Ancient Romania was inhabited by Thracian tribes. The Greeks called lliem the Getae, the Romans called them Dacians, but they were actually it single Geto-Dacian people. Their principal religion was the cult of /.almoxis; when people died, they went to him. The Geto-Dacians lommunicated with their god through meditation, ritual sacrifice and ■.Illuming bodily desires.

From the 7th century BC the Greeks established trading colonies along the Black Sea at Callatis (Mangalia, p211), Tomis (Constanta, |)200) and Histria (p215). In the 1st century BC, a strong Dacian state was established by King Burebista to counter the Roman threat. The last Dacian king, Decebal (r AD 87-106), consolidated this state but was unable to stave off attacks led by the Roman emperor Trajan in 101-02. Further attacks ensued in 105-06, leading to the Roman victory at the Dacian capital of Sarmizegetusa and the final Roman conquest of the region. Dacia thus became a province of the Roman Empire.

The Romans recorded their expansion north of the Danube (most of present Romania, including the Transylvanian plateau, came under their rule) on two famous monuments: Trajan's Column in Rome, and the 'Tropaeum Trajani' at Adamclisi (p214), on the site of their victory in Dobrogea. The slave-owning Romans brought with them a superior civilisation and mixed with the conquered tribes to form a Daco-Roman people speaking Latin.

Faced with Goth attacks in AD 271, Emperor Aurelian (r 270-75) decided to withdraw the Roman legions south of the Danube, meaning I hat Rome governed the region for under 175 years. Romanised peasants remained in Dacia and mixed with the locals; hence the Roman heritage of contemporary Romanians.

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