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The Second Dacian War

Contributed by David Verne

As the Romans continued to build infrastructure and stockpile supplies on their side of the border, the Dacian king, Decebalus tries to come up with a way to beat Rome. He invited the Roman commander, Longinus, to the Dacian capital for a conference. Decebalus captured Longinus and tried to ransom him back to Trajan. He would return Longinus if Trajan abandoned all territory ceded to Rome in the last war and reimbursed Dacia for the last war. As Trajan tried to stall for time, Longinus managed to procure poison and killed himself to deny the Dacians a valuable bargaining chip. With his hostage dead, Decebalus launched an attack on Roman territory north of the Danube.

Trajan immediately left Rome and headed to the front, where the Romans had managed to defend the area around Trajan's bridge, which was still under construction. The bridge will be completed next spring, just in time for a massive assault into Dacia. [1] [2]

My Take by David Verne
Decebalus was playing with fire by trying to hold a Roman legate hostage, and it was probably the dumbest thing he did. He had spent the years since the last war rebuilding his army and trying to gain allies against Rome, but he was nowhere near strong enough to challenge the Empire. He was trapped in a no win scenario; either he could wait and become stronger, allowing Rome to build up, or he could attack now. A rational person might see a third option, simply remain a Roman client state which wasn't a bad deal, but Decebalus wanted have complete control over his own kingdom.

See Also


  1. Dando-Collins, Stephen (2010). Legions of Rome. St. Martin's Press. 
  2. Duncan, Mike (January 10, 2010). 79- The Dacian Wars.

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