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Dacia Map

Dacia, or the Dacian Kingdom, was the land to the north of the Haemus Mountains. The Carpathian region in the Danube Valley near Bratislava was home to settlers as far back as 2000 BC. The Indo-European tribes that made this part of Romania their home intermingled with the natives and came to be known as the Thracians.

When the Greeks came in contact with these tribes around the fifth century BC, they referred to them as the Getae. The Getae, or the Dacians, came into contact with the Germanic tribes of Europe, the Celts, and the Scythians for trade and war. The Greeks seem to have had a profound cultural influence on the Dacians.

The Kingdom of Dacia
The Kingdom of Dacia was formed in the second century BC, in about 86 BC. The capital city of the kingdom was Sarmizegetusa, a city in modern-day Romania. Most of our information about the Kingdom of Dacia comes from the records of Greek historians such as Strabo, Ptolemy, and Herodotus. Records show that Dacia was ruled by King Burebista from 82 BC to 44 BC. He conquered all the land from the Adriatic to the Black Sea.

The growth of the Geto-Dacians to Bohemia was perceived as a threat to the growing might of Rome. Julius Caesar acknowledged the land of the Dacians to the east of the Hercynian Forest and might have planned a campaign against the Dacians by the time he was assassinated. King Burebista was also murdered in 44 BC, and with his death the Kingdom of Dacia seems to have fragmented.

Conflict with Rome
By the second century AD, Decebalus emerged as a strong and ambitious king, and once again succeeded in uniting the Dacian provinces. Dacia conducted trade with many states in Europe and soon became a flourishing economy. This again threatened Rome and Emperor Trajan launched an offensive against Dacia in 101 AD. The war was inconclusive, and Rome again waged war against the kingdom in 106 AD. This time Dacia was routed. Decebalus gave up his life and Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

Roman Dacia
Following its integration into the Roman Empire, Dacia saw the influx of Roman settlers. The settlers intermingled with the Dacians and took up agriculture as their occupation. In around 250 AD, Roman Emperor Aurelian decided to withdraw from Dacia following administrative disturbances, but most of the Romans who had lived in Dacia for over a century decided to stay.