RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Dacians importance in Roman Army
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
After Traian conquest of a part of Dacia, despite the continous fights of empire with so called "free Dacians", many dacians become members of Roman Army, and, some of them, emperors of Rome, quite long before germanic peoples to influence the army and political life of western part of the empire.

We have so Maximinus Thrax, first barbarian emperor of Rome ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximinus_I_%28Thrax%29 )
<<Most likely he was of Thraco-Roman origin (believed so by Herodian in his writings), and the references to his "Gothic" ancestry might refer to a Thracian Getae origin (the two populations were often confused by later writers, most notably by Jordanes in his Getica), as suggested by the paragraphs describing how "he was singularly beloved by the Getae, moreover, as if he were one of themselves" and how he spoke "almost pure Thracian">>

Then is Regalianus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regalianus )
He probably said it is from Decebalus family to bring on his side the Free Dacians too

There is a series of roman emperors believed of being from thraco/dacian-roman origin, at least partialy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thraco-Roman )
<<A number of Roman/East Roman emperors were Thraco-Romans: Galerius, Maximian, Maximinus Daia, Leo I, Aurelius Valerius Valens, Licinius, Constantine I the Great, Constantius III, Marcianus, Justin I, Justinian I, Justin II, Phocas>>

Many of those emperors was suported by the army to get the throne, and the army in eastern roman empire was formed in majority by thraco-dacians.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... lisII2.png
<<Page from the Notitia Dignitatum, a late Roman register of military commands, depicting shields of the magister militum praesentalis II. An analysis of East Roman army in 350-476 shows that the Danubian regions provided 54% of the total units. It is for this reason that Galerius "avowed himself the enemy of the Roman name and proposed that the empire should be called, not the Roman, but the Dacian empire".>>
Last phrase belong to Lactantius, in "De mortibus persecutorum"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Roman_army
This is an article about eastern roman army, and a quote from there:
<<An analysis of known origins of comitatenses in the period 350-476 shows that in the Eastern army, the Danubian regions provided 54% of the total sample, despite constituting just 2 of the 7 eastern dioceses (administrative divisions): Dacia and Thracia.>>

My opinion is, that before the germanic peoples (or other barbarians) to bring their influence in army and politic of (mostly) the western roman empire, in eastern part (or even in the empire as an all) dacians ruled from whitin, forming the majority of the army, and promoting emperors who even considered to change the name of the empire from Roman to Dacian one. As well this thraco-dacians assured the survival of the eastern part of the empire up to the begining of the medieval ages, avoiding the colapse like in west.
This is a April Fool's joke, right? Big Grin
After you tried to make the Goths into Dacians, now you try to equate Thracians with Dacians, and then the Eastern Roman empire too? Nice idea of 'conquest'.

Sorry Razvan, much of what you claim here we've discussed already in another part of the forum, and you have not convinced me there either.
Quote:After you tried to make the Goths into Dacians, now you try to equate Thracians with Dacians, and then the Eastern Roman empire too? Nice idea of 'conquest'.

Sorry Razvan, much of what you claim here we've discussed already in another part of the forum, and you have not convinced me there either.

Salve Robert

Well, i didnt said that Goths are Dacians, just that Goths was a mix of peoples with a Dacian(Getian) component, among Germanic, Sarmatians, Taifali etc.

About Thracian and Dacians, not just the teritory north of Danube and Carpathian Mountains, but the teritories south of Danube up to the Haemus (Balkan) Mountains, the province of Moesia, was inhabited as well by Dacians (some said thraco-dacians). "Moesii", the most important tribe there, who gived the name of the province, was a Dacian (Thraco-Dacian) tribe. And Dacians was northern branch of Thracians. There was a southern branch, close to greeks and called simple Thracians, there was as well Phrygians or even Cimmerians acording to some, all of this peoples originating from proto-thracians.
I know we discussed on another topic something related, and maybe i exagerated a little now, in my first post. But the idea is that more then half of the eastern Roman Army was formed by Thracians and Dacians (and in that period many times the emperor was promoted by the army from its own ranks), and i am curious if someone know more about that "Notitia Dignitatum" as which shields emblems there belong to which diferent provinces.
Quote:dacians ruled from whitin, forming the majority of the army, and promoting emperors

Was this the Imperial Army? and which Emperor in particular...I am only familiar with one, Hirohito.....I am a bit confused by this thread... Confusedhock:
Quote:
Quote:dacians ruled from whitin, forming the majority of the army, and promoting emperors

Was this the Imperial Army? and which Emperor in particular...I am only familiar with one, Hirohito.....I am a bit confused by this thread... Confusedhock:

Eh, dont worry, a christian word (its Easter soon, so happy Easter to everyone who celebrate) said that <happy will be the ones "poor with the soul", because they will inherit the empire of Heaven>.

Well, maybe some greeks might feel somehow "threatend" by the fact that they wasnt the most important peoples in the eastern part of roman empire, at least not at the begining, but this is another problem Smile . And well, everybody was under Romans more or less.
I guess this thread needs some debunking.

R?zvan, you quote this Wiki-fact: « an analysis of East Roman army in 350-476 shows that the Danubian regions provided 54% of the total units. It is for this reason that Galerius "avowed himself the enemy of the Roman name and proposed that the empire should be called, not the Roman, but the Dacian empire" »

I do not have a copy of Hugh Elton's Warfare in Roman Europe, AD 350-425, so I'm abusing Google's generosity. Using snippets I managed to check page 134 to find out "tabulations of known origins of field army troops from within the Empire, though the sample is too small to have much value" (my emphasis added):
Code:
Geographical origins of field army soldiers by prefecture and diocese, 350-476

           GALLIA          ITALIA           ILLYRICUM         ORIENS
           Gallia     7    Italia     2     Macedonia  0      Pontica   6
           Britannia  1    Illyricum  9     Dacia      7      Oriens   12
           Hispania   4    Africa     4                       Asiana    1
                                                              Thracia* 15
                                                              Aegyptus  0
Total                12              15                7               34

* Includes Constantinople

(hopefully my reconstruction is accurate)

I don't know how that Wiki-editor found 54% units of Danubian origin. Playing with the numbers and knowing some common misconceptions, I guess he added 15 (Thracia) + 7 (Dacia) because 22 / 41 is roughly 54%, but that's not Danubian (that note on Constantinople should make it clear enough, if not a more adequate knowledge of ancient geography)


A common fallacy in this thread so far is the confusion between the parts and the whole. There's a controversial and rather obsolete view that Dacians are just a Thracian tribe. Be it as it may, this means at most the Dacians are Thracians, but not viceversa.


The occurence of Dacian names is steadily declining in the Empire, and we can't be even sure that a 3rd-4th century Roman named Decebalus/Decibalus was a Dacian (as similarly we can't say all Romans named Annibal(us) or Annobal(us) were of Carthaginian/Punic extraction). Also in our Roman epigraphic sources there's no workable substitution between the Dacians and Thracians (there are some Thracian tribes attested such as Bessi and Denseletae). The interpretation of Thracian and Dacian as mainly ethnic identities and not provincial/regional ones (as today we have Londonese or Texan or Calabrese) is also problematic, especially some generations after the conquest. The son of a Libyan father and Syrian mother born in early 3rd century Apulum very likely was a Dacian to his contemporaries. Actually the infamous SHA suggests Maximinus Thrax was the son of a Gothic father and an Alanic mother. It is not really important whether this is true or not, but the perception of 4th century Romans.


I also disapprove the chauvinistic (but perhaps benign) innuendos, the omnipresent "my ancestors had it bigger" ("... quite long before germanic peoples to influence ..." , "some greeks might feel somehow 'threatend' by the fact that they wasnt the most important peoples"). If you indeed want to discuss Roman army, then on the long term (you mentioned late Roman army and emperors, centuries after the Dacian Wars) the original ethnic identity is not that relevant anyway, if you want to discuss about "Free Dacians" (resisting the evil, imperialistic Rome, together with the Free Hellenes, Libyans and Tungrians :twisted: ), I think you should use another forum, and perhaps one of the existing threads, but nevertheless with a different attitude.
The Wiki editors should read more, not just the Historia Augusta...
Nevertheless I find that comment about the Notitia Dignitatum interesting. Elton bases his estimates on archeological/onomastic evidence, but what does the Notitia have to add to the discussion?
Quote:Nevertheless I find that comment about the Notitia Dignitatum interesting. Elton bases his estimates on archeological/onomastic evidence, but what does the Notitia have to add to the discussion?
Nohing about ethnicity, I'm afraid. I'm notsure what comment about the Notita was meant, maybe a shield of a unit called 'Daci'? If so, that's an old horse, long since discussed. You'll find all kinds of unit names rreferring to contemporary tribes (Alamanni) , ethnic groups (Celtae) or long-gone names (Sabini). Impossible to base any real information about the ethnic composition of the units on.
I think it is notable that at least one eminent historian implied that the annexation of Dacia was a mistake.

Quote:The Scythian hordes, which, towards the east, bordered on the new settlements of the Goths, presented nothing to their arms, except the doubtful chance of an unprofitable victory. But the prospect of the Roman territories was far more alluring; and the fields of Dacia were covered with rich harvests, sown by the hands of an industrious, and exposed to be gathered by those of a warlike, people. It is probable that the conquests of Trajan, maintained by its successors less for any real advantage than for ideal dignity, had contributed to weaken the empire on that side. The new and unsettled province of Dacia was neither strong enough to resist, nor rich enough to satiate, the rapaciousness of the barbarians.

Edward Gibbon, X.