The Dacian people were inhabitants of south-eastern Europe who were first recorded by known ancient historians, to be in that region around 1000 BC. They established the Dacian Kindgdom and had their capital-city in the Carpathian Mountains at Sarmisegetusa Regia, at an altitude of 1,200 meters.
The free-warrior spirit of the Dacians is described fairly well by the Roman historian, Cassius Dio when he stated that:
“Decebalus, the king of the Dacians, was making overtures to Domitian, promising him peace; but Domitian sent Fuscus against him with a large force. On learning of this Decebalus sent to him an embassy anew with the insulting proposal to make peace with the emperor, on condition that every Roman should elect to pay two obols to Decebalus each year; otherwise, he declared, he would make war and inflict great ills upon the Romans.”
Dacians were not known to have established a formal written language but there are for example artifacts, such as the “Tartaria Tablets” (found in Transylvania, dating to roughly 5300BC), which imply that they had some forms of recording things in their lives but for the most part, knowledge has been passed down orally. Here, I will try to put some of this knowledge down in writing. Some information available on Dacia and its history is available through the writings of historians of mixed origin (Romanian, Greek, Roman, etc.).
“The Origins and Deeds of the Goths” – History is always difficult to understand because the information we have is usually left to us by others. Thus, as historians we have to do our best at keeping our egos and biased opinions out of facts. Some historians have been better than others at this. Jordanes provides in my opinion a fair account of what he knew.
He was a Roman bureaucrat who decided to turn to writing at some point of his life. In this book which he wrote around 550AD, he summarized the accounts left to us by Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus (Roman Senator, c. 485 – c. 585) in his book titled: “Libri XII De Rebus Gestis Gothorum”. The latter book has since been lost. Thus, what we are left with from Jordanes, as an account of the origin of the gothic tribes is quite price-less.
In this text, there is a great deal of information on Dacia, its geography, people, religion, etc. The read feels honest and this is considered to be a scholarly work thus, I personally believe this is a good place to start if one is interested in Ancient European history and Dacians in particular.
Following is a link to The Pelasgians which is This site is dedicated to the publishing on the Web of the first English translation of PREHISTORIC DACIA by Nicolae Densusianu: The Pelasgians
“Prehistoric Dacia” may perhaps be the best text to learn about Dacia and Dacians. The author, Nicolae Densusianu (1846 – 1911), was a re-known ethnologist and his works are held in high esteem amongst scholars. I have the text in Romanian: “Dacia Preistorica”, (“Densusianu Nicolae, Dacia Preistorica, Editura Meridiane, Bucuresti: 1986”).
This text was originally published in 1913 and it is an extensive research on Dacian history and its beginning. The author relied on the work of other scholars, such as the Greek historian Herodotus for example but also on a great amount of information which is found in Romanian folklore. Fables, songs and stories have been and still are a big part of Romanian/Dacian culture; many of our beliefs and morals can be found in them.
I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in a very detailed account of the beginning of the Dacian kingdom and its people. This would not appeal for those who are looking for the “Introduction to Dacia for Dummies”. I am not sure if that text exists …
Topic: The Dacian
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