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Dacian Prisoner

Dacian Prisoner

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Dacian Prisoners

During the reign of Trajan over the Roman Empire, the Romans experienced a great amount of resistance from the kingdom of Dacia. As a result, the Roman leader, Trajan, prepared his forces to fight against the forced of the Dacian Empire led by Decebalus. Battle began between these two nations in 101 A.D. and lasted until roughly 106 A.D. over the period of two wars (Schmitz 7-8). These wars took place on the Dacian’s land, which was in their favor, but they ultimately ended up losing although they dealt many devastating blows to the Roman forces.

As the wars waged on between these two forces, the Romans took many captives and the number of slaves only increased once they claimed victory in the war. The prisoners were treated poorly and expected to complete many tasks for the Romans. The slaves could be assigned any number of tasks including stone work, although they were given low quality tools to work with (Petrie 1917). Although the prisoners provided large amounts of labor for the Romans, they were also used to show a symbol of status and wealth among the Romans. Along with the gold and silver, the servants received from the war were considered to be a part of the goods gained for the Roman Empire. They were displayed in front of the emperor, along with other treasure, as a part of celebration for the Roman army (Cracknell 2010).

75.Subjugation of the Dacians. Used by permission. Copyright Peter Rockwell http://www.stoa.org/trajan/images/hi/1.74.h.jpg

As the picture demonstrates, the slaves were brought before the king not only to be shown off, but also to pledge their allegiance to the kingdom. It was important for the slaves to know that they were now a part of the Roman culture and under its influence for the remainder of their existence.

Petrie, W. (1917). 104. links of north and south. Man, 17(Oct), 158-162.

Rockwell, P. (1999). Subjugation of the Dacians.Trajan’s Column, The McMaster Trajan Project. Photograph retrieved from

1. Cassius Dio: most famous description about Decebalus

“At this time the Romans became involved in a very serious war with the Dacians, whose king was then Decebalus. This man was shrewd in his understanding of warfare and shrewd also in the waging of war he judged well when to attack and chose the right moment to retreat he was an expert in ambuscades and a master in pitched battles, and he knew not only how to follow up a victory well, but also how to manage well a defeat. Hence he showed himself a worthy antagonist of the Romans for a long time.” Cassius Dio, Roman History, Epitome of Book LXVII

Talk:Roman Dacia/Archive 2

Unfortunately this article has been discovered to contain extensive copyright violations, as explained here: User:Daizus/Investigation/Plagiarisms. The violations were largely introduced by one massive expansion of the article in July 2009 ([1]). Accordingly, the article has been reverted to the state it was in before the expansion and de-listed as a good article. That's really the only option here, because every subsequent edit to the article since that expansion built on the "copyvio" text with which the article was expanded thus, since July 2009, the article has been essentially founded on widespread copyright violations. Notwithstanding the complete innocence of every other editor who has since worked on it, all the edits since July 2009 have to be reverted.

Normally in these circumstances, the history of the page would immediately be deleted back to July 2009 in order to expunge the copyright violations from the record. But I'm going to hold off on that for at least two weeks. That will give editors the chance to review the history and rescue anything "clean" that might have been added since July 2009, such as categories, images or non-copyright violating text. If I get the chance over that two weeks, I'll do the same myself. --Mkativerata (talk) 22:48, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Hi there! I think that going from a 85k GA article to a 9k article, and even removing the history, is a very disproportionate measure. There has been A LOT OF WORK put into this article and I can't imagine that everything is a copyvio. Can we just remove the offending statements/paragraphs? In any case, I salvaged the article in the WP:DACIA drafts section.--Codrin.B (talk) 16:19, 21 November 2011 (UTC) Codrin, the July 2009 expansion is 73k. Perhaps not everything is a copyvio, but certainly is more than I identified, because my investigation was not exhaustive - I don't have access to all the cited materials anyway. Here're two more to prove my point: [2] and[3] (references 15a and c in the deleted version, 15b is a reference to a detail on a barbarian invasion). I have just copied text from this article and googled after it - it is that simple! Daizus (talk) 17:07, 21 November 2011 (UTC) Codrinb: I did the same checks before winding the article back, and pretty much every passage of the article I checked was lifted from a copyrighted book searchable on google books. The copying really was very extensive, as Daizus' evidence page (which is only a sample) shows. I suspect that if someone went through every single paragraph of the article, they would only be left with a handful of clean sentences (such as quotes) that would be largely useless on their own. Regarding Wikipedia:WikiProject Dacia/Drafts/Roman Dacia: I'm afraid we can't host copyright violating content anywhere on the project, including wikiproject and userspace. In these (very unfortunate) circumstances I'm happy to leave it alone for a couple of weeks, but I'm afraid the draft will have to be deleted at some point. --Mkativerata (talk) 18:23, 21 November 2011 (UTC) @Daizus: I started to mark with red the copyright violations in the draft copy. Please give me a hand to identify the extent of this situation. This is very unfortunate. Thanks for catching this.--Codrin.B (talk) 18:48, 21 November 2011 (UTC) @Mkativerata: Understood. I think it would be important to salvage the article structure, images, references, templates and bibliography. If you can extend that period till end of the year, I think it would help us clean up the draft and go back to the main space. Regarding removing the history of article changes, is this really necessary? I think it is very important to know who did what to the article, either good or bad. Also, I don't understand how did the article go to WP:GA with all these violations. --Codrin.B (talk) 18:48, 21 November 2011 (UTC) At the time of the review, a copyvio check was not an explicit GA requirement. I have personally been doing simple copy and paste checks on GA reviews for some years, so getting a basic copy and paste check included as part of a GA review seemed to me quite appropriate. It has now been included since August this year. I noted during the review that some copying had been done, and brought it up. My fault was that I did not do a back up check when I returned to close the GAN, which I normally do. I put my hands up to not doing a good enough job in this case. I spotted it, but didn't follow up. My bad. SilkTork ✔Tea time 19:04, 23 November 2011 (UTC) No worries, the end of the year will be fine. We'd better NOINDEX the draft page though so it won't be picked up by google. Re deleting the history: it's done for two reasons: (1) our history is still hosting the copyright violation, which may be a copyright violation in and of itself and (2) to stop inadvertent restoration of any of the content. But I'm open to discussion about it: deletion isn't always done. --Mkativerata (talk) 19:32, 21 November 2011 (UTC) Thanks! I am trying to get help on a few fronts for this. Hopefully we'll clean it up by then. Thanks for the NOINDEX, didn't know about that one but makes sense. I personally vote for keeping all the changes/entire history, but especially/at least those changes which were not WP:COPYVIO. I get the feeling that as long as we keep the history of changes which shows that the copyright violations were identified and dealt with, WP should be covered legally. But I understand your arguments to cleanup any traces of copyright violations. We just need a good compromise. --Codrin.B (talk) 20:25, 21 November 2011 (UTC) I have to say, just jumping in briefly to the red-ink task (hope you don't mind), the text is looking unsalvageable in any form. In that first section of the article it seems every single sentence is copied. Of course, as you say, the article structure, images, references, templates and bibliography may still be of use though. --Mkativerata (talk) 20:41, 21 November 2011 (UTC) I second that. I went through several sections and followed two books, virtually all citations were copied. I am taking a break now, but I don't think there's much text to re-use, except half-sentences here and there. Daizus (talk) 20:51, 21 November 2011 (UTC) Looking at the extent of the copying it would be more appropriate, and easier, to work on the current version than from the tainted version. By the time one has gone through and picked out what has been copied and what has not, one could have written up a new article. It would be easier if the user who introduced the copied text could have helped out, but looking at this, it appears the user does not quite understand the nature of the problem, and is unwilling or unable to assist. I support deletion of the draft page, and removing the history of this article back to the untainted version. I also applaud the diligent work of Daizus in uncovering the copyvio in this and other articles. SilkTork ✔Tea time 19:44, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Sure, I'd be happy to move it back over the current article once everyone thinks it's ready. --Mkativerata (talk) 19:47, 3 December 2011 (UTC) Loooks ready! Oatley2112, amazing work! Thanks so much.--Codrin.B (talk) 16:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC) I've done a spot check of snippets of the new draft against Oltean and they seem ok. I'd suggest that if Oatley is ready, he/she cut the latest version of the draft and paste it as a new revision of the main article, to ensure that his/her work is properly attributed. --Mkativerata (talk) 19:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

When adding <>, <> and <>, it is very important to expand on each item on the talk page, otherwise these tags are useless and don't help much. At least <> and <>, provide a parameter for talk page section name. Let's try to clarify, properly source and clean up all these phrases with dubious tags. Without it, someone who would want to clean it up, wouldn't know where to start. What is dubious and why? Need to write the reason down. It would be great to get this article cleanup and back to WP:GOOD.--Codrin.B (talk) 19:32, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

  • <> was added months ago based on several discussions. So I'm not sure if there's anything else to add, probably those references should be replaced.
  • <> occurs only once: "The province’s Daco-Roman population was forced to flee south across the river Danube to seek refuge in Moesia" - isn't there another theory arguing that the local population did not flee, only the administration and the army?
  • Here are also few of the obvious <> statements:
  • Dacia Apulensis (focused principally in the Banat region) - check the article map, check where Apulum was
  • Two years later, the Chauci invaded Dacia - click on the link and check where the Chauci lived.
  • During this period, the Carpi invaded the province - click on the link to see they first invaded the Empire in 238. How can that be "during this period" (i.e. the reign of Caracalla?) Daizus (talk) 02:17, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oltean 2009, 95: "became virtually invisible in the epigraphic record. [. ] Few preserved traditional names, with only the latter [i.e. Decebalus Luci] having a heroic name, though from a father with a purely Romanized name (Lucius) ande with the first two examples having their origin indicated by the use of their ethnic name as a cognomen."
  • Dana & Matei-Popescu 2009, 244: "dans l’épigraphie de la province de Dacie, l’absence des noms indigènes(daces) est frappante, avec l’exception notable d’un Decebalus Luci elle s’explique aussi bien par la faible pratique de l’epigraphic habit de la part des indigènes que, et surtout, par l’exploration archéologique très insuffisante du milieu rural."
  • Bunson 2002, 167: "The Dacian retained their names". Were the Dacians "virtually invisible in the epigraphic record" with only few names recorded, or did they retain their names? Daizus (talk) 15:06, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Looks like the GA review failed since there are still about 4 dubious tags in the article. Can we clarify what is still dubious and see if we can fix this? We are very close to bring it back to WP:GA status. Lots of great work so far!--Codrin.B (talk) 18:55, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

". the Slavs possibly took at least some place-names. " (Pares et al. 1939, p. 149). Can we be any more specific than "possibly at least some"? Braincricket (talk) 22:33, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

That paragraph really looks bad and I think there are several different theories which now are presented in a single incoherent account.

First we read that some barbarians attacked the Black Sea cities. Ok, then Caracalla and his legions came from Porolissum and attacked those barbarians expanding the province borders eastward. It doesn't make any sense. The Black Sea cities are not near Olt or near the eastern borders of Dacia (see map), and to push the invaders eastward means to drown them in the sea. Perhaps Caracalla attacked some other barbarians, not those who raided Moesia Inferior. Maybe so, but the text doesn't say that. However according to other interpretations, it was a "Carpian-Vandal unrest" on the northern borders of Dacia in 212 or 213 (and probably in this interpretation Caracalla's visit in Dacia should be dated in 213). Daizus (talk) 02:33, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Caracalla's journey to Orient was interrupted and he had to visit (northern) Dacia. He visited Porolissum among other cities (there are statues and inscriptions dedicated to him). This visit is mentioned by Herodian [4] and Historia Augusta [5]. These events are variously dated to 213 or 214.
  • Caracalla executed Gaiobomarus, the king of Quadi, and turned the Vandili and the Marcomanni against each other. This event is mentioned by Cassius Dio [6].
  • At some time during his reign, Caracalla secured an alliance with some Dacians also taking some hostages. They were returned back during the reign of Macrinus (217-218), thus stopping the Dacian raids on Dacia. Source: Cassius Dio [7] Some scholars noted that the Greek text has here Δακρίγγοι which was variously interpreted as Dacians, Vandals (I guess assuming an original *Λακρίγγοι = Lacringi), or a mixture of them (as in Mócsy's "Carpian-Vandals")
  • During the reign of Caracalla apparently the Romans also fought against the "Getae" (Goths, Dacians?), somewhere near the Black Sea. The literary source is Historia Augusta: [8]
  • Some modern authors mentioned an expansion of province Dacia eastward. Not sure what is the evidence for this, and how it relates to all the other events.
  • Some scholars mix the interpretation of literary sources with inscriptions. For military activity on middle Danube: [9][10]. For Black Sea coasts: [11]Daizus (talk) 12:23, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

There is not a word about Pertinax in the article, but I snapped this picture of his statue at the National Museum of the Union in Alba-Iulia in September 2011. It is from the ruins of Apulum. I still have to read about this subject, but maybe you guys know more about it. It seems to be only statue of him we have on Commons so far and I wonder if this could be one of the few statues of him in existence. Nice work on Grumeza-related cleanup.--Codrin.B (talk) 18:00, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Pertinax's involvement in Dacia predates his accession to the purple. He was procurator of Dacia during the late 160s and governor during the late 170s before falling foul of Commodus. See here Oatley2112 (talk) 02:04, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

OK, I have removed all but 5 references to Grumeza's work, replacing these with other more reputable sources. The ones which remain are all linked to the Marcomannic War, to which I can find no other source which confirms the details in relation to Dacia. The information they contain do not appear unreasonable, but I am happy to leave this to others to review and comment. Oatley2112 (talk) 15:30, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

The article possibly has some problems with the timelines involved in the reorganisation of the Dacian provinces, from Dacia Superior & Inferior (around 117 AD) to Dacia Superior, Inferior & Porolissensis around 124. Earlier accounts of this period had the threefold division of the province occuring in the reign of Antoninus Pius, but it is now commonly accepted that the division occurred during Hadrian's reign. However, the article has a division of the province occuring twice, once under Hadrian, and once under Pius. The issue, I think, was that the so-called reorganization under Pius was nothing more than a renaming of the three provinces, so Dacia Superior became Dacia Apulensis, Dacia Inferior became Dacia Malvensis, while Dacia Porolissensis remained the same. There appeared to be no administrative changes as a result of this reorganization. Does anyone have any further information on this? Oatley2112 (talk) 09:18, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

This whole section is frankly rubbish - the Chauci did not attack the Costoboci (it was the Astingi (according to Anthony Birley - pg. 170)), and the attack was not in 170 (which is when the Costoboci (among others) invaded the provinces), but probably 171 (the Chauci attacked Belgica in 170). Timelines are also all wrong (eg Frontio died around 170, not 172-3 as is implied in the article). This part of the article needs a good rewrite, using a decent source like Birley. Any takers? Oatley2112 (talk) 01:00, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I think Costoboci article covers the 170/1 events (mostly affecting the Balkan provinces, not Dacia). Daizus (talk) 14:00, 29 December 2011 (UTC) The first half of the paragraph that begins "The result was that the Dacians of Crișana. " which is primarily sourced through Grumeza, appears to me to be an account of why the Roxolani did not participate during the First Marcomannic War. Aside from a brief note in Bury (pg. 545) which specifically states that the Roxolani did not join the mass invasions, I can find no other modern source which talks about the Roxolani's decision not to invade Dacia or any other province. So the question is - do we allow the dubious marked Grumeza statements to stand, altered so that it specifically refers to the Roxolani, or do we delete it altogether, leaving a small note attributable to Bury? Oatley2112 (talk) 12:37, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Hi Codrinb - just a quick word about the changes from UnRomanized Dacians to Free Dacians. Whilst I agree that there was some degree of Romanization that occured to those Dacian tribes that were not under Roman administration, the use of the term "Free Dacian" to describe these tribes is very POV - free is a loaded term, bound up with the centuries old controversies about the origins of the Romanian people, and implying that the Dacians within imperial Dacia were not "free" (whatever that means). I felt that the use of the term "UnRomanized" to be a better description of these Dacian tribes, rather than Free Dacians. What do you think? Oatley2112 (talk) 00:21, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

  • If you defined freedom as the ability of one or of a group to govern himself, the Dacians in the remaining parts of the disintegrated Dacian Kingdom were obviously free. So I think is the proper word to use, I don't see the POV or the assertion here.
  • Another argument for using the Free Dacians is that we already have an article aptly named as such. Why mask the name? And if you do question that name, you will have to do it on that article's Talk page.
  • Using Un-Romanized while admitting that Romanization did occur outside Roman borders is an incorrect assertion. Even if I would say that choosing between Free and Un-Romanized is like choosing between two evils (which I don't since Free is a correct term), choosing Un-Romanized would not be the lesser evil since it is incorrect or misleading assertion
  • The term Free Dacians precisely implies that the other Dacians, the ones under the Roman rule were not free. How can a defeated, conquered, and undergoing Romanization nation can be considered free, by the definition of freedom? The Dacians in Roman Dacia no longer had a king, an independent kingdom, they no longer govern themselves and their lands were occupied and transformed by a foreign culture. In the aftermath of the Trajan's Dacian Wars we are talking about tens of thousands sent in slavery, many to the arena (see Ludus Dacicus), a large number of davae show signs of being leveled, burned and depopulated based on archaeological finds and historical records, we have a large number (way over 100 cf. Velcescu) of so-called Dacian prisoners statues created (although puzzlingly they don't show any chains, just serious/sad faces)? Would you call any subdued nation (the Gauls, the Britons) in the Roman Empire free?
  • I fail to see the link between Romanian nationalism and the term Free Dacians. Scholars like Millar and MacKendrick use this term, just to name a few. And where is the nationalism in stating the obvious? Are we afraid of using words like free even when they are proper?--Codrin.B (talk) 15:30, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
  • However, the assertion of your fourth point is where I have the difficulty. The term "free" implies quite strongly that those Dacians who were within imperial Dacia were in bondage, enslaved to the Roman state. Your link to the image of the enchained Dacian is clearly meant to evoke this image. Now, I'm sorry, but the Roman state just did not operate like that. Outside of the initial brutal and bloody conquest with the subjugation of the Dacians (which like all wars everywhere was catastrophic for the local people), the Romans (and by this stage, Romans included Arabs, Gauls, Spaniards, Germans who had been given citizenship, extended by Caracalla in 213 AD to everyone) co-opted local elites to run their local affairs, so long as taxes were paid and the authority of the local governor (and ultimately, the emperor) respected. Dacia in this sense was no different to Britain, Gaul, or any other province of the empire. You cannot say that Ceasar's conquest of Gaul was any less bloody and violent than Trajan's conquest of Dacia. And you certainly do not see any other tribe or national group refer to themselves as "free" at the borders of the empire (free Berbers, free Celts, free Picts, free Arabs, free Chauci, etc) - so why extend this privelege to the Dacian tribes bordering the imperial province? To me, there is obviously some other agenda here at play.
  • However, that does not detract from the need to identify the Dacians who were within the province as opposed to those who lived at the borders and beyond, which is what we should be focusing on. Having thought on this for some time, I believe that the appropriate term we should use for this article (taking it up at the Free Dacians page is another exercise, and should not delay its implementation here, if you and others agree) is "Independent Dacians". Free is simply (to my view at least) too emotive/prejudicial a term (one person's freedom is another person's bondage), with too many negative implications for the Dacians within the province. At this distance in time, we cannot say that the Dacians within the province believed they were "free" or not, and it is not up to us to say they were or weren't. Independent is a far more neutral, and accurate, English term for use in this context, and these Dacians were clearly independent of the Roman state. What do you think? Oatley2112 (talk) 00:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

All your points are more than fair. Indeed, there are false positives on Google search but overwhelming differences in numbers should be a good indicator. I don't think we should always use politically correct words, because in the end we end up not saying much. Also, I for one don't see any POV behind the word free and I don't see what agendas it can satisfy. The existence of Free Dacians doesn't really clarify or support the Latin origins of the Romanians. Regarding genocide, I don't know what term can be used to describe the fact that a large number of Dacian settlements discovered so far show signs of being burned to the ground and having their in-habitation halt around early 2nd century. See Ziridava for example. I get the feeling you really think the Romans were the nicest, wisest guys. Just take a look a this picture from Trajan's Column. That advanced society included a lot of large scale brutality as well. I am always amazed and fascinated by the level of development attained by the Romans, but their violence closely matches their achievements. But as always, the truth is always somewhere in the middle -)--Codrin.B (talk) 16:20, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

The defeat of Cornelius Fuscus

In the same year (86), after the initial success against Dacians, Cornelius Fuscus crossed the Danube. However, his army was ambushed and destroyed while Fuscus himself died in the battle. [3] According to E.T. Salmon and other historians, this was the battle where Legio V Alaudae was annihilated. [6] At any case, this legion subsequently disappeared from the Roman army list. [4]

After this victory, Diurpaneus received the name of Decebalus, meaning as strong as ten wild men. [7]

Dacians In Roman Sculpture And Where Can We See Them Today

"The dignified image of the Dacians was placed in the most prestigious place of the Roman world, in the heart of Rome, the Forum of Trajan. This is a very important and valuable fact for the history of the ancient representations of the Dacians in Roman art and for the history of the culture of Romania."


Musei Capitolini / Piazza del Campidoglio 1, 00186 Roma / museicapitolini.org

Statue of a Dacian (Capilatus) fragment - the top of the statue

Place of discovery: unknown, it is likely that the statue come from Trajan's forum

Material: the head is made of white marble, body of yellow marble with blue color strands.

Dimensions: Total height of the statue is 195-200 cm, 48 cm (head height), 100 cm (width at the shoulders level), 3 m (the approximate original height)

State of conservation: only the upper portion of the sculpture is preserved to the level of the thighs. Forearms and hands are missing. It was restored in 1992 under the direction of A. Campitelli.

Date: Late reign of Trajan (98-117 AD)

Statue of a Dacian (Capilatus) fragment - the top of the statue, Museo Canonica, inv. nr VB 136

The same statue presented above images from the museum repository

Statue of a Dacian, Museo dei Conservatori, inv. nr 779

Place of Discovery: Unknown it was once located in the garden of the Cesi Palace (Rome) acquired in 1720 by Pope Clemens XI (Gianfrancesco Albani - Pope from 1700 to 1721) for the Museum

Material:gray marble (bigio morato).

Dimensions: height 3.24 m, including the head.

Conservation status: additions made: at the head, small repairs conducted at arms, at the garments and footwear. The mantle folds at the legs level are not finished. Very little work is performed behind the statue and in the bottom side at the knee level the sculpture was left undetached of the marble block.

Date: Late reign of Trajan, Hadrian's reign beginning.

Typology: Dacian

Statue of a Dacian, Museo dei Conservatori, inv. nr 773

Place of Discovery: Unknown it was once located in the garden of the Cesi Palace (Rome) acquired in 1720 by Pope Clemens XI (Gianfrancesco Albani - Pope from 1700 to 1721) for the Museum

Material:gray marble (bigio morato).

Dimensions: height 3.15 m, including the head.

Conservation status: additions made: at the head, small repairs conducted at arms, at the garments and footwear. The mantle folds at the legs level are not finished. Very little work is performed behind the statue and in the bottom side at the knee level the sculpture was left undetached of the marble block.

Date: Late reign of Trajan, Hadrian's reign beginning.

Typology: Dacian

Musei Vaticani / Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma / mv.vatican.va

Torso of Dacian (Pileatus - Decebal), Braccio Nuovo room nr 127, inv. nr 2214

Place of discovery: it was found in the Forum of Trajan since 1882 it is in the Vatican Museum

Material: fine grain yellow marble.

Dimensions: height 0.60 m

Conservation status: additions made: left eyebrow and eyelid, at both ears, part of the beard, nose, top of the fez (pileus), at the neck and at the level of the bust. Major repairs were also made to cap and in the hair area.

Date: middle of the reign of Trajan.

Bust of a Dacian (Capilatus), Braccio Nuovo room, nr 9 inv. nr 2293

Place of discovery: found in Trajan's Forum before 1837.

Dimensions: 0,92 m (height of the assembly) 0.49 m (head only)

Conservation status: additions made: tip of the nose, half of the lower lip, beard. margin of the hair above the forehead, isolated locks of hair on both sides of the head, under the chin and on the bust. The sculpture was cleaned in recent times.

Date: middle of the reign of Trajan.

Typology: Dacian.

Bust of a Dacian (Capilatus), Braccio Nuovo room, nr 115 inv. nr 2220

Place of discovery: close to the Arch of Constantine in Rome since 1822 it is at Vatican Museum

Material: fine-grained white marble.

Dimensions: 1.04 m (height of the assembly) 0.44 m (head only)

Conservation status: additions made: at the nose, the upper lip, both eyebrows, hair on the back, at the neck level and at the bust.

Date: middle of the reign of Trajan.

Statue fragment, the upper part, Pilaetus (Dacian), Museo Chiaramonti, nr 356, inv. nr 1697 / vaticanstate.va

Place of discovery: unknown, formerly in the Negroni collection

Material: body in pavonazzetto, head and hands in fine white marble.

Dimensions: overall height 1.82 m 0.50 m head height height of the statue at the origin about 3 m

Conservation status: the statue is preserved from the level of the head to the level of the hips. The statue is broken at the level of the belt. Additions made: top of the pileus, the eyebrows, the nose, the lower lip, chin (beard), a portion under the neck, portions of the garment between the neck and the mantle, a circular portion at the level of the womb, hanging parts of the mantle, upper portion of the arms, both elbows, the forearms and hands.

Date: middle of the reign of Trajan.

Statue of Capilatus (Dacian), inv. nr 10534

Place of discovery: year 1841 Via dei Coronari, close to San Salvatore in Lauro, once in the statuary borough afterwards in the Lateran collection

Material: fine-grained white marble.fine-grained white marble.

Dimensions: height 2.25 m, head 0.37 m

Conservation status: missing some hair switches over right ear, the fingers of the left hand are damaged. Additions made: right side in front of the pedestal and the right leg, as well as the left side of the socle.

Date: during the reign of Trajan.

Villa Borghese / Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00197 Roma / galleriaborghese.it

Statue of a Dacian by Capilatus (Garden of Villa Borghese)

Place of discovery: this sculpture is the copy of the original statue preserved in the repository of Museo Canonica

Material: marble powder and white cement.

Dimensions: total height 195-200 cm, 48 cm (head height), 100 cm (width of the statue at the shoulders level), 3.00 m (approximate height of the original statue).

Conservation status: This copy is now sitting on a shrine under the arch of a monumental entrance made of bricks, in the garden of Villa Borghese, Roma.

Colonna Traiana / Foro di Traiano / it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonna_Traiana

Decebal was for the first time "identified" by C. Cichorius in the scene XXIV, Trajan's Column

Casino dell'Aurora Ludovisi / Via Lombardia, 46 / en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casino_dell'Aurora

Statue of a Dacian, Casino dell'Aurora Ludovisi

Place of discovery: Unknown, probably in the Trajan's Forum

Material: Italian white marble.

Dimensions: height 2.53 m

Conservation status: the neck and the back of the head is broken. Additions made: in both forearms and hands, the folds of the mantle and left arm. Feet have multiple cracks. The statue is carved behind.

Date: Late reign of Trajan (98-117 AD) - the beginning of the reign of Hadrian (117- 138 AD)

Tipology : Dacian.

Statue of a Dacian, Casino dell'Aurora Ludovisi

Place of discovery: Unknown, probably in the Trajan's Forum

Material: Italian white marble.

Dimensions: height 2.47 m

Conservation status: the neck is cracked, the forearms are missing the neck has patches, and so does the beard. The back of the statue is carved.

Date: Late reign of Trajan (98-117 AD) - the beginning of the reign of Hadrian (117- 138 AD)

Tipology : Dacian.

Musei di Villa Torlonia / via Nomentana 70, 00161 Roma / museivillatorlonia.it

Head of a Dacian (Pileatus), Torlonia collection, nr 387

Place of discovery: found in Rome near the place called il Governo vecchio.

Material: Greek marble.

Dimensions: height 1.20 m

Conservation status: the bust to the thorax is preserved. The hair falls in disorder on the forehead the prominent and frowning eyebrows give a fierce expression to the eyes. These features and the pileus cap covering the head of this character, remind of the known statues of "prisoner" Dacians from the time of Trajan. The back of the statue is not finished.

Date: Late reign of Trajan (98-117 AD) - beginning of the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD)

Statue of Dacian (Pileatus), Torlonia collection, nr 412

Place of discovery: found in Rome, near the place called il Governo vecchio. The statue was a part of Vitali collection.

Material: greek marble.

Dimensions: height 2,44 m.

Conservation status: The Statue is not finished. The right hand and the left hand fingers are missing. The nose and upper lip have been completed later. The back of the statue is joint to a rudimentary carved slab. The character is wearing a long tunic that reaches his knees, with large pants and a mantle hanging on his back. The sculpture is of great value for knowing the history of ancient techniques, because the marble carving is not finished on all sides and you can still see the marks and bulgings which were used for transportation.

Data: late reign of Trajan (98-117 d.Hr) - Beginning reign of Hadrian (117-138 d.Hr.)

Tipology: Dacian

Piazza del Popolo / it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piazza_del_Popolo_Roma

4 statues of Dacians, Piazza del Popolo

Material: marble.

Conservation status: these four statues are replicas of the two ancient works of Tarabostes (Pileati) kept in the National Museum in Naples. The sculptures in Piazza del Popolo are the works of the sculptors F. Gnaccarini, F.Baini, A. Stocchi, AM Labourer. They are the decoration of a balustrade in the Pincino garden, Piazza del Popolo, in Rome.

Date: eighteenth century.

Arco di Costantino / it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arco_di_Costantino

Rome, in the attic of the Arch of Constantine: 8 statues (Dacians) inv?

Place of discovery: unknown, it appears that these statues are from the Trajan's Forum, then used in decorating the Arch of Constantine (Rome).

Material: body in pavonazzetto, head and hands are in white marble.

Dimensions: height 3.00 m (approx. for each statue).

Conservation status: heads, forearms and hands were completed during 1732-33.

Date: bodies of these statues can be dated from the reign of Trajan.

Typology: Dacians.

Foro di Traiano / it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foro_di_Traiano

Rome, Forum of Trajan – the new archeological excavations, fragment: head of a Barbarian (Dacian) inv. 5997

Place of discovery: the Forum of Trajan, as a result of the new excavations begun in the summer (June) of 1998. More specifically, this sculpture was discovered on May 19, 1999.

Material: white marble.

Dimensions: height approx. 40 cm.

Conservation status: the fragment only retain the head of a male character. This head of barbarian is quite well preserved, except the nose which is partially broken. It is a realistic sculpture and its conservation condition allows the high quality of the style of the Roman sculpture in the reign of Trajan to be appreciated. The character wears the beard and cap (pileus) of the Dacian nobles. The ancient sculptor remarkably achieved the features of the face, with well defined eyes, and a sharp look.

Treasures, jewellery, coins Edit

Geto-Dacian Kosons, mid 1st century BC.

Dacian gold in Kunsthistorisches Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum Dacian Bracelet

Art and symbols Edit

Standards and Ensigns Edit

Dacian standard Draco cf. Hungerford

Draco bearer cf. Duruy Victor

Trajan Column showing Draco and Dacian flag

Trajan Column showing Draco and Dacian flag

Dacian flag with serpent singn

Military Equipment Edit

Shield pattern of Daci, according to Notitia Dignitatum,

The Golden Helmet of Coţofeneşti - a pure gold Geto-Dacian helmet dating from the first half of the 4th century BC, currently at the National Museum of Romanian History

Helmet of Agighiol, silver and gold

Helmet of Cucuteni-Băiceni

The Helmet of Iron Gates - a silver Geto-Dacian helmet dating from the 4th century BC, currently at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Helmet of Peretu, silver and gold

Dacians' war shield and helmets based on the Trajan's Column, Rome (dated 2nd century AD) cf. to Grigore George Tocilescu (26 October 1850 – 18 September 1909), a Romanian historian, archaeologist, epigrapher and folkorist, member of Romanian Academy

Dacian Artefact possible a ubo shield

Tools and Objects Edit

Dacian tools exposed in Cluj Museum

Dacian tools exposed in Cluj Museum

Construction Edit

Dacian Tomb in Cucuteni Village

Dacian wall at Sarmizegetusa Regia

Towns and fortresses Edit

The ancient Dacian fortress Sarmizegetusa

Graphical reenactment of the Dacian dava discovered at Popeşti, Giurgiu, Romania, potentially Burebista's capital Argedava

Religion and mythology Edit

Temples at the ancient Dacian fortress Sarmizegetusa

A tomb painting at the Aleksandrovo Kurgan, a Thracian tomb located in Bulgaria. Hypothesis for identification as Zalmoxis (king, or priest, or god of the Thracian tribe Getae), or rather anonymous hero-king because of the double ax.

Dacian or Danubian Rider God, Bucuresti Museum

An inscription dedicated to Kotys (Either the deity or The King.)

People and life Edit

A young Dacian cf. Duruy Victor

Kings Edit

Maps Edit

Dacian Kingdom under the rule of Burebista 60-44 BC

Dacian Kingdom, under the rule of Burebista, 82 BC

Onomastic range of the Dacian towns with the dava ending, covering Dacia, Moesia, Thrace and Dalmatia

Warfare Edit

Legionary with manica laminata with sword and Dacian falxman

Dacian Prisoners after Adamclisi battle

Message for the Dacians (Scene CXXXIX) Retreat and suicide of Dacians (Scene CXL)

Decebalus, king of the Dacians, dying by his own hand during his retreat

A mounted Dacian in Scale Armour cf. Hungerford Others consider is a Sarmatian

Maps Edit

Map before roman conquest 100 AD

Map of the First Dacian War 101-102 AD

Map of the Second Dacian war 105-106 AD

Map of the Dacian wars 101-102 and 105-106 AD

Map of the First Dacian War 101-102

Map of the Second Dacian war 105-106 AD

People and life Edit

Statue remnant of a Dacian prisoner

Dacian bust at he time of Dacia's conques by Trajan

Second bust of Dacian of Trajan age

Dacian from Louvre (II sec. AD)

Dacian from arch of Constantinus Magnus (II sec. AD)

Dacian, in Vatican Museums

Statue of a Dacian in "pavonazzetto" (docimenum) marble (upper part) in the court of Conservatori Palace in the Capitoline Museums

A bust of a Dacian (ancient people of Dacia) dated early 2nd century AD, marble. Located at St Petersburg - Hermitage

Statue of a Dacian in "pavonazzetto" (docimenum) marble (upper part) in the court of Conservatori Palace in the Capitoline Museums

Roman coinage Edit

Trajan Denarius, Roman Dacia, 107 AD - Obverse. Image:Laureate head right. Text: "IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC PM TR P COS V PP", abbreviation from "Imperator. Trajan. Augustus. Germanicus. Dacius. Pontifex Maximus. Tribuniciae Potestate. Consul V. Pater Patriae"

Trajan Denarius, Roman Dacia, 107 AD - Reverse. Image:Dacian wearing peaked cap, seated on shield in mourning, with falx below. Text: "SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI", abbreviation from "Senatus Populus Que Romanus. Optimo Principi"

Construction Edit

Inscription from Sarmizegetusa

Milliarium of Aiton, a Roman milestone discovered in Aiton commune, near Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The milestone, is dating from 108 AD and shows the construction of the road from Potaissa to Napoca, by demand of the Emperor Trajan. It indicates the distance of ten thousand feet (P.M.X.) to Potaissa. It is the first epigraphical attestation of the settlements of Potaissa and Napoca in Roman Dacia

Ruins of the ancient Capidava fortress, in modern Capidava village, Constanţa County, Romania

Nicopolis ad Istrum, a Roman town founded by Emperor Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus with the Danube, in memory of his victory over the Dacians

Maps Edit

Map of Dacia from . medieval book (currently at . ) made after Ptolemy's Geographia (ca. 140 AD)

Map of Dacia from 1467 medieval book (currently at the National Library of Poland) made after Ptolemy's Geographia (ca. 140 AD)

The First Dacian War: Reliefs Scene-by-Scene on Trajan’s Column in Rome

For the sake of convenience, simplicity, and convention the individual scenes and the clustering of scenes into separate events of the Dacian campaigns follow the divisions originally created by Conrad Cichorius (1896-1900 see bibliography or the original plates). The “clusters” below mirror those used in the commentary published by Lepper and Frere (1988). As this site grows I hope to include summaries of some of the modern controversies surrounding the identification of scene, events, and topography. A good place to review scholarship before the mid 1980s on this topic can be found in Lepper and Frere (1988, with commentary) and Koeppel (1982 – sources only). I have included some introductory comments on the composition and precedents for the reliefs on the Column on a separate page.

The titles used for each photo in the galleries below contain two sets of Roman numerals. The first refers to the corresponding Plate (or Plates) in the original publication by Cichorius. The second Roman numeral refers to the scene number. This system matches the one used to label the Plates in the atlas of Coarelli et al. (2000). Unless otherwise noted, all photographs and composite photographs in the galleries here are by R. B. Ulrich.

This page is updated regularly as more images are collected and processed. Some images may be viewed in 3D by following this link.

Last update: 27 December 2017.

The First Dacian War (101-102 CE), Scenes I-V:

The first five scenes on the Column of Trajan depict: Scene I: Watchtowers and Roman soldiers on the banks of the Danube River Scene II: A river town on the banks of the Danube and the loading of boats Scene III: A town on the banks of the Danube, and a personification of the river itself Scene IV: Roman troops cross the river on a pontoon bridge Scene V: the Roman march. The formal offensive begins with the crossing of the Roman Army over the Danube River in the year 101 (so, too, a river crossing will mark the beginning of the Second Dacian War).

Trajan's Column: Scenes 1-5: Preparations for War

The first five scenes on the Column of Trajan depict Roman soldiers on the banks of the Danube River, poised to begin their attack on Dacian soil. This group of scenes ends with the crossing of the Roman Army over the Danube River.

The First Dacian War, Scenes VI-XXI:

The 16 scenes introduce many of the themes (except for battle) connected with Trajan’s first campaign in Dacia. Scene VI: Trajan’s first war council Scene VII: Movement of the Cavalry Scene VIII: First Suovetaurilia sacrifice Scene IX: Omen of the fallen man Scene X: First adlocutio Scene XI: First scene of fort construction Scene XII: Additional fort construction with Trajan as overseer Scene XIII: Sentries and a Roman camp Scene XIV: The emperor ascends to a hill-top fort Scene XV: Forest-clearing scene Scene XVI: Fort construction in the presence of Trajan Scene XVII: A Roman fort by a stream Scene XVIII: First Dacian prisoner presented to Trajan Scene XIX: Bridge construction Scene XX: Fort construction with Trajan’s supervision Scene XXI: Cavalry march in front of a Roman fort.

Trajan's Column: Scenes 6-21: Trajan's First Campaign

The First Dacian War, Scenes XXII-XXV:

The compositions include marches and road-building in forests and the the first great battle scene. Scene XXII: Roman soldiers cluster at the edge of a forest Scene XXIII: The forest is cleared by Roman troops Scene XXIV: The first great battle, aided by Jupiter Tonans Scene XXV: Trajan surveys a captured Dacian settlement.


The First Dacian War, Scenes XXVI-XXX:

Advance and regrouping in the first campaign. Scene XXVI: Roman soldiers ford a river Scene XXVII: Second adlocutio scene Scene XXVIII: First reception of a Dacian embassy by the emperor, who stands before a Roman camp Scene XXIX: Roman troops attack settlements, burning buildings and slaughtering livestock Scene XXX: Trajan pardons a Dacian woman while other captured women and children look on.


Scene 26: River Crossing Scene 27: adlocutio Scene 28: Reception of a Dacian embassy Scene 29:Roman Reconnaissance Scene 30: Captured Dacian Women

The First Dacian War, Scenes XXXI-XXXVIII:

Dacians and their Sarmatian allies organize a counterattack against the Romans, perhaps during the winter spanning 101-102 CE. Scene XXXI: Dacian horsemen struggle to cross a body of water Scene XXXII: Dacians attack a Roman fort, a representation that includes an exceptional depiction of a battering ram. Scene XXXIII: In response to Dacian attacks, Trajan departs from his winter quarters by ship with a walled town as a backdrop. Scene XXXIV: Trajan and his troops travel by ship along the river Scene XXXV: Trajan reaches shore and disembarks Scene XXXVI: Trajan leads Roman infantry and allies Scene XXXVII: Romans attack and defeat Sarmatian cataphracts Scene XXXVIII: A battle by night (indicated by a personification of the goddess of night).


Scene 31: Dacian Counterattack Scene 32: Attack on a Roman fort Scene 33: Riverside scene Scene 34: Transport by ship Scene 35: Trajan with the Danube fleet Scene 36: Roman troops on the march Scene 37: Calvary and Scouts defeat Sarmatians Scene 38: Roman attack by night.

The First Dacian War, Scenes XXXIX-XLV:

Scene XXXIX: The sequence begins with a Dacian embassy of noblemen who are received by the emperor meanwhile a group of civilians watches the construction of a Roman fort, perhaps located in Moesia Scene XL: The second major battle scene includes the singular depiction of wounded Roman soldiers being treated in the field (thus sometimes called the “Battle of the Bandages” Scene XLI: The battle ends in a rout of the Dacians, who flee into the mountains. Scene XLII: The third scene of adlocutio Scene XLIII: Dacian prisoners are put under guard within a walled enclosure XLIV: Roman soldiers are given rewards. XLV: Nude and bound men are shown being tortured by women, the latter traditionally identified as Dacian women (war widows?) maltreating captured Roman soldiers.


Scene 39: Reception of Dacian nobles Scene 40: Second Major Battle Against the Dacians (Battle of the Bandages) Scene 41: Retreat of Dacians Scene 42: Trajan addresses his troops after battle Scene 43: Dacian Prisoners Scene 44: Soldiers receive rewards from Trajan Scene 45: Torture of Roman Prisoners

The First Dacian War, Scenes XLVI-LXXIII:

Scene XLVI: Trajan presides over an embarkation Scene XLVII: Troops reach a shoreline and disembark Scene XLVIII: Legions cross a river using a pontoon bridge XLIX: Three columns of Roman soldiers and their support march L: Trajan greets arriving soldiers LI: The arrival of Trajan at a Roman fort LII: Amid a scene of clearing timber, Trajan receives a Dacian embassy LIII: Second scene of the suovetaurilia sacrifice LIV: Adlocutio scene LV: The Roman infantry ascends steep terrain LVI: Forest clearing for a road LVII: Attack and torching of Dacian buildings LVIII: Trajan on horseback rides over a bridge LIX: Dacians retreat LX: Roman fort construction LXI: Trajan and his officers receive a kneeling Dacian LXII: Forts and mustering in mountainous terrain LXIII: Roman forces shown in the mountains LXIV: Allied Numidian cavalry ride against Dacian forces LXV: A Roman fort under construction in hilly terrain LXVI: Trajan receives an envoy, heavy artillery construction and battle LXVII: Dacians, under pressure, fell trees for their defense LXVIII: Against a backdrop of Roman camp construction, Trajan receives a prisoner LXIX: Roman legionaries clear timber LXX: Roman allied forces move against the Dacians LXXI: A singular testudo formation assaults a Dacian fortress LXXII: Amidst the last major battle of the first Dacian War, Trajan is presented with severed heads of the enemy LXXIII: While construction takes place in the foreground, Trajan addresses his soldiers (adlocutio).

Scenes 46-73

Casts 118-190: Trajan's Second Advance (first Dacian War).

The First Dacian War Ends: Scenes LXXIV-LXXVIII:

In the final scenes of the first Dacian war, we see Scene LXXV: The subjugation of the Dacian people Scene LXXVII: A final speech given by Trajan to his men Scene LXXVIII: A prominent winged Victoria figure who inscribes a shield in commemoration of the Roman victory. This last scene from the first Dacian War occurs half-way up the northwest axis of the Column.


Preparations for the campaign were extensive and probably occupied at least a year. Ultimately nine legions – at full strength or at least in the form of a substantial vexillation – were concentrated on the Danube to take part in or support the operations. Other legions sent smaller vexillations and the already substantial auxiliary forces of the region were augmented by whole units and detachments from other provinces. Perhaps a third of the Roman army as then constituted was to take part in the war, although these troops were never massed in a single field army but operated in a number of separate forces and in supporting roles. It was a formidable force, but the task ahead of them would not prove easy. Dacia was defended by the natural strength of the Carpathians. The kingdom was rich in gold deposits and Decebalus had used this wealth to create a large army and to establish well-fortified strongholds controlling the main passes through the mountains. Excavation at a number of these sites has confirmed their formidable nature, with walls and towers which combined native, Hellenistic and Roman methods of construction.

Dacian warriors were brave, though perhaps no more disciplined than those of other tribal peoples. Their religion, based around the worship of the god Zalmoxis, often prompted men to commit suicide rather than surrender. In battle few appear to have worn armour, apart from the allied Sarmatian cavalry who fought as cataphracts, with both horse and man covered in metal or horn armour. Weapons consisted of bows, javelins, Celtic-style swords, and also the scythe-like falx, a two-handed curved sword with the blade on the inner side and ending in a heavy point. This last weapon was capable of reaching past a shield to inflict terrible wounds, and appears to have encouraged some Roman legionaries to be equipped with greaves and an articulated guard to protect their exposed right arm.

Trajan’s Column begins with scenes showing the Roman frontier posts along the Danube and a force of legionaries marching behind their massed standards over a bridge laid across river barges – the Roman equivalent of a pontoon bridge. Then the emperor appears, holding a consilium of senior officers to discuss the forthcoming operations. Trajan usually appears to be slightly larger than the men around him, but he never dominates by sheer size in the manner of the monumental art of other ancient rulers, such as the pharaohs of Egypt. High-level planning and the issuing of orders to the army’s high command is followed by other preparations from the campaign. His head veiled in accordance with his office as pontifex maximus, Rome’s senior priest, the emperor puts a circular ritual cake, or popanum, on to the flames of an altar, as around him the rite of the suovetaurilia is performed with the sacrifice of a bull, a ram and a boar to Mars. This important ceremony was held outside the ramparts of the army’s camp near the start of any major campaign to purify the troops and ensure the support of Rome’s deities. Just as they did in political life in Rome itself, magistrates played a central part in the regular religious ceremonies of the army. There is then a curious scene which shows Trajan watching a peasant clutching a large circular object fall off a mule, and which may be connected with an anecdote in Dio in which allied tribes sent a message to the emperor written in Latin on an enormous mushroom. Then the commander mounts a tribunal and makes a speech to a parade of his legionaries, an address known as an adlocutio. Afterwards the soldiers fortify several positions – presumably on the enemy bank of the Danube – the emperor moving amongst them as they labour and supervising the work.

Its crossing place secure, the main army advances into the hills, probably moving towards the pass in the Carpathians known as the Iron Gates. Trajan and one of his officers are shown inspecting an enemy hill fort, which appears to have been abandoned, before he returns to oversee a group of legionaries clearing a path through the thick woodland. A prominent theme on the Column, as indeed in much literature, is the engineering skill and dogged perseverance of the citizen soldiers of the army, and very often Trajan and his officers are shown overseeing the labour. He is also shown interrogating a Dacian prisoner, just as Caesar and other commanders had done, before the action moves rapidly on to the first major battle. In this the legionaries are shown formed up in reserve, whilst the auxiliaries, who include amongst their number bare-chested barbarians – probably Germans or perhaps even Britons from the irregular units known as numeri – wielding wooden clubs, do the actual fighting.

The savagery of these non-citizen soldiers is emphasized in this and other scenes. One regular auxiliary infantryman grips in his clenched teeth the hair of an enemy’s severed head so that his hands are free to keep fighting. To the rear two more auxiliaries present severed heads to the emperor. In this scene Trajan appears to look away, but in a later, similar scene, he is shown reaching out to accept two such ghastly trophies. The Romans had outlawed headhunting in the provinces of the Empire, but it was evidently acceptable for soldiers to practise this when fighting against foreign enemies. Yet with one possible exception, only auxiliaries are shown on the Column taking heads and it seems likely that such behaviour was acceptable amongst these less civilized troops, but not amongst legionaries.

The bringing of trophies to the commander echoes incidents in the literature, such as the cavalryman at Jerusalem who picked up a rebel and brought him to Titus. The general, and even more the emperor, could reward such heroic feats and his role as witness to his men’s behaviour was vital. Such a task meant keeping relatively close to the fighting, so that the men believed that they could be seen as individuals. One of Domitian’s generals is supposed to have ordered his men to paint their names on their shields to make themselves feel more visible. Later on the Column Trajan is shown distributing rewards to auxiliary troops, although other evidence suggests that these men no longer received medals (dona) like the legionaries so that the awards must have taken another form. Auxiliary units gained battle honours, and sometimes an early grant of the citizenship which was normally given on discharge, so perhaps promotion and sums of money or plunder were the most common form of reward to an individual auxiliary soldier.

This first battle probably took place near Tapae, where in AD 88 one of Domitian’s generals had won a victory which did something to remove the shame of Cornelius Fuscus’ defeat. A god hurling thunderbolts at the Dacians is shown at the top of the frieze, but it is unclear whether this is simply intended to show Rome’s deities fighting on her behalf or indicates an action fought during, or perhaps terminated by, a storm. Some commentators have suggested that the reliance on auxiliaries to do the fighting whilst the legionaries remain in reserve reflected a Roman desire to win victories without the loss of citizen blood. Tacitus praised Agricola for winning the battle of Mons Graupius in this way, but in fact such a sentiment is rarely expressed.

It does seem to have been fairly common by the late first century AD to form the first line of infantry from auxiliary troops, whilst the legions formed the second and subsequent lines. This was certainly logical, for the higher organization of the legions, with ten cohorts coming under the command of a legate and being used to operating together (unlike auxiliary cohorts which were all independent units), made them easier for the army commander to control. For this reason legionaries were more effective as reserve troops to be committed as and when the fighting line needed reinforcement. In some cases, the battle may have been won by the auxiliaries without the need for any reserves. It is impossible to tell whether this was the case at Tapae in AD 101. It is equally possible that the sculptors chose simply to represent the opening phase of the battle begun when auxiliary infantry and cavalry launched an attack on the enemy. Dio tells us that the fighting was extremely fierce and that victory cost the Romans heavy casualties. When the Roman medical aid stations – medics are shown treating soldiers in one of the later scenes on the Column – ran out of bandages, Trajan sent them much of his own store of clothes to cut into strips and make up the shortage. To commemorate the fallen, he also established an altar on the site of the battle.

Following up on their success, the Romans are shown continuing the advance and putting captured settlements to the torch. The parapet of one Dacian fort is shown decorated with a row of heads mounted on poles, whilst in front of the rampart are stakes concealed in pits, resembling the ‘lilies’ made by Caesar’s men at Alesia. Dio tells us that in one such captured fort the Romans found standards and equipment captured from Fuscus’ army. The Romans then cross a river, this time without the benefit of a bridge. One legionary is shown wading through the water with his armour and equipment carried in the rectangular shield raised over his head. After this Trajan addresses another parade, before meeting with a group of Dacian ambassadors, and subsequently a group of native women. Then the action moves to another area as the Column shows Dacian warriors and Sarmatian cataphracts swimming – and in some cases drowning in the attempt – across the Danube to attack some Roman garrisons held by auxiliary troops. One group of enemies employ a battering ram with an iron tip shaped like the animal’s head in an effort to breach a fort’s wall, and this may perhaps be an indication of the knowledge of siege techniques which Decebalus had acquired from deserters and the treaty with Domitian.

In response to this new threat, we see Trajan and a mixture of praetorian guardsmen and auxiliaries embarking on a warship and a barge. They are bareheaded, wearing travelling cloaks (paenulae) and burdened with bundles – perhaps folded tents or simply supplies. The force moves along the Danube, then disembarks. Trajan is always at their head, and rides with a group of auxiliary infantry, cavalry and barbarian irregulars to hunt for the enemy raiding force. Two auxiliary cavalrymen seem to report to the emperor – presumably scouts who have found the Dacians – and this is followed by a massed Roman cavalry attack. Surprise appears complete – the goddess of Night is shown at the top of the scene suggesting an attack under cover of darkness – and the Sarmatians and Dacians are routed and cut down around their four-wheeled wagons. Caesar noted that Gallic armies were always accompanied by carts carrying their families, and it is possible that the Dacians followed a similar practice. However, it may be that these scenes represent not a raiding force, but a migration by some of the local peoples, perhaps tribes allied to Decebalus.

The Adamklissi metopes also show fighting around barbarian wagons and a dramatic Roman cavalry charge led by a senior officer, perhaps Trajan himself. Although cruder in style, these reliefs are less stylized than those on the Column and appear to show three distinct types of barbarian, probably Sarmatians, Bastarnae and Dacians. It is possible that the Adamklissi metopes correspond with these scenes on the Column, but they might equally depict entirely different events.

After this Roman victory Trajan is seen receiving another Dacian embassy, this time consisting of aristocratic ‘cap-wearers’ (pileati) rather than the socially inferior warriors who were sent by Decebalus at the start of the war. Dio mentions several attempts at negotiation, which failed due to Decebalus’ mistrustful nature and, most likely, the uncompromising nature of Roman demands. This is followed by a major battle, in which legionaries are shown fighting alongside auxiliaries. The Roman troops are supported by a scorpion mounted in a cart drawn by a team of two mules and known as a carroballista. Trajan supervizes from behind the fighting line, an auxiliary presenting him with a captive – perhaps one he had captured personally. Behind him is the famous field dressing-station scene, which may mean that Dio’s story about the bandages should be associated with this battle rather than the earlier encounter. As always with the Column, we simply cannot know.

After the defeat of the Dacians – many of whom are shown held captive in a compound – Trajan mounts a tribunal to address his paraded soldiers, and then sits on a folding camp chair to dole out rewards to brave auxiliaries. Yet in the midst of these scenes of Roman celebration is a bleaker scene off to the side, where several bound, naked men are brutally tortured by women. The men are most probably captured Roman soldiers and the women Dacians – in many warrior societies the task of humiliating and killing with torture enemy captives has often been performed by the women of the tribe. The scene may well be intended to show that the war was still not finished, for such a savage enemy needed to be defeated utterly.

At this point the narrative of the Column contains a clear break, perhaps indicating the end of the first year’s campaigning, so that subsequent scenes should be assigned to AD 102. Another river journey is shown, then a column of legionaries marches across a bridge of boats and two Roman armies join together. In these and the following sections we see Trajan formally greeting arriving troops, making speeches to parades, taking part in another suovetaurilia sacrifice to Mars, receiving Dacian embassies, and accepting a prisoner or other trophies brought to him by soldiers. As the army advances through the mountains, making roads, building forts, fighting battles and besieging forts, the emperor is always with them, watching, directing and inspiring. He does not wield a tool or a weapon to join the soldiers in their tasks, for his role is to direct their efforts rather than share in them. Eventually the Romans overcome the difficult terrain and their stubborn and ferocious enemies. The First Dacian War ends with the formal surrender of Decebalus and the Dacians, kneeling or standing as suppliants before the emperor, who sits on a tribunal surrounded by the massed standards of his praetorian guard. Then Trajan stands on this or another tribunal to address his parading soldiers. Trophies and the goddess Victory mark the end of the conflict.

The peace was to prove temporary. Decebalus agreed to the loss of some territory, gave up his siege engines and engineers, handed over Roman deserters and promised not to recruit any more of these. In most respects the war had ended in an entirely satisfactory way for the Romans, with their enemy reduced to the status of a subordinate ally, and Trajan was justified in taking the honorary title Dacicus. Yet in the following years Decebalus broke most of the terms, beginning to rebuild his army and strengthen his power, occupying some of the lands of the Iazyges, a Sarmatian people, without seeking Roman approval for this expansion. The king was clearly not behaving in an appropriate manner for a Roman ally and war, which was threatened in 104, was openly renewed in 105 when the Dacians began to attack some Roman garrisons. The commander of the most important garrison, Cnaeus Pompeius Longinus – a former legatus Augusti who may still have been holding this rank – was treacherously imprisoned during negotiation. However, Decebalus’ attempts to use him as a hostage came to nothing when the Roman managed to obtain poison and committed suicide. At some point the Dacian also enlisted a group of deserters to assassinate the emperor, but this plan also failed.

Trajan was in Italy when the Second Dacian War erupted, and the Column’s narrative begins with his voyage across the Adriatic to be greeted by local dignitaries and the wider population. Two scenes of sacrifice follow. Even greater forces seem to have been mustered for the Second War. Trajan raised two new legions which were named after him, II Traiana Fortis and XXX Ulpia Victrix, both of which probably served in the Second War, although it is unclear whether they took part in the First. In the conventional Roman way the emperor combined force with vigorous diplomatic activity in AD 105, accepting the surrender of individual Dacian chieftains who abandoned their king, and negotiating with ambassadors from all neighbouring peoples. Decebalus appears to have had far fewer allies as a result. Even so the Column shows a heavy attack against some auxiliary outposts, which held out until relieved by a force led by Trajan himself.

The main Roman offensive may not have been launched until 106, and most probably followed a different route to the earlier campaign. It began with another sacrifice on the bank of the Danube, before the army crossed the river at Dobreta. This time they did so not on a temporary bridge of boats, but on a monumental arched bridge, built in stone and timber and supported by twenty piers each 150 feet high, 160 feet in width and 170 feet apart. It was designed by Apollodorus of Damascus – who would later plan Trajan’s Forum complex and presumably had much to do with the construction of the Column – and built by the soldiers. A roadway was cut into the cliffs of the Danube to permit easier approach to the bridge. Dio’s account describes this feat of engineering in loving detail strongly reminiscent of Caesar’s account of his bridge across the Rhine. It was a great and magnificent victory for Roman engineering, in its way as admirable to the Romans as any feat of arms. The Column provides a detailed, if stylized depiction of the bridge as the background to the scene of sacrifice.

After this Trajan joins the army – the soldiers are shown cheering him enthusiastically, much as Velleius described the legionaries welcoming Tiberius – takes part in another suovetaurilia purification ceremony, with the ritual processions walking round the camp, and then addresses legionaries and praetorians at a parade. At a consilium, Trajan briefs and discusses the campaign with his senior officers. The usual preliminaries over, the army advances, harvesting grain from the fields to supplement their supplies. The Column suggests some fighting, though not perhaps as much as in the First War, and Dio tells the story of an auxiliary cavalryman who, discovering that his wounds were mortal, left the camp to rejoin the battle and died after performing spectacular feats of heroism. The culmination of the campaign was the siege of Sarmizegethusa Regia, the religious and political centre of the Dacian kingdom set high in the Carpathians. After a stiff resistance, and it seems an unsuccessful Roman assault, the defenders despaired and set fire to the town before taking poison. The war was not quite over, but its issue was no longer in doubt as the Romans pursued the remaining Dacians. Decebalus was eventually cornered by a group of Roman cavalry scouts, but slit his own throat rather than be taken alive.

The leader of the Roman patrol was a certain Tiberius Claudius Maximus, who had joined the army as a legionary before becoming a junior officer in the auxilia. On the Column he is depicted reaching out to Decebalus, and by chance his tombstone has survived, carrying an inscription describing his career and giving another version of the scene. Decebalus was beheaded and the head taken back to Trajan, who ordered it to be paraded before the army. The war was over, and victory was completed by the discovery of the king’s treasure, buried in a river bed, after much labour by Roman prisoners.

A new province was created, guarded by two legions supported by auxiliaries and with its main centre at the newly founded colony of Sarmizegethusa Ulpia – a grand city built on fertile land at the foot of the Carpathians, unlike Decebalus’ mountain fastness. Settlers came from many parts of the Empire, but especially the eastern provinces, and Roman Dacia soon prospered. The fate of the Dacians, whether they were completely expelled or simply absorbed in the more normal way, has been the subject of fierce debate in recent centuries, most especially amongst the Romanians – contemporary politics has had a major influence on whether they believe their ancestors to be Romans or Dacians.

Is Peat Right?

Cooking must have been done the easiest way, as it is still done nowadays in the countryside in those parts, by boiling. So. a lot of big broths in my future.

Indeed, from what I read and contrary to what I intuitively believed, the Dacians were not that big on grilling. And because, according to 23andme, I have " TT genotype at rs2294008, which means 4.18 times the odds of diffuse-type stomach cancer" , I will stay away from grilled meat and pickles. No processed meat, either, since the Dacians didn't have nitrites.

So I am starting this ancestral diet at my usual 61 kg, with Anti-Gliadins of around 20, Anti-TPO of over 700, on a 37.5 mcg of Levothyrox and daily magnesium supplementation. Here is a summary of my Peaty (but calorie conscious) diet so far:

As you can see, whenever I push 63 I back off. I could never do otherwise, I find it too depressing and outright dangerous for me.

And, no, I don't think I suddenly replaced three pounds of fat with three pounds of muscle come June -- I simply used a different scale - a Tanita instead of my usual Withings, which I didn't bother to take with me on vacation. I only brought the blood pressure monitor:

I only measured my BP when I was not feeling too great.
As a final remark, please rest assured that I did not go completely mad here. I am fully aware that I am weaving together historical facts, scientific data and personal stories. I learned this from Ray Peat and other scientists. Unlike them, I do stretch this mix into plain fiction, to signal it is not to be taken at face value -- see the part about my direct ancestors torturing Roman centurions, etc.

I do not mean to entice folks to eat milk, honey, broth and millet, just because I think this might be an improvement over a Peat diet, or the PHD, or LC, or Primal/Paleo.

But since none of the aforementioned diets helped reduce her antibodies, this gluten-sensitive Hashimoto sufferer is willing to experiment with "the Dacian Diet".

Watch the video: Domitians Dacian War 86-89 AD. Roman History Documentary (July 2022).


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