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Dacian Kingdom, under the rule of Burebista, 82 B.C.

Also see:
Dacia Journal
Provincia Dacia Romana

Numismatic References

Aleksandar, Ing. Koczev. Catalog Provincial Coins of Dacia, the Roman Province. (2008).
Davis, P. "Dacian and Celtic Imitations of Republican Denarii" in The Celator May 2004.
Martin, Ferenc. Kolonial Prgungen aus Moesia Superior und Dacia. (Budapest-Bonn, 1992).
Pick, Behrendt. Die antiken Mnzen von Dacien und Moesien, Die antiken Mnzen Nord-Griechenlands Vol. I/I. (Berlin, 1898). AMNG I/I
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Denmark, The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals, Danish National Museum, Volume 2: Macedonia and Thrace. (Copenhagen, 1942-1979).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Deutschland, Mnchen Staatlische Mnzsammlung, Part 7: Taurische Chersones. Sarmatien. Dacia. Moesia superior. Moesia inferior. (Berlin, 1985).
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Hungary, Budapest, Magyar Nemzeti Mzeum, Volume II: Dacia - Moesia Superior. (Milan, 1994).
Varbanov, Ivan. Greek Imperial Coins And Their Values, Volume I: Dacia, Moesia Superior & Moesia Inferior (English Edition). (Bourgas, Bulgaria, 2005).

Dictionary of Roman Coins

Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.

DACIA, a region of European Scythia, today - the whole Romania and small parts of the nearby countries. Under Augustus, the Dacians first came into warlike collision with the Romans and were driven back beyond the Danube by Lentulus. A hundred years afterwards, Trajan, at the head of his cohorts, penetrated into the interior of Dacia, difficult as it was of access, being closed up and fortified by narrow gorges of mountains. That prince, in two successive wars, met with a vigorous resistance; but at length, having conquered Decebalus, whose death shortly followed, he converted the Dacian king 's dominions into a Roman province. - Hadrian at first, it is said, was inclined to abandon these hard earned conquests of his great predecessor; but continued to occupy the province with a powerful army. - Decius (Trajanus), about A. D. 249 struggled successfully, but with great difficulty, to defend the province against repeated incursions of the Goths. But at his death, it soon became an object of assault and a scene of devastation for fresh northern barbarians. - Dacia, at length lost to Rome under Gallienus, was recovered by Aurelianus; but he, despairing of being able to retain it permanently as a possession of the empire, transported the inhabitants into Moesia, which (according to Vopiscus) then took the name of Dacia Cis-Istrensis, or Dacia on this side the Danube. Although eventually compelled to give way before the strategic skill and superior discipline of the imperial legionaries, the Dacian people, both before and after their subjection to the Romans, shewed themselves to be Prodiga gens animae, studiisque asperrima belli.

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 Wars of Trajan: Dacia


by Daniel Best


In late 97 CE the aging Emperor Nerva appointed the governor of Germany, Marcus Ulpius Trajanus his heir. When Nerva died on the 25th of January 98CE Trajan smoothly succeeded him. Coming after the tyranny of the last years of Emperor Domitian 's rule, the rule of Trajan proved to be a breath of fresh air for the Roman Empire. There was economic prosperity and people were no longer in fear for the lives. Against this background of happiness and prosperity occurred two of the most ambitious Roman military endeavors since the invasion of Britain in 43CE. The first of these, the invasion and annexation of Dacia in 101-106CE, is the subject of this article. The second, the successful catastrophe of the invasion of Mesopotamia and Arabia will be covered in a future article.In 101 CE Trajan advanced into Dacia (Modern Romania). In order to cross the Danube river Trajan ordered one, possibly two, bridges built. Crossing into Dacia, Trajan advanced into enemy territory slowly and carefully, building roads and fortifications along the way. The Dacians conducted a scorched earth policy, burning anything the Romans might use and generally avoiding combat. Trajan attempted to enter the heart of Dacia through a mountain pass known as the Iron Gates. A battle was fought at a place called Tapae, and although the Romans were victorious they delayed the invasion of the heartlands until after winter.However, in the winter of 101/102CE the king of the Dacians, Decebalus, launched a fierce counter attack. Crossing the frozen Danube River, Decebalus invaded the neighboring Roman province of Moesia Inferior. Although the Dacians were initially successful, the Romans beat them off in a fierce battle at Adamclisi (Romans lost around 5000 men), without any significant damage to the province.In spring 102CE Trajan resumed the invasion of Dacia, this time taking a different route along the river Alutus (modern Olt). Trajan marched into the central plains of Dacia, refusing offers of peace by Decebalus. Trajan split his army into two at this point; one part sent to take control of the Carpathian foothills, the rest of the army marched to the Dacian capital, Sarmizegetusa. At this point, Decebalus surrendered. Total defeat was inevitable, and it is believed that Trajan had captured Decebalus ' sister. Trajan demanded that the Dacians de-fortify their cities and dismantle their siege equipment. Trajan also made Decebalus submit to Rome, making him a client-king. Trajan was named "Dacicus" or "Conqueror of Dacia", and returned to Roman territory with his army.This fragile peace lasted only 3 years. In 105CE Decebalus invaded Roman Moesia, taking control of the Roman fortifications along the River Danube, which he believed (probably correctly) were being strengthened to facilitate the total conquest of Dacia in the future. The replacement of the old pontoon bridge over the Danube river at Drobeta with a massive stone one would have been particularly disturbing for the insecure king.Trajan spent the rest of 105 repairing the damage done in Moesia by the Dacians, and beating off Dacian attacks, in particular a massive strike at Drobeta, which probably had the aim of destroying the unfinished stone bridge.In 106CE Trajan again entered the central Dacian plains. Again he split his forces into two, but this time both armies advanced on the capital Sarmizegetusa. The city was stormed, and captured. Decebalus fled the carnage, hotly pursued by Roman cavalry.

Decebalus committed suicide when it was apparent capture was inevitable. The great kingdom of Dacia was gone. In its place was a new Roman province. Three of the eleven Roman Legions that took part in the massive invasion were left behind as a garrison, Roman settlers were brought in and Roman cities founded. The new Roman Dacia proved to be a mixed blessing however. The province was fabulously rich, but strategically very vulnerable. It is probably that Trajan intended to annex the areas around Dacia as well, but Trajan left Dacia in late 106, and turned his attention to the East, where the Parthian Empire was encroaching on the eastern Roman provinces.Sixty years after Trajan 's conquest of Dacia, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius drew up plans to consolidate Dacia and Germania, both under constant threat by Barbarians. Had these plans gone ahead, chances are that Dacia would have remained a prosperous Roman province for a long time. It may even have prolonged the life of the Roman Empire itself. However these plans did not go ahead, abandoned my Marcus Aurelius ' incompetent and insane son, Commodus. Dacia was officially abandoned in the late 3rd century CE, as the disproportionately large garrison needed for the defense of Dacia was stretching Roman forces too thin and draining the treasury of much needed funds.

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