23 Dacian wars and riots between 106-271 AD


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Romanian version here.

In this article we will present a list of wars and riots that are documented mostly from Roman sources, wars and riots that took place in the Roman Dacia province, during the 165 years occupation by the Roman army and administration. There are also mentioned the attacks of the free Dacians alongside their allies. This is an open list which will be updated as soon as new historical evidences will come up.

  • 117 – the year of emperor Trajan’s death brings the first riot of the Dacians in the province, synchronized with free Dacians, that attacked in alliance with the Iazyges and Roxolani. The province’s governor, Gaius Iulius Quandratus Bassus (70 – 117) was killed during these fights, causing Hadrian(117-138), the new emperor, to burn the wooden superstructure of the Drobeta’s bridge over the Danube, so the Dacians couldn’t pass in Moesia.
  • 138, 140, 143 – The emperor Antoninus Pius(138-161) enforced the Roman legions in Dacia, just like his predecessor Hadrian, in order to stop the riots that took place during those years.
  • 156-157 – The free Dacians attacked the northern border of the province, but Marcus Statius Priscus(132-162), Legatus of Dacia Superior, managed to defeat them. New measures to enforce the border were taken by building a new Limes along the line of Someș and Criș rivers.
  • 157-158 – A new riot took place in Dacia Porolissensis, in which the free Dacians, Carpi and Costoboci also joined. Again, Antoninus Pius brought in new auxiliary troops to defeat this riot. After the victory, the emperor received the title of Dacicus Maximus.
  • 166 – The riots against the Romans restarted during this year. The Dacians attacked the garrisons and castra in the province, putting in danger even the capital Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa. The Romans brought in new troops: the 5th legion, „Macedonica” and detachments from the 10th legion, „Fretensis”, 11th legion, „Claudia” and 1st legion, „Italica”.
  • 167 – Costoboci and Carpi in alliance with Quazi, Iazyges and Roxolani launched a simultaneous attack against Trajan Dacia, Raetia, Norricum and Pannonia. This „Barbarian Federation” will then devastate the Black Sea coast all the way to Macedonia, Moesia and Thracia. Then, Carpi, Costoboci and Roxolani successfully got to Thessaloniki and Athens where they destroyed Roman and Greek settlements, helped by inhabitant populations. For reestablishing the order, Marcus Aurelius(161-180), set up an unique military commandment for Dacia and Moesia, which was commanded by Marcus Claudius Fronto.
  • 170 – Marcus Claudius Fronto was killed on the battlefield, against the „barbarian federates”.
  • 170-171 – The new commander Iulius Piso Berenicionus managed to defeat the rioters, but the situation was still uncertain for the both parties.
  • 174The emperor Marcus Aurelius(161-180) personally intervened in Dacia and hardly succeeded to defeat the locals with the elite troops. The commanders of the 5th legion, „Macedonica” and 12th legion, „Gemina” became the true rulers of the province, replacing the civilian ones. After this war, the family of the Costoboci king Pieroporus was taken hostage. The evidence about this was found on a tomb inscription in Rome.
  • 180-184 – Because of the fact that the new emperor, Commodus Antoninus(180-192) didn’t kept his financial commitments towards the free Dacians, they permanently attacked the Roman provinces. The ones that ended these wars were the Roman generals Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger.
  • 213-214 – New riots took place in the province because of the Constitutio Antoniniana, signed in 211 by Caracalla(211-217). In 214, Costoboci and Carpi in alliance with Bastarnae, Vandals and Roxolani entered in some Roman provinces. This war lasts until 217, when Caracalla is assassinated.
  • 217-218 – The new emperor Marcus Opellius Macrinus(217-218) didn’t managed to defeat the free Dacians so he started to treat with them. The free Dacians had to leave Dacia, but instead, the Romans had to pay tribute and to free the hostages taken by Caracalla.
  • 236-237 – The emperor Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus(235-238), also known as Maximinus Thrax („The Thracian”) took some measures in order to stop the attacks of the free Dacians allied with Sarmatae Iazyges. He defeated them and received the titles of Dacicus Maximus and Sarmaticus Maximus.
  • 248 – Carpi entered the nowadays Romanian Plain and started to launch attacks towards Transylvania. Another army in alliance with the Goths entered nowadays Dobrogea and then Moesia. This war ended after the Dacians received promises of financial subsidies.
  • 242 – Carpi in alliance with the Goths entered again in the Roman Empire all the way to Moesia and Thracia.
  • 245-247 – Invasion of Carpi and Goths that is not stopped by the Romans. In 247, Philip the Arab (244-249) personally intervened with the imperial armies but still didn’t managed to defeat them. He retreats South of the Danube.
  • 248 – The Goths led by the kings Argaithus and Gunthericus in alliance with Carpi and Taifals entered Dobrogea where they will be defeated by the future emperor, general Caius Messius Quintus Decius(249-251). The city of Histria was also destroyed.
  • 249 – An alliance of Carpi and Goths with Vandals, Bastarnae and Taifals will simultaneously attack Dacia and Moesia. A small part of this army entered Roman Dacia and conquered the capital Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa and after that they attacked the legions from Pannonia. Another part of this army passed the Danube and invaded Moesia Superior and Macedonia. The emperor Decius and his son were killed during this second’s army retreat towards the Danube.
  • 253 – Another attack of Carpi and Goths in Moesia caused by the fact that the annual grants negotiated with the new emperor  Trebonianus Gallus(251-253) were stopped.
  • 257-258 – The Goths and Carpi attacked the south of the Danube on land and sea, and Goths got to Bosphorus and the coast of Asia Minor.
  • 263-267 – The Carpo-Gothic alliance attacked again the south of the Danube both on land and the sea, invading Moesia Inferior and Moesia Superior.



  1. Cornel Bîrsan – Istorie furată – Cronică românească de istorie veche, editura Karuna, Bistrița, 2013 / Stolen history – Romanian chronicle of old history, Karuna publishing house, Bistrița, 2013
  2. Dio Cassius – Roman History, 11.10.2014
  3. Historia Augusta, 11.10.2014
  4. Photo

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  9. Anticexlibris

1 thought on “23 Dacian wars and riots between 106-271 AD”

  1. Pingback: 23 de războaie și răscoale dacice între 106-271 d.Hr - Istorie Veche

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