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Roman Dacia



   Festival Zilele Romane=Zalau-Porolissum Renactors.The “Roman Days Festival” was set up in 2005.

Bătăliile dintre daci şi romani reiterate la Roma 

Ei au participat la festivităţile organizate zilele acestea pentru a sărbători 2763 de ani de la întemeierea Romei

 The conquest of Dacia by the Romans and its turning into an imperial province (A.D. 106-271) brought about major changes in the native population's economic, social and political life.

The Geto-Dacians continued to remain the main ethnic community both in the free and in the occupied territories. They continued to work side by side with the Roman colonists and veterans, who had been brought into the new Imperial province of Dacia from everywhere in the Roman World.

The spirit of the conquerors, backed by the diligence of the local population, proved very profitable for the country Dacia reached such a high level of material and spiritual culture that was named Dacia Felix.

There are several Hungarian authors who show that Dacia was "depleted of men" (later authors more accurately say "depleted of resources") but to believe the Romans could or even would exterminate everyone in such a vast area is ridiculous.

Keep in mind that on Trajan's Column alone you have 7 scenes of Dacians submitting to Roman rule. Cassius Dio himself shows that at the start of the 106 war many Dacians willingly placed themselves under Rome's rule.

Furthermore there are lots of Roman legions composed of Dacians, like Ala I Ulpia Dacorum, Cohors II Augusta Dacorum pia fidelis veterana milliaria equitata, Cohors III Dacorum equitata, Vexillatio Dacorum Parthica, and other units in Britain under the names Decibalus and Dida. There were at least 10 Roman military units purely of Dacians.

Furthermore, the Latin inscriptions in Dacia sometimes show evident Dacian personal names, like Mucatra, Brasus, Mucapor Mucatralis, Rescuturma (the wife of a Roman cavalryman), Dula (wife of Volusius Titianus), Aurelius Duda, Aelius Diales etc. This clearly shows Dacians remained in Dacia, even though a huge number of colonists from the Roman Empire came over them.

BTW, some interesting things to note are Romans taking Dacian brides and people with Roman first names (Aelius) and Dacian last names (Diales), showing the process of assimilation was quite strong. The latter phenomenon is shown by another, Aurelius Denzi. While it is true that only 100 of the names on inscriptions are Dacian (while 1920 are Roman) this number is of course affected in a pro-Roman sense due to the fact that the urban centers, where most of the writing happened, was dominated by Romans, and due to the assimilation of the locals. Nevertheless, the presence of Dacian names shows that there were Dacians living under Rome's banner, and they were being assimilated.

Furthermore, consider the toponyms and even names of cities in Roman Dacia: Prolissium, Sarmizegetusa, Recidava, Sucidava, Peridava, Potaissa, Napoca, Cumidava, Dierna etc. these are not Roman names. The Romans weren't "wiping everything clean" and starting over. Also, remember that there were revolts in Dacia by the locals. How could they revolt if they were exterminated?

It's a game of numbers really: the Dacians in Decebal's kingdom are considered to have numbered 500,000, maybe 1,000,000 at a maximum. The Roman military veterans settled in Dacia alone numbered some 87,000. Add in the families of those veterans (an average of 5 per person) and you have some 450,000 colonists in Dacia from the military component alone. Never mind the cities, mines, and rural areas which were all heavily colonized, such that Roman Dacia probably had around 2,000,000 residents at a minimum, a majority of which were Romanized locals coming from Illyria, Thrace, and Macedonia (like the Legio V Macedonica and Legio XIII Gemina).


 Dacia (Roman province)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The conquest of Dacia was completed by Emperor Trajan (98-117) after two major campaigns against Decebalus’s Dacian kingdom.[3] But the territory of the Dacian kingdom was not occupied in its entirety by the Romans;[5] the greater part of Moldavia, together with Maramureş and Crişana, was ruled by Free Dacians even after the Roman conquest.[6]

In 119, the province was divided into two departments: Upper Dacia included the Transylvanian Plateau;[2] and Lower Dacia incorporated the Banat and almost half of Oltenia;[3][5][6] the latter was later named Dacia Malvensis.[2] In 124 (or around 158), Upper Dacia was divided into two provinces: Dacia Apulensis and Dacia Porolissensis (north-western Transylvania).[5][7]



Porolissum castrum


During (or soon after) the Marcomannic Wars this scheme was modified again: military and judicial administration was unified under the command of one governor having two other senators (the legati legionis) as his subordinates and the province was called simply Dacia or Three Dacias (tres Daciæ).[5]

The Roman authorities unfolded in Dacia a massive and organized colonization.[4]

Substantial numbers of ethnic-Dacians continued to exist on the fringes of the Roman province attested by Dio Cassius, who records that 18,000 were granted permission to settle within the province by the emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 162-80).

New mines were opened, and ore extraction intensified.[3] Agriculture, stockbreeding, and commerce flourished in the province.[3] Dacia began to supply grains not only to the military personnel stationed in the province but also to the rest of the Balkan area.[3]

Dacia was a highly urban province: no fewer than 11[1] or 12 cities are known, 8 of them of the highest rank (colonia);[6] but the number of cities was fewer than in the region’s other provinces. [8] In Dacia, all the cities developed from military camps.[1] Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa (Sarmizegetusa, Romania), the seat of the imperial procurator (finance officer) for all the three subdivisions, was the financial, religious, and legislative center of the province.[1] Apulum (Alba Iulia, Romania), where the military governor of the three subdivisions had his headquarters,[1] was not just the greatest conurbation of the province, but one of the largest in the area.[5]

The province’s political life was not without perils from the start.[6] First came the Free Dacians who, allied with the Sarmatians, frequently attacked the province.[6] After the quieter rules of Commodus (180-193), Septimius Severus (193-211), and Caracalla (211-217), the invasions of Dacia, in particular the invasion by the Carpi (a Dacian tribe) in alliance with the Goths, were a serious problem for the emperors.[6]

It became more and more difficult to keep Dacia within the boundaries of the Roman Empire;[4] thus Dacia was the last province to be added to the Roman Empire and was the first to be abandoned.[3] In the 250s, as the Carpi advance intensified, Dacia’s inhabitants began to seek refuge south of the river Danube, in Moesia.[8] Our sources from antiquity imply that Dacia had already been lost during the reign of Gallienus (260-268), but they also report that it was Aurelian (270-275) who relinquished Dacia Traiana.[9] He evacuated his troops and civilian administration from Dacia, and founded Dacia Aureliana with its capital at Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) in Lower Moesia.[2]

The fate of the Romanized population of the former province of Dacia Traiana has become subject to a spirited controversy.[6] One theory -Romanian-holds that the Latin language spoken in ancient Dacia, where Romania was to be formed in the future, gradually turned into Romanian; in parallel, a new people, the Romanians were formed from the Daco-Romans (the Romanized population of Dacia Traiana).[4] The opposing-Hungarian- theory argues that the Romanians descended from the Romanized population of the Roman provinces of the Balkan Peninsula.[8]

Trajan conquered the Dacians, under King Decibalus, and made Dacia, across the Danube in the soil of barbary, a province which in circumference had ten times 100,000 paces; but it was lost under Imperator Gallienus, and, after Romans had been transferred from there by Aurelian, two Dacias were made in the regions of Moesia and Dardania.
Festus: Breviarium of the Accomplishments of the Roman People (VII.2)[10]


The Dacian Stones Speak, By Paul Lachlan MacKendriRoman Sandalck,

chapter 5  Photo at:  A brick bearing the imprint of a Roman sandal. There is an entire collection from the Malva castrum with fingerprints and marks of men and animals.

Here the metal hobnails of the Roman sandal have been preserved in the burnt clay for almost two thousand years.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 28th October 2007

 A very good site is:

   Roman Dacia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;

The Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-38), showing the imperial province of Dacia in southeastern Europe
The provinces of the Roman Empire in 117, with Dacia highlighted.
Roman Dacia
Trajan receives homage from a Dacian chieftan who has betrayed Decebalus.
Sestertius minted to celebrate Dacia province and its legions, V Macedonica and XIII Gemina.
Roman walls

The Roman province of Dacia on the Balkans included the modern Romanian regions of Transylvania, Banat and Oltenia, and temporarily Muntenia and southern Moldova, but not the nearby regions of Moesia. It was added to the Roman empire in its earliest days under the war of conquest by the Emperor Trajan, and was ironically—considering its wealth— the first of the Roman provinces from which Rome withdrew.

It was administered under a Roman governor of praetorian rank, and Legio XIII Gemina with numerous auxiliaries had their fixed quarters in the province. Due to a decrease in population of the conquered territory, caused by the Dacian Wars and consequent flight of many Dacians to regions north of the Carpathians, Roman colonists were brought in to cultivate the land and work the gold mines alongside the Dacian population— this melding of workers can be seen on Trajan's Column which was erected to honor the Dacians submitting to Trajan during the recently concluded Dacian Wars. Roman conquest of Dacia stands at the base of the origin of Romanians.

The colonists, besides the Roman troops, were mainly first- or second-generation Roman colonists from Noricum or Pannonia, later supplemented with colonists from other provinces: South Thracians (from the provinces of Moesia or Thrace) and settlers from the Roman provinces of Asia Minor.

Province organization

For protection against the attacks of the free Dacians the Carpians and other neighbouring tribes, the Romans built forts and delimited the Roman held territory with a limes. Three great military roads were constructed, that linked the chief towns of the province. A fourth road, named after Trajan, ran through the Carpathians and entered Transylvania through the Turnu Roşu mountain pass. The chief towns of the province were Sarmizegetusa (Colonia Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa), Apulum, Napoca and Potaissa.

Trajan Road, Porolissum to Frumuseni (Stana village)

In 129, Hadrian divided Dacia into Dacia Superior and Dacia Inferior, the former comprising Transylvania and the latter Oltenia. Later the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius redivided it into three (tres Daciae): Porolissensis, from the chief town Porolissum, Apulensis, from Apulum, and Malvensis from Malva (site unknown). The tres Daciae formed a single society insofar as they had a common capital, Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, and a common assembly, which discussed provincial affairs, formulated complaints and adjusted the incidence of taxation. However, in other respects they were practically independent provinces, each administered under an ordinary procurator, subordinate to a governor of consular rank.

After the Dacian Wars, Dacians were recruited into the Roman Army, and were employed in the construction and guarding of Hadrian's Wall in Britannia, or elsewhere in the Roman Empire. Several Cohors Primae Dacorum ("First cohort of Dacians") and Alae Dacorum fighting in the ranks of the Legion were stationed at Deva (Chester), Vindolanda (on the Stanegate) and Banna (Birdoswald), in Britannia.

The Marcus Aurelius's Column and the Arch of Galerius depict Dacian troops with their characteristic phrygian cap and Draco. The English word dagger might come from Vulgar Latin daca, a Dacian knife[citation needed], and it also may be related with the medieval Romanian word daga, a kind of knife with three blades, used only for assassination.[citation needed]

Coinage of  Provincia Dacia

by Dave Surber.
Published posthumously in November 2009 by Dane Kurth

  The Romans in Dacia

Anatomy of a Roman Coin



 The dig at Cioroiu Nou

Cioroiu Nou

A general view of the digs at Cioroiu Nou, at the beginning of August 2010, when the General Manager of the Oltenia Museum approved a new period of digs during August, because of the importance of discoveries on the site.

This general image shows the thermes buildings, not all uncovered, also a new dig area in the eastern part of the site, where there is another building ready to be uncovered. Photo: Adrian Gheorghe 2nd August 2010 

 From the the Rudari vilage area, comes the stones to build, in ancient times, the Roman town at Cioroiu Nou. These stones, known as Siga are not so good for buildings, not strong, but were the only stone available to build the site. The distance between the two locations is about 15 km, from NW to SE, but still we have no data about an ancient Roman road between the sites. In the Cioroiu Nou site there are bricks for buildings, as well as two types of stones, those that came from Rudari, as identified by a specialist from Oltenia Museum, Aurelian Popescu. Today the Rudari stone area is an empty, ghost area, but many years ago there was a lot of stone for buildings, as may still be seen in villages nearby, where those stones are still used in buildings. Another type of stone, Calcar, or limestone, can also be found on the Cioroiu Nou site, and it would be good to find the source for this stone. 




  Cimitir roman din Alba Iulia


Basorelief, Instructor al gladiatorlior 

Silviu I. Purece, Tezaurul de la Stãnesti, Bucuresti, 2005

Text: p.7-153

Anexe: Hãrti, Fotografii, Grafice si Tabele, p.155-179

Catalogul fotografic al monedelor din tezaur, p. 180-221


Tezaurul de la Stãnesti este unul dintre tezaurele mari din Dacia, ce au fost ascunse în jurul jumãtãtii secolului al III-lea, detinând un numãr de 1127 de monede, esalonate de la Hadrianus la Valerianus. Ultima monedã din tezaur a fost emisã în 254-255.

Importanta tezaurului de la Stãnesti este mare nu numai din perspectiva analizelor de ordin numismatic, ci si datoritã contextului politico-militar de care, probabil, se leagã si ascunderea acestui tezaur. Este vorba de situatia creatã în Imperiu dupã cãderea în captivitate a lui Valerianus.

Studiul vine sã contribuie la adãugarea încã unui argument în disputa legatã de situaþia Daciei dupã jumãtatea secolului al III-lea putându-se acum reanaliza, pentru zona Olteniei de nord-est, momentul de sfârsit al stãpânirii romane.


The Province of Dacia Timeline

The 165 years-long history of the Province of Dacia, the last important conquest of the Roman Empire, had been restless.
 113 - 166
Towards the end of Trajan’s reign (between 113-117 AD), during the war with the Parts that implied more Roman military forces, the legions IV Flavia Felix and I Adjutrix left the province, as many auxiliary troops did. The Sarmathic tribes considered Dacia - in that moment defended only by Legio XIII Gemina - vulnerable and attacked it, while the Romans had major difficulties while warring against the Parts.
When Hadrian became emperor, in 117, the military situation was difficult. That is why he decided to abandon Trajan’s conquests in Asia. Instead, he maintained Dacia, according to ancient sources, because there lived so many Roman citizens that the emperor could not desert. The new emperor reorganized the territories from the Lower Danube area. He retired his troops from the territories that he held to the east of the Carpathian Mountains and Olt. This river became the new border line. The territories lying to the north of the Danube - formerly in Moesia Inferior - were included in a new province, Dacia Inferior. The former Dacia became Dacia Superior. In its extremity, to the north of the Mures and Aries rivers, another province was established: Dacia Porolissensis - which took its name from Porolissum, its most important military base.
The Romans had to face a new situation. They had to find new ways of political and military control over the area close by the Danube. Their solution was to create on the northern shore of the river - at least in two points - military bridge heads in presentday Southern Moldavia: at Barbosi (Galati) and at Aliobrix (Cartal - Orlovka). Aliobrix was a castrum where an auxiliary unit of the Moesia Inferior’s army founded its civil settlement. Till 166-167 Dacia strongly developed its urban structures, but also its economical and cultural life.
During the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161) the Romans moved the border of Dacia Inferior 40 Km to the East of the Olt river. There they built a new defensive line, this time an artificial one, usually named the Transalutan Limes, or Valul. The decision was caused mainly by strategic reasons: his will was to protect the Olt defensive line, confronted with the barbarians’ attacks. In that place Hadrian had built an important strategic road, running across the mountains to Transylvania. That was the second communication axis between Dacia and the Empire.
 167 -180
For the Roman Empire the age of peace and prosperity ceased with several serious military conflicts that affected the Danube border area, between 167-180. They are known by the historiography as the "Marcomanic wars".
Dacia was fully involved in these wars. One of its governors, Cornelius Fronto, was killed in combat, while the Germanic and Sarmatians barbarians were devastating the province close by the walls of the capital, Ulpia Trajana. A major part of the Dacian population, mainly rural, had withdrawn in safer areas, some of them in the desert galleries of the gold mines in western Carpathian mountains. There, there were found - during the XVIII century - lamps, small objects and most of all wax tablets, certifying to miscellaneous contacts. Thanks to the effective efforts they made, the Romans under the command of the emperor Marcus Aurelius succeded in rejecting the barbarians. In Dacia new troops arrived, such as the legion V Macedonica.
The three provinces have been ruled only by one governor, who was supposed to be an ancient consul, therefore named "consular" of the three Dacia. Both decisions strongly implied the strenghtening of the defensive capacity of the foremost point of the Roman Empire.
 193 - 235
Afterwards, during the Severs’s dynasty (193-235), the border areas and the whole Dacia enjoyed a prosperous time. During that age there were produced many of most valuables Roman archaeological vestiges that are to be found in the Romanian museums. Most of the Roman archaeological sites reflect that age. A real Dacian renewal was acomplished during that time. The Romans didn’t see the local population as a real danger and allowed to manifest itself.
Thus, the well-known Dacian settlements of Soporul, Obreja (Transylvania), Locusteni (Oltenia) raised during the Severs dynasty. It was the time when Decebalus offered a golden plaque to the medical deities from Germisara (Geoagiu).
Then, in 212, the Emperor Caracalla issued his famous decree granting Roman citizenship to all the free people of the Empire. The decree was excluding only an unimportant social section. This was the end of social and political assimilation of the peoples conquered by the Romans.
This process had started during the Republic by according citizenship to the individuals or to the communities as a reward for those who rended services to the state. It made possible the miracle of transforming a city, Rome, into the widest Empire of the Antiquity.
 235 - 270
The last stage of the Roman presence in Dacia, 235-270, is well-known as the "3rd century crises" that affected the whole Empire. It was a crisis determined not only by the internal anarchy, but by stronger barbarian attacks as well. Organized in important coalitions, the barbarians took the Roman state on the brink of a disaster.
The main exposure of Dacia was to the East: the strong tribal union of the Carps - living on the territory of Moldavia - could have been the first objective, followed by the German Goths. With an effective effort and thanks to the presence of the Emperor Phillip the Arabian, the Romans rejected the strong attack of the Carps in 245-247. In the following years (250) Dacia had to face a more difficult situation.
Reflecting the effectiveness of the incessant barbarian attacks, the inscriptions were scarcer, in fact they disappeared after 260. During these decades the monetary circulation was practically paralysed, as it is demonstrated by the lack of the penetration of the new coins from the Center of the Empire.
After 260, the Emperor Gallienus transferred most of the Dacian legions to Poetovio, in Pannonia. He used them as upper echelon troops in his exercise army. In fact, Dacia had been abandoned by an emperor who was striving hard to save at least the center of his Empire.
 270 - 275
The restoration of the Empire, by reconquesting the so called Empire of the Gauls and the Zenobia’s state, with the capital at Palmyra, was the work of Aurelian (270-275), an eminent general. He realised that, as he wanted to unify the Roman state, he had to use all the forces he could have. For that reason, he had to abandon Dacia - placed on the northern shore of the Danube, with a dangerous strategic position and demanding important garrisons.
Probably around 271 Aurelian gathered the troops he had in Dacia. The troops were used to strenghten the Danube defensive line. Then, trying to hide the painful loss of the Trajan’s conquest, he established on the southern shore of the river - on the territory occupied today by Serbia - a new province with the same name: Dacia.
The abandon of the Province of Dacia didn’t mean a cut of the relationships of the Romans with the teritories from the northern shore of the Lower Danube. In the former province a native Daco-Roman population remained, still active in the former towns, till the Hunic invasion, acording to the archaeological discoveries from Apulum. For all that, the Daco-Roman population had a precarious material living. They were importing indispensable Roman products, such as the small bronze coinage or the paleo-christian objects, used in the religious ritual. For example, the donarium discovered in Biertan. The Romans maintained a military presence on the Northern shore of the river, to Dierna, Drobeta, Sucidava (Celei) or Barbosi.
During the reign of Constantin the Great (306-337) there was an attempt to reconquer Dacia, but we have no informations about its strength, not about the way it was intended to be accomplished. However, as a testimony of this large scale political and military operation was the new bridge, built by Constantine across the Danube au Sucidava, close by the Olt draught. This was, beyond any doubt, a natural way of getting inside Dacia. However, the important road built along the Olt river by Hadrial, was still operational at that time.
During the following period, the Roman influence over Dacia was variable, depending on the general situation of the Eastern Roman Empire and on its regional policy. However, there was a continuous presence - one way or another - of the Roman politics and civilization, as long as the Empire continued to maintain its border on the Danube line, until the time of the Emperor Focas (602-610). At that time, the Avaric and Slacvic invasion destroyed the Roman-Byzantine possession over the North of the Balkan Peninsula. Then, the Roman influences in Dacia stopped. This brought to an end a whole historical age.


W. S. Hanson, I. P. Haynes, Roman Dacia. The Making of a Provincial Society. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 56.   Portsmouth, RI:  Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2004.  Pp. 190.  ISBN 1-887829-56-3.  $79.50.  

Text at :
Reviewed by Jinyu Liu, DePauw University (
Word count: 3069 words
[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]
The past decade has seen a steady output of synthetic studies of particular Roman provinces, such as Britain, Spain, Gaul, and Germany. These studies have contributed much to such broader themes as Roman imperialism, the administration of the empire, and, above all, the dialectical process of acculturation. This present volume on Dacia, one of the latest fully incorporated territories yet the first to be abandoned by the empire, is a much-needed addition to this material. While there has been an increasing number of publications on the Dacian provinces in Western European languages,1 many archaeological reports and discussions have been published in Romanian -- with some earlier ones in Hungarian -- and thus are not easily accessible to non-specialists.2 Furthermore, as the editors point out, despite all that Dacia could potentially tell us about "the transforming impact of Roman imperialism at its height" (11) and "a key episode in the unfolding collapse of Roman control in the West" (12), there has been a dearth of syntheses and monograph-length surveys. The present volume, together with N. Gudea and T. Lobüsher's forthcoming book on Dacia, the continued publication of multilingual reports from international archaeological programs such as the Apulum Project, and several forthcoming dissertations in English, will certainly make an understanding of the archaeology of Roman Dacia less elusive and the latest scholarly thinking more accessible to a broader audience.
The book contains seven papers, of various lengths, of which five are expanded versions of papers delivered at a session of the Roman Archaeology Conference held in Glasgow in 2001, and two are new. The editors note the omission of C. Gazdac's paper on the monetary history of Roman Dacia due to the publication of Gazdac's dissertation on the subject in English. Unlike many publications about Dacia, the flavor of this volume is more sociocultural than military or political. It is the editors' stated intention to redress the balance in favor of the non-military aspects of the province. The first paper in this volume serves as an introduction and surveys the state of research and priorities of future research. The other six investigate different aspects of the nature and extent of Dacia's "Roman experience," addressing issues ranging from Late Iron Age background, demographic structure, and urbanization to rural settlements, funerary monuments, and religion. The theme of Roman-native relations runs throughout the book. Also quite visible throughout is a conscious effort to disentangle the scholarly discussion from the influence of Romanian politics and the issue of Romanian national identity.
Despite occasional differences of opinion, there seems to be a consensus among the authors that the indigenous population did not play a significant role in the creation of a new Roman provincial society in Dacia; that the integration model in Dacia was not based on civitates; that immigrants may not have been "Romanized" to any great extent; and that Roman Dacia was subject to multicultural influences. Examples from other Western provinces, especially Britain and Danubian provinces such as Pannonia and Noricum, are frequently cited, effectively illuminating the uniqueness of Roman Dacia vis-a-vis the common experience of the Roman provinces. All the articles contain a summary of the state of scholarship and present up-to-date archaeological discoveries, some of which are published for the first time in this volume. Most of the papers draw information not only from published works, but also from forthcoming ones, including dissertations in progress. In this connection, this volume offers not only the most recent scholarship but also a taste of what to expect in the near future.
The editors' "An Introduction to Roman Dacia" offers an excellent outline of the geography of the region, a summary of the history of the province, its population, and its military background, and a brief historiographic survey (12). I do not intend to summarize the introduction here, especially since the more important conclusions will be presented below. What should be noted is that it is mainly an archaeological survey, which will best serve archaeologists and which is wholly appropriate to a JRA supplement. However, one might have wished the authors to include more discussion of scholarly opinions concerning civic life in the Dacian cities and social relations other than those between the indigenous people and Rome. After all, these are integral elements in "The Making of a Provincial Society," which is the subtitle of the volume.3
"The Late Iron Age background to Roman Dacia" by K. Lockyear (hereafter "L.") surveys the archaeological evidence, especially settlement types, sanctuaries, burial traditions (when recovered), and numismatic evidence. Based on the archaeological data generated by Romanian archaeologists, L. denies the existence of the putative state of the "great king" Burebista and concludes that "the evidence from Romania, whilst displaying some broad overall trends, can be seen as a period of distinct regional diversity" (69). In light of the Roman denarii in Late Iron Age Dacia, L. proposes a new interpretative framework for the complex of settlements, structures, and finds in Munt,ii Ors,atiei, as well as for how the concentration of material and power came about in southwest Transylvania by the time of the Roman conquest. Rather than seeing these coins as evidence of trade and markets, L. interprets their use as "a symbol of power" and suggests approaching them as "one expression of competition between and within polities" (69). Applying this model to the various sites, towers, and settlements, L. hypothesizes that they "represent not a unified plan but a series of competing elite residences." Over the course of time, however, "one group gradually became more dominant in SW Transylvania," which "became increasingly hostile to Rome, which led to conflicts with Domitian and finally to the Dacian wars" (70). This article is factually rich, with four tables and 27 illustrations. L. is at his best when it comes to numismatic analysis. In fact, a fuller development of the hypotheses proposed here can be found in L.'s forthcoming works Money matters. Coins, politics and polities in late Iron Age Dacia and State, swindle or symbol? The problem of Roman Republican denarii in Romania. On the other hand, as L. is perfectly aware, his proposed interpretation "is only one possible 'story' that can be woven around the data we have" (70). Indeed, his hypothesis is challenged by A. Diaconescu (hereafter "D.") later in this same volume. D. argues in favor of the existence of a centralized political structure in Late Iron Age Dacia (123). Yet a definitive answer, as L. perfectly understands, is rendered unlikely by the difficulty of identifying the indigenous population archaeologically, the imperfect state and inaccurate chronology of the available data, the deficiency of the excavation reports, and the lack of high-quality distribution and topographic maps (34-36, 69).
"The Supposed Extermination of the Dacians: the literary tradition" by D. Ruscu (hereafter "R.") investigates the demographic consequences of the Roman conquest of Dacia. R. lays out four factors that impacted the demographic structure in Roman Dacia: the annihilation of the Dacian elite, large-scale colonization by Latin-speakers, the relegation of indigenous communities to the periphery of the Roman settlement area, and the recruitment of Dacians into auxiliary units. All these imply that the contribution of the indigenous population to the "civilizing"/Romanizing process was slighter than elsewhere (84). In R.'s analysis, the demographic exhaustion mentioned in the literary references [Eutr. 8.6.2; Julian. Caesares 28.327 C-D; Schol. in Lucianum, ed. H. Rabe (Leipzig 1906) 24.16] is first and foremost the non-survival of the Dacian elite. R. supports this conclusion by a further examination of the paucity of Dacian names in inscriptions, the absence of civitates, and the disappearance of the indigenous divinities. To R., all these could be explained by the absence of that socially and politically active upper social stratum of indigenous society, which handled self-administration and supplied religious leaders. In general, R. makes a convincing case, which makes less persuasive H. Diacoviciu's opinion that the native elite might have changed their names to Roman names and thus became epigraphically unidentifiable.4 The absence of L. Ellis' article "'Terra Deserta': Population, Politics, and the [de]Colonization of Dacia" [World Archaeology 30.2 (Oct. 1998) 220-37] from R.'s bibliography is, however, a bit surprising.5
"The Towns of Roman Dacia: an overview of recent research" by A. Diaconescu provides an extensive survey of the archaeological discoveries from the last 10-15 years that have challenged old theories about the emergence, development, and decline of Roman towns in Dacia. I will provide only a summary of
the more important conclusions here. Based primarily on data from Sarmizegetusa, Napoca, and Apulum, D. concludes that apart from the Severan municipia at Potaissa, Apulum, and Porolissum, which were founded as a result of military dispositions, the towns -- including Sarmizegetusa -- had a civilian origin, having grown up from colonized settlements (121). The towns originating from groups of Trajanic colonists (mostly veterans) were originally subordinate to colonia Dacica Sarmizegetusa (122). The civilian towns were not related to any Late Iron Age settlements (121). In Dacia, the Roman authorities were not confronted by tribal communities similar to the civitates of the West. The native names for the newly founded settlements are not proof of the continuing occupation of purely native settlements (123). On the other hand, since Dacian auxiliaries were being recruited under Trajan and Hadrian, and native pottery is present at many Roman sites in Dacia, especially in the early layers, D. warns against accepting the almost complete extermination of the Dacians or the complete evacuation of the province after the Dacian Wars (125). D. then moves on to discuss the Dacian villages. D. subscribes to J. Nandris' theory that the Dacians lived in small groups on individual smallholdings. That they were probably not concentrated in larger villages might explain the difficulties inherent in identifying rural sites in many parts of the provinces, as well as the absence of native civitates in Dacia (125-28). D. believes that it is possible to talk about links, "if not in terms of direct continuity," between the Roman province and the Dacian kingdom, pointing in particular to the similarities between the military map of Roman Dacia and that of the kingdom of Decebalus (126). As to the question "How did the towns die?", D. points out that with the exception of those in Dacia Inferior, the settlements of Roman Dacia were not touched by barbarian attack during the third century, and there was no organized or premeditated evacuation of the province. Nor did barbarians settle in formerly Roman towns (130). D. illustrates these points with the cases of Sarmizegetusa, Napoca, and Apulum. In the fifth and sixth centuries, "Dacia looks more like a rather primitive world, where descendants of Roman provincials managed to achieve some kind of ethnic-linguistic and folklore continuity, but eventually lost many of the ideals and mores of Roman civilization" (136).
"Rural Settlement in Roman Dacia: some considerations" by I. A. Oltean (hereafter "O.") provides a careful and stimulating discussion of the development of rural settlement in Roman Dacia, challenging many of the current orthodox theories. Based on an examination of the archaeological evidence from villas in Dacia, O. argues in favor of the pre-Roman origins of these villas. According to O.'s analysis, the resemblance between villas and pre-Roman Dacian house plans would suggest that the pre-Roman societies of Pannonia, Moesia, and Dacia had more in common than is currently believed. On the basis of the lack of epigraphic evidence and traces of centuriation, O. refutes the current orthodoxy that "villas in Dacia were owned by Roman colonists, veterans and the municipal elite and formed their estates around the towns in which they lived" (151). In discussing the inhabitants of the vici, O. denies a simplistic dichotomy -- that is, stone/timber houses vs. sunken houses and storage pits -- in identifying the dwellings of Roman colonists and natives. Addressing the issue of the extent to which colonists were Romanized, O. points out that the immigrants must have been at different stages of Romanization when they arrived in Dacia. As a result, their material culture may not at first have been very different from that of the natives. Particularly illuminating is her suggestion that "the process of Romanization of both natives and colonists would have developed in parallel, which makes ethnic identification on the basis of artifacts difficult" (162). As to the hill-forts, a major focus of archaeological examination, O. cautions against the extrapolation of their destruction to the entirety of the Dacian settlement pattern. O. rightly notes that these hill-forts were elite sites, the purpose of whose location was primarily strategic, and that therefore the basis for their existence no longer existed after the military defeat and the introduction of Roman rule (162). O. denies the idea that rural sites in Roman Dacia consisted only of villas and vici. O. attributes the failure to recognize "other types of site, such as individual homesteads which may be related to native farming, or mansions, or the whole range of slightly larger settlements from small towns to villages and hamlets" to inadequate methods of data collection (161). O. concludes that the current archaeological data does not point to "a similar degree of colonized elements" in rural areas and urban and military contexts (162). It is O's contention that "the impact of the Roman conquest on the landscape of Dacia with respect to the survival and treatment of the native population was probably not as dramatic as previously thought, but it may have been quite great in terms of modification of the landscape, both natural and human" (163). One might expect a fuller development of these landscape studies in O.'s forthcoming dissertation, entitled Later prehistoric and Roman settlement and land-use in western Transylvania.
"Burial monuments and their implications" by C. Ciongradi (hereafter "C.") presents an overview of the art-historical aspects of the funerary monuments of Dacia Superior. Based on a topological and stylistic analysis, C. brings into focus the heterogeneous characteristics of funerary monuments throughout Dacia. The factors that decided the specific types of monuments in each center range from the status of the settlement (whether chiefly civilian or military) to the origins of the artisans, the particular taste of the colonists, and the customers. Funerary monuments evolved over time, showing an obvious link with Northern Italy only at the beginning of the second century, after which an orientalizing influence can be seen. This chronological evolution, C. notes, parallels that of other artifacts such as imported terra sigillata in Sarmizegetusa, Apulum, and Savaria. C. also examines the connection between the type of monument and the social status of the deceased. Unfortunately, no clear picture emerges from C.'s discussion. It seems that material, rather than typological or artistic elements, was the key indication of status. "The diffusion of religious belief in Roman Dacia: a case-study of the gods of Asia Minor" by Schäfer (hereafter "S.") uses archaeological monuments to identify the cultural identity of the immigrants, focusing, in particular, on the worshipers and the dynamic process of the formation of a new religious structure in Roman Dacia. The large number of immigrant groups explains the heterogeneous picture of the gods in Roman Dacia. S. rightly points out the inadequacy of the model of "syncretism," and suggests that the term "should be interpreted afresh along with its corresponding chronological, cultural, and ethnic dimensions" (180). As far as religion in Roman Dacia is concerned, S. thinks that we should be speaking more of a process of colonization, and less of Romanization. S. illustrates the point with an investigation of Dacian monuments to Asian gods. Focusing on the dedications to Glykon and the statue of Hekate Triformis, S. concludes that "the images of deities, the cults and the language of the old homeland will have served to bind together and confirm the minority who had come from Asia Minor" (187). S. completes his analysis by a discussion of the religious groups of natives from Asia Minor. S. sees migration as the main impulse for the formation of religious groups, and approaches them as "enclaves" or "self-contained networks" through which the immigrants preserved their social and cultural identity (188). However, other possible raisons d'être of these groups -- such as a business relationship -- are not explored. In order to get a complete picture of the religion of Roman Dacia, one would like to see discussions of gods from other regions, as well as groups from other ethnic backgrounds.6
There is some overlap between the papers in this volume. One conspicuous example is the discussion of the absence of civitates in Dacia. D. Ruscu, A. Diaconescu, and I. A. Oltean all offer explanations from different angles. R. points to the absence of the upper stratum of indigenous society (81). D. emphasizes the fact that Late Iron Age Dacians were living in small villages and hamlets controlled from citadels by professional soldiers, making it unlikely that structures similar to the civitates in the West could have existed in the province (126). To O., the answer lies in "the dearth of proto-urban settlements" as well as in "the relatively late date of the conquest and organization of the province" (162). Despite some omissions, cross-references are well done and generally very helpful.
Each article has its own bibliography, but no integrated bibliography is provided. It is a pity that there is no index. I do not know whether or not the absence of an index was due to the publisher. Some JRA supplements do have indices.
There are some minor slips in the volume: 318 for 319 (p. 23, note 61); omission of is (p. 113, paragraph 2, line 4); Parto_ for Partos, (p. 113, paragraph 3, line 6); carrier for career (p. 114, paragraph 2, line 6); became for become (p. 122, paragraph 1, line 2); missing period (p. 147, paragraph 2, line 20). The spelling of personal names is not always consistent. Schäfer, for example, is sometimes spelled Schaefer; Étienne is sometimes spelled Etienne. Latin words are not consistently italicized.
I. P. Haynes and W. S. Hanson, "An introduction to Roman Dacia"
K. Lockyear, "The Late Iron Age background to Roman Dacia"
D. Ruscu, "The supposed extermination of the Dacians: the literary tradition"
A. Diaconescu, "The towns of Roman Dacia: an overview of recent archaeological research"
I. A. Oltean, "Rural settlement in Roman Dacia"
C. Ciongradi, "Burial monuments and their implications"
A. Schäfer, "The diffusion of religious belief in Roman Dacia: a case-study of the gods in Asia Minor"
1.   It is impossible to give a full list of the relevant publications in Western European languages here. I mention only some of the more important ones with an emphasis on those in English. Prosopographical works by Arthur Stein (Die Reichsbeamten von Dazien, Budapest: Magyar Nemzeti Muzeum, 1930), and I. Piso (esp. Fasti provinciae Daciae I. Die senatorischen Amtsträger, Bonn 1993); military studies in Actes du IXe Congrès International d'Études sur les Frontières romaines 1972, edited by D. M. Pippidi, Mamaia, 1974; Proceedings of the XVIIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies 1997, edited by N. Gudea, Zalau 1999; numismatic studies in English include several articles by M. H. Crawford, including "Republican denarii in Romania: the suppression of piracy and the slave-trade," JRS 67 (1977) 117-24; G. L. Duncan, Coin Circulation in the Danubian and Balkan Provinces of the Roman Empire AD 294-578, Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 26, London: RNS, 1993; several contributions by K. Lockyear, esp. "Multivariate money. A statistical analysis of Roman Republican coin hoards with special reference to material from Romania," Ph.D. diss., Institute of Archaeology, London: 1996; and C. Gazdac, Monetary Circulation in Dacia and the Provinces from the Middle and Lower Danube from Trajan to Constantine I (A.D. 106-337), diss. Daciae, Cluj 2003. English translations of several Romanian works appear in the BAR International Series (N. Gudea, The Defensive System of Roman Dacia; I. Bogdan Cataniciu, Evolution of the System of Defence Works in Roman Dacia, BAR Supplement 116, 1981, was translated from the Romanian by Etta Dumitrescu; L. T,eposu Marinescu, Funerary Monuments in Dacia Superior and Dacia Porolissensis, BAR Supplement 128, 1982; D. Alicu and A. Paki, Town-planning and Population in Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, BAR Supplement 605, 1995. J. G. Nandris has published in English on the Iron Age. There are, of course, discussions of Roman Dacia in connection with Trajan's Column (e.g., F. Lepper and S. Frere, Trajan's Column, Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1988). Reflections on Romanian historiography include D. Deletant, "Rewriting the Past: trends in contemporary Romanian historiography," Ethnic and Racial Studies 14.1 (1991) 64-86. L. Ellis, one of the few American archaeologists studying Roman Dacia, has contributed much: "Dacians, Sarmatians, and Goths on the Roman-Carpathian Frontier, second-fourth centuries," in Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity, edited by R. Mathisen and H. Sivan, 105-25, London: Variorum, 1996; "'Terra Deserta': Population, Politics, and the [de]Colonization of Dacia," World Archaeology 30.2, Population and Demography (Oct. 1998) 220-37. Three of the contributors in the volume under review, A. Diaconescu, I. Haynes, and A. Schäfer, are the directors of the tri-national Apulum Project. Their reports include "The Apulum Project. Summary report of the 1998 and 1999 seasons," in The Impact of Rome on Settlement in the Northwestern and Danube Provinces, edited by S. Altekamp and A. Schäfer, 115-28, BAR Supplement 921, 2001. Two other contributors of this volume, W. S. Hanson and I. A. Oltean, published, among others, "Recent Aerial Survey in Western Transylvania: Problems and Potential," in Aerial Archaeology. Developing Future Practice, edited by R. H. Bewley and W. Ra,czkowski, 109-15, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2002.
2.   Even the IDR (Inscriptiones Daciae Romanae) are published in Romanian.
3.   While I. Piso's indispensable works on the prosopography of Roman Dacia are duly mentioned in the bibliography, R. Ardevan's book Viata municipala in Dacia romana, Timisoara, 1998, an important recent contribution to the study of municipal life in the province, is omitted. It is, however, cited by two of the other papers in the volume.
4.   H. Diacoviciu, "La romanisation de la Province de Dacie," Acta Musei Napocensis 21 (1984) 91.
5.   Ellis' article deals with a similar subject, and challenges the narrow interpretative framework based on the combination of "culture = people = linguistic group = ethnicity." Ellis suggests that we not see "the absence of epigraphic evidence as singular 'proof' of ethnic and population discontinuity," but rather approach it as an indication of "a more complex rural-urban dichotomy with cultural as well as economic implications for Roman colonial frontier society" (Ellis 1998, 237).
6.   D. Noy's discussion in his Foreigners at Rome: Citizens and Strangers (London: Duckworth, 2000) might serve as a model.

1.Sarmisegetusa Regia (Ulpia Traiana) = The Roman Imperial Province
Capital of Dacia Traiana or Dacia Felix.
2.Napoca (modern, Cluj-Napoca) = colony.
3.Ulpianum (modern, Oradea Mare) on Crisia (modern, Cris) River =
vicus/pajus (village).
4.Porolissum (modern, Moigrad) in Bihor = municipium and castrum
(Roman camp with infantry troops - cohortes- and with cavalry troops -
5.Rucconium (modern, Ibrany), now in Hungary.
6.Partiscum (now, in Hungary).
7.Docidava (Dacidava?), near Crasna River = vicus/pajus.
8.V.Resculum, Optatiana, Alburnus Maior (modern, Rosia), Abruttus
(modern, Abrud), Ampellum (modern, Zlatna), all = vicus/pajus, near
Apuseni Montains.
9.Aqve (modern,Calan) = colony.
10.Petrae (modern, Petrila), Germisara, Burticum, Sacidava (modern,
Miercurea Sibiului), Cedonie (near Sibiu), all = vicus/pajus.
11.Apulum (modern, Alba Iulia) = colony.
12.Potaissa or Potavissa (modern, Turda) = municipium.
13.Berzolis (modern, Berzovia), Apo (modern, Orastie), Potula,
Canonia, Centum Putea, Caput Bubali, Argidava (Arcidava), Dierna,
Lederata, Pincum, Viminacium, all = vicus/pajus.
14.Micia (modern, Vetel) = castrum (Roman camp).
15.Margum, Ad Pannonios (modern, Cornea), Pretoriae (modern, Plugova),
Ad Mediam (modern, Mehadia), all = vicus/pajus.
16.V.Ans (Amensium) Regio on Samus (modern, Somes) River =
17.Arcobadara on Samus (modern, Somes) River = vicus/pajus.
18.Sangidava, Marcodava, Brucla (modern, Aiud), all = vicus/pajus.
19.Tibiscum (modern, Jupa, near Timisoara) = municipium.
20.Acmonia (modern, Zavoi), Mascilianus, Gaganis or Gazona (modern,
Slatina) on Tibiscus (modern, Timis) River, all = vicus/pajus.
21.Caput Stenarum, Pons Vetus (modern, Caineni), Pretorium (modern,
Cornetu), Arrutela, Castra Traiani (modern, Gura Vaii) on the Aluta or
Alutus (modern, Olt) River, all = vicus/pajus.
22.Ziridava, Blandiana, Micia, Germisara, Oburticum, Marcodava on
Maris (modern, Mures) River, all = vicus/pajus.
23.Angustia = castrum (Roman camp) on Ghimes Mountain Pass.
24.Comidava = castrum (Roman camp).
25.Ramidava, Triplentum, Patridava, Petrodava, Utidava, Pirum, in the
eastern Carpathians, all = vicus/pajus etc.etc.etc.
A) Localities:
1.Napoca (modern, Cluj-Napoca).
2.Porolissum (modern, Moigrad).
3.Sarmizegetusa (modern, Sarmizegetuza).
4.Apulum (modern, Alba-Iulia).
5.Drobeta (modern, Drobeta Turnu-Severin).
6.Potaissa (modern, Turda).
B) The great rivers:
1.Dunaris (modern, Dunarea).
2.Aluta or Alutus (modern, Olt).
3.Maris (modern, Mures).
4.Argessos (modern, Arges).
5.Tisa (modern, Tisa).
6.Samus (modern, Somes).
7.Tibiscus (modern, Timis).

 SITES: Pannonia and Upper Moesia By András Mócsy, Sheppard Sunderland Frere at:






The Hungarian point of view 

Commerce and the Economy: the First Growth Phase

Text at:


For the empire, the central European provinces were of little economic significance and offered negligible exports, yet required great expenditures for the stationing of troops. Nevertheless, the mineral deposits in Transylvania must have enhanced Dacia's importance to Rome. There were stone quarries as well as iron and salt deposits, but the most valuable resource was gold. Although much is known about Transylvania's gold, there is no evidence of its exploitation in Dacian times — archaeological finds indicate that the Dacians preferred silver jewellery — or about the goldmines' yield in Roman times. New information surfaced in the form of wax-coated wooden writing tablets, several of which were discovered at Verespatak in 1786, 1790, and in the 19th century, and which bear a variety of commercial texts, contracts, and accounts dating back to 131–167.

The exploitation of gold deposits (aurariae Dacicae) began shortly after the occupation of the creation of the Roman province. The goldmining centre was in the Érc Mountains (Muntii Apuseni), where miners lived in larger settlements — Ampelum (Zalatna, Zlatna) and Alburnus Maior (Abrud-Verespatak, Roşia Montana) as well as smaller ones (Deusara, Kartum, Immenosus Maior, and Vicus Pirustarum).

The mining district (territorium metalli) was the property of the Emperor, and its settlements did not benefit from local government. It is not clear whether the largest settlement, Ampelum, was granted the status of municipium. A mine procurator (procurator aurariorum) was in charge of local administration and of the gold mines. In keeping with Roman practice, these officials (ten names survive) were chosen mostly from among former slaves of the imperial household. Slaves who had earned their freedom at around age 30 might, if they performed meritoriously in other official capacities, be appointed procurator at age 40–45. The first procurator {1-79.} known by name, M. Ulpius Hermia, had been freed by Trajan and administered the district under Hadrian. This, together with the date of the earliest tablet, 131, indicates that mining began, at the latest, during Hadrian's reign. It is likely that the Dacian gold mines were under the joint administration of two procurators, one a freed slave, and the other a knight. This dual system, reserved for important installations, provided better checks and supervision, as well as administrative continuity, for the terms of office were staggered: the former slaves served longer terms as procurator than did the knights. Most of the lower-rank officials who looked after administrative and technical matters (vilici, tabularii, dispensatores) also came from the ranks of imperial slaves and freed slaves. In some cases, the librarii who served in the procurator's secretariat (officium) were drawn from the ranks of the legion XIII Gemina. They were not the only soldiers in the mining district. This important area, situated near the frontiers of the empire, had to be guarded against bandits as well as external attack. Internal security and the protection of ore and precious metal shipments was entrusted to North African soldiers of the numerus Maurorum Hispaniorum; the location of their garrison is not known. The ore was mined both in open pits (currugus) and by tunneling.

The wax tablets offer some information about this mining society, as do the epitaphs at Ampelum and Alburnus. Most of the mine workers were brought from Dalmatia, and belonged to Illyrian tribes — the Pirusti, Sardeati, and Buridusti. Some 64 per cent of the Illyrian names found in Dacia belonged to the mining district. These Illyrian miners lived in closed communities (Vicus Pirustarum), with their own tribal leaders (princeps). Following the practice in their homeland, they often called their settlements a castellum. The mines also employed workers from Asia Minor.

Most of the actual mining was probably done by wage labourers, who earned 70 or, more likely (the sources are unclear), 140 denarii a year. This was a considerable sum at a time when a lamb {1-80.} in the Alburnus region cost 3.5 denarii, and a piglet 5 denarii, prices comparable to those prevailing in the rest of the empire; wine, at 1.3–1.8 denarii a litre, was expensive.

Surviving records make no mention of the prisoners sentenced to labour in the mines (damnati ad metallum) or of the employment of slaves in other than administrative work. Slaves fetched exceedingly high prices in northern Dacia: in 139, a six-year old girl was sold for 205 denarii, while in 142, a boy was bought in the neighbourhood of the legion camp at Apulum for 600 denarii. These rates suggest that slave labour would have been unprofitable in the mines, and that there could not have been many slaves in the district or, indeed, in northern Dacia.

It also seems likely that, despite the efforts at resettlement, the mines suffered from a shortage of manpower. High wages are indicative of a tight labour market. One of the wax tablets clearly indicates that by the late 160s, the district's population was declining. On 9 February 167, before the outbreak of the great wars (and before the concealment of the tablets), the officers of the Jupiter Cernenus collegium at Alburnus disbanded the association because the membership had dwindled from 54 to 17. Thus the population was shrinking even in Dacian districts that offered well-paid employment.

Less is known about the Transylvanian iron and salt mines. These were also state property, though managed by leaseholders (conductores). The surviving epigraphs bearing a mention of the latter date from around 200. One records that Flavius Sotericus, a man of Greek origin who leased an iron mine, was also a member of the emperor's cult association at Sarmizegethusa. That inscription was found at Alsótelek (Teliucul Inferior), where the Romans had begun to exploit the large iron ore deposits of the Ruszka Mountains. The remains of an iron smelter have been uncovered at Gyalár (Ghelar), in the vicinity of Alsótelek. A number of salt mines were in production inTransylvania, in the northern part of the {1-81.} province (Homoródszentpál-Sînpaul, Szék-Sic, Kolozs-Cojocna, Homoródszentmárton-Mărtiniş, Marosújvár-Ocna-Mureşului, etc.); the operators leased not only the salt deposits but also the surface land and, in some cases, the right to trade salt.

Besides mining, little is known about the economic life of Dacia. As in other provinces, domestic crafts served mainly local demand. Agricultural and mining implements were probably fashioned from local iron. The most thoroughly investigated craft is that of ceramic houseware, although very few workshops and kilns have been discovered.

The province did not develop a common style of pottery. Shapes and finishes common in southern Dacia reveal influences coming from south of the Danube. Northern styles were more influenced by Noricum and Pannonia, as seen in the typical tripodal dishes. Northern Transylvania did give birth to a distinctively decorated ceramic that, as far as can be ascertained, was not used in other parts of the province; the sides of the roughly hemispherical bowls bore sigillary imprints. The style of the grey and pink dishes produced in large quantities in Porolissum can be readily traced back to their south Pannonian models; the sigillary decoration on the sides had been simplified, figures being replaced by geometric patterns.

Good land and fluvial communications potentially favoured trade with distant markets, while the domestic market was buttressed by the presence of a large and well-paid military force. The existence of far-reaching trade is attested by the merchant M. Secundianus Genialis (negotiator Daciscus),[30]30. CIL V. 1047. who came from Colonia Claudia Agrippinensium (Cologne), a city that traded actively with the Danubian region; he died in Aquileia, a center and meeting point for northern and eastern trade. By way of the Sava valley and Aquileia, Dacia could link up to a major commercial artery, the Amber Road, which crossed western Pannonia. The family of Titus Fabius, which originated from Augusta Treverorum {1-82.} (Trier), on the Mosel River, also became involved in Dacian trade through Aquileia; one of their members, Fabius Pulcher, became the augustalis of the colony at Apulum (a body made up mostly of wealthy merchants and libertines). The epitaph of a woman who died in Salona (Dalmatia) relates that her husband, Aurelius Aquila, had been a town councillor at Potaissa and gives the latter's occupation as negotiator ex provincia Dacia. Macrobius Crassus styled himself protector of the merchants of Dacia Apulensis (the name given in 167 to Dacia Superior). There is evidence of close contacts between the Sava valley and Siscia: C. Titius Agathopatus had been at one and the same time the augustalis of both Siscia and Sarmizegethusa. Bricks produced in Siscia have been uncovered in the Maros valley, and the products of south Pannonian potteries also found their way to Dacia.

The presence in Dacia of many people of eastern origin facilitated contact with Syrian traders, who played an important role in the commercial life of the Roman world. The names of some of Dacia's Syrian merchants (Suri negotiatores) survive: altars to a deity of Syrian origin, Jupiter Dolichenus, were erected in Apulum by Aurelius Alexander and Flaus, and in Sarmizetgethusa by Gaianus and Proclus Apollophantes.[31]31. CIL III, 7761, 7915.

Excavations have produced scant evidence of the actual activities pursued by Dacia's numerous merchants. It may be that they traded in goods, such as food and clothing, that leave little or no trace. There is a similar dearth of information about the export trade. The longer-established iron mines of Noricum as well as of Moesia limited the prospects of Dacia, which may, however, have exported iron to Pannonia Inferior and Moesia Inferior. The exports of salt were probably more significant: one epigraph refers to the leasing of both salt mines and trading rights. As for agricultural products, Dacia was a net importer to satisfy demand from the large number of troops stationed in the province. In any case, Transylvania's mountainous terrain did not favour grain production; most {1-83.} suitable land lay in the southeastern part of the province, on the Oltenian plain. Wild animals, such as bears and wolves, may have been exported to satisfy the Roman taste for circus games. Sheep and goats were plentiful and cheap enough to satisfy domestic demand, and perhaps some export demand as well.

A very limited range of imported goods has been unearthed in Dacia — mainly sigillated earthenware, along with some amphorae from the Mediterranean region, which were used to transport oil, wine, and grain. Food for the soldiers and their families must have accounted for a major share of the imports. According to the wax tablets, wine was expensive; this was probably due to the fact that Burebista destroyed Dacia's vineyards. Fragments of an epigraph in Thrace speak of two merchants of Syrian origin who shipped wine to Dacia. A merchant from Sarmizegethusa, Aelius Arrianus, left an epigraph on the island of Delos, where he may have been drawn by the oil or wine trade. As the economy improved, some resourceful people were inspired to replant vineyards in southern Dacia.

The biggest import item, as noted, was earthenware — fine, red, partly embossed, terra sigillata pots, dishes, bowls, and cups. In the 2nd century, these items were produced in the potteries of central Gaul and the Rhineland, and shipped down the Danube to Noricum, Pannonia, and Dacia. Such ceramics are prized by archaeologists, for it is easy to date them and identify their provenance. The finds of imported, sigillated ceramics are modest in number, but sufficient for analysis, all the more since the same pattern of dates is found throughout the province. In the 130s, following the Roman conquest, imported earthenware in Dacia Inferior came from central Gaul. Between 130–160, the main supplier was a pottery at today's Lezoux: its products account for close to half of the terra sigillata items found in Dacia. The early boom was followed by a sharp slump. The potteries at Rheinzabern and Westerndorf, which were established somewhat later than the one at Lezoux, continued to export well into the 3rd century, but their market in Dacia {1-84.} Inferior was rapidly shrinking. The origin of the sigillated earthenware found in Apulum reflected this pattern, while the incidence of central Gallic and Rheinzabern products was more uneven in Oltenia. Even there, however, there was a sharp drop in the number of Westerndorf products. The latter, which came after the central Gallic products, are completely absent in Napoca, and very few were found in the camps at Porolissum and Bucsum. Steadily growing exports from the same sources to Pannonia make the Dacian slump even more remarkable. Since reports of Transylvanian finds are few, the only observation that can be made is that the absence of late sigillatae in Napoca seems anomalous when contrasted with their continuing incidence in Apulum. This disparity may simply be the result of an unbalanced pattern of excavations. The other plausible explanation is economic. In Dacia, as in the other Roman provinces, the army was the principal beneficiary of economic expansion during Severus' rule, and Apulum was a garrison town, while purely civilian settlements like Napoca ceased to offer a ready market for imported products.

The decline of the sigillata market in Dacia may be better understood if one examines earthenware found outside the empire, in the Great Hungarian Plain. The products of the Rheinzabern and Westendorf potteries appeared in small number before 200, then came to dominate the Pannonian market for earthenware. Thus exports from Rome's western provinces continued to reach Pannonia in considerable number at a time when sales in Dacia petered out. The merchants presumably found a more proximate market, among the Sarmatians. The terra sigillatae represent the main surviving indicator of economic activity, and they suggest that after an initial spurt, Dacia's foreign trade declined in the 160s–170s. The decline cannot be fully accounted for by the appearance of domestically-produced copies, which were few in number and could complement, but not substitute for the imported product. The other type of decorated earthenware, produced in the {1-85.} northern part of the province, was only distributed in its home region. Thus the domestic production of sigillata imitations was not a cause of the decline in imports, but rather a consequence, to fill the gap in supply. The absence of imported, western ceramics confirms Dacia's economic slump in the last third of the 2nd century; future finds may facilitate a more differentiated analysis of this process.

The Marcomanic War

 Starting from the 160s, Germanic tribes and other nomadic people launched raids along the Northern border, particularly into Gaul and across the Danube. This new impetus westwards was probably due to attacks from tribes farther east. A first invasion of the Chatti in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed in 162. Far more dangerous was the invasion of 166, when the Marcomanni of Bohemia, clients of the Roman Empire since 19, crossed the Danube together with the Lombards and other German tribes. At the same time, the Iranian Sarmatians attacked between the Danube and the Theiss rivers.
Due to the situation in the East, only a punitive expedition could be launched in 167. Both Marcus and Verus led the troops. After the death of Verus (169), Marcus led personally the struggle against the Germans for the great part of his remaining life. The Romans suffered at least two serious defeats by the Quadi and Marcomanni, who could cross the Alps, ravage Opitergium (Oderzo) and besiege Aquileia, the Roman main city of north-east Italy. At the same time the Costoboci (Free Dacians), coming from the Carpathian area, invaded Moesia, Macedonia and Greece. After a long struggle, Marcus Aurelius managed to push back the invaders. Numerous Germans settled in frontier regions like Dacia, Pannonia, Germany and Italy itself. This was not a new thing, but this time the numbers of settlers required the creation of two new frontier provinces on the left shore of the Danube, Sarmatia and Marcomannia, including today's Bohemia and Hungary.Together with his wife Faustina, Marcus Aurelius toured the eastern provinces until 173. He visited Athens, declaring himself a protector of philosophy. After a triumph in Rome, the following year he marched again to the Danubian frontier. After a decisive victory in 178, the plan to annex Bohemia seemed poised for success but was abandoned after Marcus Aurelius again fell ill with chickenpox in 180.


 The Marcomannic Wars

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia;

Marcomannic Wars
Part of the Roman-Germanic Wars
Date166– 180 AD
LocationGermania along the Upper Danube, Pannonia and Dacia
ResultRoman victory
Germanic invasion of the Danube frontier thwarted
Roman EmpireMarcomanni, Quadi, Naristi , Cotini and other Germanic peoples along the Danube, Sarmatian Iazyges
Marcus AureliusBallomar (Marcomanni), Valao (Naristi), Areogaesus (Quadi), Zanticus (Iazyges)

The Marcomannic Wars (called by the Romans bellum Germanicum[1] or expeditio Germanica) were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube. The struggle against the Germanic invasions occupied the major part of the reign of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, and it was during his campaigns against them that he started writing his philosophical work Meditations, whose first book bears the note "Among the Quadi at the Granua".[2]


The Germanic tribes of Central Europe in the mid-1st century. The Marcomanni and the Quadi are in the area of modern Bohemia.

During the years succeeding the rule of Antoninus Pius, the Roman Empire began to be attacked upon all sides. A war with Parthia lasted from 161 to 166, and although it ended successfully, its unforeseen consequences for the Empire were great. The returning troops brought with them a plague (the so-called Antonine Plague), which would eventually kill an estimated 5 million people,[3] severely weakening the Empire. At the same time, in Central Europe, the first movements of the Great Migrations were occurring, as the Goths moved westwards, putting pressure on the Germanic tribes of the area. As a result, Germanic tribes and other nomadic people launched raids along Rome's northern border, particularly into Gaul and across the Danube.

First Marcomannic War

First invasions

In 162, a first invasion of the Chatti and the Chauci in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed. In late 166 or early 167, a force of 6,000 Langobardi, Ubii and Lacringi invaded Pannonia. This invasion was defeated by local forces (vexillations of the Legio I Adiutrix commanded by Candidus and the Ala I Ulpia Contariorum commanded by Vindex) with relative ease, but they marked the beginning of what was to come. In their aftermath, the military governor of Pannonia, Marcus Iallius Bassus, initiated negotiations with 11 tribes.[4] In these negotiations, the Marcomannic king Ballomar, a Roman client, acted as a mediator. In the event, a truce was agreed upon and the tribes withdrew from Roman territory, but no permanent agreement was reached. In the same year, Vandals and the Sarmatian Iazyges invaded Dacia, and succeeded in killing its governor, Calpurnius Proculus. To counter them, Legio V Macedonica, a veteran of the Parthian campaign, was moved to Moesia.

First Roman expedition in Pannonia (168)

During that time, as the plague was ravaging the Empire, Marcus Aurelius was unable to do more, and the punitive expedition he was planning to lead in person was postponed until 168. In the spring of that year, Marcus Aurelius, together with Lucius Verus set forth from Rome, and established their headquarters at Aquileia. The two emperors supervised a reorganization of the defences of Italy and the Illyricum, raised two new legions, Legio II Italica and Legio III Italica, and crossed the Alps into Pannonia. The Marcomanni and the Victuali had crossed the Danube into the province, but, at least according to the Historia Augusta, the approach of the imperial army to Carnuntum was apparently sufficient to persuade them to withdraw and offer assurances of good conduct. The two emperors returned to Aquileia for the winter, but on the way, in January 169, Lucius Verus died.[5] Marcus returned to Rome to oversee his brother's funeral.

Roman expedition against the Iazyges and the great Germanic invasion of 170

The Roman expedition against the Iazyges in the eastern Pannonian Plain and the great Marcomannic invasion of 170.

In the autumn of 169, Marcus set out from Rome, together with his son-in-law Claudius Pompeianus, who would become his closest aide during the war. The Romans had gathered their forces and intended to subdue the independent tribes (especially the Iazyges), who lived between the Danube and the Roman province of Dacia. The Iazyges defeated and killed Claudius Fronto, Roman governor of Lower Moesia. However, while the Roman army was entangled in this campaign, making little headway, several tribes used the opportunity to cross the frontier and raid Roman territory.

To the east, the Costoboci crossed the Danube, ravaged Thrace and descended the Balkans, reaching Eleusis, near Athens, where they destroyed the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The most important and dangerous invasion however, was that of the Marcomanni in the west. Their leader, Ballomar, had formed a coalition of Germanic tribes. They crossed the Danube and achieved a smashing victory over 20,000 Romans near Carnuntum. Ballomar then led the larger part of his host southwards towards Italy, while the remainder ravaged Noricum. The Marcomanni razed Opitergium (Oderzo) and besieged Aquileia. This was the first time hostile forces had entered Italy since 101 BC, when Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri and Teutones. The army of praetorian prefect Furius Victorinus tried to relieve the city, but was defeated and its general slain.

The Roman counter-offensive and defeat of the Marcomanni

The Roman counter-offensive across the Danube

This disaster forced Marcus to re-evaluate his priorities. Forces from the various frontiers were dispatched against Ballomar. They came under the command of Claudius Pompeianus, with the future emperor Pertinax as one of his lieutenants. A new military command, the praetentura Italiae et Alpium was established to safeguard the roads into Italy, and the Danubian fleet was strengthened. Aquileia was relieved, and by the end of 171, the invaders had been evicted from Roman territory. Intense diplomatic activity followed, as the Romans tried to win over various barbarian tribes in preparation for a crossing of the Danube. A peace treaty was signed with the Quadi and the Iazyges, while the tribes of the Hasdingi Vandals and the Lacringi became Roman allies.

The "Miracle of the Rain", from the Aurelian column. An unidentified "rain god" (top right) saves the Roman army.

In 172, the Romans crossed the Danube into Marcomannic territory. Although few details are known, the Romans achieved success, subjugating the Marcomanni and their allies, the Varistae or Naristi and the Cotini. This fact is evident from the adoption of the title "Germanicus" by Marcus Aurelius, and the minting of coins with the inscription "Germania capta" ("subjugated Germania"). During this campaign , the chief of the Naristi was killed by the Roman General Marcus Valerius Maximianus .

In 173, the Romans campaigned against the Quadi, who had broken their treaty and assisted their kin, and defeated and subdued them. During this campaign, a famous incident, the so-called "miracle of the rain", occurred, which was later depicted on the column of Marcus Aurelius and on coins.


According to Cassius Dio, the legio XII Fulminata was hemmed in by a superior Quadi force and almost forced to surrender because of the heat and thirst. They were saved, however, by a sudden shower, which refreshed the Romans, while lightning struck the Quadi.[6] Contemporaries and historians attributed it to divine intervention: Dio claimed that it was called by an Egyptian magician praying to Mercury, while Christian writers such as Tertullian attributed it to a prayer by Christians.

In the same year, Didius Iulianus, the commander of the Rhine frontier, repelled another invasion of the Chatti and the Hermunduri, while the Chauci raided the shoreline of Gallia Belgica.

In the next year, the Romans marched against the Quadi, whereupon the Quadi deposed their pro-Roman king, Furtius, and installed his rival, Ariogaesus, in his place. Marcus Aurelius refused to recognize him, and turning back, deposed and exiled him to Alexandria.[7] Thus, by late 174, the subjugation of the Quadi was complete. In typical Roman fashion, they were forced to surrender hostages and provide auxiliary contingents for the Roman army, while garrisons were installed throughout their territory.

After this, the Romans focused their attention on the Iazyges living in the plain of the river Tisza (expeditio sarmatica). After a few victories, in 175, a treaty was signed. According to its terms, the Iazyges King Zanticus delivered 100,000 Roman prisoners and, in addition, provided 8,000 auxiliary cavalrymen, most of whom (5,500) were sent to Britain.[8][9] Upon this, Marcus assumed the victory title "Sarmaticus".

Marcus Aurelius may have intended to campaign against the remaining tribes, and together with his recent conquests establish two new Roman provinces, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, but whatever his plans, they were cut short by the rebellion of Avidius Cassius in the East.[10]

Marcus Aurelius marched eastwards with his army, accompanied by auxiliary detachments of Marcomanni, Quadi and Naristi under the command of Marcus Valerius Maximianus. After the successful suppression of Cassius' revolt, the emperor returned to Rome for the first time in nearly 8 years. On 23 December 176, together with his son Commodus, he celebrated a joint triumph for his German victories ("de Germanis" and "de Sarmatis"). In commemoration of this, the Aurelian Column was erected, in imitation of Trajan's Column.

Second Marcomannic War

Roman operations 180-182.

The respite was to be brief. In 177, the Quadi rebelled, followed soon by their neighbours, the Marcomanni and Marcus Aurelius once again headed north, to begin his second Germanic campaign (secunda expeditio germanica). He arrived at Carnuntum in August 178, and set out to quell the rebellion in a repeat of his first campaign, moving first against the Marcomanni, and in 179-180 against the Quadi. Under the command of Marcus Valerius Maximianus, the Romans fought and prevailed against the Quadi in a decisive battle at Laugaricio near (modern Trenčín, Slovakia). The Quadi were chased westwards, deeper into Greater Germania, where the praetorian prefect Tarutenius Paternus later achieved another decisive victory against them, but on 17 March 180, the emperor died at Vindobona (modern Vienna).

His successor Commodus had little interest in pursuing the war. Against the advice of his senior generals, after negotiating a peace treaty with the Marcomanni and the Quadi, he left for Rome in early autumn 180, where he celebrated a triumph on October 22. Nevertheless, operations continued against the Iazyges, the Buri and the so-called "free Dacians" living between the Danube and Roman Dacia. Not much is known about this war, except that the Roman generals included Marcus Valerius Maximianus , Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. At any rate, the victories they achieved were deemed sufficient for Commodus to claim the title "Germanicus Maximus" in mid-182.


The war had exposed the weakness of Rome's northern frontier, and henceforth, half of the Roman legions (16 out of 33) would be stationed along the Danube and the Rhine. For the Germanic tribes, although for the moment checked, the Marcomannic wars were only the prelude of the great invasions that would eventually disassemble and end the Western Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries.

In popular culture

Two films, the 1964 The Fall of the Roman Empire, and the 2000 Gladiator start with a fictional account of a final battle of the Marcomannic Wars.

In addition, in the 2004 film King Arthur, the companions of Arthur are portrayed as descendants of the Iazyges deported as Roman auxiliaries to Britain.


  1. ^ Historia Augusta, Marcus Aurelius, 12, note 92
  2. ^ Meditations, Book 1, at the Internet Classics Archive
  3. ^ BBC: Past pandemics that ravaged Europe, 7 November 2005
  4. ^ Cassius Dio, LXXII, p.12
  5. ^ Historia Augusta, Lucius Verus, 9.7-11
  6. ^ Cassius Dio, LXXII.8-10
  7. ^ Cassius Dio, LXXII.13-14
  8. ^ Cassius Dio, LXXII.16
  9. ^ A branch of the Sarmatians, the Iazyges were much prized as heavy, or "cataphract", cavalry
  10. ^ Historia Augusta, Marcus Aurelius, 24.5


 Primary sources


Columna M. Aurelii Antonini

 Article on pp132‑133 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby): A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

Columna M. Aurelii Antonini: the column erected between 176 and 193 A.D. to commemorate the victories of Marcus Aurelius over the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in 172‑175 (Aur. Vict. Caes. 16: patres ac vulgus soli omnia decrevere templa columnas sacerdotes; Ep. 16: ob cuius honorem templa columnae multaque alia decreta sunt) on the west side of the via Lata, opposite the campus Agrippae; it is still standing. An inscription (CIL VI.1585) found near its west side records the building of a separate lodge for the procurator of the column in August-September, 193. In this inscription the column is called columna centenaria divorum Marci et Faustinae, columna divi Marci, columna Centenaria, and columna centenaria divi Marci; and in Reg. (Reg. IX) columna Cochlis, either because of the spiral band of relief surrounding it (cf. Cels. 8.10.1: fascia circa fracturam ter voluta sursum versum feratur et quasi in cochleam serpat), or because of the spiral staircase in the interior (cf. Thes. Ling. Lat. s.v. for the use of cochlea in this sense, both literally and metaphorically), as Isid. Orig. 15.2.38 suggests. It was called centenaria because it was one hundred feet high.

This monument was more carefully preserved than most of those in Rome, having been given in the tenth century by Popes Agapetus II and John XII to the Benedictines of S. Silvestro in capite, with the little church of S. Andrea de Columna1 (HCh 182, 183), but it suffered somewhat from fire and earthquake. In the sixteenth century repairs were made by the municipal authorities, and also by Sixtus V in 1589 and the following year, when Fontana, his architect, placed on top of the column the present statue of St. Paul. He also chiselled off from the pedestal what remained of the reliefs on its four sides — sacrificial scenes with Victories and garlands — and encased its upper part, above ground, with marble, some of which came from the Septizonium (LS III.146‑149). The dedicatory inscription had long ago disappeared, and is not recorded by any author.

The column is a direct imitation of that of Trajan, the height of shaft, torus, and capital being the same, 100 Roman feet (29.77 metres), but tapers less and therefore seems more massive. The shaft itself, 26.50 metres in height and 3.90 in diameter, is composed of 26 rings of Luna marble. It is hollow, and contains a spiral stairway with 200 steps. The interior is lighted by 56 rectangular loop-holes. Therefore the statement of Reg. (Reg. IX: columnam cochlidem altam pedes CLXXV.s, gradus intus habet CCIII, fenestras LVI) is incorrect in its first two items. p133The shaft stands on a plinth and torus decorated with oak leaves, 1.385 metres high, and its capital is 1.5 metres in height and of the Doric order. The exterior of the shaft is adorned with reliefs arranged in a spiral band which returns upon itself twenty-one times. These reliefs represent scenes in the campaigns of Aurelius and correspond to those on the column of Trajan, but are inferior in execution (for the explanation of these columns as book-rolls, see Birt, quoted under Forum Traiani). It is probable that the temple of Aurelius (see Divus Marcus, Templum) stood just west of the column, and that both were surrounded by a porticus (for column and reliefs, see the definitive work of Petersen, Domaszewski und Calderini, Die Marcussäule auf piazza Colonna, Munich 1896; and S.Sculpt. 273‑291; AA 1896, 2‑18; PBS V.181; HJ 606‑607; Zeitsch. f. Ethnologie, 1915, 75‑91; AJA 1918, 213; DuP 119‑121; SScR 263‑279; ASA 122.

Column of Marcus Aurelius

 Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

 Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Column of Marcus Aurelius

Texts at:

Secondary sources

 External links

The peace remained in the area along the North-Pannonian border until the first half of the 2nd century AD. Howewer, inside the territory of Germanic tribes, riots already started. It seems likely thet the migration of Gothi tribes probably started the vast movement of other tribes. The pressure of the northern neighbours searching for new areas to settle, forced the tribes living along the Danube to move towards the Roman frontier. Devastating and lengthy battles on this territory started during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180) – and turned to so called Marcomannic wars. Many barbarian tribes took part in this war against the Romans, but again Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi, as well as some Sarmatian tribes played again the most important role.


Thee first attempt of braking the Limes - Roman Empire border - happened already in years 166 - 167 AD, when 6.000 soldiers of the Longobardi and Obii crossed the Danube into Pannonian territory. Even though this attack was defeated by the Roman cavalry troops from Arrabona, it was only a first portent of the comming much more devastating campaigns.

The Romans were not able to organize in time the defence and to prepare the planned counter-attack, when the Marcomanni and Quadi together attacked the North-Pannonian frontier. The army exhausted from the wars against Parti tribes and decimated by the spreading plague epidemic was not able to withhold the Germanic attacks. This way fighting Germanic troops broke through the fortifications on the Limes and succeeded in leading a  ravaging campaign against the Roman legions inside the Pannonia. They devastated whole province and set out south towards Italia. The Romans only with a great effort succeeded in stopping the comming catastrophe. After dogged battles they finaly pushed the attacking troops out of the province and started the counter-attacks led by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius himself. Carnuntum became to be his temporary seat. In the year 172 AD his army crossing the Danube over the pontoon bridge undertake a succesfull campaign against Marcomanni and a year later a penal campaign against the neigbouring Quadi. The Emperor himself participated in the both military activities again. The starting point for the penetration of Roman army to the territory of Germanic tribes was probably Brigetio. Afterwards the army invaded deep inside the territory of Quadi along the river valleys. Howewer they were challanged by the strong resistance. Here a mercilles battle took place at the very beginning. The surrounded Romans were rescued from a disastrous staggering loss only by a ”mirracle rain”. This extraordinary event is presented as one of the scenes on the Marcus Aurelius Column in Rome. A note in the work ”Thoughts to myslelf” – written by Marcus Aurelius – points to (today river Hron in Slovakia) during this campaign. The battles against the Quadi went on untill 174 AD. At the same time the Romans also fought against the Sarmatians. In summer of 175 AD was the Emperor with his army forced to march to Syria, where a revolt had been organized by Avidius Cassius against the Rome. Therefore Marcus Aurelius was forced th sign the peace agreement with Quadi.


However, this only meant the end of the 1st phase of the Marcomannic wars, as a new conflict on Danube raised already in two years time. The Romans retrieved the lost territories only after hard battles. In 179 Marcus Aurelius led a victorious campaign and definitely defeated the Germanic tribes. Many military formations (with the force of about 40 000 men) were established in he areas of the conquered but not subjugated Marcomanni and Quadi.

How deep inside the Quadi territory the Romans came, tells an inscription in a rock engraved by M. Valerianus Maximus, the commander of the formation that had camped at Laugaricio (today´s town of Trenčín in Slovakia). At that time military formations spent winter at the enemy´s territory in temporary earth-and-timber camps. Marcus Aurelius was thinking of the foundation of the two new provinces: Marcomania and Sarmatia. His sudden death, howewer, cancelled these plans. His son Commodus for a short time continued in the military actions, but in 180 AD finished the lengthy wars and signed a peace with the tribes living on the left bank of the Danube.

     The building of the North-Pannonian border

The Roman Army

The armament and equipment of the Roman Soldiers

The role and importance of the Roman Army

The period of prosperity and decline

The last attempts and the decline of the Roman authority

 Roman withdrawal

In 256, during the reign of Emperor Gallienus, Dacian tribes such as the Carpians allied with the Goths crossed the Carpathians and drove the Romans from Dacia, with the exception of a few fortified places between the Timiş and the Danube. No details of the event are recorded, and the chief argument in support of the statement, found in Avienus' works, that "under the Emperor Gallienus Dacia was lost"

Emperor Aurelian (270-275), confronted with the secession of Gallia and Hispania from the empire since 260, with the advance of the Sassanids in Asia, and the devastations that the Carpians and the Goths had done into Moesia and Illyria, abandoned the province of Dacia created by Trajan and withdrew the troops altogether, fixing the Roman frontier at the Danube. A new Dacia Aureliana was reorganised south of the Danube, with its capital at Serdica (today's Sofia). Later on, Diocletian and Constantine I would reorganise the provinces Dacia Mediteranea, Moesia Inferior, Dardania, Prevalitania and Dacia Ripensis into a Diocese of Dacia, which along with the Diocese of Macedonia formed the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum.

The abandonment of Dacia Trajana by the Romans is mentioned by Eutropius in his Breviarium historiae Romanae, book IX :

The province of Dacia, which Trajan had formed beyond the Danube, he gave up, despairing, after all Illyricum and Moesia had been depopulated, of being able to retain it. The Roman citizens, removed from the town and lands of Dacia, he settled in the interior of Moesia, calling that Dacia which now divides the two Moesiae, and which is on the right hand of the Danube as it runs to the sea, whereas Dacia was previously on the left.[1]


 While ancient Dacia was abandoned by the Roman Empire during Aurelian's reign in the 3rd century, the Roman Empire's influence on Dacia remained. Some of its influences were diluted by the appearance of invaders, while others live on as indication of the Roman Empire's presence in the region.

Roman Infrastructure

Rome left an infrastructure of roads and municipalities, though this infrastructure gradually decayed with the influx of invaders who either passed through Dacia on their way to more desirable territory or subjugated the Dacians during their stay. Roman ruins can still be seen and visited in Romania today, like those of the city Porolissum near Zalau, Romania.

Latin Language

The Romans left traces of Latin in the Romanian language, which is, today, considered a Romance language. Some religious terms in the Romanian language exhibit Latin-influenced forms, though the Church in Romania adopted Church Slavonic as an official language when it became the established religious authority.

Christian Religion

When Constantin declared Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, Dacia was also influenced by this Roman directive. The spread of Christianity probably occurred alongside the establishment of bishoprics along the Danube River, though Christianity was known in Dacia as early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It replaced the cult of Zalmoxis as the main religion in Dacia.

Roman Blood

Though the Romans were in Dacia for under two centuries, they settled in the region and intermarried with the local Dacian population. This resulted in people with Roman blood and mixed Roman-Dacian blood. Historians are in dispute over whether or not the indigenous Dacian population was wiped out with Roman conquest of Dacia, but the fact remains that Roman blood was introduced into the region as a result of Rome's colonization of the territory.

Read more: "Roman Influence on Dacia: Ancient Romania Gained Much from the Empire |" -



by Rachel Maiwald

The province of Moesia was founded around 44 BC although the exact date is uncertain. During the reign of Augustus, Marcus Licinius Crassus was sent to bring the native populations under control. He succeeded in conquering the peoples in 30 BC. In the reign of Domitian (AD 85-86) the province was split into Moesia Superior and Moesia Inferior. The River Ciabrus (Tsibritsa) served as the boundary between the two. The following information outlines a basic history of Moesia and one of its major cities at the time, Tomis.

The east coast of Moesia lies on the Black (Euxine) Sea. The Danube River, along with its tributaries, the Drinus (Drina) and the Margus (Morava) Rivers, runs through the province. Moesia was a Roman military stronghold because it lay on the Black Sea and the Danube ran through the province. Moesia's location is on the edge of the Roman Empire which was also a reason for the military presence. Moesia Superior had a main role defending Macedonia. It also connected Thrace to Illyricum and Pannonia. Moesia Inferior had a similar role. Instead of connecting Thrace to another country, its function was to defend Thrace and the imperial interests at the intersection of the Black Sea and the Danube River. The main reason for protection was the threat of invasion from the Goths and Germanic tribes. Protection was vitally important to the Romans, especially when there was land and natural resources at stake.

The objective of the Roman Empire was fully to exploit the natural resources that Moesia had to offer. Those natural resources included gold and other minerals. Along with the precious natural resources, Moesia was rich in farmlands. Ti. Plautius Silvanus Aelianus was the first governor (AD 57-67) to add to the grain supply of Rome a great quantity of Moesian wheat. In addition to the farmlands, there was a vast amount of pasture land and orchards.

Tomis minted its own coins in order to prove its loyalty to Rome. Although the inhabitants of Tomis celebrated games in honor of the Caesars, Moesia never reached the full extent of Romanization. There is some evidence that the Moesians spoke Latin but most influence came from the Greeks. Moesia was never fully Romanized because there was constant movement of the native tribes.

The poet Ovid was banished to Tomis in AD 9. He lived there until his death in AD 17. Ovid was not fond of Tomis, or Moesia for that matter. He described the inhabitants as barbarians. Most of the disdain in letters was probably exaggerated but he was unhappy about being exiled so far from Rome. Some examples come from one of his books in the series Tristia .

When I look at this place, the manners of the people, the way they dress, and their language, and it comes to mind what I am now and what I was, so great is my desire to die that I complain that Caesar in his anger did not punish my wrongs with the sword. But since he once exercised his hatred for me mildly, I still hope for an easier exile in a different place. (Tristia 3.8, trans Evans)

He also wrote that the men could not plow their fields without bringing arms into the fields. The need to constantly arm oneself, even in daily work, was required to live life. Ovid's assertions are supported by a pre-Ovidian Greek inscription. The inscription states that a special militia had to be on day and night duty to deal with such attacks from the Goths and the Germanic tribes. An example of the incessant warfare comes from another letter from a book of the series Tristia (3.10).

Whether the grim force of the mighty North Wind freezes the sea's waters or those of the frozen river, immediately when the Danube becomes level with the dry northern blasts, the savage enemy rides over it on swift horses; an enemy strong in horses and far-flying arrows devastates the nearby soil far and wide.

However, some of the inhabitants spoke Greek and eventually became his friends. Overall Ovid did not paint a friendly picture of Moesia.

Ethnically the Moesians were a Thracian tribe settled in the country of Moesi. Little else is known of the tribe until they were subdued by Crassus in 29 BC.

The city of Tomis is still standing. Unfortunately the modern city of Constanza has been built over Tomis. Some excavations have taken place in or around the city. The artifacts recovered include a cache of sculpture and several coins. The sculpture includes a statue of Pontus (representing the Black Sea) and one of Glycon, a sheep-headed snake-god. There was also the discovery of the "Mosaic Building." The building was a large commercial complex that was three stories tall and supported a sixty foot cliff. Warehouses filed with amphorae were uncovered. A large bath house has also been uncovered.

Another god, Sarapis, tended to be worshiped by men of high rank: prefects, legates, and centurions. Sarapis combined the characteristics of many Greek gods with some of those of Osiris, god of the Egyptian underworld and the incarnation of deceased pharaohs. Most people would not fall under this category of worship and it is not clear who they worshiped.

The men who worshiped Sarapis were men of government. The government included a governor, praetors, quaestors, and legates, among others. The average length for a governorship was about three years. If the position was held for any longer, it was possible for the governor to establish as close, personal relationship with the local aristocracy. Maintaining a personal relationship would then have threatened the imperial power.

Moesia passed out of Roman control around AD 395 when Emperor Theodosius died. By now frequent attacks by the Goths were common. Rome no longer had the internal cohesion nor the man power to defend the border. The Romans lost an important military boundary. They also began to lose territory. The relationship between the Roman Empire and the Moesians was a symbiotic one. Rome stimulated agriculture and commerce, raised the standard of living, and encouraged city life. Roman peace provided for the transmission of Greek culture and art. In exchange, the Moesians provided a supply of grain for the Romans. The native inhabitants also supplied men for the defense of the Roman Empire.

 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's reign; in 6 AD, mention is made of its governor, Caecina Severus (Dio Cassius lv. 29).

Originally one province under an imperial consular legate (who probably also had control of Achaea and Macedonia), it was divided by Domitian into Upper (Superior) and Lower (Inferior, also called Ripa Thracia) Moesia, the western and eastern portions respectively, divided from each other by the river Cebrus (Ciabrus; modern Cibritza or Zibru). Some, however, place the boundary farther west. Each was governed by an imperial consular legate and a procurator.

After the abandonment of Dacia to the Goths by Aurelian (270–275) and the transference of the Roman citizens from the former province to the south of the Danube, the central portion of Moesia took the name of Dacia Aureliani (later divided into Dacia ripensis and interior). The district called Dardania (in Upper Moesia), was formed into a special province by Diocletian, with the capital at Naissus or Nissa (modern Niš, Serbia), the birthplace of Constantine I in 272.

Later, Diocletian renamed Moesia Superior (less Dacia Aureliani) as Moesia Prima, and divided Moesia Inferior (less its westernmost portions) into Moesia Secunda and Scythia Minor. Moesia Secunda's main cities included Marcianopolis (Devnya), Odessus, Nicopolis, Abrittus (Razgrad), Durostorum (Silistra), Transmarisca (Tutrakan), Sexaginta Prista (Ruse) and Novae (Svishtov), all in Bulgaria today. As a frontier province, Moesia was strengthened by stations and fortresses erected along the southern bank of the Danube, and a wall was built from Axiopolis to Tomi as a protection against the Scythians and Sarmatians. The garrison of Moesia Secunda included Legio I Italica and Legio XI Claudia, as well as independent infantry units, cavalry units, and river flotillas. The Notitia Dignitatum lists its units and their bases as of the 390s CE. Units in Scythia Minor included Legio I Iovia and Legio II Herculia.



Dan Isac

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It is generally accepted that terra sigillata pottery came into Dacia and other territories along with the Roman soldiers of the conquering army. In fact, the main factor involved in the circulation of such category of pottery were not the soldiers, but traders. Still, shortly after the conquest of Dacia (AD 106) the soldiers became the main consumers of such luxurious pottery.

The conquest of Dacia produced almost instantly the appearance of foreign trade, which offered to the soldiers and the colonists a variety of products from Italy, Gaul, Rheinzabern, Noricum, Pannonia and Moesia. In both central (Superior/Apulensis, Porolissensis) and southern (Inferior/Malvensis) Dacia the terra sigillata is almost exactly chronologically framed in the period when Dacia was a Roman province (AD 106-275). Thus, the military element determined the beginning of a massive wave of importation of terra sigillata right from the first moments when military units were garrisoned in the forts in Dacia. These places became centers for selling luxury products brought into the province by specialized traders. Large quantity of the terra sigillata manufactured in Dacia is also attested inside the forts. At the same time, the presence of this kind of pottery was also found in the few vici excavated scientifically (Caseiu, Porolissum). A higher proportion of this pottery is noted in the central Dacia compared with the southern part of the province. The explanation could be the state of research.

This poster also presents a map with the forts from Dacia, in which terra sigillata was found. For each site the pottery products are listed, as well as their center of manufacture and the decoration styles. Pottery drawings are placed beside the map [Dacia Porolissensis (DP), Dacia Superior (DS), Dacia Inferior (DI)].

1. Bologa (DP) -Central Gaul , Eastern Gaul, Rheinzabern
2. Borosneu Mare (DI) -Southern Gaul
3. Bretcu (Angustia)(DI) -Central Gaul
4. Buciumi (DP) -Central Gaul , Westerndorf
5. Caseiu (Samum) (DP) -Southern Gaul, Central Gaul, Rheinzabern, Westerndorf
6. Feldioara (DS) - Southern Gaul, Central Gaul
7. Gherla (DP) - Central Gaul , Eastern Gaul
8. Gilau (DP) - Central Gaul, Eastern Gaul, Rheinzabern, Dacian
9. Ilisua (DP) - Central Gaul, Rheinzabern, Dacian
10. Inlaceni (DS) - Dacian
11. Jupa (Tibiscum) - Central Gaul, Eastern Gaul, Rheinzabern , Westerndorf, Dacian
12. Mehadia (DS) - Central Gaul
13. Moigrad (Porolissum) - Southern Gaul, Central Gaul, Eastern Gaul, Rheinzabern, Dacian
14. Orheiul Bistritei (DP) - Central Gaul
15. Râsnov (DI) - Central Gaul
16. Slaveni (DI) - Southern Gaul, Central Gaul, Rheinzabern, Westerndorf, Dacian
17. Turda (Potaissa) (DP)- Central Gaul, Rheinzabern, Westerndorf, Dacian
18. Turnu Severin (Drobeta) (DS) - Italia, Westerndorf
19. Vetel (Micia) (DS) - Southern Gaul, Central Gaul, Eastern Gaul, Rheinzabern,












Roman Valum in Western Romania, Autostrada Vestului

Valul roman de sub Autostrada Vestului
Autor: Georgeta Petrovici, EVZ, Sursa: Adi Pîclişan

Arheologii bănăţeni care lucrează pe şantierul viitoarei autostrăzi Arad - Timişoara au scos la iveală, în timpul celor cinci luni de săpături, o necropolă din secolul al III-lea şi vestigiile "Valului Roman" ce se întindea de la Vrşec, Serbia, până la Budapesta, Ungaria. Arheologii bănăţeni au cerut autorităţilor locale să conserve la vedere o parte din sistemul de fortificaţii de 300 de kilometri de pe vremea romanilor.


Pentru a valorifica şi din punct de vedere turistic elementele descoperite, arheologii le-au propus autorităţilor să conserve "la vedere" o parte din acest sistem de fortificaţii.

Lucrări aproape de finalizare
Pe cele cinci şantiere deschise pe tot atâtea situri de pe traseul autostrăzii, specialiştii de la muzeele din Timişoara, Arad şi Reşiţa, cărora li s-au adăugat recent şi cei de la muzeul din Mangalia, au descoperit vestigii din Epoca Bronzului (1200 î.Hr.), Epoca Fierului (700 î.Hr.), Epoca Romană şi Epoca Romană târzie (secolele III-IV), dar şi din Evul Mediu, pe siturile din judeţul Arad.

"Suntem în faza finală cu săpăturile la Valul Roman. În câteva zile vom înainta Ministerului Culturii documentaţia şi raportul final de cercetare, în vederea obţinerii certificatului de descărcare de sarcină arheologică", afirmă Florin Draşovean, arheolog la Muzeul Banatului şi responsabilul ştiinţific al cercetărilor arheologice de pe Autostrada Arad-Timişoara.

Fortificaţie de 300 km
Potrivit specialiştilor, cele mai importante descoperiri se referă la cele legate de "Valul Roman", ce datează din primele secole ale erei noastre. Situl arheologic, care include sistemul de fortificaţie din perioada romană, se află între localităţile Giarmata şi Pişchia, judeţul Timiş.

Deşi fortificaţia, care se întindea de la Vrşec, Serbia, şi până la Budapesta, Ungaria, a fost studiată de-a lungul timpului de numeroşi istorici, arheologii au obţinut date concrete abia după săpăturile din această vară.

"În jurul valurilor romane există o adevărată discuţie, în mare parte motivată de lipsa unei datări certe. Prin aceste săpături am reuşit să stabilim o datare aproximativă - sec. al III-lea şi, cel mai important, am putut stabili, pe acest tronson, etapele de construcţie a valurilor de pământ. Până acum, nu a reuşit niciun arheolog român, sârb sau maghiar, în ciuda faptului că l-au studiat de aproximativ 100 de ani. Acest val e unul dintre cele mai lungi valuri de graniţă ale Imperiului Roman", explică Florin Draşovean importanţa for tificaţiei lungi de 300 km.

"Valul roman" era compus din mai multe şanţuri, iar pământul dislocat pentru construirea şanturilor era utilizat pentru amenajarea unui val înalt de circa 2,5 metri. Pe valul respectiv era apoi ridicată o palisadă (un zid de apărare din lemn - n.r.), iar gărzile militare îşi efectuau permanent rondurile. Alte valuri romane au fost descoperite în Oltenia, "brazda lui Novac", şi în zona Apusenilor, mai exact în Munţii Meseşului, unde era graniţa de nord a Imperiului Roman.

Potrivit arheologilor, nici im portanţa mormintelor sarmate, datând din Epoca Romană Târzie nu trebuie neglijată. Printre vasele şi bijuteriile descoperite în mormintele sarmate, cea mai importantă piesă e o fibulă din argint, orna mentată cu email roşu, galben şi albastru cu inserţii albe. Arheologii spun că modul de fabricare şi decoraţiunile fibulei, piesă decorativă de origine romanică, denotă influenţe clare de tip germanic, evidenţiind astfel inter ferenţele culturale de la graniţele Imperiului Roman.



Berze înhumate în morminte sarmate
Referitor la mormintele sarmate, arheologii bănăţeni spun că necropola descoperită aduce la lumină o serie de ritualuri funerare aparte, practicate pe teritoriul Banatului actual.

Astfel, ei au descoperit în mormintele sarmate cranii înhumate ulterior datei la care fusese înmormântată per soana pentru care fusese realizat mormâdul sau păsări înhumate după un ritual încă nedescifrat.

"Era o practică destul de întâlnită la sarmaţii de la marginea imperiului roman. La sarmaţii târzii se constată că unele morminte nu mai conţin oasele în poziţia anatomică. Asta înseamnă că e posibil ca, după o anumită perioadă, mormântul să fie deschis şi să se intervină asupra oaselor, practicându-se o serie de ritualuri. Craniul singular ar putea fi rezultatul unei asemenea practici", consideră arheologul Florin Draşovean.

În gura craniului, arheologii au descoperit boabe de grâu carbonizate, iar în jurul lui, bucăţi de bronz şi dinţi de animale.

O altă descoperire stranie se referă la două berze îngropate în alt mormânt. "Cuplul de păsări a fost depus ritualic, una peste alta, iar sub acestea a mai fost înhumat un câine", spune Draşovean. Potrivit specialiştilor, este prima dată când pe teritoriul ţării noastre au fost descoperite berze înhumate.

Înhumarea unor animale alături de oameni este un element specific civilizaţiei egiptene. În acelaşi timp, şi romanii, şi etruscii apelau la asemenea ritualuri, iar în Epoca Bronzului oamenii obişnuiau să înhumeze animale pentru a deveni "ofrande de carne" pentru banchetul funebru al celui decedat.


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Scythia Minor



Escultura del dios-serpiente Glykon,Museo de Tomis, Constanza, Rumania

Glycon (o Glykon) era un dios serpiente, de acuerdo con el satírico Luciano de Samosata, quien proporciona la única referencia literaria sobre esta deidad. Luciano afirma que Glycon fue creada a mediados del siglo II por el profeta griego Alejandro de Abonuteicos. Luciano estaba mal dispuesto al culto, llamando a Alejandro el “monje-oráculo” y tildando la totalidad del empeño de ser un fraude— el mismo Glycon era supuestamente una marioneta.El culto se originó probablemente en Macedonia, donde cultos similares hacia serpientes habían existido durante siglos. Los macedonios creían que las serpientes tenían poderes mágicos relacionados con la fertilidad y tenían una rica mitología sobre el tema, por ejemplo la historia de la inseminación de Olimpia por Zeus disfrazado de serpiente.


Armata Romana de Ocupatie


        Acest articol are rolul de a aduna întregul efectiv al armatei romane care a staţionat în Dacia Romană. Din datele de mai jos se desprind:
        - numărul de soldaţi din armata romană de ocupaţie;
        - aria de ocupaţie a armatei romane;
        - etniile sodaţilor din armata romană de ocupaţie.

        Pentru a calcula numărul soldaţilor din armata romană de ocupaţie trebuie ţinut cont de unităţile militare din armata romană de ocupaţie:
        - legiune - unitatea tactică de bază alcătuită din cetăţeni romani. Până în sec. II e.n. se compunea din 5600 de soldaţi;
        - cohorta - unitate de pedestraşi făcând parte din trupele auxiliare. Purta numele etnicului din care s-a constituit iniţial. Puteau avea efective de 500 de soldaţi sau de 1000 dacă purtau numele de milliaria;
        - ala - unitate de cavalerie din armata romană făcând parte din trupele auxiliare. Soldaţii încadraţi în alae erau recrutaţi din rândul populaţiilor fără cetăţenie romană. Numele unei ala se dădea după cel al etnicului din care s-a alcătuit iniţial. Puteau avea efective de 500 de soldaţi sau de 1000 dacă purtau numele de milliaria;

        Enumerarea de mai jos nu se vrea exactă dar eroarea este destul de mică pentru a forma o imagine a armatei romane de ocupaţie în Dacia.
        Leg I Flavia Ulpia Hispanorum milliaria - au construit tronsonul drumului Napoca-Potaissa;
        Leg V Macedonica - Potaissa, Turda;
        Leg XIII Gemina - Apulum, Alba Iulia;
        Leg IV Flavia Felix - Sarmizegetusa Regia, Grădiştea Muncelului;
        Leg VI Ferrata - participantă la războaie;
        Leg I Adiutrix - Apulum, Alba Iulia;
        Leg II Adiutrix;
        Leg VII-a Claudia - Cuppae şi Viminacium şi ulterior la Romula;
        Leg XI-a Claudia - Durostorum;
        Leg Numerus Palmyrenorum Porolissensium sagittariorum civium Romanorum - Moigrad, com Mirsid, SJ;
        Coh I Aelia Gaestorum milliaria - Resculum, Bologa, com Poieni, CJ;
        Coh I Antiochesium;
        Coh I Augusta - Buciumi, SJ;
        Coh I F.M. Aurilia Brittonum Malvensis;
        Coh I Batarorum milliaria - Romiţa, com.Românaşi, SJ;
        Coh III Bessorum - Olteni, com Bodoc, CV;
        Coh I Bracaraugustanorum - Bretcu, CV;
        Coh I Britannica milliaria - Caseiu, CJ;
        Coh II Britannica milliaria - Iliusa, BN;
        Coh II Britanica - Romiţa, com.Românaşi, SJ;
        Coh I Britannorum milliaria - Moigrad, com Mirsid, SJ;
        Coh III Britannorum;
        Coh III Campestris miliaria;
        Coh I Cannanefactium - Tihau, com.Surduc, SJ;
        Coh I Cretum;
        Coh IV Cypria;
        Coh II Flavia Bessorum - Olteni, com.Bodoc, CV;
        Coh II Flavia Commagenorum - staţionează permanent la Micia;
        Coh II Flavia Numidarum - Feldioara, com.Ucea, BV;
        Coh III Gallorum - Hoghiz, BV;
        Coh V Gallorum;
        Coh Hispanorum - Bretcu, CV;
        Coh I Hispanorum - Românaşi, SJ;
        Coh I Hispanorum milliaria - Orheiu Bistritei, com.Cetate, BN;
        Coh II Hispanorum - Resculum, Bologa, com Poieni, CJ;
        Coh I Lingonum;
        Coh V Lingonum - Moigrad, com.Mirsid, SJ;
        Coh I Montanorum - Sebeş;
        Coh II Nervia Brittonum - Buciumi, SJ;
        Coh VI Nova Cumidavensium Alexandrina - Cumidava, Râşnov, BV;
        Coh Prima Alpinorum - Călugareni, com.Fremitu, MS;
        Coh VI Thracum - Românaşi, SJ;
        Coh I Tyriorum;
        Coh I Ubiorum - Sighişoara, Podmoale, MS;
        Ala I Asturum - Hoghiz, BV;
        Ala Brittonum - Gherla, CJ;
        Ala I Claudia Gallorum Capitoniana;
        Ala I Claudia nova miscellanea;
        Ala I Dardanorum;
        Ala I Hispanorum Campagonum;
        Ala I Hispanorum pia fidelis Antoniniana;
        Ala II Hispanorum et Aravacorum;
        Ala I Numeri Illyricorum - Brîncoveneşti, MS;
        Ala I Pannoniorum;
        Ala II Pannoniorum - Gherla, CJ;
        Ala Siliana - Gilău, CJ;
        Ala Tungrorum Frontoniana - Iliuşa, BN;

        Dacă se ţine cont că într-un castru au stationat de-a lungul timpului mai multe unităţi deci un număr constant, se va calcula numărul maxim de soldaţi dintr-un castru, şi rezultă rotunjind, un efectiv de 50.000 de soldaţi care au compus armata romană de ocupaţie a Daciei. Din aceştia, dacă luăm în seamă doar lista de sus, rezultă un număr orientativ de 1/5 - 1/4 soldaţi romani, restul fiind de alte etnii decât romane.

Under the Roman Rule


Under Roman rule 

the native population tried to adapt as best they could to Roman ways. Many were forced into slavery, some committed suicide, and the Romans killed many to set an example for the rest of the provinces to fall in line. Trajan killed 10,000 men just in his gladiatorial games.

The degree of Romanization in Dacia was extensive. Rome wanted massive Romanization in Dacia for loyalty in case of invasion. Dacia was Romanized but it retained their traditional cattle driving and agricultural practices.

Hoping to populate the cities, tilling the earth and extracting the ore, the Roman authorities unfolded in Dacia a massive and organized colonization, with people brought over “from all over the Roman world”.[4] The colonizing population was clearly heterogeneous: of the some 3,000 names preserved in inscriptions found to date, 74% (c. 2,200) are Latin,[6] 14% (c. 420) are Greek, 4% (c. 120) are Illyrian, 2,3% (c. 70) are Celtic, 2% (c. 60) are Thraco-Dacian, and another 2% (c. 60) are Semites from Syria.[8] But whatever their origins, the colonists represented imperial culture and civilization and brought with them that most powerful Romanizing instrument, the Latin language.[6]

The first group to be settled, at Sarmizegethusa, consisted of veterans of the legions, who were Roman citizens.[8] On the basis of the geographical incidence of personal names, it can be concluded that a significant proportion of the settlers came from western Pannonia and Noricum, even though such origin is rarely indicated in epigraphs.[8]

Expert miners (the Pirusti tribesmen)[2] were imported from Dalmatia.[1] These Illyrian miners lived in closed communities (Vicus Pirustarum), with their own tribal leaders (princeps.)

 Due to the influx of colonists and other Roman citizens populating the newly declared province, however, changes were happening. Many people escaped to "Free Dacia" to the north to hold on to their traditional peasant cultures and to wait until they could reclaim their homeland. Dacia's original population remained strong enough throughout the occupation to revolt three times after conquest.

Rome’s mechanisms of administration in Dacia began with the people who moved in: colonists, citizens, pilgrims, merchants, mining specialists, and soldiers.

Although Roman occupation lasted only 164 years, many changes occurred. Mines were rapidly exploited. Dacia was run like a police state and divided up into Superior and Inferior Dacia in AD 118-119. Superior Dacia was divided again into another pair of provinces in AD 124. During the German War (ca 168) Dacia was consolidated once again into one military area. Latin was introduced as a unifying agent in order for the province to run smoothly and it remains today the foundation of the Romanian language. A customs station was set up in Sarmizegetusa to deal with the movement of goods and people across the borders.

Benefits for Rome during the occupation of Dacian territory were money, booty, mined materials (gold, sliver, and iron), and land. Manpower was also a benefit for Rome because Dacia provided the largest number of Roman troops after the occupation took place. There was occasional brutality, exploitation, and extortion from the Romans on Dacian peoples but Dacia also received some benefits from the conquest. The Roman peace made possible the transmission of Greek culture, a reduction of slavery (fewer war captives), and the reinvigorating of Greek art. Assimilated Dacians had career opportunities in Roman administration as well. The culture of sophisticated cities, organized laws, and an extended peace allowed the Dacian people to expand their culture.


Coins of Trajan, Gallienus and Family



 Trajan announces the defeat of Dacia (modern Romania) on this denarius.



 (Imperator Trajan Augustus. Germanicus. Dacius. [Conqueror of Germany and Dacia] Pontifex Maximus (priest of the bridges -- a title still used by the Bishop of Rome) Thrice Potent (Elected as) Consul  5 times Pater Patria (Father of His Country) in the name of the Senate and the People of Rome, Greatest Prince.) 


Dacia seated left in mourning on pile of arms; DAC CAP in exergue.

Like the earlier denarius, this was about the diameter of a US Dime

 Trajan ® Sestertius. 103-111 CE, (25.31 gm, 7h)
Obv: IMP CAES NERVAE TRAINO AVG GER DAC PM TRP COS V PP, Laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder
Rev: Roma seated left on cuirass, holding Victory and spear; left foot on head of Dacian, right foot on helmet; arms behind.
Ex. CNG 69, lot #1403; Ex: Tony Hardy Collection

RIC II 489; BMCRE 778; Cohen 391. 


Lucius Pescennius Niger (c.140-194): Roman general, emperor for a short while in 193-194.
Lucius (or Gaius) Pescennius Niger was born in Aquinum, a modest provincial town in Italy, between 135 and 140. He was the son of a Roman knight named Annius Fuscus and his wife Lampridia.

These were the years of the emperor Antoninus Pius, when the Roman world was tranquil and at peace with most of its neighbors. This peace, however, was shattered during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180), who had to wage war against the Germanic tribes along the Danube, and whose brother Lucius Verus had to fight a big war against the Parthian empire in the east. When peace was lost, Pescennius was more than twenty years old and it was probably no coincidence that in this restless age a military man like him was to rise higher than a normal equestrian's son.

He served as military prefect of an auxiliary cohort during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The next step of his career, a double military tribuneship (a high position in a legion), is attributed to the reign of the next emperor, Commodus (180-192). Although Pescennius was no longer a young man, he seems to have done his job excellently and must have impressed the emperor, because he was accepted as senator with the rank of a former praetor.

During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, a subunit of the Tenth Fretensis fought in the Marcomannic war. Perhaps the soldiers of this expeditionary force built the altar that was found in northern Rumania, but their presence in Dacia Porolissensis can also be dated to other moments.

Pescennius went on to occupy an unknown office in Dacia (modern Rumania). Here, he fought against the Sarmatians, a coalition of Iranian tribes that had settled in Central Europe. Another man is named in the same context: Decimus Clodius Albinus, who will return in our story. The fact that two senators with the rank of former praetors are mentioned in a military situation, strongly suggests that they were the commanders of the garrison of Dacia, which consisted of V Macedonica and XIII Gemina.

By now, Pescennius must have had a good reputation as a commander. When in 185 a man named Maternus freed some prisoners and started a gang of robbers that invested Gaul, Commodus considered this a serious crisis and appointed Pescennius Niger as governor of the province called Gallia Lugdunensis. Deserters from several army units had joined Maternus, but Pescennius overcame them, together with the eighth Augustan legion of Strasbourg (186). 

After the murder of the emperor Publius Helvius Pertinax in 193, X Fretensis sided with general Pescennius Niger, who proclaimed himself emperor. However, he was defeated by Lucius Septimius Severus



 Coins of Gallienus and Family


Attribution(s) Obverse Reverse Image
Provincial: Dacia
Nikola Crnobrnja: Coinage of the province of Dacia
Varbanov (2005) 83
Laureate draped cuirassed bust right Dacia standing left, holding standards, with eagle holding wreath and lion at their bases. AN VI in exergue.
Varbanov (2005) 85
Laureate draped bust right Dacia standing left, holding standards, with eagle holding wreath and lion at their bases. AN VIII in exergue.
Varbanov (2005) 87
Laureate draped bust right Dacia standing left, holding curved sword right and standard left, with eagle holding wreath at her feet left and lion at her feet right. AN VIII in exergue.
Varbanov (2005) 88
Laureate draped bust right Dacia standing left, holding scepter right and raising hand left, with eagle holding wreath at her feet left and lion at her feet right. AN VIII in exergue.
Varbanov (2005) 89var

(S is retrograde)
Laureate head right Dacia standing left, holding standards, with eagle holding wreath and lion at their bases. AN VI[?] in exergue.
Varbanov (2005) 92
Laureate draped cuirassed bust right Dacia standing left, holding standards, with eagle holding wreath and lion at their bases. AN X in exergue.
Varbanov (2005) 93
Laureate draped cuirassed bust right Dacia standing left, holding standards, with eagle holding wreath and lion at their bases. AN VIII in exergue.



Related Pages in the Roman Numismatic Gallery:

Countermarks of roman legions on coins are shown in the Legionary Countermark section.
Coins making reference to roman legions are to be found in the Legionary Coin section.

Roman Numismatic Gallery: Roman Coins, Sculpture, Military Equipment 




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