“DECEBALUS” (“BRAVEHEART”) – KING DIURAPNEUS’ NICKNAME
Motto: “Of Gods Themselves should we descend
All, facing Death, still have to bend;
It makes no difference as to die
An old hunchback, or younger guy,
Yet, Lion better says “good bye”
Over a Dog in chains…”
(From: “Decebalus addressing the people”, by poet George Cosbuc)
Throughout the First century A.D., the Carpatho-Danubiano-Pontic geographical space apparently was some kind of an immense fighting zone. Its Thracian local population sees herself continously harassed, plundered, robbed, pushed aside, stricken and hit by all kinds of tribal new-comers, whose migratory waves gradually succeed to settle down somewhere and… to create, nevertheless, their later called “own” History and Culture, by actually stealing them both from us. Greek first-comers, who were to arrive here within three successive stages, from Eastern banks of the Caspican Sea (between 1900-1400 B.C.), had quietly formed a solid, large community near our Black Sea’s friendly shores, only to find themselves, in their turn, later conquered by… Romans, and under whose oppressive yoke they were going to stay some 500 years well over us, Dacian-Thracians. Still, it appears that, through a kind of “miracle”, their native language remained virtually unchanged while only ours’, the future-to-be called Romanian people, was to substantially “modify” not during half a millenium, but just a hundred something years or so, of subsequent occupation by the same expansionist Empire… Should this be a truthful presentation indeed, or maybe it’s more accurate to assume Thracian language as already existing, as being the so-called “Coarse Latin”, which would explain why them, Thracians, didn’t have to bother learning another “new” dialect, while forgetting their own “mother-tongue” (in accordance with the reputed Romanian historian Ovid Densusianu’s theory, opposing other distorting ones)?…
But, let us better go back to explore History itself. Towards the very end of the above mentioned troubled period, precisely during the summertime of the year 87 A.D., one of Rome’s most decadent, perverted ancient Emperors, namely Domitianus, sends his armed troops into an attempt to (finally) occupy the vast Dacian country situated at Danube River Northern’s side. No sooner had the Romans crossed its “forbidden waters”, trespassing on an improvised, vessel-made bridge, than Dacian warriors quickly managed to ambush them within the extremely narrow mountain pass of Tapae (a zone also longtime nicknamed “Transylvania’s Iron Gates”) and… to draw an awesome victory over the invaders. As a result, the famous V-th Roman Legion “ALAUDAE” is totally destroyed, its military insignias captured, with its commander in chief, veteran General Cornelius Fuscus, being killed on the battlefield. Yet, who had been the “architect” of this international echoing Dacian success, its Army’s obviously inspired leader, anyway? His name, soon to be famous World-wide as well, was then written down by only one Roman historian, called Tacitus (but whose works were to inspire, afterwards, his following other War chroniclers, such as Orasius, within V-th century A.D. and, respectively, Jordanus, VI-th century A.D.). His name, the REAL NAME of the victorious “DACIAN WOLF”, was actually DIURAPNEUS, a “TARABOSTES” (namely an aristocrat, according to local denomination) FROM SOUTH-WESTERN PART OF DACIA’S ORIGINS and to whom the Supreme ruler, then KING DURAS DURBANEUS, would soon GRANT HIS own THRONE after Tapae’s victory, through an unprecedented visionary, noble gesture. Following deeds, to be carried out during the entire rest of his turbulent life, entitled Thraco-Dacian population to actually divinize her new King while still alive, up to granting him a DEMIGOD STATUS and the legendary nickname of “DECEBALUS” (that is “BRAVEHEART”, or “THE HEROIC ONE”) for posterity. It is important to underline, here, how Dacians were always going to battle under their “Wolf” ‘s banner (having a Wolf’s head ending through a Dragon’s tail), characteristic for the previous Thracian armies as well; meanwhile, Romans themselves were fighting to the glory of their Empire’s capital, ROME, which is said to have been founded, in its turn, under a “She-Wolf” sign (as being “certified” in the “ROMULUS AND REMUS BROTHERS” ‘LEGEND), by some survivors of the mythical Troja fortress’ downfall, who would have been then guided up to the “Seven Hills” (Tybrus River)’ narrow valley by one of them, AENEAS, actually a… Thracian himself! Thus, Rome itself, an “Eternal Fortress” symbolizing this “new civilization” ‘s very beginnings, misteriously bears a NAME whose origins still require clarification. Neither the exact year of the City’s founding is quite definite until nowadays, nor does its name seem to have originated from Romulus’, as the legend which has been kept alive only through the Roman historian Titus Livius’ writings states to us (specifically quoting, “CONDITA URBES, CONDITORIS NOMINE APPELLATA”, in Latin), but mainly from the capital’s geographical location , which was situated next to the River Tybrus, leading our logistics straight towards ancient Thracian, or maybe Ethruscian words “RAU” (“river”, “running water”) and “RUMON” (“son of Rome”). Whereas confronting these two ancient denominations, the entire “Romulus” legedary tale looks to have rather been “borrowed” by Titus Livius from even older Pelasgian (Thracian) civilization’s myths, and where the Romulus and Remus twin brothers appear to have had their descent. As a result, since both Dacian and Roman people were speaking already an almost common language, and should we put aside, as well, the years’ multitude to pass over, isn’t it an irony of Fate that today’s Romans should be called “Italians” whereas ourselves, Pelasgian-Thracians, respectively named “Roman(ian)s”?…
If we had now to return analysing the valiant “DIURAPNEUS-DECEBALUS” ‘ Destiny, since he WAS “GREAT DACIA” ‘S LAST KING, it would be useful to show precisely the fact that this one succeeds in remaking both his country’s territorial and national unities and strenghtening its military strike forces, all these without neglecting to cautiously conclude several Treaties of political alliance with neighbouring nations, as to ensure, to the freshly-enacted DACIAN CONFEDERATION, its recovered boundaries’ national security. These boundaries were to be, later on, sketched in a written form showing his personal interest by Ptolemaeus himself, as ranging from Carpathian Mountains until the Nister River (the ancient Tyros)’ path and, from there, up to the wide Danube. Other Geta blood-related tribal clusters, scattered throughout Eastern Moldavia up to the other side of Bug River, namely Iazhigs and Roxolans, would very soon join at will this Confederation which dared to oppose, moreover to defy Rome openly. On the internal level, out of King Decebalus’ times dates THE MAGNIFICENT ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX FROM SARMISEGETUZA, Decebalus’ main fortress (in the Orastie Mountains), that includes, among other touristic attractions nowadays, a Sacred Premise, an andezith Solar disc for time’s measuring, several Holy quadrilateral Sanctuaries, as well as the nearby Metallurgical Work-shops at Gradistea Muscelului.
Whereas Decebalus’ politico-economical construction works were feverishly, buy resolutely carried out, in Rome, Domitianus’ “establishment” was gradually getting very displeased, even sickened with his “grand style” show-offs, perpetual orgies and irresponsible Treasury’s spending, to speak nothing about his opened despotism or the newly-born Christianity’s savage repression campaigns. Thus, on September 18-th, 96 A.D., Domitianus would be assassinated by one of his own Pretorian Guard’s
members, while in the killing’s aftermath an elder Senator, MARCUS COCCEIUS NERVA, was promptly procclaimed as a new Emperor by successful conspirators from the Army’s Staff. Feeling, however, much too old and weakened for a “top job”, Nerva, who didn’t care to procreate through his entire life, was soon going to officially adopt an already “grown up” son and future “leadership associate” at the same time, by choosing one of the Roman Legions’ “raising stars”, one of the Army’s most capable, handsome young Consuls, respectively MARCUS ULPIUS TRAJANUS. Not long afterwards, on October 29-th, 97 A.D., the already “acting-Emperor” Trajan, after completing some victorious campaigns against Germanic tribes, was to get angry with “the opened contempt which Dacians fostered upon Romans” (as says the Roman historian Plinius “the Younger”), deciding therefore to “beef up” his Moesia Inferior troops, build a new Roman military camp near Barbosi-Galatzi, consolidate all the previously conquered Pontic cities’ old fortifications up to Tyros (Nister) River and to dispose, moreover, the completion of Southern Danube shore’s ancient highway until Cazane mountain defile (this last action is to be confirmed by a so-called “Tabula Trajana” inscription). Yet, the major reason which was to ultimately reignite a decisive war against Dacians proves to have been the country’s huge gold and silver reserves, and the possession of a thesaurus which made the Dacian Land look like an ancient “El Dorado”, or “California” to the eyes of financially-troubled leaders of the Roman Empire (for all the Empire’s mercenary soldiers could launch a wide-scale mutiny, should they not have been paid in time- besides their military campaigns’ preys). Following his plans, Trajan would add to the 9 Roman Legions stationed within Middle and Inferior Danube’s area yet another 6, respectively 4 brought from German provinces and other 2 specially created on the occasion of the First Dacian War’s imminent outburst, on March 25-th, 101 A.D. During that day, Emperor Trajan leaves Rome to personally take command upon some 150,000 soldiers in arms, ready to conquer… WHAT? A country of so-called “illiterates”, having “neither a literary language nor a cultural background of their own”, “a land with very small population”- as a few “friendly”, “objective” historians struggle to maintain for quite a while??… Should we have been so “few”, why would then Trajan have needed a multitude of Legions, with hundreds of thousands soldiers, to “kneel” us?!… And should we have been yet so “poor”, why on Earth have they kept on coming to us?!… For a fact, no later than during the summer of year 101 A.D., the Roman Legions, led by Trajan, reach Lederata (today’s Rama) to pursue their march towards Acidava (nowadays, Varadita).
King Decebalus, one of the most gifted Dacian military strategists to have ever existed since his late predecessor, the Great Emperor Burebista, allows the invaders’ breaking through until the Banat Region, whereas concentrating most of his warriors within the same narrow pass of Tapae-Bucova, where, after a very bloody yet undecided open confrontation, Trajan finally claims a modest victory. Still, this victory would open Romans’ way towards advancing up to the Hatsegului Zone, situated at the proximity of Dacian nucleus hidden in the Sureanu Massif. Meanwhile, thanks to diversionist tactics fastly organized by Decebalus, who had also hurried to conclude further alliances with the Burs, Basthorns and Roxolans’ tribes, by crossing unexpectedly the Danube in order to launch a series of surprise attacks upon new Roman settlements, located between the Danube’s curve and Pontus Euxinus (today’s Black Sea), Trajan would be compelled to withdraw a part of his Legions from Dacia, so as to be capable of pushing back both Dacians and their South Dobrudja’s fierce allies. Much later (in 109 A.D.), in order to remind future generations about this stage of his military campaigns, the Roman Emperor would erect, on the two former battleground locations, “the Adamclisi Monument” and the so-called “Tropaeum Trajani”.
Throughout the spring of 102 A.D. year, Trajan resumes his offensive even more powerfully, traverses the whole Muntenia Region reaching Bran’s mountainous defile, where, in spite of Dacians’ desperate yet heroic efforts, Decebalus is being defeated. As a result of the following “Peace Treaty”, the proud King was now to face some important territorial losses, among those the Banat Region, Hatsegului Zone, Oltenia Region and Southern “chunks” from both Muntenia and Moldavia. Back in Rome, the “Eternal City”, a triumphant Emperor Trajan would be granted the honorary title of “DACICUS” ( in Latin, “DACIA’S CONQUEROR”) by the Senate and would take care, afterwards, to consolidate his new “DANUBE WALL” with plenty of additional military forces. It is also assumed that, between the years 103-105 A.D., with the reputed Syrian-born architect Apollodorus from Damascus’ contribution, he would have ordered the construction of a legendary Stone Bridge over the Danube River, near Drobeta- today’s Turnu Severin. Apollodorus from Damascus was truthfully a genius, the greatest architect of his Era; it was still him to whom the project of “Trajan’s Colums” in Rome, depicting through numerous spiralled bas-relief aspects from the Two Dacian Campaigns (101-102 A.D., respectively 105-106 A.D.), would be later assigned. He is said to have even written a book, detailing the Bridge’s construction technique that had been used towards its masterful achievement, book that would have, alas, been lost for posterity… Nevertheless, its content appears familiar to a Roman historian, Dio Cassius, though this one doesn’t bother to do more than mainly describing in detail the Bridge’s aspect. Generally, every bridge’s great architectural complex bears always some hidden symbolistic within, usually a significant testimony of as many courageous, perpetual human efforts directed to do away with obstacles which “Mother Nature” so oftenly lays out on our Life’s paths. A bridge’s main purpose is to facilitate the communication bonds’ safety, between one shore and another… Yet, the so-called “Apollodorus’ masterpiece” looks to have actually been meant to ease our country’s robbing, the Dacian people’s subjugation and subsequently falling down into slavery, to say nothing about facilitating the merge of no less than 14 % from our sacred territories with this opressive, geographically amalgamated Roman Empire… Facts which are still shown, by some of our “historians”, as being absolutely necessary to a noble, “CIVILIZING PROCESS” purpose, intended from the Romans’ side. And if such naked agression, robbing, humiliation, slavery can still be depicted by these like some “civilizing process”, why shouldn’t we name Russian Bolsheviks “civilizers” as well, for they have also “civilized” us intensively through thelasthalf-century, just enough to leave us brain-washed and poorer than ever… A same approach would go for… Adolf Hitler himself and his Nazi fellows, who, after finding out we were “hesitating” to join World War II ‘s already belligerant forces on their side, had quickly “civilized” us through “generously” distributing some of our country’s territories to neighbours: namely, Transylvania to fascist Hungary, their ally, Bessarabia and Bukovina to their still “friends-to-be” Russians, a Southern region called “the Quadrilater” to Bulgarians, compelling thus (what was left of) Romania to become “friendly” to the “civilizers”. Yet, even nowadays, some still grumble at our turning weapons’ act performed against Germans back then, in August 1944!…
Trajan’s Second, and final military campaign versus the heroic King Decebalus was going to start in the summer of year 105, A.D., when (again!) the Roman Emperor in person arrives at Drobeta-Turnu Severin,ready for war. It looks necessary to open, here, a brief parenthesis, so as to mention that, meanwhile, a failed assassination attempt against Trajan himself had happened in Rome. Should the outcome of an ultimately “successful” coup have changed, in any ways, our life-style, our contemporary Destiny?… Would we have looked, somehow, differently?… Would we have spoken another language?… All these questions will remain, forever, unanswered.
Let’s resume our narration by going back to the Roman Armies whom, rather longing for all the Dacian gold and other riches than from some intimate need of acquiring fame, are now marching straight towards Sarmisegetuza while splitting themseves to follow three strategic directions: the first Legions’ group advances along the Cerna River’s valley (across such places where old Thracian legends had told about the Phoenix Bird itself coming to die from Northern Egypt; this mythical creature would hold in its beak an ancient Pelasgian emblem, while in its claws an Egg from the ashes of which, somewhere high on Cerna’s mountainous peaks, the Phoenix Bird was said to be born again). Therefore, the first Army group is able to get across Hatsegului zone and reach to the Dacian fortresses of Costesti, Blidaru and Piatra Rosie, which are totally destroyed. The second Legions’ group climbs, from Jiu River’s valley, up to the Roman military camp at Bumbesti, penetrating then within the Sureanu Massif through a successful breaking near Banita. Finally, the third Legions’ group, led by Trajan himself, marches from Drobeta through Sucidava and Romula, crosses Olt River’s valley up to “Castra Trajana” (nowadays, the Simbotin- Vilcea region), reaches Tilisca and, then, Capilna. All remaining Roman troops, starting their offensive from Moesia Inferior, pass through Bran, Bratocea and Oituz.
A decisive battle for SARMISEGETUZA REGIA would take place, however, only at the beginning of 106 A.D. ‘s summer, with numerous, veteran Roman Legions, having plenty of campaign experience, involved in the assault; among them, “ADRIUTIX” the II-nd and “FLAVIA FELIX” the IV-th, enforced also by a detachment (“vexillatio”, in Latin) from the VI-th Legion “FERRATA”. The desperate Dacian fighters succeed in pushing back a first attack, but Romans manage then to destroy the fortress’ sole pipeline cutting thus Dacia’s capital short of water supply. Soon afterwards the whole fortress is set on fire, whereas Romans break in and destroy almost the entire fortification line, including savagely cutting off each pillar on the Holy Premise’s Sanctuary and killing old Vezina, Decebalus’ Great Priest. Still, the war rages on, for many warriors had succeeded to escape through a secret passage outside Sarmisegetuza, at the last moment. Unfortunately, because of Bacilis’ treason (namely, a former Dacian King’s counselor), the Romans would be able to find DECEBALUS’ THESAURUS, that had been carefully hidden UNDER SARGETIA RIVER’ S BED (as its flowing waters had been deviated while burrying the treasure). This immense hoard would be later estimated, by Jerome Carcopino, to include no less than 165,500 kilos of gold and 331,000 of silver. A last fight with the Dacian King’s Army remains would be held at Porolissum (or Moigrad).
Not being afraid of Death, and even laughing at it had longtime been a most essential Thraco-Dacian character feature, deeply rooted within every warrior’s spirit. That’s why it has been said they were going towards Death happier than on any other journey, by knowing it was the only proper way to acceed their God Zamolxis’ Underworld Kingdom and be among the other heroes enjoying a body and soul’s complete immortality, granted to them by the same Supreme God. Whereas the “Bravehearted” King Decebalus, surrounded now by only a hand of resolute fighters,was retreating through mountain hidden passes and virgin forests on the horse’s gallop, still hoping to reach unoccupied lands from where to assemble a new Army and start the avenging battle, he would be ambushed by the Roman cavalry on pursuit, leaded by a Decurion named Tiberius Claudius Maximus. Since the Zamolxian Cult was not only tolerating, but yet praising and promising other-world rewards to suicide, as final means of relief for the ones worstly striked fate, after a last, fierce struggle Decebalus’ faithfuls take their own lives, one by one. And, as Roman horsemen are also ready to capture him, the ill-fated Dacian King in jeopardy fulfils, in his turn, an untainted Destiny by killing himself. Thus, instead of making DECEBALUS a life-long prisoner in a public cage, the invaders were only able to cut off the “DEAD LION” ‘s head and right hand, in order to show them in Rome. His GREAT DEATH SCENE is one of the most impressive bas-reliefs, to be long remembered, on “Trajan’s Column”.
We have been ultimately crushed, defeated, but… IN NO WAY EXTINGUISHED AS A NATION! We may be proud to have had Decebalus!! What about Emperor Trajan?!… What might we have in common with he latter?! That’s still left to be seen in the future!
Motto: “Whoever longs for a Master, Servant is to be called.”
The World’s History seems, at times, strange and still extremely controversial. Around the year 1574, a Spanish monk, named Alphonso CIACCONE, was depicting in premiere APOLLODORUS FROM DAMASCUS’ SCULPTED BAS-RELIEFS ON TRAJAN’S COLUMN IN ROME, that deal with scenes from the above named Emperor’s two military campaigns versus Dacian Land (101-102 A.D., followed by 105-106 A.D.).
It looks, indeed, odd that precisely them, ROMANS, didn’t leave any written testimonies on the Stone Column, a true landmark of Antique culture, just them who used to write plenty about anything and anybody. And it would be the same Spaniard who deserves credit as the first to have ever established that all Column’s bas-reliefs refer themselves to these two dramatic wars, between the Imperial Rome and Romanian people’s forefathers (should we quote from historian Radu Florescu’s works, page 11). Here follows Father Ciaccone’s accurate description of the first scene on Trajan’s Column, whereas this monk had come to be highly accustomed to Italian realities’ major aspects within XVI-th century (with respect to Professor Dr. N. Copoiu’s work- “Decebalus’ Palace”): “Decebalus’ Residence was a magnificent palace, adorned with columns and portraits, probably situated on the Danube’s River Northern shore and which Emperor Trajan would occupy afterwards, while giving orders to be preserved all its Royal furniture.The moment may have represented a peak moment during the temporary “Peace Treaty”, concluded in 102 A.D. between Trajan and Decebalus. Along the Palace’s upper esplanade, a presumed statue of King Decebalus himself could be seen, unless the sculpture might have as well represented one of his great predecessors, being dressed up in the Dacian specific national costumation. The Palace’s main gate was thought to face Danube River: on its fronton were shown three completely naked teen-agers, each holding a lighting torch. The one in the middle had his forefinger and right arm lifted up, carrying the torch with his left hand while displaying two relics in his right one. Those last sculptures might be considered as images of the so called “LARS”, NAMELY DIVINITIES WHO WERE TO INDICATE, WITHIN OLD DACIAN MYTHOLOGY, WHAT PERSON SUPERVISED THE TAKING CARE OF HOUSEHOLD AND WHO WAS “IN CHARGE” OF GUARDING IT. Apparently, nothing inside a residence could be concealed from these minor “domestic Gods”, since they were thought to permanently owning fire and light elements, whereas being extremely faithful to their House’s residents. The last character feature was artistically expressed through the “Lars” risen finger.
This brand new description would contravene, of course, to what we have been taught in communist schools for decades… Most of us always believed ancient Dacian people to equivalate some kind of savage and primitive peasants, supposedly living inside earth-built huts, whereas having, as a fact, numerous large Gold mines around; yet, as they say, who had to wait for an arrival of “civilizing Romans”, led by “our forefather” Trajan himself, in order to “acceed” the Ancient World’s “elite societies”. “Civilizers” being actually Roman mercenary troops who, during even their first year of staying on our conquered territory chunks, were to become “famous” not only for having stolen King Decebalus’ insidered as “promoters of social progress” by a wave of irresponsible historians… Him, Emperor Trajan, was to take posthumous credit for “civilizing” us in a similar way that was, centuries later, applied by the foreign Phanariot rulers (N.B.: the “Phanar” used to be a borough in Middle Age Istambul, well known during the times of Turkish Empire’s expansion since its “residents”, mostly of Greek descent, were competing in raising money to offer the Sultan in “exchange” for the Crown of some Vassal-state; once chosen as Kings, they would push hard to rob the respective country as much as possible while sending huge annual sums of money back to the Sultan, usually until somebody else was named as successor and the disgraced Phanariot had to be “discharged” and… strangled by official Turkish envoys), Hohenzollerns (most notable, among others, King Carol the second), Fascists or the well known Russian thugs… Each of these, in their turn, have forced themselves to “civilize” us better than their predecessors, leaving behind no regrets yet only sorrow, an awful poverty and unconceivable sufferings to the unfortunate, local Romanian population.
Why is it so, that people alike “our historians” don’t seem to grasp that “WHOEVER LONGS FOR A MASTER, SERVANT IS TO BE CALLED”??… Should such so called “History-makers” have become totally oblivious to take a glance at the above beautiful, and also profound interpretation of Trajan’s Column very first scenes? Of course, it might nevertheless be possible that the Spanish monk’s hypothesis proves in the end wrong, but still, in order to do away with any mistaken assumption, one must first try to make sure it becomes known and, afterwards, to effectively provide evidence of it being wrong. The specific image from Trajan’s Column of which I’m talking about is registered under number 231 inside Ciaccone’s album, while appearing as 357-th along the Romanian historian couple Florescu-Miclea’s elaborated Column bas-reliefs analysis. These two gentlemen, to be both considered reputed professionals, “hold tight”in considering the scene shows EMPEROR TRAJAN’S FIRST CAMPAIGN EMBARKMENT, AT THE ANCORA HARBOR, on his way to Dacia and having both his sister, Marcia, and wife Plotina at his side (whereas the same representation might be, with much higher probability in our acception, of NAKED STATUES OF THE THREE “LARS”, DOMESTIC DACIAN GODS OF HOUSEHOLD we were talking about at the beginning of this section).
There were many hypotheses regarding Column scenes’ most appropriate meanings, and many more are surely still to come ahead in the future, but only one thing carries its “rock-solid”, long-lasting significance through Eternity: within the boundaries of a SUPER-RICH country, especially among gold fields and precisely the way Dacia was famed to be back then, it looks very plausible that its top local leaders would have enjoyed both lives and… MANSIONS, or PALACES able to make jealous even the
subsequent, “civilized” Kings or Emperors from later-period Europe!