Sunday, February 12, 2017

Trajan and the Dacian Invasion

Trajan's Column Rome. Italy

Trajan's Column looms about 13 stories above street level in Rome.  The famous column depicts the Roman invasion of Dacia from the 2nd Century.

The Palazzo Valentini in Rome affords an amazing glimpse into life in a villa in the heart of Rome (  The multi-media tour of the Domus Romane is available in several languages including English and Russian.  Sadly though understandably, photography is not allowed (see video below).  The tour ends with film that offers a detailed explanation of Trajan's Column.

Base of Trajan's Column, Rome Italy
Taken from Palazzo Valentini, Rome
Here is what we had to say about the Dacian invasion in the Romania chapter of Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World...

"The Romans, however, had eyes on the land to the north, the territory of the Dacians. They’d already had problems with the Dacians in the first century BC, when the Dacian king Burebista had taken an unwelcome (to Caesar) interest in Roman civil wars. Caesar apparently had plans to attack Burebista, but Caesar’s assassins saved Burebista for a while. Until (different) assassins dispatched him as well.

The relationship between Rome and the Dacians wasn’t always a smooth one in the first century AD either. For example, during the reign of Roman Emperor Domitian, a Dacian army rampaged south into Roman territory. The governor of Moesia, Oppius Sabinus, was killed. The Roman forces pushed the Dacians back, but then they suffered a defeat by the Dacians at Tapae inside what is now Romania. A subsequent Roman victory did not crush the Dacians; and eventually, Domitian, facing a variety of crises elsewhere in the empire, pulled out after agreeing to a humiliating (to the Romans) peace treaty with the Dacian king, Decebalus.

Christopher Kelly & Stuart Laycock
Emperor Trajan, Tower Hill, London
However, Decebalus was not to enjoy his victory for long. In 101, the emperor Trajan led his army north into Dacia. After another clash at Tapae and one at Adamclisi, the Dacians accepted defeat and agreed to peace terms. But Trajan had not seen the last of Decebalus and his Dacians. In 105, Decebalus attacked. Trajan struck back and captured the Dacian capital of Sarmizegetusa after vicious fighting. Decebalus killed himself rather than be captured, and Dacia became a Roman province.

But it would not stay Roman until the end of the empire. The area remained vulnerable to attack from outside the empire; for instance, during the Marcomannic invasions of the second century. And increasingly in the third century, the Goths threatened the area. However, in the 270s, Emperor Aurelian finally decided that crises elsewhere in the empire meant he could no longer hold onto Dacia, and he withdrew from most of the territory that had been taken by Trajan."

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Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World

A new Paperback edition of Italy Invades 
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