The Population: Dacians and Settlers

Eutropius records that 'Trajan, after defeating Dacia, brought in huge masses of people from the four corners of the empire to settle in towns and rural areas; for Decebalus's long war had left Dacia {1-101.} short of men'.[43]43. Eutropius, Breviarium... VIII, 6, 2. The historian's succinct summary of cause and effect confirms that the war had severely depleted Dacia's indigenous population, leaving Trajan with the task of repopulating the province. Rome commonly rewarded veterans with land in newly-acquired provinces, and it was equally common for soldiers' families — and for merchants who catered to the army and the local population — to settle near the camps. If this had been the extent of settlement in Dacia, Eutropius would not have bothered to mention it. It is therefore significant that the historian stressed Dacia's uncommon circumstances: the disappearance of much of the local population, and the concerted attempt to repopulate the province.

The fate of an indigenous people depended on why and how Rome conquered their land. By definition, peaceful annexation was accompanied by little if any loss of life. With Dacia, this was not the case: Trajan occupied the territory after a century and a half of animosity that culminated in two wars. The protracted struggle, the reverses suffered, Decebalus' arrogance all made the Romans hate Dacians.[44]44. Cassius Dion, LXVII, 6, 1, and 6, 5. The actions of the Dacian king after the first war only sharpened this hatred. Decebalus broke his oath by failing to respect the terms of peace. He enticed and captured a high-ranking officer of the occupation army, attempted — unsuccessfully — to make the Roman change sides, then 'had the presumption to demand territories reaching to the Istros, as well as compensation for the costs of the war, in exchange for Longinus [his hostage]'. The officer solved Trajan's dilemma by committing suicide.[45]45. Cassius Dion, LXVIII, 12, 1-5. Decebalus thereupon tried to have the Emperor murdered at his headquarters in Moesia.[46]46. Cassius Dion, LXVIII, 11, 3. These actions only served to infuriate the Romans, who foreseeably would show no mercy for the Dacians. The wars and broken pledges would colour the Romans' image of Dacians for centuries to come.

These immediate antecedents of the second war explain why the Romans were intent on totally annihilating their enemy. In any case, the extermination of Barbarians who dared to attack the {1-102.} Imperium Romanum raised no ethical problems. This form of retaliation had already been justified by Augustus (Res Gestae Divi Augusti 3), and put into practice. Subsequently, Marcus Aurelius wanted to exterminate the Jazyges.[47]47. Cassius Dion, LXXI, 16, 1-2. Annihilation did not mean merely the death of enemy soldier, but also the forced conscription of the vanquished and their dispatch to distant provinces, as well as slavery for others. Thus the Dacians who stood by Decebalus to the end could not have expected mercy. This helps to explain their final act, immortalized on Trajan's column: the Dacian elite committed mass suicide by poison. Most of the 10,000 gladiators in the post-victory circus games, which lasted for 123 days,[48]48. Cassius Dion, LXVIII, 15. must have been captured Dacians. Criton, physician at the Emperor's court, participated in the Dacian campaign and recorded its history; drawing on his work, later chroniclers said that the Romans had captured 500,000 Dacians, and that, in the end, Trajan spared the life of only forty of them.[49]49. F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker II: B (Leyden, 1962), pp. 931-2. Although these estimates may be excessive, they no doubt reflect the nature of Daco-Roman relations and scale of Dacian losses. Thus the wars ended not only in the destruction of Dacia's military might but also in a sudden drop in its population. Even fewer were left after many Dacians fled to escape the Romans' yoke.

Dacian men were conscripted into auxiliary units and sent to Britannia or to the east. Little is known about their fate; there is nothing to indicate that any of them returned to their homeland after demobilization. In assessing Dacia's depopulation, it is important to note that the new province coincided with the centre of Decebalus' kingdom, where much of the war had been fought; it was the region that suffered the greatest loss of life, the one where Decebalus' faithful fought to the death, be it by suicide. It was mainly this region's inhabitants who were either massacred by the Romans, sold as slaves, or forced to flee beyond Rome's reach.

When founding a new province, Rome would generally impose on the natives a self-serving, territorial structure of administration {1-103.} (civitas peregrina). The local people would be divided up by tribes, unless a tribe had shown uncommon belligerence, in which case it was broken up. Tribal elites were drawn into the civitatis, which remained initially under military supervision. This tribal aristocracy benefited from Rome's favours — for instance, by being the first to be granted Roman citizenship — and would eventually provide leaders (princeps) for the civitatis. The latter provided the organizational framework for progressive Romanization and were the basis for future towns. It seems that the Romans suspended this practice in the case of Dacia, where there is no trace of any civitas. One reason must have been the absence of a tribal elite; already decimated under Decebalus' autocratic rule, the elite was largely eliminated along with the rest of the Dacian nobility, the pileati, as a consequence of Trajan's wars. Remarkably, only one tribal name survived, in vicus Anar(torum), a village belonging to the Anartes tribe in northern Transylvania;[50]50. CIL III, 8060. however, the village was inhabited not by Dacians but by Celts, their former subjects. There also survives the name of a princeps: T. Aurelius Afer, a tribal leader who originated in Splonum (Dalmatia), and was thus not a Dacian either.[51]51. CIL III, 1322. The other reason why the Romans may not have formed civitatis was that the residual population was to sparse to warrant such a vehicle for Romanization. Therefore, as noted, Dacia's towns were created not on the basis of, or alongside civitatis, but from military settlements and their satellite communities. This meant that what was left of the indigenous population did not participate in the urban experience that fostered Romanization. The epigraphs found in the province show no 'Thraco-Dacian' names in the membership of urban institutions, whether as council members or as priests of the cult.

Epigraphs and other archaeological finds provide some clues to the process of resettlement 'ex toto orbe Romano', in Eutropius' phrase. The first group to be settled, at Sarmizegethusa, consisted of veterans of the legions, who were Roman citizens. Of those {1-104.} whose names indicate Italian origins, some had served with the legions in the Rhineland, western Pannonia, or Moesia. On the basis of the geographical incidence of personal names, it can be concluded that a significant proportion of the settlers came from western Pannonia and Noricum, even though such origin is rarely indicated in epigraphs.[52]52. CIL III, 1221; AÉ 1933: 22. This conclusion is supported by burial rituals proper to the Noricum-Pannonian region, by archaeological finds, by the spread of certain domestic articles in Dacia, and, above all, by some distinctive features of northern Dacia's archaeological culture.

The other large group of Middle Danubian settlers came from Dalmatia; as numerous epigraphs attest, they arrived in tight-knit groups, almost like parts of tribes, and settled mostly in the territorium metalli, the Alburnus. Some of the newcomers had not yet acquired Roman citizenship, and were mere peregrines; there are references in epigraphs to 'Anduenna Batonis filia', 'Maximus Batonis filius', 'Liccaius Epicadi filius', 'Epicadus Plarentis filius'. Many belonged to the Pirusta tribe (e.g., 'Dasius Verzonis filius Pirusta ex k[astello] Avieretio') and lived in closed communities (Vicus Pirustarum) in Transylvania's Érc Mountains, where they had been resettled to launch mining operations. Many of the descendants of Dalmatians, Noricumians, and Pannonians rose to prominence as leaders of the municipii.

It is likely that the settlers from Pannonia and Noricum included not only Roman citizens but also the majority of those bearing Celtic names (Bonio, Bucco, Cotu, Veponius). Over time, the resettlement of people from these regions helped to strengthen trade relations between Dacia and the proximate provinces.

Many of the settlers were soldiers, not only in the case of Sarmizegethusa, but also in the communities that sprang up on the outskirts of military camps and which later grew into towns. The government probably encouraged veterans to settle in the province, if only with mixed success. The ethnic heterogeneity of the {1-105.} province's population is due in no small measure to the army. At first, only one legion, composed of Roman citizens, was stationed in Dacia. It was backed up by auxiliary forces, many of which were ethnic units, and many of the latter came from Thracian-inhabited Moesia. Some regular regiments were also Thracian (the cohors II Bessorum, the archers of the I Thracum sagittariorum, and the Thracum equitata), and they continued to recruit in the south. Others, while not of Thracian origin, replenished their ranks with Thracian recruits: the cohors I Tungrorum Frontoniana (previously stationed in Pannonia), which guarded the camp at Ilosva, and the cohors I Brittonum miliaria civium Romanorum, which performed similar duties at the Felsőkosály camp. Some Thracians moved to the new province as veterans, like the family of Sueuethes Traibithi filius, who had been discharged in 86 A.D. from the Judean army's cohors II Thracum.[53]53. CIL XVI, 33. Heptapor Isi filius of the Bessus tribe of Thracians, who was demobilized in 158, also remained in the province.[54]54. CIL XVI, 108. Despite all the soldiers of Thracian origin, and despite the Moesian settlers, the percentage of Thracian names in Dacia is surprisingly low. The reason may be sought in the very proximity of the region they came from, for this factor explains population fluctuations in other provinces. Indeed, soldiers of the legion V Macedonica at Potaissa would commonly return to familiar ground, their earlier location at Troesmis in Moesia Inferior. Discharged Thracians also tended to return home. Such was the case with Aulenus, who left Dacia Superior in 144; of Bithus, who belonged to the Bessus tribe and left Dacia Inferior in 140; and another Bessus, M. Aurelius Teres, who returned to his homeland at the end of the 2nd century. Sextus, son of Busturio, also settled in nearby Thracia after his discharge in 164, although he was of Pannonian origin.[55]55. CIL III, 7505, CIL XVI, 90, 185; Archäologischer Anzeiger (1912), p. 563; M. M. Roxan, Roman Military Diplomas (London, 1978), no. 39. Letters of discharge found south of the Danube clearly show the veterans' inclination to leave Dacia.

Many of Dacia's new inhabitants originated in the eastern provinces or the southern Balkans, where Greek was spoken; their {1-106.} ethnic units had been transferred from Asia Minor or Syria. The province's mountainous terrain was difficult to defend, and Romans liked to use specialized troops, such as Palmyrian archers, three units of whom were stationed in western Dacia. The province played host to other Syrian troops as well, including the numerus Surorum sagittariorum, which guarded Arutela (Bivolari) on the Olt fortified line, the cohors I Tyriorum sagittariorum, the cohors I sagittariorum equitata, and units from Ityrea and Commagene. After the Marcomanni wars, when Rome offered inducements to immigrants, settlers arrived from the east and Asia Minor. Syrian merchants appeared in growing numbers in the Severus era, and soon established a dominant position in the province's commercial life. These immigrants from distant lands kept their ethnic identity, for they formed separate associations (collegia). The presence in Napoca of Galatians from Asia Minor is noted in an epigraph that dates from the middle of the 2nd century, but most of collective inscriptions date from the Severus era, indicating a wave of immigration to the province at the end of that century. Late 2nd century epigraphs mention an association of people from Asia Minor in Apulum, and the presence of Galatians in Germisara. In 235, the roster of the collegium Asianorum in Napoca included Thracians from the Balkans or Asia Minor.

Some three thousand Dacian residents have been identified by name. Estimates based on the ethnic derivation of names indicate that around 2,200 were Roman, 420 were Balkan or eastern Greek, 120 were Illyrian, 70 were Celtic, 60 were Thraco-Dacian, and another 60 were Semites from Syria; there are also German, Asian, and African names among them. At two per cent, the proportion of Thraco-Dacian names is strikingly low. The Thracian-Dacian linkage is contested, but attempts to distinguish two sets of names have brought no conclusive result; most of them appear to be authentic Thracian names, borne by people who came from the region south of the Danube. Significantly, names of obvious Dacian origin {1-107.} (Bitus, Butus, Decebalus, Diurpanaeus, Sassa, Scorilo) are found outside the province, in other parts of the empire, where Dacians were transported as slaves. In Noricum, which had a hundred-year lead over Dacia in Romanization, 24 per cent of the names are those of indigenous Celts, indicating that a comparatively large number of Celts had remained in the province and been exposed to Romanization. This contrasts with the pattern in Dacia, where the indigenous population suffered a great decline in numbers and was largely excluded from Romanization.

Dacia absorbed two great waves of immigration. In the early decades following the conquest, settlers mostly came from the west, including, as noted, a significant number from Noricum and Pannonia. Dacia's active trade with Pannonia, and with Northern Italy through Aquileia, is reflected in the development of its material culture. Contact with northern Italy had a determining influence on the style of stone carving in western Pannonia and Noricum, and a similar influence can be detected in Dacia.

In Dacia, and within its Transylvanian region, three types of memorial carvings have been found. The first type, in the shape of a medallion framed by laurels, has a niche at the rear, with shell-like decoration, and bearing the carved portrait of the deceased. This design originated in northern Italy and can also be found, though less frequently, in Noricum and Pannonia. It became so popular in Dacia that it even influenced the decoration of tombal stelae: on the upper part of the upright, rectangular stone, the carved portrait of the deceased was often enclosed in a similar medallion. Tombal aediculae, in the form of three-sided enclosures, also won popularity in Dacia; a splendid example was uncovered intact in Micia. Bas-reliefs on the aediculae's walls depicted servants holding jugs, pans with handles, or cups, symbolizing purification and refreshment for the deceased. It is possible that the style reached Dacia from Pannonia, where many examples have been found. The roofs of the aediculae were carved in the shape of a pine-cone or a {1-108.} pyramid. As in the case of ornate graveyards, this design probably came from Aquileia, either directly or via Noricum, Pannonia, and Dalmatia. Another popular design, a carved pair of lions facing each other, crowned some stelae or served as graveyard decoration; it bears the stamp of western influence, although, in Dacia, it might also have had an eastern inspiration.

The presence of settlers from Noricum, Pannonia, and Illyria is indicated by the spread of tumulus burials in Dacia, principally in its Transylvanian region. After the bodies were cremated on a pyre, their ashes were covered with earth mounds of varying scale. The rite was widely practised in western Pannonia and eastern Noricum. Close links between the regions are revealed not only by the tumuli, but also by the grave goods, some of which is pottery identified with Noricum and Pannonia. The Noricumian and Pannonian settlers' largest cemetery, with more than 300 tumuli, can be found in Hermány (Caşolţ). Similar traces are found in Kálbor (Calbor) and Magyarigen (Ighiu). Some of the earth mounds were enclosed by a stone wall. The earliest and most finest example was found at Sarmizegethusa: the Aurelius family's vast tumulus, 21 metres in diameter, covering the remains of a young girl. The tumuli in the small graveyard at Csolnakos (Cinciş) were enclosed by circular walls; the nearest equivalents were found at Carnuntum, in western Pannonia.

Apart from the burial rites, there is little trace in Dacia of the religious practices that prevailed in Noricum and Pannonia. Settlers from Celtic and German areas presumably brought with them the cults of Suleviae, Epona, and Hercules Magusanus. The spread of the Silvanus cult in Dacia may also owe something to Pannonia. An altar in honour of Iuppiter Depulsor, erected by a man with an Illyrian name, evokes the many similar altars to Jupiter 'the preventer' found in the Poetovio region of western Pannonia.

Settlers who came from the south (Moesia) and the east (principally Syria) left little trace of their personal belongings, but many {1-109.} of their religious objects survive. Tombal covers that depict a 'funeral feast' — the deceased reclining on a couch, with his wife sitting in an armchair next to him, and facing a tripodal table — are clearly of southern, Greek inspiration. Of similar derivation are cult images, fashioned in marble, of the so-called Danubian cavalier god; these are most common in the southern part of the province. A link with Moesia is also indicated by the style of southern Dacia's pottery.

The religious beliefs of settlers from the Near East are displayed in many finds, including altars and temples dedicated to the deities of their place of origin (Diis patriis). The monuments bear witness to an attachment to their homeland, and also to the organized, intimate character of their traditional beliefs. The most important of these cults is that of their principal deity, Doliche, whom they identified with Jupiter; altars and cultic images dedicated to Doliche have been found in many parts of Dacia. The Palmyrians had separate temples in Sarmizegethusa, Porolissum, and Micia. The origin and diversity of the beliefs is confirmed by the many eastern deities named in epigraphs, including Iuppiter Tavianus, Erusenus, Mater Troclimene, Iuppiter Heliopolitanus, Azizus, Bonus Puer, Balmarcades, Nabarazes, Malagbel, Bellahamon, Benefal, Iarobolas.[56]56. CIL III, 859, 860, 875, 1088, 1108, 1130-1138, 1353-1354, 7680, 7728, 7766, 7864, 7938, 7954-7956, 12,578, 12,580.

Dacia was one of the empire's Latin provinces; official epigraphs attest that the language of administration was Latin. Legionaries and settlers from western regions who were of Italian origin and conversant with Latin contributed to the diffusion of the language. Given the early date of the resettlement of Illyrians and Celts, it cannot be assumed that they were bilingual and had been significantly Romanized. They may have known some Latin, but it would not have become their principal tongue in the first half of the 2nd century; their full Romanization would have had to occur after they moved to Dacia. The Dalmatian Pirusti are a case in point. According to the wax tablets, many of them were illiterate — 'se litteras {1-110.} scire negavit'.[57]57. DR I, 40, 41. The other major group of settlers came from the areas where the official language was Greek. Some of them were aboriginal to their province of origin, and were neither Greek nor Hellenized; they included the Galati, as well as the Palmyrians. The latter were literate, which of course facilitates the retention of a language. Provincial custom required that their epigraphs be composed in Latin, but some Palmyrian-language texts have also survived. Few in number, they are nevertheless important, for no epigraphs have been found that originate with other Syrian communities in Europe. Greek epigraphs occur in greater number, and throughout Dacia, which is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that this was a Latin-language province. The presence of these two languages is also attested by inscriptions on bricks and earthenware, and it seem evident that both were commonly spoken in many parts of the province. It is indicative that Apulum's new name, 'Golden town', was expressed not in Latin but in Greek, as Chrysopolis.

Settlers from the south came from Thrace, where the official language was Greek, or from Moesia Inferior, where it was Latin, although both languages were in general use. However, the Thracians who came to Dacia scarcely helped to disseminate the use of Latin. Although many were soldiers whose language of service was Latin, their motherland lay in a partially Greek region, and they preserved their own tongue for a long time; they clung to their original names well into the early Byzantine period. The survival of the Thraco-Bessian language was later helped by the Christian Church, which accepted it for liturgical use.

The Thracian soldiers, who came from a region that had been under Roman administration only for some sixty years, were hardly likely to have Latin as their mother tongue. Moreover, among the empire's peoples, the Thracians were the most resistant to Romanization. If, as hypothesized, there is an ethnic link connecting Thracians and Dacians, then the example of the former suggests {1-111.} that the Romanization the latter must have been a slow process. This is only one of several reasons why it cannot be assumed that the indigenous population of Dacia — under Roman rule for only 165 years, much less than any other province — assimilated the Latin tongue.

Dacia was marked by linguistic heterogeneity. There is no evidence of a unified linguistic community; indeed, epigraphs suggest the opposite. The one potentially unifying tongue was the province's official language, Latin, but it was the mother tongue of only a fraction of the population: military and civil officials, the majority of soldiers in the one, and, after 167, two legions that were stationed there, and the settlers of Italian origin. Nor was the wider adoption of Latin helped by the essentially Greco-Thracian character of ongoing interaction with the Balkans. The second wave of immigration, after the Marcomanni wars, originated in Greek-language regions and could not help to spread the use of Latin. The emergence in Dacia of Latin-speaking communities was also hindered by the fact the local tongue, and possibly its several dialects, were challenged not simply by the administrative use of Latin, but by the empire's two official languages, Latin and Greek. As a precondition to the linguistic conversion of the indigenous population, the newcomers would have had to establish strong, Latin-speaking communities. This could not occur over the short lifespan of the province, mainly because the non-Latin speaking settlers preserved strong links with their motherland and eventually chose in some number to emigrate from Dacia. Nor was the adoption of Latin helped by the delayed and limited process of urbanization. Thus the indigenous population had limited opportunities to become Romanized. Rome, for its part, seemed to have been much less intent on Romanizing the Dacians that it had been in the case of native peoples in its other provinces.

Archaeological finds attest that part of Dacia's indigenous population stayed on after the conquest. These include a few settlements and {1-112.} cemeteries, although in some cases the dating is uncertain, and it remains to be determined whether the settlements were inhabited both before and after the conquest. The cemeteries were discovered at Obrázsa (Obreja), Maroslekence (Lechinţa de Mureş), and Locuşteni. There are reports of other old Dacian cemeteries at Iacobeni, Radnót (Iernut), and Segesvár (Sighişoara); however, the tombstones at the last-named location bear Illyrian names. A cemetery at Mezőszopor has been fully excavated.

The cemeteries that can be linked to the indigenous population fell into disuse after the Roman withdrawal. Most of the graves contain cremated remains; the bodies were burned at a separate location, and then the ashes were either put directly into an oval pit, or placed in urns. The urns are generally identified with Dacian burial practice, although the Roman population elsewhere used them as well. Graves of people who were cremated on the spot are rare; this custom was more commonly associated with burial in a tumulus. The various forms of burial are sometimes found in one cemetery. The practice of burying uncremated corpses began in town cemeteries around the end of the 2nd century (Apulum, Napoca).

An ethnic analysis of cemeteries must take into account that two groups of free Dacians were settled in the province at the end of the 2nd century. The silver jewellery, bearing a granular decoration, that has been found in some cemeteries can be most plausibly attributed to Dacianized Carpi who lived across the province's eastern frontier. Similar jewels have been found in the Mezőszopor cemetery. It is, therefore, arguable that at least some of the graves belong not to aboriginal Dacians, but to Carpi or free Dacians who moved into Dacia shortly before 200.

The relics of the indigenous Dacians who remained in the province are uniformly plain. Apart from the cemeteries and traces of settlements, only the surviving ceramics can throw some light on their history and culture. There is no trace of epigraphs, stone carvings, depictions of dress, or jewellery. The ceramics suggest a modest {1-113.} standard of living that might have been the legacy of the lower strata of pre-Roman, Dacian society. Only a few earlier Dacian styles were carried over into the pottery of the Roman era. They are generally hand-crafted, and examples of wheel pottery are rare. The pots were sometimes decorated by manual indentation, or by the application of ribs shaped like twisted cords. The other characteristic Dacian vessel is the so-called Dacian cup: a low, thick-walled mug that broadens towards the mouth and has one or, more rarely, two handles. No other types of pottery have been uncovered in the settlements and graves. Some examples of hand-formed pottery have also been found in Roman camps, but analysis is hampered by the uncertainty surrounding their exact provenance. The discovery of Dacian pottery mixed in with Roman provincial products does not prove that Dacians recruited from among the indigenous population were stationed at the camp. It has to be noted that after the Roman conquest, Dacian-type pottery reveals more about the producer than about the user. Even if such pottery is a contemporaneous product, its presence in military camps merely suggests that the users may have included soldiers and settlers as well as indigenous Dacians. This explanation is all the more probable since there is no hard evidence — neither military diplomas, nor names on military epigraphs — that native Dacians were conscripted into the province's auxiliary units. Moreover, this hand-made pottery could also have belonged to Celtic and Illyrian settlers. In their places of origin, the latter had used not only wheel pottery, but also simple, hand-made vessels; and they may well have resorted to the handiwork of local potters in their new home. In a province that encompassed many peoples, the presence of Dacian-type pottery is not a reliable indicator of the local community's ethnicity.

The province's Dacian earthenware does have a bearing on Romanization. In Pannonia, the production of hand-made vessels had died out by the end of the 2nd century, and was replaced by a uniform style of wheel pottery. This did not happen in Dacia, where {1-114.} there is barely any sign of mutual influence in the potting styles of natives and settlers. The prevalence of certain types of pottery confirm the survival of a native Dacian population under Roman rule; but the unchanging style of that earthenware also indicates that this population was untouched by Romanization. In all other Roman provinces, the long and complex process of Romanization is revealed in myriad detail by archaeological finds. The latter confirm that Romanization had to leave concrete traces — in epigraphs, names, and evidence of continuity and adaptation in dress. The lack of such traces in Dacia can only lead to the conclusion that the native Dacians were not Romanized.

In conquered and provincialized territories, Romanization was a long process by which the aboriginal population progressively assimilated Roman customs and culture. Their material culture was the first to be influenced and modified by Roman techniques and styles. The standard of living of part of this population also changed. Becoming a Roman was a more or less voluntary act; the provincial administration and the civitatis provided a structure for the process, which was also nurtured by urbanization and military service. Tribal communities slowly disintegrated as the society was transformed by lengthy military service, urban life, commerce, and other economic activities. Assimilation of the empire's languages was fostered by military service that lasted 25 years. The linguistic change, which spanned many generations, led first to bilingualism, then to total replacement of the mother tongue. In the empire's provinces, this process generally took at least 400 years, if not longer. Romanization was deliberately promoted by external measures, and the gradual process of assimilation can be well-traced in the archaeological finds of the province. There is no trace of such a process in Dacia.

Romanization of the indigenous people in Dacia was only impeded by the fact that most settlers were bilingual. Proximity to camps manned by soldiers from Syria, Asia Minor, and Thrace {1-115.} scarcely helped the natives to become acquainted with Latin. The framework of civitatis, which in other provinces stimulated cultural adaptation, was absent. That absence is so striking that it may be explained not just by the comparatively small number of native Dacians, but also by a Roman decision not to Romanize the latter. The Romans' usual interlocutors of choice, a tribal aristocracy, had disappeared. Urbanization progressed slowly, and then only in part of the province. Towns grew out of the vici of military camps and not out of native settlements. The only civilian settlement to become a town was the one by the Apulum military camp, but even there, native Dacians did not participate in town life. One explanation is that most Dacians were shepherds and lived in the mountains, thus excluding themselves from Romanization. There is no evidence that, decades after the conquest, native Dacians might have been recruited into local military units, as was done in other provinces. There are no references to Dacian cults or a Dacian deity on religious memorials, nor any indication that the Dacians might have worshipped a local deity who, due to interpretatio Romana, bore a Roman name. And, apparently, no native Dacians partook of the creation of epigraphs, which was an intrinsic part of Roman culture and daily life.

The province existed for 165 years, too short a time for cultural assimilation. In Pannonia, much like in the other provinces, the material culture of the native population showed little sign of Romanization in the first 160 years of Roman rule. Everyday objects and apparel began to change only after the shock of the Marcomanni wars, and after another two centuries had passed, some regions were still not fully Romanized. In Dacia, the devastating Marcomanni wars were followed by a second wave of immigration from the east, a brief period of prosperity that coincided with the Severus dynasty and spanned a generation, more wars that spanned another generation, and then the Romans withdrew.

{1-116.} On epigraphs found in Dacia, the names Aelius and Aurelius appear with some frequency, and it has been suggested that they identify indigenous Dacians. The hypothesis is fallacious, for these were first names, borrowed from the emperors who had granted their bearers Roman citizenship. Ethnic origin was revealed by the surname, and the surnames of the new citizens who bore these two given names do not indicate Dacian origin.

In sum, there is nothing to demonstrate that the indigenous Dacians who stayed behind after the conquest had become Romanized. The influence of Roman technology and culture cannot be detected even in pottery, which would have been the lowest level of Romanization. For the agrarian Dacians, there was no need to adopt new techniques; their tools had been developed centuries earlier and remained in general use. That the native Dacians failed to adopt Latin as their mother tongue — the highest level of Romanization — is not simply a conclusion drawn from the lack of contrary evidence; the fact is that Dacia's historical and social development did not make such a transformation possible.