Refusal to be Romanized?: Identity and Romanization at Sarmizegetusa, Dacia

by Shannon Marie Ells

Institution: University of Arizona
Year: 2016
Keywords: Dacia; Romanization; Classics; Archaeology
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2104883
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10150/620700


In recent years, archaeologists have proven that Roman provinces such as Gaul successfully underwent the process of Romanization, where the archaeological evidence showed that native populations culturally assimilated to Roman life. Likewise, Romans accepted local populations into Roman life and oftentimes syncretized aspects of their own culture with that of the locals. This process was usually stimulated by the creation of Roman cities throughout the province from which Roman culture emanated. However, Dacia's capital city, Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa, which was founded in 106 CE under Trajan after the Second Dacian War (105-6 CE), doesn't exhibit these qualities of Romanization. The material culture, including architecture, ceramics, inscriptions on stelae, and other artifacts, expresses a purely Roman aesthetic in terms of style and construction. The evidence suggests that native Dacians were not successfully Romanized, either because of a conscious rejection of Roman life or a refusal by the Romans to successfully incorporate the locals into the new Roman province. Due to the violence of the two Dacian Wars and the speed with which Rome begins to colonize the province, I suggest that both scenarios are possible for why Romanization failed in Dacia and if Romanization did occur, it didn't emanate from the capital city but from rural settlements closer to the limes, many of which have not yet been excavated extensively. Advisors/Committee Members: Romano, David G (advisor), Soren, David (committeemember).