Dava (Dacian)

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Many davae on the Roman Dacia selection from Tabula Peutingeriana
Davae in Dacia during Burebista

Dava (Latinate plural davae) was a Geto-Dacian name for a city, town or fortress. Generally, the name indicated a tribal center or an important settlement, usually fortified. Some of the Dacian settlements and the fortresses employed the Murus Dacicus traditional construction technique.

Most of these towns are attested by Ptolemy, and therefore date from at least the 1st century CE.

The "dava" towns can be found as south as Sandanski and Plovdiv. Strabo specified that the Daci are the Getae. The Dacians, Getae and their kings were always considered as Thracians by the ancients (Dio Cassius, Trogus Pompeius, Appian, Strabo, Herodotus and Pliny the Elder), and were both said to speak the same Thracian language.


Many city names of the Dacians were composed of an initial lexical element (often the tribe name) affixed to -dava, -daua, -deva, -deba, -daba or -dova (<PIE *dʰeh₁-, "to set, place").[1][page needed] Therefore, dava 'town' derived from the reconstructed proto-Indo-European *dhewa 'settlement'.[2] A pre-Indo-European origin for the Dacian term is also suggested, e.g., see comparison with Kartvelian *daba, 'town, village'.[3][page needed]

List of davae[edit]

Below is a list of Dacian towns which include various forms of dava in their name:

Onomastic range of the Dacian towns with the -dava ending, covering Dacia, Moesia, Thrace and Dalmatia
Onomastic range of the Dacian towns with the -dava ending, covering Dacia, Moesia, Thrace and Dalmatia

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Olteanu.
  2. ^ Polome 1982, p. 886.
  3. ^ Berzovan 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Grumeza 2009, p. 13.
  5. ^ Velkov 1977, p. 92.
  6. ^ *Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia. Edited by J. Haury; revised by G. Wirth. 3 vols. Leipzig: Teubner, 1976-64. Greek text.
  7. ^ TSR9, Proc. 123. 26
  8. ^ Grumeza 2009, p. 88.
  9. ^ a b c Grumeza 2009, p. 12.
  10. ^ a b c Grumeza 2009, p. 14.
  11. ^ Ethnic continuity in the Carpatho-Danubian area by Elemér Illyés,1988,ISBN 0-88033-146-1,page 223
  12. ^ Lepper, F. A. (1988). Trajan's Column: A New Edition of the Cichorius Plates. Alan Sutton. p. 138. ISBN 9780862994679. Stuart Jones noted the Dacian – sounding place – name ' Thermidava ' on the Lissus Naissus road : but see Miller col . 557 , for the evidence on this. The place was most probably called ' Theranda ' and there is no evidence for any settlement there of pro-Roman Dacians now, nor is it very likely. (..) Most scholars , however , have supposed , as did Cichorius , that we are now north of the Danube , somewhere in the Banat area where the local inhabitants are frightened that they may lose their recently acquired 'liberty'.


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