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The Fall of Dacia

Contributed by David Verne

After the spring thaw, four columns of legionaries invaded Dacia and began taking Dacian fortresses in their march to the capital, Sarmizegetusa. One Roman column reached the capital first and assaulted the walls. They were beaten off by defenders, who threw rocks and beehives at the attacking legionaries. Once the other three columns reached the capital, Trajan, who was personally commanding the army, gave orders to prepare for a serious siege. Roman siege equipment began bombarding the city, and Roman entrenchments and siege towers crept closer to the walls every day. Decebalus sent an envoy to negotiate a surrender, but Trajan was determined to capture and execute Decebalus.

As the hot summer months dragged on, the Romans found and destroyed the aqueducts and water pipes supplying the city with water. On the eve of the final Roman attack, the Dacians attempted to burn the city, and Decebalus managed to escape with a few followers. The next day, the Romans captured the city and took thousands of captives. Bicilis, an adviser to Decebalus, offered to tell Trajan where Decebalus had hidden his gold in exchange for his freedom. Trajan agreed and learned that Decebalus had redirected a nearby river and buried the gold in the river bed. Immediatly, the legions began to redirect the river and began digging for the treasure. They uncovered almost 181 tons of gold and 364 tons of silver. This newfound wealth was so vast that it completely funded all of Trajan's building projects for the next several years.

Decebalus fled north, hoping to seek refuge with his Sarmatian allies and return at the head of an army. A Roman cavalry detachment caught up with him, and Decebalus killed himself to avoid being taken back to Rome as a prisoner. Trajan formally annexed Dacia as a Roman province and returned to Rome victorious, having put an end to the Dacian menace. [1] [2]

My Take by David Verne
It had been 150 years since Julius Caesar had conquered Gaul. Ever since Gaul was conquered and Egypt annexed, the only fighting Rome had done was in the wilds of Britan and Germania. With the treasure recovered and the influx of slaves into the markets, the Romans felt like their ancestors who had conquered foreign lands and brought back rich plunder. Conquest and expansion were as integral to Roman culture as freedom and rugged individualism are to American culture.

See Also

References

  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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