinces (Trajan was born in Spain). The other remarkable aspect of the decision was the definition of a process for the appointment of the emperors ("succession by adoption") which lasted for more than eighty years and gave to Rome the greatest Emperors: Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.
The emperors who ruled Rome in the Ist century AD had basically a policy of containment of the possible threats to the Empire: in Europe the threat came from the German tribes beyond the Rhine and the Danube, in Asia from the Persian or Parthian empire and in Africa from the Moors. The Roman policy was aimed at reducing these threats by establishing alliances with minor tribes (in Europe and Africa) or kingdoms (in Asia), rather than at expanding the borders of the Empire. Trajan, with the support of the Senate, changed this policy in favour of an expansion of the Empire, also to react to some economical difficulties arising from the cost of the military expenditure.
The target of the expansion was Dacia, a kingdom beyond the Danube which included a section of the Carpathian Mountains known for its rich gold and salt mines. In today's world Dacia corresponds to most of Romania plus eastern Hungary. In 64 AD Emperor Nero had diminished the gold content of the Roman coins and this had led to financial trouble with coins having the same official name, but different levels of gold. Trajan thought that the gold of Dacia could help in solving the economical difficulties of the Empire. The war erupted in March 101 and it was justified by raids of the Dacians in the Roman region of Mesia (today's Bulgaria), but Trajan had been preparing the war since 99 when he visited the region and approved the opening of a road on the right bank of the Danube and the fortification of several sites. The Romans defeated the Dacians at Tapae, set fire to several towns and moved towards Sarmizegetusa, the capital of the kingdom. At this point Decebalus, the king of Dacia, accepted the conditions imposed by the Romans (which included the disarmament of the Dacian fortresses along the Danube) and a peace treaty was signed. In 105 Trajan declared that Decebalus was in breach of the disarmament clause and sent him an ultimatum. Decebalus reacted by attempting to attack Mesia, but he was repelled and gradually forced to retreat to Sarmizegetusa. The Romans laid siege to the town and cut its water supply. The Dacians eventually surrendered and Decebalus committed suicide. Dacia became a Roman province.
The Dacian wars were celebrated in the Trajan's Column. The reliefs, apart from their artistic value, are an interesting example of war propaganda. Here below a short comment on some episodes described in the reliefs.
The Roman fleet was constituted by triremes, warships with three banks of oars, which allowed them to move regardless of the prevailing winds. The relief shows that Trajan was able to rapidly move across the seas. He is standing on the central trireme while he delivers a speech to the troops. The lamp near Trajan means that the Roman fleet could travel also at night and the high waves and the dolphins mean that the fleet did not move along the coast, but it was capable of crossing the open sea. All these details had the objective of highlighting the Roman capability of rapidly deploying troops in case of conflict. Notwithstanding the fact that Trajan's background was a military one and that he personally led the campaign, the reliefs show him in situations where he is not directly involved in battles. He is portrayed: a) in the ritual ceremonies which preceded the main war events; b) while he delivers speeches to the troops; c) while he is shown evidence of the Roman victories or he receives the surrender of the enemies. The intent was to put the emperor on a special footing where he was not involved in the specific events of the war, which as all wars do, had its ups and downs.
The second Dacian war originated from the violation of a disarmament clause included in the peace terms which ended the first war. The relief shows the "smoking gun" i.e. the purported violation of the clause. We see the Dacians wearing weapons and gathering inside a fortress. The slightly taller man inside the fortress is Decebalus, the king of the Dacians: while the viewers were able to identify Trajan by his face, his opponent was made identifiable by his height. The costumes of the Dacians show that the Romans did not consider them a savage population, because they are shown wearing elaborate dresses and a hat.
In addition to Romans and Dacians the reliefs show some other troops: on the Roman side the relief above (left) shows the chivalry of the Moors: the viewers were able to identify them by their frizzly (almost "rasta") hair and by the fact that they rode without saddle. In other episodes the Romans are helped by German warriors (almost naked and with moustaches) and by archers wearing an elaborate Oriental costume (most likely Parthians). The fact that we see on the Roman side representatives of their fiercest enemies may mean that Rome was at peace at that time, that the borders of the empire were secure and that the Dacian war had the support of the whole world. On the Dacian side the reliefs show the Sarmatian chivalry: both the warrior and the horse wear a protection made of flakes. It is interesting to note that immediately above the relief showing the arrival of the Sarmatians, we see the body of a dead Sarmatian chevalier. In this way the viewer immediately sees the end of the enemies of Rome. This "trick" is used also in other episodes showing the Dacians on the attack and, immediately above this scene, their dead bodies or their rout. The Sarmatians lived in the vast plains of southern Russia and Poland.
In 9 AD Arminius, a German officer in the Roman army, convinced General Publius Quintus Varus to make a punitive expedition against the German tribes which from time to time threatened the Roman colonies in the Rhine valley. Three Roman legions marched well into hostile territory and following the advice of Arminius they entered the deep Teutoburg forest (near today's Detholm). At this point Arminius abandoned the Romans and the Germans of his tribe (the Cherusci) attacked the legions in a series of ambushes. The Romans were unable to move in the forest and to use their superior military skills and equipment. The Germans spared just a few legionaries to let them bring the news to the emperor Augustus in Rome. The head of Publius Quintus Varus was sent to other German tribes to promote a general rebellion against the Romans. Eventually the head was sent to the Romans. According to Svetonius, Augustus cried out: Vare, legiones redde! (Varus give me back my legions). Seven years later the Romans took their revenge and Arminius was defeated by Julius Caesar, a nephew of the Emperor Tiberius, who is generally known as Germanicus, the additional name he was given for his victory. In the XVIIIth centuries Arminius was hailed as a national hero and a precursor of the German nation.
The defeat suffered by Varus had lasting consequences on the Roman expansion in Europe and its memory can be seen in the numerous reliefs of the column which show Roman legionaries in the act of cutting down trees and building fortified camps, reliefs aimed at reassuring the viewers that Trajan was not repeating the mistakes made by Varus.
Some reliefs show the aftermath of war: Dacian prisoners are shown while they are being tied and blindfolded. The prisoners show a rather submissive attitude as if they were agreeing to these actions. The reliefs do not show casualties on the Roman side: the obvious question: what about our troops? is answered by reliefs showing Roman legionaries taking care of some wounded soldiers who are helped to walk or are bandaged.
The first Dacian war ended with a peace treaty: the event is celebrated in a very complex scene where we see desperate Dacians pleading for mercy, after having thrown away their weapons.
The Dacians are not portrayed as enemies, but rather as persons converted to a new faith. The relief shows the need for the winner to see his actions justified by the confession of those who surrender that they wrongly acted. The viewer is shown a religious ceremony and the processions of Romans and Dacians are both converging towards Trajan in the act of saying Pax (peace).
The verticality of the Roman military symbols balances the horizontal lines of the processions. On the left side the viewer sees the heads of Roman legionaries carrying bags and moving away from the scene: the first Dacian war was not meant to conquer Dacia, but just to curtail its power, so having achieved their objective the Romans are already leaving the occupied country.
The relief inspired many Renaissance and Baroque artists, including Velazquez, who after his stay in Rome painted the surrender of the Dutch city of Breda to the Spanish troops (see the painting).
In the year 271 AD Emperor Aurelianus, the same emperor who built the walls of Rome, decided to move out of Dacia, because it was too difficult and expensive to protect that province from the raids of the barbarian tribes.
The image in the background of this page shows Victory (not Truth) writing the history of the Dacian wars
The Dacian kingdom and the Roman Empire
The Flavian dynasty, particularly Domitian (81-96), engaged Roman troops along the lower and middle Danube in what amounted to an opening skirmish against the Dacians. But real hostilities did not begin in earnest until Trajan attacked the Dacians with the full weight of Roman might. The Roman armies under Trajan's command crossed the Danube into the Dacian territory targeting directly the core are in the Orăştie Mountains. In 102, after a series of encounters, a peace agreement was reached: Decebalus was to destroy his fortresses and a Roman garrison was installed at Sarmizegetusa Regia (Grădiştea Muncelului, Romania) to watch over the agreement. Trajan also ordered his engineer, Apollodorus of Damascus to design and build a bridge across the Danube at Drobeta (Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania).
During Trajan's reign one of the most important Roman successes was the victory over the Dacians. The first important confrontation between the Romans and the Dacians took place in the year 87 and was initiated by Domitian. The praetorian prefect Cornelius Fuscus led five or six legions across the Danube on a bridge of ships and advanced towards Banat (in Romania). The Romans were surprised by a Dacian attack at Tapae (near the village of Bucova, in Romania). Legion V Alaude was crushed and Cornelius Fuscus was killed. The victorious general was originally known as Diurpaneus (see Manea, p.109), but after this victory he was called Decebalus (“the brave one”, a Romanian “Braveheart”).
In the year 88, the Romans resumed the offensive. The Roman troops were now led by the general Tettius Iulianus. The battle took place again at Tapae but this time the Romans defeated the Dacians. For fear of falling into a trap, Iulianus abandoned his plans of conquering Sarmizegetuza and, at the same time, Decebalus asked for peace. At first, Domitian refused this request , but after he was defeated in a war in Pannonia against the Marcomanni (a Germanic tribe), the emperor was obliged to accept the peace.
Because the Dacians represented an obstacle against Roman expansion in the east, in the year 101 the emperor Trajan decided to begin a new campaign against them. The first war began on 25 March 101 and the Roman troops, consisting of four principal legions (X Gemina , XI Claudia , II Traiana Fortis, and XXX Ulpia Victrix), defeated the Dacians. Although the Dacians had been defeated, the emperor postponed the final siege for the conquering of Sarmizegetuza because his armies needed reorganization. Trajan imposed on the Dacians very hard peace conditions: Decebalus had to renounce claim to some regions of his kingdom, including Banat, Tara Hategului, Oltenia, and Muntenia in the area south-west of Transylvania. He had also to surrender all the Roman deserters and all his war machines. At Rome, Trajan was received as a winner and he took the name of Dacicus, a title that appears on his coinage of this period. At the beginning of the year 103 A.D., there were minted coins with the inscription: IMP NERVA TRAIANVS AVG GER DACICVS.
However, during the years 103-105, Decebalus did not respect the peace conditions imposed by Trajan and the emperor then decided to destroy completely the Dacian kingdom and to conquer Sarmizegetuza. The siege for the conquering of Sarmizegetuza took place in the summer of the year 106. The Roman armies headed towards this fortress: the first part passed through Valea Cernei, Hateg, and Valea Streiului and destroyed the Dacian fortresses at Costesti, Blidaru, and Piatra Rosie; the second part climbed the Valea Jiului, passed through the Sureanu Mountains and arrived at Banita; the third part, led probably by Trajan, left from Drobeta and passed through Sucidava, Romula (now Resca, in Romania), and Valea Oltului and arrived at Tilisca before going then to Capalna; the rest of the troops left from Moesia Inferior and passed through Bran, Bratocea, and Oituz and destroying the Dacian fortresses between Cumidava (now Rasnov, in Romania) and Angustia (now Bretcu, in Romania). At the battle for the conquest of Sarmizegetuza the following legions participated: II Adiutrix, IV Flavia Felix, and a special detachment from Legio VI Ferrata (which until this war had been stationed in Judaea).
The first assault was repelled by the Dacians. The Romans attacked again with their war machines and, at the same time, after a while they built a platform to more easily attack the fortress. Then they destroyed the water pipes of Sarmizegetuza and obliged the defenders to retire before they set fire to their city. The Romans finally succeeded in entering the Dacian sacred enclosure, hailed Trajan as emperor and then destroyed the whole fortress. Legion IV Flavia Felix was stationed there to guard what remained of Sarmizegetuza. After the end of the siege, Bicilis, a confidant of Decebalus, betrayed his king and the Romans discovered the Dacian treasure which , according to Jerome Carcopino (p.73), consisted of 165,000 kilograms of pure gold and 331,000 kilograms of silver in the bed of the Sergetia River (Cassius Dio 68.14).
Legend has it that after Decebalus' defeat, his daughter Meda, with a handful of the Dacian elite soldiers, sought refuge in the Tilisca fortress where they were finally found by the Romans. After a siege, the Romans took Tilisca and burned it down. The Dacians fought to the last able body and Meda died with sword in hand, a warrior princess, worthy of her father.
Defeated, Decebalus retired to the mountains, but he was followed by the Romans and so was obliged to commit suicide. His head and his right arm were brought to Trajan who was at Ranistorum (modern location can not be identified). The Romans reorganized Dacia ( now Romania) as a Roman province and built another center of administration at a distance of 40 km from the old Sarmizegetuza. This center was named Colonia Ulpia Traiana Dacica Augusta Sarmizegetuza. This founding was celebrated at Rome by the minting by Senate order of a sestertius dedicated to the optimus princeps. The ancient city had an area of 32 hectares.
The region was inhabited since neolithic times. On Catanas hill existed a powerful Dacian castle, indicating the administrative center of a union of tribes, outpost of the castles from Orastie Mountains. Here the Dacians fought the Romans in their second battle (105 - 106), when the castle is conquered and partially destroyed. After the south - eastern part of Transylvania was subdued by Hungarian royal domination, Tilisca becomes part of Amlas Dukedom, that, in the times of Mircea cel Batran (Mircea the Old) (1386 - 1418) and of his descendants, will be in Wallachia's possession. At the end of the fifteenth century, it is part of the Chair of Saliste, belonging to the Chair of Sibiu and the Saxon University.
Manea, Mihai, Adrian Pascu and Bogdan Teodorescu. Istoria romanilor. Bucharest,1997.
Cassius Dio, Roman History, books 67-68.
Carcopino, Jerome. Points de vue sur l'ìmpérialisme romain. Paris, 1924.
Exploring the Roman Frontier
Text at: http://www.archaeotek.org/iron_age_dacian_fortress
The historical landscape of Transylvania stands in testimony of the clashes between the Dacians (i.e. "The bravest of all the Thracians" - Herodotus, Histories) and the Roman Empire: every mighty "eagle nest" Dacian fortresses in the Carpathian Mountains has a roman castrum in the plains below as a "guardian". Whether it took the form of open conflict or not, there had been long standing animosity between Romans and Dacians. During the second half of the First Century AD, Dacian armies successfully attacked and pillaged Roman Moesia (former Geto-Dacian territory). The Roman punitive expedition ordered by Domitian in 87AD ended in disaster at the Battle of Tapae where a legion was completely destroyed and four other were decimated. The tenuous peace that resulted from a more successful campaign in 88AD forced Rome to pay a tribute to the Dacian king Decebalus. Some historians see this humiliating treaty as the cause for Domitian's assasination in 96.
Further raids on Moesia and the defeat of another Roman army (and the execution of the imperial legate) culminated in the Roman invasion of Dacia under Trajan in two wars in 102AD and 106AD. To defend newly conquered territory, Romans constructed a string of castra (military camps, forts) along the boundary known as the limes.
In the 1st century a.D. Roman Empire was expanding toward East, and provinces were created in Moesia (6 a.D.), Pannonia (10 a.D.), Dalmatia (10 a.D.) and Thracia (46 a.D.). In 46 a.D. Dobruja is annexed to Moesia and the Danube became the border between the Roman Empire and the Dacian world, along 1,500 Km.
A capable strategist, diplomat and politician, King Decebalus united the Getai, or Daci, once more under his rule (87-106 AD). He introduced a centralized administrative system, which led to the development of the most well-organized barbarian states in the first century AD. The fledgling Dacian state became a menace to Roman authority as Decebalus mobilized the tribes in a raid against the Roman garrisons of Moesia Inferior in 87 AD to reconquer lost territories.
Oppius Sabinus, the Roman governor, along with his entire legion, were slain. He later repelled the Roman counter-offensive led by Cornelius Fuscus, capturing the Roman eagle. The line of victories ended at Tapae, where the Roman army of Tettius Iulianus finally defeated the army of Decebalus. The Roman Emperor Domitian was forced however to conclude a peace treaty with the Dacians in 89 AD. Dacia became a “client kingdom” and received Roman war machines, engineers and even financial assistance to improve the Dacian fortresses. When Marcus Ulpius Traianus became emperor in 98 AD, he decided to eliminate the Dacian kingdom. Apart from desire for vengeance, the new ruler needed to secure his flank along the Istros and gain the rich gold mines of the Apuseni mountains.
The result was a series of Daco-Roman wars (AD 101-102, 105-106), at the end of which Dacia would become a Roman province, bringing about the end of Zalmoxianism. The emperor's 150,000 men from Illyria and Moesia crossed a bridge of boats at Berzovia. The Dacians suffered a crushing defeat at Tapae. Only the break of winter halted the Romans from reaching the Dacian capital of Sarmisegetuza. In the spring the Dacians, aided by Roxolani Sauromatai, went on the offensive to relieve their capital. They failed as the Romans defeated them at Tropaeum Traiani and Nicopolis. Decebalus sued for peace. The peace terms were so humiliating for the Dacians that a new conflict was inevitable. Three years later the conflict broke out after Decebalus refused to dismantle his fortresses. Marching his troops on the bridge across the Danube, Trajan reached the walls of Sarmisegetuza a second time, this time aided by Mauran auxiliary cavalry who were more than competent at fighting uphill battles with the Getai. The capital fell to the Romans and Decebalus was forced to retreat north. Pursued by Roman cavalry the king chose to commit suicide rather than fall prisoner. Getia was no more; Rome became the sole authority in the Carpatho-Danubian region, pressed only by the wilder Getic tribes north of the mountains. Their colonists later merged with the shattered tribes to form the Romanian people of today.
Decebalu and two generations in the battle
The Dacian Wars (101-102, 105-106) were two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Emperor Trajan's rule. The conflict was triggered by the constant Dacian threat on the Danubian Roman Province of Moesia and also by the increasing need of resources of the staggering economy of the Roman Empire.
Trajan turned his attention to Dacia, an area north of Macedon and Greece and east of the Danube that had been on the Roman agenda since before the days of Caesar when they had beaten a Roman army at the Battle of Histria. In AD 85, the Dacians had swarmed over the Danube and pillaged Moesia and initially defeated an army the Emperor Domitian sent against them, but the Romans were victorious in the Battle of Tapae in AD 88 and a truce was drawn up.
Emperor Trajan recommenced hostilities against Dacia and, following an uncertain number of battles, defeated the Dacian general Decebalus in the Second Battle of Tapae in 101. With Trajan's troops pressing towards the Dacian capital Sarmizegethusa, Decebalus once more sought terms. Decebalus rebuilt his power over the following years and attacked Roman garrisons again in 105. In response Trajan again marched into Dacia, besieging the Dacian capital in the Siege of Sarmisegetusa, and razing it to the ground. With Dacia quelled, Trajan subsequently invaded the Parthian empire to the east, his conquests taking the Roman Empire to its greatest extent. Rome's borders in the east were indirectly governed through a system of client states for some time, leading to less direct campaigning than in the west in this period.
Since the reign of Burebista, widely considered to be the greatest king of Dacia— He ruled between 82 BC and 44 BC —the Dacians represented a threat for the Roman Empire, Caesar himself had drawn up a plan to launch a campaign against Dacia. The threat was reduced when dynastic struggles in Dacia lead to a division into four separately governed tribal states after Burebista's death in 44 BC.
Then, after 130 years of relative peace along the Roman frontier, in the winter of 85 AD to 86 AD the army of King Duras attacked the Roman province of Moesia.
The Roman emperor Domitian himself lead legions into the ravaged province and re-organized the possession into Moesia Inferior and Moesia Superior, planning a future attack into Dacia the next campaign season. The next year, in 87 with the arrival of fresh legions, Domitian ordered a campaign against Dacia, the First Dacian War. The Roman general Cornelius Fuscus crossed the Danube into Dacia with 5 or 6 legions on a bridge across boats. The Roman army was ambushed and defeated at the First Battle of Tapae, by the Dacians led by Diurpaneus or Decebal (renamed Decebalus as a consequence; Dacian for "the Brave", which catapulted him to becoming the new king). In 88, the Roman offensive continued, and the Roman army, this time under the command of Tettius Iulianus defeated the Dacians also at Tapae, which was a Dacian outlying fortress of Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetuza) near the current village of Bucova. After this battle, Decebalus now the king of the four reunited arms of the Dacians and the Emperor Domitian reached peace, mainly because the legions were needed along the Rhine. Following the peace of 89 AD, Decebalus became a client of Rome, receiving money, craftsmen, and war machines from the Roman Empire, to defend the empire's borders. Some historians believe this to have been an unfavourable peace for Rome.
Throughout the 1st century, Roman policy largely dictated that threats from neighbouring nations and provinces were to be contained promptly, thus the peace treaty following the First Battles of Tapae an initial heavy defeat at the hands of the Dacian King Decebalus's skirmishing forces, followed by a costly victory on the same ground but a year later. Despite some co-operation on the diplomatic front with Domitian after an abortive invasion, Decebalus continued to oppose Rome. Thus, Dacia was considered one such threat. At the time, Rome was suffering from economic difficulties largely brought on by extensive military campaigns throughout Europe, in part due to a low gold content in Roman currency brought on by Emperor Nero. Confirmed rumors of Dacian gold and other valuable trade resources in part incited the conflict, as did the generally uncooperative behavior of the Dacian "Clients", as well, who for their part were defiantly "bowed and unbroken", and mostly complying with the absurd requests by the Roman Empire and its diplomatic and military factotums. As such, the new Emperor Trajan, himself an experienced soldier and tactician, began preparing for a war against Dacia.
Trajan's Early Years through the Dacian Wars
Trajan did not return immediately to Rome. He chose to stay in his German province and settle affairs on that frontier. He showed that he approved Domitian's arrangements, with the establishment of two provinces, their large military garrisons, and the beginnings of the limes. [] Those who might have wished for a renewed war of conquest against the Germans were disappointed. The historian Tacitus may well have been one of these. []
Trajan then visited the crucial Danube provinces of Pannonia and Moesia, where the Dacian king Decebalus had caused much difficulty for the Romans and had inflicted a heavy defeat upon a Roman army about a decade before. Domitian had established a modus vivendi with Decebalus, essentially buying his good behavior, but the latter had then continued his activities hostile to Rome. Trajan clearly thought that this corner of empire would require his personal attention and a lasting and satisfactory solution. []
Trajan spent the year 100 in Rome, seeing to the honors and deification of his predecessor, establishing good and sensitive relations with the senate, in sharp contrast with Domitian's "war against the senate." [] Yet his policies essentially continued Domitian's; he was no less master of the state and the ultimate authority over individuals, but his good nature and respect for those who had until recently been his peers if not his superiors won him great favor. [] He was called optimus by the people and that word began to appear among his titulature, although it had not been decreed by the senate.
Yet his thoughts were ever on the Danube. Preparations for a great campaign were under way, particularly with transfers of legions and their attendant auxiliaries from Germany and Britain and other provinces and the establishment of two new ones, II Traiana and XXX Ulpia, which brought the total muster to 30, the highest number yet reached in the empire's history.
In 101 the emperor took the field. The war was one which required all his military abilities and all the engineering and discipline for which the Roman army was renowned. Trajan was fortunate to have Apollodorus of Damascus in his service, who built a roadway through the Iron Gates by cantilevering it from the sheer face of the rock so that the army seemingly marched on water. He was also to build a great bridge across the Danube, with 60 stone piers (traces of this bridge still survive). When Trajan was ready to move he moved with great speed, probably driving into the heart of Dacian territory with two columns, until, in 102, Decebalus chose to capitulate. He prostrated himself before Trajan and swore obedience; he was to become a client king. Trajan returned to Rome and added the title Dacicus to his titulature.
Decebalus, however, once left to his own devices, undertook to challenge Rome again, by raids across the Danube into Roman territory and by attempting to stir up some of the tribes north of the river against her.
After gaining support in the Roman Senate and its blessing for war, by 101 Trajan was ready to advance on Dacia. This was a war in which the Roman military's ingenuity and engineering were well demonstrated. The Roman offensive was spearheaded by two legionary columns, marching straight to the heart of Dacia, burning towns and villages in the process. Trajan defeated a Dacian army at the Battle of Tapae, and in 102 Decebalus chose to make peace after some additional minor conflicts. The war had concluded with an important Roman victory. A stone bridge later known as Trajan's bridge was constructed across the Danube at Drobeta to assist with the legionaries' advance. This bridge, probably the biggest at that time and centuries to come was designed by Apollodorus of Damascus and it was meant to help the Roman army to advance faster in Dacia since the "peace" was actually lost by the Roman Empire. According to the peace terms, Decebalus got technical and military reinforcement from the Romans in order to create a powerful allied zone against the dangerous possible expeditions from the northern and eastern territories by hostile migrating peoples. The resources were, however, used to rebuild Dacian fortresses and strengthen the army. Soon thereafter Decebalus turned against the Romans once again.
To liberate it from the Romans because was ancient Dacian land. He challenge Rome again, by raids across the Danube into Roman territory and by attempting to stir up some of the tribes north of the river against her.
In ancient geographical sources, Moesia was bounded to the south by the Haemus (Balkans) and Scardus (Šar) mountains, to the west by the Drinus (Drina) river, on the north by the Donaris(Danube) and on the east by the Euxine (Black Sea).
The region was inhabited chiefly by Thracians, Dacians (Thraco-Dacians), Illyrian and Thraco-Illyrian peoples. The name of the region comes from Moesi, Thraco-Dacian peoples who lived there before the Roman conquest.
Parts of Moesia belonged to the polity of Burebista, a Getae king who established his rule over a large part of the Northern Balkans between 82 BC and 44 BC. He led plunder and conquest raids across Central and Southeastern Europe, subjugating most of the neighbouring tribes. After his assassination in an inside plot, the empire was divided into several smaller states.
In 75 BC, C. Scribonius Curio, proconsul of Macedonia, took an army as far as the Danube and gained a victory over the inhabitants, who were finally subdued by M. Licinius Crassus, grandson of the triumvir and later also proconsul of Macedonia during the reign of Augustus c. 29 BC. The region, however, was not organized as a province until the last years of Augustus' reign; in 6 AD, mention is made of its governor, Caecina Severus (Cassius Dio lv. 29). As a province, Moesia was under an imperial consular legate (who probably also had control of Achaea and Macedonia).
In 86 AD the Dacian king Duras ordered his troops to attack Roman Moesia. After this attack, the Roman emperor Domitian personally arrived in Moesia and reorganized it in 87 AD into two provinces, divided by the river Cebrus (Ciabrus): to the west Moesia Superior - Upper Moesia, (meaning up river) and to the east Moesia Inferior - Lower Moesia (also called Ripa Thracia), (from the Danube river's mouth and then upstream). Each was governed by an imperial consular legate and a procurator.
From Moesia, Domitian began planning future campaigns into Dacia and by 87 he started a strong offensive against Dacia, ordering General Cornelius Fuscus to attack. Therefore, in the summer of 87, Fuscus led five or six legions across the Danube. The campaign against the Dacians ended without a decisive outcome, and Decebalus, the Dacian King, had brazenly flouted the terms of the peace (89 AD) which had been agreed on at the war's end.
Emperor Trajan later arrived in Moesia, and he launched his first military campaign into the Dacian Kingdom c. March–May 101, crossing to the northern bank of the Danube River and defeating the Dacian army near Tapae, a mountain pass in the Carpathians (see Second Battle of Tapae). Trajan's troops were mauled in the encounter, however, and he put off further campaigning for the year to heal troops, reinforce, and regroup.
During the following winter, King Decebalus launched a counter-attack across the Danube further downstream, but this was repulsed. Trajan's army advanced further into Dacian territory and forced King Decebalus to submit to him a year later.
Trajan returned to Rome in triumph and was granted the title Dacicus Maximus. The victory was celebrated by the Tropaeum Traiani. However, Decebalus in 105 undertook an invasion against Roman territory by attempting to stir up some of the tribes north of the river against the empire. Trajan took to the field again and after building with the design of Apollodorus of Damascus his massive bridge over the Danube, he conquered part of Dacia in 106 (see also Second Dacian War).
Second Dacian War (105, 106 AD)
Like the first conflict, the second war involved several skirmishes that proved costly to the Roman military who, facing large numbers of allied tribes, struggled to attain a decisive victory, resulting in a second temporary peace. Eventually, goaded repeatedly by the behavior of Decebalus and his repeated violations of the treaty, Rome again brought in legions, took the offensive and prevailed resuming the conflict in 105. The next year they conquered step by step the mountain fortresses system that surrounded the Dacian capital, Sarmisegetusa. The finaldecisive battle took place near the walls of Sarmisegetusa - the capital city, during the summer of 106 with the participation of the legions II ADIUTRIX and FLAVIA FELIX and a detachment (vexillatio) from Legio VI Ferrata.
The Dacians repelled the first attack, but the Romans, with the help of a local treacherous nobleman, found and destroyed the water pipes of the Dacian capital. Running out of water and food supplies the city felt and was burned to the ground. King Decebalus fled, but followed by the Roman cavalry committed suicide rather than face capture. Nevertheless, the war went on. Thanks to the treason of a confidant of the Dacian king, Bicilis, the Romans found Decebalus's treasure in the river of Sargesia/Sargetia - a fortune estimated by Jerome Carcopino at 165 tonnes of gold and 331 tonnes of silver. The last battle with the army of the Dacian king took place at Porolissum (Moigrad).
Denarius issued by Trajan to celebrate the winning of the Dacian Wars.
Front. Text: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TR P COS V PP. Image: Laureate head right; the legend abbreviates as Imperator. Trajan. Augustus. Germanicus. Dacicus. Pontifex Maximus. Tribuniciae Potestate. Consul V. Pater Patriae.
Reverse. Text: SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI. Image: Dacian soldier wearing the Dacian peaked cap, seated on shield in mourning, with the curbed Dacian Falx (sabre) below. The reverse abbreviates Senatus Populus Que Romanus. Optimo Principi.
Trajan was notorious for the length of his inscriptions, which are the longest of the imperial series. Here, the titles actually form a continuum on both sides of the coin. It all translates as "Imperator, Trajan the Augustus, victor over the Germans and Dacians, chief priest, with the power of a tribune, consul for the fifth time, father of his country, the Senate and People of Rome: best of emperors.". - Reference: RIC II 219, BMC 175, RSC 529.
The wars ended not only in the destruction of Dacia’s military might but also in a sudden drop in its population. Crito reported that some 500,000 Dacians were taken prisoner, many to be sent to Rome to figure in the gladiatorial exhibitions (lusiones) that would form part of Trajan’s triumph, while the systematic ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the conquered territory began. The empire followed an organized, official colonization policy, granting land even to those who were not Roman citizens.
Photo below, Trajan's Column: Decebalu attack to reconquer lost territory in Moesia, the smoking gun, according with Roman propaganda.
Decebalu and his son Diegis distributing poison or water at Sarmisegethuza
The Funerary stone of Tiberius Claudiius Maximus, From Grammeni, Philippi, Macedonia, tells us that it was Maximus who beheaded and cut Decebalus right hand after he committed suicide. The tale of Maximus’ severing the king’s hand was widely held to be pure legend – until this stone was unearthed. Inscription:
Tiberius Claudius Maximus, military veteran, took the care of making this dedication while he was still alive. He served in the cavalry in the 7th legion Claudia loyal and faithful,(1) made financial officer of the cavalry, guard of the legionary legate, standard bearer of the cavalry in the same legion, awarded military decorations by the emperor Domitian for his courage in the Dacian war,(2) promoted to double-pay grade by the divine Trajan in the second ala of the Pannonians,(3) promoted to scout by Trajan in the Dacian war,(4) awarded military decorations twice by Trajan for his courage in the Dacian and Parthian wars,(5) made contingent officer by Trajan in the same ala because he captured Decebalus and brought his head to Trajan in Ranisstorum, served voluntarily after he was granted honorable discharge by Terentius Scaurianus, consular commander of the army in the new province of Dacia(?).(
His head and right hand were then taken to Traian by Claudius Maximus, in "Ranisstorium" (an unidentified Dacian village, perhaps Piatra Craivii ) when he was decorated and the trophy sent to Rome where it was thrown on Gemonian stairs. Tiberius Claudius Maximus' tomb cites two occasions where the legionary was decorated for his part in the Dacian wars, one of which being the acquisition and recovery of Decebalus' head.
Coin: TRAJAN. 98-117 AD. Æ "Medallic" Sestertius (30.52 gm). Struck circa 104-107 AD.
Obv: Laureate head right
Rev: Trajan on rearing horse right, spearing Dacian falling before. Tiber patina,
CNG Auction 67, lot 1413; Ex:Tony Hardy Collection.RIC II 536; Cohen 504
According to CNG catalogers, the rider on the reverse may not be Trajan. The Dacian king Decebalus is said to have committed suicide as he was about to be captured. Recent discoveries may indicate that the Roman Explorator or scout Ti. Claudius Maximus actually slew Decebalus and then brought his head back to Trajan - not nearly as "romantic" as the original version. The reverse scene on this coin may represent that event.
The Legend of Decebalus
Decebalus became a legend to the entire Roman world and ceramics depicting him committing suicide became very popular in the Roman Empire. The vessels were produced by one of the most famous ceramist of the Roman world, L. Cosius. We see here one of his terra sigilata with the scene of Decebalus suicide with bear (106-119) from:
La Graufeseneque, Gallia (Millau, Aveyron, France)
http://www.potsherd.uklinux.net/atlas/Class/sigillata/SGTS/graufesenque.jpg" mce_src="http://www.potsherd.uklinux.net/atlas/Class/sigillata/SGTS/graufesenque.jpg" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(221, 221, 221); padding: 10px;" height="342" width="300" border="1">
On the same vase, on the opposite side there it is represented another person captive-Petru (maybe one of Decebalu sons)
"The Legend of Decebalus", L. De Ligt et al. (eds.), Roman Rule and Civic Life: Local and Regional Perspectives (Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop ... Impact of Empire, Leiden 2003), Amsterdam: Gieben 2004, 153-75, 431-33.
View from the archaeological site of site of La Graufesenque towards the high plateau overlooking the valley of the Tarn. La Graufesenque is the most important producer of Gaulish sigillata during the first century AD.
Terra sigillata was manufactured at La Graufesenque (nr Millau, Aveyron/FR) from the Augustan period and the products achieved a wide distribution during the Tiberio-Claudian period. The height of the industry is reached during the mid-late 1st century AD, when the distribution covers most of the western Empire, the Mediterranean littoral, and beyond.
C. Bruun (B.) seeks to recover the memory of Decebalus.
While the Romans considered the Dacian king a "wicked barbarian" (p. 174), in the Danube region, he would have been remembered as a hero. B. thoroughly combs the meager sources regarding the king, but, to this reviewer, the suggestion of an anti-Roman "Decebalus legend" rests on thin evidence.
Capture of Decebalu' family
Legend has it that after Decebalus' defeat, his daughter Meda, with a handful of the Dacian elite soldiers, sought refuge in the Tilisca fortress where they were finally found by the Romans. After a siege, the Romans took Tilisca and burned it down. The Dacians fought to the last able body and Meda died with sword in hand, a warrior princess, worthy of her father.
Jinyu Liu (DePauw University)
This paper investigates the regional versions of Trajan’s Dacian wars to the extent that documentary sources allow. Although these campaigns were undoubtedly among the greatest political and military endeavors in the first three centuries C.E., our knowledge about them is rather limited. Deprived of relevant literary works (Trajan’s Commentarii, Criton’s Getica, Appian’s Dakike, Dio Chrysostom’s Getika, Arrian’s Parthika), we rely heavily on Dio Cassius’ Roman History Book 68. Due to this general lack of literary sources, the scholarly discussion of these wars has been largely shaped by the imperial ideology expressed mainly through coins and monuments, especially the visual narrative on Trajan’s Column. But how was this imperial propaganda received in the provinces? How did the veterans and the immigrants to Dacia tell the stories of the Dacian Wars? These difficult questions are important for our understanding of various subjects ranging from the impact of the Roman empire on the provinces to our present conceptualization of the Roman achievement. Provincial materials, especially inscriptions, reveal views of the Dacian campaigns that diverge from the ‘official’ interpretation emanating from Rome. This paper examines such inscriptional and other documentary evidence from the provinces. Following Christer Bruun’s discussion of the ‘legend’ of Decebalus as an example of the provincial/peripheral visions of Roman conquest [in L. de Ligt (ed.) 2004], I demonstrate that, in the provinces, the Dacian wars were not perceived as an easy and comfortable victory as Trajan’s Column would have us believe.
Notes and citations
Trajan Æ Sestertius. 103-111 CE, (25.86 g, 36 mm)
Obv: IMP CAES NERVAE TRAINO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP, laureate bust left seen from back, draped and cuirassed
Rev: Pax standing left holding cornucopia and stomping on Dacian.
Ex. Eukratides RIC II 504 var.
Apparently unrecorded in RIC and Cohen - with this bust type
The Dacian tribes, were part of the greater Thracian family of peoples. They established a highly militarized society and, during the periods when the tribes were united under one king (82 BC-44 BC, 86-106) posed a major threat to the Roman provinces of Lower Danube. Dacia was conquered (except for the Free Dacians) and transformed into a Roman province in 106 after a long, hard war.
The most important weapon of the Dacian arsenal was the falx. This dreaded weapon, similar to a large sickle came in two variants: a shorter, one-handed falx called a sica, and a longer two-handed version. The shorter falx was called sica (sickle) in the Dacian language. The two-handed falx was a polearm. It consisted of a three-feet long wooden shaft with a long curved iron blade of nearly-equal length attached to the end. The blade was sharpened only on the inside, and was reputed to be devastatingly effective. However, it left its user vulnerable because, being a two-handed weapon, the warrior could not also make use of a shield. Alternatively, it might used as a hook, pulling away shields and cutting at vulnerable limbs.
Using the falx, the Dacian warriors were able to counter the power of the compact, massed Roman formations. During the time of the Roman conquest of Dacia (101 - 102, 105 - 106), legionaries had reinforcing iron straps applied to their helmets. The Romans also introduced the use of leg and arm protectors (greaves and manica) as further protection against the falxes.
The Dacians were adepts of surprise attacks and skilful, tactical withdrawals using the fortification system. During the wars with the Romans, fought by their last king Decebal (87-106 ), the Dacians almost crushed the Roman garrisons South of the Danube in a surprise attack launched over the frozen river ( winter of 101-102 ). Only the intervention of Emperor Trajan with the main army saved the Romans from a major defeat. But, by 106 the Dacians were surrounded in their capital Sarmizegetusa.The city was taken after the Romans discovered and destroyed the capital's water supply line.Dacians decorated their bodies with tattoos like the Illyrians and the Thracians.The Pannonians north of the Drava had accepted Roman rule out of fear of the Dacians.
As a result, the king committed suicide and Dacia became a Roman province until 271.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus 39 - 65 wrote of Dacian hordes;
Have poured her captains, and the troops who guard the northern frontier from the Dacian hordes
Dacians that could afford armor wore customised Phrygian type helmets with solid crests(intricately decorated), domed helmets and Sarmatian helmets..They fought with spears,javelins,falxes, one sided battle axes and used "Draco" Carnyxe's as standards.Most used only shields as a form of defense.Cavalry would be armed with a spear, a long bronze La Tene sword and an oval shield.
Most of the infantry would wield a falx and perhaps a sica and would wear no armor at all even shunning shields.
Dacian mercenaries were uncommon in contrast to the Thracians and the Illyrians but they could be found in the service of the Greek Diadochi and of the Romans.
There was no Dacian navy except perhaps boats to cross the Danube that don't qualify as navy.
Dacians had built fortresses all around Dacia with most of them being on the Danube.A scene from Trajan's column shows Romans attacking a Dacian fortification using the "testudo".
The Dacians constructed stone strongholds, davas, in the Carpathian Mountains in order to protect their capital Sarmizegetusa. The fortifications were built on a system of circular belts. This allowed the defenders, after a stronghold was lost, to retreat to the next one using hidden escape gate
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The Dacian Draco was the standard of the ancient Dacian military.The draco was originally developed by the Sarmatians and Alans, cavalry peoples of the steppes.Sarmatians were part of the Dacian army as allies.The Roxolani became part of the Dacians while the Iazyges fought against them trying to claim their own land.
Celtic iron spearheards and swords from La Tene.Many types of Hallstatt culture and Celtic swords.Wooden shields , sax knives.The Celtic Bastarnae and Germans were an important part of the Dacian army.Celtic weapons were used like long swords and round shields.The Celts played a very active role in Dacia.The Scordisci were among the allies used by the Dacians.
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Cothelas had become a vassal to ancient Macedon.Some Kings of the Getae had been Hellenized
Dacia became a Roman province at 106 AD.Dacians were eventually Romanized.After their defeat from the Roman a coin called Dacicus was minted by Domitian.
Dacians were shown by Trajan as dignified and heroic but still dangerous and unable to stand against the might of Rome.Horace (65 BC - 8 BC) the poet writes of them in one of his works and mentions them along with the Scythians as as tyrants and fierce barbarians.Tacitus (56 - 117) a senator and a historian writes that they are a people that can never be trusted and the Roman legions had nothing to fear from them.
The Ancient Greeks expressed admiration and respect for Burebista.
List of Dacian battles
This is a list of battles or conflicts that Dacians had a leading or crucial role in- rarely as mercenaries.They were involved in massive battles against Roman legions.
|This section requires expansion.|
(De bello dacico)
|Subject(s)||History, military history|
|Publication date||? 100s AD|
Dacica (or De bello dacico) is a Latin work by Roman Emperor Trajan, written in the spirit of Julius Caesar's commentaries like De Bello Gallico, and describing Trajan's campaigns in Dacia.
It is assume to be based on Criton of Heraclea's Getica, a work on the history of the Daco-Getae. Criton was Trajan's Greek chief physician and procurator, during the Dacian wars.
Based on the research so far, Dacica is considered lost. However, one sentence survived in the Latin grammar work by Priscian. To describe a grammatical rule, Priscian cites Trajan: inde Berzobim, deinde Aizi processimus , meaning We then advanced to Berzobim, next to Aizi. The phrase describes the initial penetration into Dacia by the Roman army. It also mentions two Dacian towns where later Roman castra were built: Berzovia and Aizis.
Trajan's palace at Zavoi, Romania, Could this be Ranistorum?
Zăvoi is a commune in Caraş-Severin County, western Romania with a population of 4,343 people which includes 23 August, Măgura, Măru, Poiana Mărului, Valea Bistrei, Voislova and Zăvoi villages.
The archaeological discovery has a special importance because it was built very early, probably in the autumn of 101 during the first Dacian-Roman War of 101-102, before the actual Roman conquest of Dacia, the Carpathian-Danube region, modern day Romania.
The discovery will bring the village of Zavoi in Caras-Severin County to the attention of history researchers and archaeologists from around the world following the digging up of the ruins of a Roman palace with well-preserved structures, which is expected to offer so far unknown precious information about the Daco-Roman culture, according to the official Agerpres news agency.
The archaeological style of the building is unique in Romania, as it fully meets the Roman tradition for towering structures, according to local experts.
The Roman vestiges of Zavoi will be recovered, conserved and displayed to their real value with support from the local and central government and is expected to bring about the tourist development of the entire area.
The salvaging diggings so far will become systematic, and the entire location will turn into an archaeological site, according to the archaeological team headed by researcher Adrian Ardet of the Caransebes County Museum of Ethnography. Is this Ranistorum?
Palatul lui Traian ? descoperit la Zavoi, Caras Severin-2009
O remarcabila descoperire arheologica va aduce localitatea Zavoi din Valea Bistrei in atentia istoricilor si arheologilor de pretutindeni. In urma unor sapaturi efectuate aici, au fost scoase la iveala vestigiile unui palat roman cu structuri foarte bine conservate, constructie care va aduce informatii pretioase si necunoscute pana acum de istorici, referitoare la cultura daco-romana.
Primarul comunei Zavoi, Antonie Bunei, care s-a implicat activ in faza incipienta in dezvoltarea sapaturilor din zona, a declarat pentru Agerpres ca l-a anuntat imediat pe arheologul caransebesean Adrian Ardet despre situatia aparuta. In aceste conditii, echipa condusa de cercetatorul stiintific dr. Adrian Ardet de la Muzeul Judetean de Etnografie si al Regimentului de Granita Caransebes a scos la lumina o constructie complexa estimata la doua milenii de existenta, apartinand culturii romane. Cel mai probabil, imobilul respectiv a fost construit in toamna anului 101, d.H., in timpul primului razboi daco-roman desfasurat intre anii 101 si 102. Descoperirea "Palatului Imparatului Traian" de la Zavoi este deosebit de importanta datorita faptului ca acesta a fost construit timpuriu, inainte de cucerirea efectiva a Daciei de catre romani. Imobilul, unic in Romania prin constructia sa, pastreaza in totalitate traditia latina de arhitectura pentru cladirile cu impozanta. In viitor, vestigiile romane din comuna Zavoi urmeaza sa fie restaurate, conservate si puse cu adevarat in valoare cu sprijinul Ministerului Culturii si Cultelor, Consiliului Judetean, Directiei Judetene pentru Cultura, Culte si Patrimoniul Cultural National, toate acestea ducand la dezvoltarea intregii zone din punct de vedere turistic. (D.M.)
PALATUL IMPARATULUI TRAIAN DESCOPERIT
DE VASILE POPESCU
O inedită şi remarcabilă descoperire arheologică, de o importanţă istorică excepţională va aduce comuna Zăvoi din Valea Bistrei în atenţia cercetătorilor de pretutindeni. Aici au fost efectuate săpături care au scos la iveală vestigiile unui palat roman, cu structuri foarte bine conservate, care va aduce informaţii preţioase şi necunoscute până acum de istorici, referitoare la Cultura Daco-Romană.
Caraş-Severin este un judeţ în regiunea Banat din România, ce are ca reşedinţă oraşul industrial Reşiţa. Zăvoi, Caraş-Severin
Ministerul Culturii, Cultelor şi Patrimoniului Naţional
Repertoriul Arheologic Naţional (RAN)
Castrul roman de la Zăvoi. la km 22,200 pe şoseaua Caransebeş - Haţeg, în zona cimitirului din localitate
|1. Benea D.,, Banatul în timpul lui Traian, AnB (SN), 3, 1994, 309-321, [Publicaţie]|
|2. DMASI, Proiectul Listei Monumentelor Istorice, 1991, [Proiect LMI] (sursă de sit)|
|3. Luca, Sabin Adrian, Repertoriul arheologic al judeţului Caraş Severin, 2004, 145, [Repertoriu] (sursă de sit)|
|4. Lista Monumentelor Istorice, MO nr. 646 bis /16/07/2004, Ordinul ministrului culturii şi cultelor nr. 2.314/ 2004, vol., 2004, poz. 302-304, p. 772, [Ordin MCC] (sursă de sit)|
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=802200&filename=Roman castra from Romania.kmz
Biniş – aflat la 5 km de oraşul Bocşa din judeţul Caraş-Severin, vechi şi vestit centru bănăţean de ceramică nesmălţuită unde se mai practică încă olăritul.
Pe o lungime de 5 km, între satul Biniş şi oraşul Bocşa, se păstrează încă în bune condiţii, drumul roman Lederata-Tibiscum
Berzovia – localitate menţionată în singurul fragment rămas din cronica războiului purtat de Traian împotriva dacilor.
Ansamblul de relief cu climă, floră, faună, a favorizat apariţia staţiunii Poiana Mărului, situată într-un decor deosebit de pitoresc, dominat de păduri de conifere şi foioase, răspândite între Muntele Mic, Nedeia şi Vârful Pietrii. Din staţiune ni se oferă o perspectivă mai îndepărtată a munţilor Retezat şi Ţarcu. De aici pleacă mai multe trasee montane: prin Şaua Iepii (1727 m), între Masivul Bloju şi Baicu, spre Gura Apei, unde se află un mare lac de acumulare pentru hidrocentrala Râu de Mori; prin Valea Şucului, spre culmile Cuntu şi Ţarcu; pe valea pârâului Scorila, spre Muntele Mic; de la păstrăvărie, pe Culmea Nedeii, spre Vârful Nedeii.
Din legendele care abundă în zonă, credem tot mai mult că dacii aveau o viaţă religioasă ce se lega de munte şi de măreţia acestor înălţimi. Poiana Mărului a fost, de veacuri, locul de popas al oierilor ce urcau spre locurile de păşunat de pe aceste înălţimi, lucru ce a făcut ca locuitorii satelor ce-şi păşteau oile în zona masivului Gugu să poarte numele de gugulani („Gugulan cu car cu mere / Şi cu frumoasă muiere”, spune cântecul). Una dintre cele mai interesante legende ale zonei, se pare a fi aceea legată de comoara lui Scorilo. Pietrele Scorile, Cleanţul Scorilo, Cioaca (Creasta) Scorilo sunt nume vechi, încă din timpul dacilor, care au rămas şi s-au transmis peste veacuri, împreună cu credinţa că ar exista o comoară a regilor daci în această zonă. În urma unui sondaj printre ciobanii mai în vârstă, s-au desprins mai multe lucruri interesante, ce duc la o cunoaştere a locului din multe puncte de vedere. Ei spun că, în stânca lui Scorilo, cu un perete drept, se găseşte, undeva în centru, la o distanţă de 40 m de la poale şi 40 m de la culme, o peşteră unde este ascunsă o comoară. Locul ar fi marcat de prima rază de soare ce-şi trimite lumina peste creasta numită Buza Nedeii şi cade pe mijlocul peretelui, la răsăritul soarelui, în ziua de 21 iunie, ziua solstiţiului de vară. Acest lucru este destul de greu de acceptat. Într-o stâncă formată din şisturi cristaline, peşterile naturale nu se pot forma. Printr-o cercetare mai amănunţită a stâncii, nu a fost găsită decât o încăpere laterală ce pare că a fost săpată în stâncă, ca un adăpost pentru ciobanii ce urcau spre Muntele Mic. În urma unor observaţii amănunţite ale locului indicat, se poate vedea un fel de copertină, ca o adâncitură. Pentru elucidarea acestei legende, pot fi efectuate cercetări amănunţite ale acestui perete din stânca lui Scorilo. În general, ciobanii nu doresc să vorbească despre această zonă, considerând zona, o zonă tabu, zonă sacră. Acum, în urma descoperirilor de la Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, ştim că a existat un rege dac cu numele Scorilo, iar numele lui s-a păstrat în zonă fără a fi schimbat.
Autoarea prezinta, în baza unei foarte bogate documentari arheologice si istoriografice de specialitate, singurul atelier complex de realizare a margelelor din Imperiul roman, cunoscut pâna acum, si descoperit la Tibiscum – asezare din apropierea Caransebesului.