Romanian History and Culture

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Geti at the Lower Danube

 

Borovo Silver, Bulgaria, a Getic treasure 

photos at: http://www.goldensands.bg/cultural/treasure-borovo.asp

The Getae (Greek: Γέται, plural Γέτης) was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian or Dacian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania. This was in the hinterland of Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, bringing the Getae into contact with the ancient Greeks from an early age.

 Read The Dacian Stones Speak

 By Paul Lachlan MacKendrick

 
From the 7th century BC onwards, the Getae came into economic and cultural contact with the Greeks, who were establishing colonies on the western side of Pontus Euxinus, nowadays the Black Sea. The Getae are mentioned for the first time together in Herodotus in his narrative of the Scythian campaign of Darius I in 513 BC. According to Herodotus, the Getae differed from other Thracian tribes in their religion, centered around the god (daimon) Zalmoxis whom some of the Getae called Gebeleizis.[1] (Darius the Great, King of Persia, attacked the Thracians - Scythians both in the Balkans and Central Asia in 512 BCE.]

 

Between the 5th century BC and the 3rd century BC, the Getae were mostly under the rule of the flourishing Odrysian kingdom. During this time, the Getae provided military services and became famous for their cavalry. After the disintegration of the Odrysian kingdom, smaller Getic principalities began to consolidate themselves.

Before setting out on his Persian expedition, Alexander the Great defeated the  Lower Danube Getae and razed one of their settlements.[2] In 313 BC, the Getae formed an alliance with Callatis, Odessos, and other western Pontic Greek colonies against Lysimachus, who held a fortress at Tirizis (modern Kaliakra).[3]

The Getae flourished especially in the first half of the 3rd century BC. By about 200 BC, the authority of the Getic prince, Zalmodegicus, stretched as far as Histria (Sinoe), as a contemporary inscription shows.[4] Other strong princes included Zoltes and Rhemaxos (about 180 BC). Also, several Getic rulers minted their own coins. The ancient authors Strabo[5] and Cassius Dio[6] say that Getae practiced ruler cult, and this is confirmed by archaeological remains. 

http://www.gk.ro/sarmizegetusa/eng/dacia.jpg

In 72-71 BC, Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus became the first Roman commander to march against the Getae. This was done to strike at the western Pontic allies of Mithridates VI, but he had limited success. A decade later, a coalition of Scythians, Getae, Bastarnae and Greek colonists defeated C. Antonius Hybrida at Histria (Sinoe).[7][8] This victory over the Romans allowed Byrebista to dominate the region for a short period (60-50 BC).

Augustus aimed at subjugating the entire Balkan peninsula, and used an incursion of the Bastarnae across the Danube as a pretext to devastate the Getae and Thracians. He put Marcus Licinius Crassus in charge of the plan. In 29 BC, Crassus defeated the Bastarnae with the help of the Getic prince Rholes.[9] Crassus promised him help for his support against the Getic ruler Dapyx.[10] After Crassus had reached as far the Danube delta, Rholes was appointed king and he returned to Rome. In 16 BC, the Sarmatae invaded the Getic territory and were driven back by Roman troops.[11] The Getae were placed under the control of the Roman vassal king in Thrace, Rhoemetalces I. In 12 and 15 AD, these garrisons were fortified with Roman troops. In 45 AD, the province of Moesia was founded.

Text at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getae

 Getae

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getae

The Getae (Greek: Γέται, singular Γέτης) was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian / Dacian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania. This was in the hinterland of Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, bringing the Getae into contact with the ancient Greeks from an early date.

 Early history

Eastern Europe in 200 BC showing the Getae tribes north of the Danube river.

From the 7th century BC onwards, the Getae came into economic and cultural contact with the Greeks, who were establishing colonies on the western side of Pontus Euxinus, nowadays the Black Sea. The Getae are mentioned for the first time together in Herodotus in his narrative of the Scythian campaign of Darius I in 513 BC. According to Herodotus, the Getae differed from other Thracian tribes in their religion, centered around the god (daimon) Zalmoxis whom some of the Getae called Gebeleizis.[1]

Between the 5th century BC and the 3rd century BC, the Getae were mostly under the rule of the flourishing Odrysian kingdom. During this time, the Getae provided military services and became famous for their cavalry. After the disintegration of the Odrysian kingdom, smaller Getic principalities began to consolidate themselves.

Before setting out on his Persian expedition, Alexander the Great defeated the Getae and razed one of their settlements.[2] In 313 BC, the Getae formed an alliance with Callatis, Odessos, and other western Pontic Greek colonies against Lysimachus, who held a fortress at Tirizis (modern Kaliakra).[3]

The Getae flourished especially in the first half of the 3rd century BC. By about 200 BC, the authority of the Getic prince, Zalmodegicus, stretched as far as Histria (Sinoe), as a contemporary inscription shows.[4] Other strong princes included Zoltes and Rhemaxos (about 180 BC). Also, several Getic rulers minted their own coins. The ancient authors Strabo[5] and Cassius Dio[6] say that Getae practiced ruler cult, and this is confirmed by archaeological remains.

In 72-71 BC, Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus became the first Roman commander to march against the Getae. This was done to strike at the western Pontic allies of Mithridates VI, but he had limited success. A decade later, a coalition of Scythians, Getae, Bastarnae and Greek colonists defeated C. Antonius Hybrida at Histria (Sinoe).[7][8] This victory over the Romans allowed Burebista to dominate the region for a short period (60-50 BC).

Augustus aimed at subjugating the entire Balkan peninsula, and used an incursion of the Bastarnae across the Danube as a pretext to devastate the Getae and Thracians. He put Marcus Licinius Crassus in charge of the plan. In 29 BC, Crassus defeated the Bastarnae with the help of the Getic prince Rholes.[9] Crassus promised him help for his support against the Getic ruler Dapyx.[10] After Crassus had reached as far the Danube delta, Rholes was appointed king and returned to Rome. In 16 BC, the Sarmatae invaded the Getic territory and were driven back by Roman troops.[11] The Getae were placed under the control of the Roman vassal king in Thrace, Rhoemetalces I. In 12 and 15 AD, these garrisons were fortified with Roman troops. In 45 AD, the province of Moesia was founded.

Getae and Dacians

There is dispute among scholars whether the Getae were Dacians or had some other relationship with them.

The sources from the Antiquity claim the ethnic or linguistic identity of the two people. In his Geographia, Strabo wrote about the two tribes speaking the same language.[12] Justin considers the Dacians are the successors of the Getae.[13] In his Roman history, Cassius Dio shows the Dacians to live on both sides of the Lower Danube, the ones south of the river (today's northern Bulgaria), in Moesia, and are called Moesians, while the ones north of the river are called Dacians. He argues that the Dacians are "Getae or Thracians of Dacian race"[14] but also stresses the fact that he calls the Dacians with the name used "by the natives themselves and also by the Romans" and that he is "not ignorant that some Greek writers refer to them as Getae, whether that is the right form or not".[15]

In accordance with these testimonies some Romanian and Bulgarian scholars[16] developed hypotheses and theories arguing for common cultural, ethnical or linguistical features in the space north of Haemus mountains where both the populations of Dacians and of Getae were located. The linguist Ivan Duridanov identified a "Dacian linguistic area"[17] in Dacia, Scythia Minor, Lower Moesia and Upper Moesia. The archaeologist Mircea Babeş speaks of a "veritable ethno-cultural unity" between the Getae and the Dacians while the historian and archaeologist Alexandru Vulpe finds a remarkable uniformity of the Geto-Dacian culture.[18] There were also studies on Strabo's reliability and sources.[19]

Some of these interpretation have echoed in other historiographies.[20]

The Romanian historian of ideas and historiographer Lucian Boia states: "At a certain point, the phrase Geto-Dacian was coined in the Romanian historiography to suggest a unity of Getae and Dacians".[21] Lucian Boia takes a skeptical position and argues the ancient writers distinguished among the two people, treating them as two distinct groups of the Thracian ethnos.[21][22] Boia contends that it would be naive to assume Strabo knew the Thracian dialects so well,[21] alleging that Strabo had "no competence in the field of Thracian dialects".[22] He also stresses that some Romanian authors cited Strabo indiscriminately.[22]

His position was supported by other scholars. The historian and archaeologist G. A. Niculescu also criticized the Romanian historiography and the archaeological interpretation, particularly on the "Geto-Dacian" culture. [23]

 Culture

According to Herodotus, the Getae were "the noblest as well as the most just of all the Thracian tribes."[24] When the Persians, led by Darius the Great, campaigned against the Scythians, the Thracian tribes in the Balkans surrendered to Darius on his way to Scythia, and only the Getae offered resistance.[24]

One episode from the history of the Getae is attested by several ancient writers.[25][26]

When Lysimachus tried to subdue the Getae he was defeated by them. The Getae king, Dromichaetes, took him prisoner but he treated him well and convinced Lysimachus there is more to gain as an ally than as an enemy of the Getae and released him. According to Diodorus, Dromichaetes entertained Lysimachus at his palace at Helis, where food was served on gold and silver plates. The discovery of the celebrated tomb at Sveshtari (1982) suggests that Helis was located perhaps in its vicinity,[27] where remains of a large antique city are found along with dozens of other Thracian mound tombs.

As stated earlier, the principal god of the Getae was Zalmoxis whom they sometimes called Gebeleizis.

"This same people, when it lightens and thunders, aim their arrows at the sky, uttering threats against the god; and they do not believe that there is any god but their own." - Herodotus. Histories, 4.94.

Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia mentions a tribe called the Tyragetae (or Thyssagetæ),[28] apparently a Daco-Thracian tribe who dwelt by the river Tyras (the Dniester). Their tribal name appears to be a combination of Tyras and Getae.

The Roman poet Ovid, during his long exile, is asserted to have written poetry (now lost) in the Getic language.

 Legacy

At the close of the fourth century AD, Claudian, court poet to the emperor Honorius and the patrician Stilicho, habitually uses the ethnonym Getae to refer poetically to the Visigoths.

During 5th and 6th centuries, several writers (Marcellinus Comes, Orosius, John Lydus, Isidore of Seville, Procopius of Caesarea) used the same ethnonym Getae to name populations invading the Eastern Roman Empire (Goths, Gepids, Kutrigurs, Slavs). For instance, in the third book of the History of the Wars Procopius details: "There were many Gothic nations in earlier times, just as also at the present, but the greatest and most important of all are the Goths, Vandals, Visigoths, and Gepaedes. In ancient times, however, they were named Sauromatae and Melanchlaeni; and there were some too who called these nations Getic."[29]

The Getae were also assumed to be the ancestors of the Goths by Jordanes in his Getica written at the middle of the 6th century. Jordanes assumed the earlier testimony of Orosius.

See also

 References

  1. ^ Herodotus. Histories, 4.93-4.97.
  2. ^ Arrian. Anabasis, Book IA. "The Getae did not sustain even the first charge of the cavalry; for Alexander’s audacity seemed incredible to them, in having thus easily crossed the Ister, the largest of rivers, in a single night, without throwing a bridge over the stream. Terrible to them also was the closely-locked order of the phalanx, and violent the charge of the cavalry. At first they fled for refuge into their city, which. was distant about a parasang from the Ister; but when they saw that Alexander was leading his phalanx carefully along the side of the river, to prevent his infantry being anywhere surrounded by the Getae lying in ambush, but that he was sending his cavalry straight on, they again abandoned the city, because it was badly fortified."
  3. ^ Strabo. Geography, 7.6.1. "On this coast-line is Cape Tirizis, a stronghold, which Lysimachus once used as a treasury."
  4. ^ Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 18.288
  5. ^ Strabo. Geography, 16.2.38-16.2.39.
  6. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 68.9.
  7. ^ Livy. Ab Urbe Condita, 103.
  8. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 38.10.1-38.10.3.
  9. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 52.24.7; 26.1.
  10. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 51.26.
  11. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 54.20.1-54.20.3.
  12. ^ Strabo. Geography, Book VII, Chapter 3.13. "The language of the Daci is the same as that of the Getae."
  13. ^ Justin, Epitome of Pompeius Trogus: "Daci quoque suboles Getarum sunt" (The Dacians as well are a scion of the Getae).
  14. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 55.22.6-55.22.7. "The Suebi, to be exact, dwell beyond the Rhine (though many people elsewhere claim their name), and the Dacians on both sides of the Ister; those of the latter, however, who live on this side of the river near the country of the Triballi are reckoned in with the district of Moesia and are called Moesians, except by those living in the immediate neighbourhood, while those on the other side are called Dacians and are either a branch of the Getae are Thracians belonging to the Dacian race that once inhabited Rhodope."
  15. ^ Cassius Dio. Roman History, 67.6.2.
  16. ^ Giurescu, Constantin C. (1973) (in Romanian). Formarea poporului român. Craiova. p. 23.  "They (Dacians and Getae) are two names for the same people [...] divided in a large number of tribes". See also the hypothesis of a Daco-Moesian language / dialectal area supported by linguists like Vladimir Georgiev, Ivan Duridanov and Sorin Olteanu.
  17. ^ Duridanov, Ivan. "The Thracian, Dacian and Paeonian languages". http://www.kroraina.com/thrac_lang/thrac_8.html. Retrieved 2007-02-11. 
  18. ^ Petrescu-Dîmboviţa, Mircea; Vulpe, Alexandru (eds), ed (2001) (in Romanian). Istoria Românilor, vol. I. Bucharest.  It should be noted Al. Vulpe speaks of Geto-Dacians as a conventional and instrumental concept for the Thracian tribes inhabiting this space, but not meaning an "absolute ethnic, linguistic or historical unity".
  19. ^ Janakieva, Svetlana (2002). "La notion de ΟΜΟΓΛΩΤΤΟΙ chez Strabon et la situation ethno-linguistique sur les territoires thraces" (in French). Études Balkaniques (4): 75–79.  The author concludes Strabo's claim sums an experience following of many centuries of neighbourhood and cultural interferences between the Greeks and the Thracian tribes
  20. ^ The Cambridge Ancient History (Volume 3) (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. 1982.  In chapter "20c Linguistic problems of the Balkan area", at page 838, Ronald Arthur Crossland argues "it may be the distinction made by Greeks and Romans between the Getae and Daci, for example, reflected the importance of different sections of a linguistically homogenous people at different times". He furthermore recalls Strabo's testimony and Georgiev's hypothesis for a 'Thraco-Dacian' language.
  21. ^ a b c Boia, Lucian (2004). Romania: Borderland of Europe. Reaktion Books. p. 43. ISBN 1-86189-103-2. 
  22. ^ a b c Boia, Lucian (2001). History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness. Central European University Press. p. 14. ISBN 9639116971. 
  23. ^ Niculescu, Gheorghe Alexandru (2004-2005). "Archaeology, Nationalism and "The History of the Romanians" (2001)". Dacia - Revue d'archéologie et d'histoire ancienne (48-49): 99–124.  He dedicates a large part of his assessment to the archaeology of "Geto-Dacians" and he concludes that with few exceptions "the archaeological interpretations [...] are following G. Kossinna’s concepts of culture, archaeology and ethnicity".
  24. ^ a b Herodotus. Histories, 4.93.
  25. ^ Strabo. Geography, 3.8.
  26. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece, 1.9.5.
  27. ^ Delev, P. (2000). "Lysimachus, the Getae, and Archaeology (2000)". The Classical Quarterly, New Series 50 (Vol. 50, No. 2): 384–401. doi:10.1093/cq/50.2.384. 
  28. ^ Pliny the Elder. Naturalis Historia, 4.26. "Leaving Taphræ, and going along the mainland, we find in the interior the Auchetæ, in whose country the Hypanis has its rise, as also the Neurœ, in whose district the Borysthenes has its source, the Geloni, the Thyssagetæ, the Budini, the Basilidæ, and the Agathyrsi with their azure-coloured hair."
  29. ^ Procopius. History of the Wars, Book III (Wikisource).

 Geti in the Odrysian kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odrysian_kingdom 

Odrysian kingdom

460 BC–46
Odrysian kingdom
CapitalSeuthopolis
Language(s)Thracian language
ReligionPolytheism
GovernmentMonarchy
Historical eraClassical Antiquity
 - Teres460 BC
 - Roman conquest46

The Odrysian kingdom (Ancient Greek: Βασίλειον Ὀδρυσῶν) was a union of Thracian tribes that endured between the 5th century BC and the 3rd century BC. It consisted largely of present-day Bulgaria, spreading to parts of Romanian Northern Dobruja, parts of Northern Greece and modern-day European Turkey. King Seuthes III later moved the capital to Seuthopolis[1]. The Odrysians

The Odrysians (Odrysae or Odrusai, Ancient Greek: "Οδρύσαι") were one of the most powerful Thracian tribes[2] that dwelled in the plain of the Hebrus[3] river.This would place the tribe in modern European Turkey[4] close to Edirne. The river Artescus[5] passed through their land as well. Xenophon[6] writes that the Odrysians held horse races and drunk large amounts of wine and after the burial of their dead warriors. Thucydides writes on their custom, practised by most Thracians, of giving gifts for getting things done.[7] Herodotus is the first that mentions the Odrysae.

 

The Odrysian kingdom

Thrace had nominally been part of the Persian empire since 516 BC[8] and was re-conquered by Mardonius[9] in 492 BC. The Odrysian state was the first Thracian kingdom that acquired power in the region, by the unification[10] of many Thracian tribes under a single ruler, King Teres[11] in the 5th century BC.

Extent and control

Initially, during the reign of Teres or[12] Sitalces the state was at its zenith and extented from the Black Sea to the east, Danube to the north, the region populated with the tribe called Triballi to the north-west, and the basin of the river Strymon to the south-west and towards the Aegean. Later its extent changed from present day Bulgaria, Turkish Thrace and Greece between the Hebrus and the Strymon except for the coastal strip the Greek cities occupied[13]. Sovereignty was never exercised over all of its lands as it varied in relation to tribal politics.

Historian Z.H. Archibald in writes;

The Odrysians created the first state entity which superseded the tribal system in the east Balkan peninsula. Their kings were usually known to the outside world as kings of Thrace, although their power did not extend by any means to all Thracian tribes. Even within the confines of their kingdom the nature of royal power remained fluid, its definition subject to the dictates of geography, social relationships, and circumstance

This large territory was populated with a number of Thracian and Daco Geto-Moesian tribes that united under the reign of a common ruler (king), and began to implement common internal and external policies. Those were favorable conditions for overcoming the tribal divisions which could lead gradually to the formation of a more stable ethnic community. This was not realised and the period of power of the Odrysian kingdom was brief. Despite the attempts of the Odrysian kings to bolster the central power, the separatist tendencies were very strong. Some tribes were rioting constantly and tried to separate while others remained outside the borders of the Kingdom. At the end of the fifth and the beginning of the fourth century BC, as a result of conflicts the Odrysian kingdom split in three[14] parts. They were known as Upper Thrace and Lower Thrace, even later there were three Thracian states ruled. The political and military decline continued while at this time the neighbouring Macedonia was rising as a dangerous and ambitious neighbour.[15] Odrysian military strength was based on intra-tribal elite[16] making the kingdom prone to fragmentation.

Historians

According to the Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides, a royal dynasty emerged from among the Odrysian tribe in Thrace around the end of the 5th century BC, which came to dominate much of the area and peoples between the Danube and the Aegean for the next century. Later writers, royal coin issues, and inscriptions indicate the survival of this dynasty into the early first century AD, although its overt political influence declined progressively first under Persian, Macedonian, later Roman, encroachment. Despite their demise, the period of Odrysian rule was of decisive importance for the future character of south-eastern Europe, under the Roman Empire and beyond.

Teres' son, Sitalces, proved to be a good military leader, forcing the tribes that defected the alliance to acknowledge his sovereignty. The rich state that spread from the Danube to the Aegean built roads to develop trade and built a powerful army. In 429 BC, Sitalces allied himself with the Athenians[17] and organized a massive campaign against the Macedonians, with a vast army from independent Thracian and Paeonian tribes. According to Thucydides it included as many as 150,000 men, but was obliged to retire through failure of provisions, and the coming winter.[18]

In the 4th century BC, the kingdom split itself in three smaller kingdoms, of which one, with the capital at Seuthopolis survived the longest. During the Hellenistic era it was subject at various times to Alexander the Great, Lysimachus, Ptolemy II, and Philip V, and was at one time overrun by the Celts, but usually maintained its own kings. During the Roman era its Sapaean rulers were clients of Rome until Thrace was annexed as a Roman province in 46 AD.

Hellenization

Under the Odrysians Greek became the language of administrators[19] and of nobility and the Greek Alphabet was adopted; Greek customs and fashions contributed to the recasting of east Balkan society.The nobility adopted Greek fashions in dress, ornament and military equipment spreading it to the other tribes[20]. Thracian kings were among the first to be Hellenized[21].

 List of Odrysian kings

Genealogy of Teres founder of the Odrysian kingdom

The list below includes the known Odrysian or Astaean kings of Thrace, but much of it is conjectural. Various other Thracian kings (some of them perhaps Odrysian like Pleuratus) are included as well.[22] Odrysian kings though called Kings of Thrace never exercised sovereignty over all of Thrace[23].Control varied according to tribal relationships.[24]

 Astaean line