Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.3.10 Str. 7.3.13 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.3.17


Let us pass over the early history of the Getæ, and occupy ourselves with their actual condition. Bœrebistas, one of the Getæ, having taken the command of his tribe, reanimated the men who were disheartened by frequent wars, and raised them to such a degree of training, sobriety, and a habit of obedience to orders, that he established a powerful dominion within a few years, and brought most of the neighbouring states into subjection to the Getæ. He at length became formidable even to the Romans, fearlessly crossing the Danube, and laying waste Thrace as far as Macedonia and Illyria; he also subdued the Kelts who live among the Thracians and Illyrians, and thoroughly annihilated the Boii who were subject to Critasirus and the Taurisci. In order to

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maintain the obedience of his subjects, he availed himself of the assistance of Decseneus a sorcerer, [Note] who had travelled in Egypt, and who, by predictions he had learnt to draw from certain natural signs, was enabled to assume the character of an oracle, and was almost held in the veneration of a god, as we have related when noticing Zamolxis. [Note] As an instance of their implicit obedience, we may relate that they were persuaded to root up their vines and live without wine. However, Bœrebistas was murdered in a sedition before the Romans sent an army against him. Those who succeeded to his government divided it into several states. Lately, when Augustus Cæsar sent an army against them, they were divided into five states, at another time they were four, for such divisions are but temporary in duration, and variable in their extent. 7.3.12

There was, from ancient times, another division of these people which still exists; thus, some they call Dacians and others Getæ: the Getæ extend towards the Euxine and the east, but the Dacians are situated on the opposite side towards Germany and the sources of the Danube, [Note] whom I consider to have been called Daci from a very early period. Whence also amongst the Attics the names of Getæ and Davi were customary for slaves. This at least is more probable than to consider them as taken from the Scythians who are named Daæ, [Note] for they live far beyond Hyrcania, [Note] and it is not likely that slaves would be brought all that way into Attica. It was usual with them to call their slaves after the name of the nation from whence they were brought, as Lydus and Syrus, [Note] or else by a name much in use in their own country, as, for a Phrygian, Manes or Midas; for a Paphlagonian, Tibius. The nation which was raised to so much power by Bœrebistas has since been completely reduced by

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civil dissensions and contests with the Romans; however, they are still able to set out 40,000 men armed for the wars. 7.3.13

The river Maros [Note] flows through their country into the Danube, [Note] on which the Romans transported their military stores; for thus they termed the upper part of that river from its sources to the cataracts, which flows chiefly through the country of the Dacians, but the part below that point which flows through the country of the Getæ as far as the Black Sea, they call the Ister. [Note] The Dacians speak the same language as the Getæ. The Getæ are best known among the Greeks on account of the frequent wandering expeditions they make on both sides of the Danube, and their being mixed among the Thracians and Mysians. The like is the case with regard to the nation of the Triballi, a Thracian people; for they have received many refugees on occasions when their more powerful neighbours have driven out the weaker, for from time to time the Scythians of the opposite side of the river, and the Bastarnæ, and the Sarmatians, [Note] become victorious, and those who are driven out cross over and some of them take up their residence either in the islands of the river or in Thrace, while on the other side the inhabitants are distressed by the Illyrians. At one time when the Getæ and the Dacians had increased to the greatest numbers, they were able to set on foot an army of two hundred thousand men, but now they are reduced to about forty thousand men, and are even likely to become subject to the Romans; still they are not yet quite under their sway on account of their trust in the Germans, who are enemies to the Romans. 7.3.14

Between [the Getæ and] the Black Sea, from the Danube to the Dniester, [Note] lies the desert of the Getæ. [Note] It is entirely a plain and destitute of water. It was there that Darius the son of Hystaspes, at the time he crossed the Danube, was in danger of being cut off with his whole army

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for want of water; this he found out before it was too late, and returned. At a subsequent period, when Lysimachus was waging war against the Getæ and their king Dromichætes, he not only incurred the risk, [Note] but he fell into the hands of the enemy; but his life was spared by the courtesy of the barbarian, as I have before related. 7.3.15

Near the mouths of the Danube is the large island called Peuce. [Note] This the Bastarnæ possessed, and were hence called Peucini. There are also other islands much smaller, some above this, and others nearer the sea. The Danube has seven mouths, the largest is called the Sacred Mouth, [Note] the passage by which to Peuce is 120 stadia. [Note] At the lower part of this island Darius made his bridge. It might likewise have been constructed at the upper part. This is the first mouth on the left-hand side as you sail into the Black Sea; the rest are passed while sailing along towards the Dniester; the seventh mouth is distant from this first mouth about 300 stadia. These mouths form several islands. The first three mouths next after the Sacred Mouth are but small, the remainder are much less than it, but greater than any of the three. Ephorus states that the Danube has five mouths. From hence to the Dniester, [Note] which is a navigable river, there are 900 stadia. [Note] In the district intervening there are two great lakes; one is open to the sea, and is used as a harbour, [Note] the other has no outlet.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.3.10 Str. 7.3.13 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.3.17

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