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Forum LockedDacians, thracians, and their stuff.

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    Posted: 08-Oct-2007 at 03:09
I am quite interested in the Dacians-the inhabitants of ancient Romania, who shattered several roman assaults before finally succumbing. They were probably related to the Thracians, who lives relatively nearby.

I have to ask-what was their culture  generally like, and what military and domestic technologies did they use?

I know far too little about them...please respond to my urgent inquiries..
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2007 at 09:30
The material culture in the Bronze age and first Iron Age in the territories of today Romania and Bulgaria is considered to belong to the ancestors of Thracians. Since the second Iron Age (Latene), the Thracians from North of Danube are differentiating culturaly from the Southern one.

The material culture was at a level of development similar to the one of Celts.

In 5th centuries at Dacians appears the davae, an imitation of the Greek polises, fortified heights surounded by inhabited terrases, centers of tribal power.

In 2-1st centuries BC the davae became numerous. Until now, I think that over a hundred such davae have been discovered. Some were small, some bigger, with earth waves or stone walls. The material culture in 4th BC - 1st AD centuries is impressingly unitar on the territory of today Romania and Republic of Moldavia.

In 1st century BC Burebista creates a union of all Dacian tribes, from today Slovakia to Northern Bulgaria. His first capital was at Popesti, near Bucharest, but he moved it to South-West Transylvania, where it was better defended in the case of a Roman invasion. The new capital was first at Costesti, than at Sarmisegetuza Regia (to not be confounded with Ulpia Traiana Sarmisegetusa, placed at some tens kms), at few distance from Costesti. Several fortresses in the area of Orastie mountains were built with fasonated stone by Roman and Greek engineers. It was an impressive system of fortresses, towers and walls over the mountains, of which only a part is discovered by archaeologists, who presumes that this system is much larger than it was believed till recent. Other fortresses at some tens of kms of Sarmisegetusa were to built in fasonated stones by the Roman engineers.

In the art and spirituality, it seems that it was a major change between the period of 5-4th centuries BC and the period of Burebista and Decebal. In 5-4th century is characteristic a style of Iranian influence in the art of precious metals and the imitation of Hellenistic and Thracian tombs at the Dacians from Moldova and Muntenia.


Some links with images:

-Here you can find images of the fortresses and buildings from Orastie mountains and some typical Dacian weapons and domestic utilities.

-Cetatea Zanelor, a dava from Covasna county



Edited by Menumorut - 08-Oct-2007 at 09:37
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2007 at 16:48
so...they were, in a way, Barbarians, but through greek and iranian influences and their own cultural unity, they managed to become a fairly large, well-defended, militarily significant culture.

Who were their ancestors? I mean, could've been some sort of celtic people, but they might have been more descended from the Scythians, or even some steppe tribe passing through..

I wonder who actually settled romania in the first place...

anyways, thanks for answering some questions.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2007 at 17:18
Their culture was influenced by foreign cultures only superficial, in the sense of some artistic elements and styles of the material products. Religious and as vision about existence, they were quite original, read the first message from this topic:

Misterious places in Carpathians

By the number of settlements, I think the Dacians were very numerous in 1st century BC and AD.



Their ancestors were the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Indo-European populations. In Neolithic, the territory of today Romania was the most advanced in Europe. Romanians too are geneticaly the European people with the highest percent of microasiatic contribution and some of the Neolithic cultures, like Hamangia, belongs to populations which migrated in 6-4th millenia from Minor Asia.

The coming of Indo-Europeans resulted, like in most of Europe, in a cultural mutation, the Neolithic civilisations stopped their existence and a new culture appears. As I sayed, archaeologists afirm that from 2000 BC we cn speak about Thracians. In time different groups have settled in the territory:
-in the Bronze Age, different groups of population have came, for example another microasiatic group at Sarata Monteoru, Buzau county
-for the 5th century BC Herodotus mention the Agatyrses in East Transylvania, ehich was considered a Scythic population. A cultural enclave from that period and area was identified by archaeologists but because of its character, they believe that the Agatyrses were rather a Thracian group from today Bulgaria.
-Celts also settled in areas of Transylvania and Illyrians in Oltenia, being assimilated.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2007 at 22:48
What kinds of technology did they generally use? weapons, tools, etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote YusakuJon3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 01:01
I believe that it's been said that the Dacians had use of a type of sword shaped like a sickle that could reach around the sheilds of an opponent to cut their arms and necks.  This was the "falx" you see in the barbarian falxmen used in Creative Assembly's Rome: Total War game.  Part of the reason that the Romans developed that odd extension on the backs of their helmets was to prevent the beheading that would result from such a weapon being used on them.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 01:30
I heard of that...

one of the realtively few major changes in core equipment made during rome's history.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 03:46
Have any hypos ever been made about the possible links between Dacian language and Baltic languages?
 
Some Dacian words, like the name of god Zamolksis, sound very Lithuanian to me.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 05:34
What kinds of technology did they generally use? weapons, tools, etc.


....


I believe that it's been said that the Dacians had use of a type of sword shaped like a sickle that could reach around the sheilds of an opponent to cut their arms and necks. This was the "falx" you see in the barbarian falxmen used in Creative Assembly's Rome: Total War game. Part of the reason that the Romans developed that odd extension on the backs of their helmets was to prevent the beheading that would result from such a weapon being used on them.


They were a peaceful people so their weapons were agricultural tools turned in weapons: scythes.

The Romans called this Dacian weapon sica, which actualy was the falx.




Also, they used bows.


As tools, there is nothing particular to mention.



Have any hypos ever been made about the possible links between Dacian language and Baltic languages?

Some Dacian words, like the name of god Zamolksis, sound very Lithuanian to me.


I know that is considered that Baltic language is the closest to ancient Dacian.



Edited by Menumorut - 09-Oct-2007 at 05:35

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 06:08
and with mainly bows and falxes, they beat back rome repeatedly?

I read somewhere that representations of dacian warriors often show them armed with spears and shields-from what I've read, falxes weren't terribly common weapons.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 18:35
About spears you are right but I'm not informed. You can find some images

here.



About shields, on the Trajan Column they appears with shields.

Archaeologists discovered the umbo of some battle shields:



Some links:

Images of houses from Romania's Neolithic, Bronze Age and of Dacians

Images of reconstitution of Dacian fortress of Piatra Rosie

The same fortress on the Trajan's Column

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 22:03
I learn a little bit more on Internet:



The weapons of Dacians:


The hatchet

It was conceived not only as tool but more like weapon. It was called CATEIA, it's present on the Column in three variants.


There are 4 main types of hatchets.

1. THE SCYTHIAN HATCHET FOR FIGHT, about which the Ancients were saying it has the propriety of boomerang to return to the one who throwed it. This kind of hatchet has its origin in the Getic bronze hatchet from 4th century BC.


2. THE AXE-HATCHET, with wide and curved edge, with squared whole but without the characterisc ear of Celtic axes.


3. THE POUNDED OUT FIGHT HATCHET, with wide and curved edge and with the cant prolonged in the shape of a thin hammer. This delicate hatchet was used almost exclusively in battle.

4. THE AXE-HAMMER TYPE OF HATCHET, with nodes in the place of grip on the hilt.




The knife

Like the hatchet, the knife was in the same time tool and weapon, reason for which it was extensively used. It was beared in a scabbard, at belt, and it was in many shapes:

1. Knifes with wide, right and convex blade
2. Knives with narrow blade, convex cant and right edge. Of these types of knife derives the Dacian types of knives, with edge close to the wineyard bill-hook, often represented on monuments and very often used by Dacians.
3. The knife with S - shape edge, derivated from the Bronze Age knives.
4. Knives with iron hilt put in wood or bone and finished in the shape of bulb or button. A special category are the bill-hook knives characteristic for Dacians, very efficient in bodily fight. There are very wide weapons and with the barb suddenly curved, with a 20-30 cm blade. The wood hilt grips the handle of the bill-hook using too an iron ring.



Swords


The shord swords, of ~50 cm of which the hilt was 12-15 cm, with double edge. These swords were used for choping from up to down. With the time, under the Celtic influence, the blades of the swords reached considerable lenght, up to one meter and 5-6 cm wide.






The curved sword

It was the characteristic Dacian weapon, with the barb gradualy narrowed and curved like a sickle and with only one edge on the concave side.
The smaller types were manipulated with one hand while the big ones with the both hands. These quality wepons were produced in very great quantity so that almost all the valid men were unitary armed and even these weapons have been exported to Celts, Sarmatians and Bastarns.




The lances

They were produced in a heaps of forms and models, from small pale babrs to enormous lance irons of 50 cm, from simple shapes without wings to shapes copying the willow or laurel leaf and from simple prod lances to lances for throwing and to complex shapes with the iron in flame shape. at the bottom end they were endowed with a sharp iron spur for being sticked in earth against the cavalry.




The bow

It was an offensive weapon and it was used by both pedestrians and especialy by cavalry. The good symbiosis between the Geto-Dacian cavalery and the bow has gained them a good fame in the ancient European world. The bronze or iron barb, triangular, pounded and with two triangular spurs much prolonged like wide thorns were having at their bottom part the whole for wood and rarely a nail in the wood. There are three types of arrows:



1. Barb with spurs
2Barb with wings like the lances
3. Barb with ribs, of helicoidal profile, with three cants; undoubtly the arrows were envenomed, often with viper venom or other poison.


Another kind of arrow was the one used by balistes, which were heavy and massive.

The Dacians were using too as balistic weapon the sling, throwing stones or sharpen leads.




These kinds of projectiles have been found in all Dacia.




The shield

It was composed of a small metal part: the interior glove and exterior umbo and a wood body covered with leather.
The most common shape was the elipse of big dimensions and more rare the small and round; both variants were richly decorated.





The Helmets


The helmets were not appreciated among the Dacians, even not at tarabostes (the plebe) but they appears on the Column as trophies. Anyway, the parade gold helmet from Cotofenesti is emblematic for the Daco-Getic skillfulness and art.




The Chain Mail

The chain mail in the Dacian army was beared especialy by tarabostes as defensive armament. The chain mail shirt, composed of iron rings linked together or of plates or scalds after Roman and Sarmatic model




You can find information about catapultes on the page from where I took this information:
http://gk.ro/sarmizegetusa/armata_daca/armamentul_01.htm

Edited by Menumorut - 09-Oct-2007 at 22:50

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2007 at 22:53
Originally posted by Menumorut




Have any hypos ever been made about the possible links between Dacian language and Baltic languages?

Some Dacian words, like the name of god Zamolksis, sound very Lithuanian to me.


I know that is considered that Baltic language is the closest to ancient Dacian.

 
Very interesting. Are there any sources in the internet for that?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 00:12
Originally posted by Sarmat12


Very interesting. Are there any sources in the internet for that?


First, this topic were in last hours have been a discussion on this subject (to the end of this page and the next page):
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=22010&PN=5


Second, I'm not informed, but look what I found with Google:

Proto-Indo-European to Dacian sound changes


Dacian and Thracian as Southern Baltoidic


The Problem of Ancient Minor Languages and Their Origin



There are some mysterious connection between Lituanian and Romanian traditions. I remember the most signifiant, the fact that only the two people have a kind of song (prolonged, slow and sad) called Doina in Romanian and Daina in Lituanian.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 02:12
I like the list of equipment.

Were their armies more "standardized" than many of rome's enemies?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 05:38
As it was sayed about sica/falx, almost all the men were having this weapon and this produced an uniformization. But I cannțt believe any other standardization was present, as is known that the Dacians were very disunite (this was the cause of their insucces of defeating the Romans).

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 06:26
Although they seem to have had more unity then other cultures that rome fought, since they managed to BEAT roman armies several times.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tar Szerénd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 09:56
The "geto-dacian cavalry" were mostly the sarmatian roxolans, who lived by The Danube in the near of the Black-sea, but the sarmatian yazighs, who lived in the hung. deepland, were the allies of the romans, that's why you can se heavy armoured mounted archers on both (dacian-and roman sides) on the Traian c.
 
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Edited by Tar Szerénd - 10-Oct-2007 at 10:43
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Menumorut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 12:56
Although they seem to have had more unity then other cultures that rome fought, since they managed to BEAT roman armies several times.


They were a hard people, feared not at all of death. When someone was born they were crying deploring him/her and when someone died they where happy for him. And it was not something demonstrative, there are mentions that they were going in battle with totaly lack of fear of death.

Also, they were very numerous and the natural environment was helping them, because it was very tortuous, savagely forested and accidented and only they were knowing it. But the tribes were rivals, there were many betrayers among them and this made them lose.


After the conquest of Sarmisegetusa Regia, many Dacians comited suicide, as the Column illustrates:



Decebal also comited suicide.





The "geto-dacian cavalry" were mostly the sarmatian roxolans, who lived by The Danube in the near of the Black-sea, but the sarmatian yazighs, who lived in the hung. deepland, were the allies of the romans, that's why you can se heavy armoured mounted archers on both (dacian-and roman sides) on the Traian c.


Are you sure? Read this:


XXIII. Disasters of the Dacian cavalry

A number of horsemen are struggling in the water. These are, perhaps, Dacian cavalry attempting an attack on a distant Roman fort during winter time over ice. The ice is insufficient to bear them, and they are seen struggling on the surface of the stream. One man has lost his shield. Two others up to their knees in water have recovered it. Friends on the bank give what help they can to the swimmers. Several horsemen unable to keep their seats are calling for help, and some are drowned, others scramble to the bank as best they can. Along the bank is a line of men mounted and on foot flying in confusion. Three of these horsemen are completely covered with scale armour. Not only the riders, but the horses are so protected. The heads, ears, and legs of the horses are completely covered, as well as the bodies, limbs, and feet of the men, even the eyes of the horses have a thin grating as a protection. This armour was called feathered, plumata, from the overlapping of the small plates. The heads of the riders are protected by conical head-pieces with cheek plates, but their faces and hands are bare. Two standards, one a labarum or draco and one the Dacian dragon, are hurried along by the fugitives.


XXIII. Disasters of the Dacian cavalry



Do you believe perhaps that Dacians were not knowing to ride or were having not horses?

Do you know that the most characteristic local deity in the Roman province of Dacia and in Moesia were the Dacian or Thracian riders?

The cavalry was the main military force of the Dacians from the Danubian basin.
They were attacking Moesia before the Trajan conquest and even in the time of the Dacia province and after, they were making attacks of cavalry against the province or against the South of Danube. Constantine the Great was bearing the title Carpicus (other emperors were bearing the title Dacicus) because they were defeated Dacian invadors on horses.


There was a heavy and a light Dacian cavalry. The heavy was composed of troups covered in iron plates:




Ovid was praising the Getic horses, characterising them with rapidus and celer. These horses were renowed in Antiquity.



Edited by Menumorut - 10-Oct-2007 at 13:48

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Post Options Post Options   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2007 at 16:45
Hmmm...was there ANY culture that rome fought that had any great cultural unity? seems like it was pretty much just carthage and perhaps the parthians. (don't know much about them).

on another note, what were the thracians like?
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