In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia () was the land inhabited by the Dacians. The Greeks referred to them as the Getae (east of Dacia) and the Romans as Daci.
Dacia was bounded in the south approximately by the Danubius river (Danube), in Greek sources the Istros, or at its greatest extent, by the Haemus Mons. Moesia (Dobruja), a region south-east of the Danube, was a core area where the Getae lived and interacted with the Ancient Greeks. In the east it was bounded by the Pontus Euxinus (Black Sea) and the river Danastris (Dniester), in Greek sources the Tyras. But several Dacian settlements are recorded between the rivers Dniester and Hypanis (Southern Bug), and the Tisia (Tisza) to the west.
At times Dacia included areas between the Tisa and the Middle Danube. The Carpathian Mountains are located in the middle of Dacia. It thus corresponds to the present-day countries of Romania and Moldova, as well as smaller parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Roman Dacia (also Dacia Traiana and Dacia Felix) was a province of the Roman Empire (106-271/275 AD). Its territory consisted of eastern and south-eastern Transylvania, the Banat, and Oltenia (regions of modern Romania). It was from the very beginning organized as an imperial province and remained so throughout the Roman occupation. Historians’ estimates of the population of Roman Dacia range from 650,000 to 1,200,000.
The conquest of Dacia was completed by Emperor Trajan (98-117) after two major campaigns against Decebalus’s Dacian kingdom. The Romans did not occupy the entirety of the old Dacian kingdom, as the greater part of Moldavia, together with Maramureş and Crişana, was ruled by Free Dacians even after the Roman conquest. In 119, the Roman province was divided into two departments: Dacia Superior (Upper Dacia) and Dacia Inferior (Lower Dacia) (later named Dacia Malvensis). In 124 (or around 158), Dacia Superior was divided into two provinces: Dacia Apulensis and Dacia Porolissensis. During the Marcomannic Wars the military and judicial administration was unified under the command of one governor, with another two senators (the legati legionis) as his subordinates; the province was called tres Daciæ (Three Dacias) or simply Dacia.
The Roman authorities undertook in Dacia a massive and organized colonization. New mines were opened and ore extraction intensified, while agriculture, stock breeding, and commerce flourished in the province. Dacia began to supply grain not only to the military personnel stationed in the province but also to the rest of the Balkan area. It became a highly urban province, with 11 or 12 cities known, 8 of which held the highest rank of colonia, though the number of cities was fewer than in the region’s other provinces. All the cities developed from old military camps. Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa, the seat of the imperial procurator (finance officer) for all the three subdivisions was the financial, religious, and legislative center of the province. Apulum, where the military governor of the three subdivisions had his headquarters, was not simply the greatest city within the province, but one of the biggest across the whole Danubian frontier.
There were military and political threats from the beginning of Roman Dacia’s existence. Free Dacians who bordered the province were the first adversary, who, after allying themselves with the Sarmatians, hammered the province during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Following a calmer period covering the reigns of Commodus through to Caracalla (180-217 AD), the province was once again beset by invaders, this time the Carpi, a Dacian tribe in league with the newly arrived Goths, who in time became a serious difficulty for the empire. Finding it increasingly difficult to retain Dacia, the emperors were forced to abandon the province by the 270s, becoming the first of Rome’s long-term possessions to be abandoned.
Comosicus was a Dacian king and high priest who lived in the 1st century BC. The only reference to Comosicus is a passage in the writings of the Roman historian Jordanes.
Jordanes refers to Burebista as king of Dacia, but then goes on to discuss a high priest called Dicineus who taught the Dacians astronomy and whose wisdom was revered. He then says that "after the death of Dicienus, they held Comosicus in almost equal honour, because he was not inferior in knowledge. By reason of his wisdom he was accounted their priest and king, and he judged the people with the greatest uprightness. When he too had departed Coryllus ascended the throne as king of the Goths [Getae] and for forty years ruled his people in Dacia."
"Coryllus" is widely believed to be identical to Scorilo, but there is no other evidence concerning Comosicus. Jordanes' ambiguity about the status of Dicineus in relation to Burebista possibly arises from the fact that after Burebista's assassination in 44 BC his empire dissolved, with the exception of the nucleus around the Orăştie Mountains, while the rest divided into various kingdoms. The concept of a priest-judge may have provided a trans-tribal unity. Louis Marin refers to Dicineus as "a sort of double for the king, a double who also stood in for Burebista's successor Comosicus", since Comosicus embodies a "twin royalty, political and religious".
Since Comosicus's successor Scorilo appears to have come to power sometime between 30 and 40 AD, Comosicus's accession immediately after Burebista would imply an impossibly long reign. Other evidence suggests that a ruler called Cotiso was the dominant power in the late 1st century BC. Ioana A. Oltean argues that Comosicus probably succeeded Cotiso at some point during the campaign of Marcus Vinicius in the Dacian area c.9 BC and ruled until 29 AD. He may have been the first Dacian ruler to combine the positions of priest and king.
- ^ a b Oltean, Ioana A. (2007). Dacia: Landscape, Colonization and Romanization. p. 49; 72.
At least two of his successors, Comosicus and Scorillo/Corilus/Scoriscus, became high priests and eventually Dacian kings
- ^ Taylor, Timothy (2001). Northeastern European Iron Age pages 210-221 and East Central European Iron Age pages 79-90. Springer Published in conjunction with the Human Relations Area Files. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-306-46258-0.
- ^ The Origin and Deeds of the Goths
- ^ Strabo, Geography, VII:3.5
- ^ Marin, Louis, "Utopian Discourse and Narrative of Origins", On Representation, Stanford University Press, 2001, pp.109; 415.