Decebalus ("Decebal" in dacic) was the king of Dacia between the years 85-106.

Dacia

Dacia was at the height of its power under King Decebal. Though narrower than the Burebista Kingdom (82-44 BC) - including Transylvania, Banat, Oltenia, central and southern Moldova, the new state was stronger and better organized. The limits of the Dacian state during Burebista's time (82-44 BC) were: in the north, the Carpathians Forests; to the east, the Euxin Pontus; in the south, the Haemus Mountains (Balkan Mountains); in the west, the Middle Danube. The progress made during this time by the Dacian society was numerous and important: a large population grouped around many peoples in which the pulse lived an economic activity, commercial ties with the Greco-Roman world, a thriving culture with strong original elements.

DECEBALUS

Decebalus

Image of Decebalus

Personality

King Decebal had more wars with the Romans, who would recognize his military and political skills. At the beginning of the third century, almost 150 years after Decebal's affirmation, the Roman historian Dio Cassius made the king the following eloquent portrait:

"He was very skilled in the war and skillful in deed, knowing to choose the opportunity to attack the enemy and withdraw in time. Ability to stretch the races, he was a brave warrior, knowing to use himself with a victory and to escape well from a defeat, for which he had long been a fearful adversary of the Romans."

On a funerary vessel discovered at Sarmizegetusa Regia the text "DECEBALVS PER SCORILO" can be read. Some interpretations consider it in the language, if the possible meaning is Decebal's son Scorilo, others in Latin, the translation being Decebal by Scorilo. Others think it's just a potter's mark.

The beginning of the reign

Since the first year of his reign, in the year 85, Decebal faced a difficult situation. Rome organizes the first campaign in the heart of Dacia. Emperor Domitian, in order to punish Decebal, sends an army commanded by the Pretorian Prefect Cornelius Fuscus to cross the Danube. In a Carpathian defile, Decebal draws Roman forces into a race. The Roman commander falls into battle, and Decebal leads to the Orăştie Mountains the prey of war: prisoners, trophies and legion V-flag. The great battle takes place at Tapae.

One year after his victory, in 88, a Roman army led by Tettius Iulianus again attacked Decebal's kingdom, entering Dacia through Banat. Decebal waits for Tapae. Confrontation ends with the Roman victory. Although defeated by the Romans, due to the difficulties encountered by the imperial armies in Pannonia in fighting the quazas and the Marcomans who had supported the Dacian king, Decebal made a profitable peace with Emperor Domitian in 89. Decebal was called the client of Rome, and the kingdom his client kingdom, received miners, military instructors, etc.

Years of peace

In return for money and engineer subsidies, Decebal recognizes the clientele of Rome and continues to consolidate his power and the state in the next 12 years of peace. The process of centralizing the state if it is accelerated, the army is equipped and trained. A vast program of civil and military construction is being initiated, especially in the Orăştie Mountains region. It tries to establish relations with peoples and enemy states of Rome.

The First Dacian War

Conflicts between the Dacians and the Romans resumed during Emperor Trajan. At the beginning of 101, the Roman army, headed by the emperor, after both preparations for almost three years, attacked Dacia with 13-14 legions and other auxiliary units (a total of about 150,000 soldiers). On March 25, the emperor leaves Rome, crossing the Danube on the bridge bridges to Lederata (Ramna) and Dierna (Orşova), penetrating Dacia through Banat. Dio Cassius mentions the episode in which the German bulls and their allies send Traian a huge mushroom on which a message was written by which the Romans are advised for their good to return to Rome. The Battle of Tapae takes place in the summer of 101, and Decebal attempts to stop the Roman advance. The battle ends with the Roman victory.

In the winter and spring of 102, Decebal is defeated at Nicopolis ad Istrum and in Dobrogea at Adamclissi. In the autumn of 102, Decebalus is forced to conclude a crushing peace for Dacia: the king if he had to demolish the walls of the cities, give up a number of territories, and give up any independence in foreign policy.

The Second Dacian War

On Trajan's orders, Apolodor of Damascus, the most famous engineer of the time, elevates between Drobeta and Pontes a bridge over the Danube, which the Roman legions pass in the summer of 105, initiating the the Second Dacian War.

Abandoned by allies, attacked by Banat, the Olt Valley and Moldova, constantly constrained to defensive, Decebal retreats to the citadel of the Orastie Mountains. After the conquest of the strong fortresses that guarded the access to the capital: Blidaru, Costeşti, Piatra Roşie, Băniţa, Căpâlna, Tilişca, Roman legions begin the siege of Sarmizegetusa.

Despite the resistance, the city is conquered and destroyed from its foundations. Decebal, together with some rulers, managed to leave the fortress trying to continue the resistance against the Romans inside the country. He is pursued by the Roman cavalry and not to fall alive in the hands of the enemy, Decebalus committed suicide, which is evidenced by the Tiberius Claudius Maximus funerary star from Philippi, the officer who brought Emperor Trajan's head and right hand to Decebal Ranisstorum.

Follow-ups

Much of the territory of the Dacian state (Transylvania, Banat and Oltenia) was transformed in the summer of 106 into the Roman province called Dacia Felix, with its capital, 40 km from the old capital (burnt in the 105-106 Dacian war) the name Ulpia Traiana Dacica Augusta Sarmisegetusa. Muntenia and southern Moldova have been incorporated into Moesia Inferior. After the defeat of the Dacians, Traian organized a high-cost, 123-day festivity in Rome. Tens of thousands of Dacians were taken into slavery in Rome, tens of thousands of Dacians fled Roman Dacia to avoid slavery. The details of the two bloody, bloody and bloody conflicts were reported by the Roman historian Dio Cassius, but the best comments are the bas-reliefs on the Column of Trajan, built in Rome by Apolodor in Damascus (113), as well as on the triumphal monument Adamclissi, from Dobrogea.

With the rich treasure of the Dacian kingdom and the gold extracted from the gold mines of Rosia Montana, the Roman Empire will recover financially. Thus, although the capital of the Roman province (the colony) was Ulpia Traiana Sarmisegetusa, the most important city in the territory was Apullum (Alba Iulia), a town through which almost all the gold that passed the western road passed. All Dacia will give the Empire more military legions made up of the Dacians who will fight in many corners of Europe.

Decebalus mountain sculpture

Mountain sculpture of Decebalus

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