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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter VII - The Subjugation of the West


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Page 146

The New Dacian Kingdom

Such attacks could not indeed endanger the power of Rome, and a fresh disgrace had long ago ceased to occasion concern. But just about this period a people began to acquire political consolidation beyond the Danube in the wide Dacian steppes--a people which seemed destined to play a different part in history from that of the Bessi and the Dentheletae. Among the Getae or Dacians in primeval times there had been associated with the king of the people a holy man called Zalmoxis, who, after having explored the ways and wonders of the gods in distant travel in foreign lands, and having thoroughly studied in particular the wisdom of the Egyptian priests and of the Greek Pythagoreans, had returned to his native country to endhis life as a pious hermit in a cavern of the "holy mountain." He remained accessible only to the king and his servants, and gave forth to the king and through him to the people his oracles with reference to every important undertaking.

He was regarded by his countrymen at first as priest of the supreme god and ultimately as himself a god, just as it is said of Moses and Aaron that the Lord had made Aaron the prophet and Moses the god of the prophet. This had become a permanent institution; there was regularly associated with the king of the Getae such a god, from whose mouth everything which the king ordered proceeded or appeared to proceed. This peculiar constitution, in which the theocratic idea had become subservient to the apparently absolute power of the king, probably gave to the kings of the Getae some such position with respect to their subjects as the caliphs had with respect to the Arabs; and one result of it was the marvellous religious-political reform of the nation, which was carried out about this time by the king of the Getae, Burebistas, and the god Dekaeneos.

The people, which had morally and politically fallen into utter decay through unexampled drunkenness, was as it were metamorphosed by the new gospel of temperance and valour; with his bands under the influence, so to speak, of puritanic discipline and enthusiasm king Burebistas founded within a few years a mighty kingdom, which extended along both banks of the Danube and reached southward far into Thrace, Illyria, and Noricum. No direct contact with the Romans had yet taken place, and no one could tell what might come out of this singular state, which reminds us of the early times of Islam; but this much it needed no prophetic gift to foretell, that proconsuls like Antonius and Piso were not called to contend with gods.

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