Bastarnae

Bastarnae

Overview
The Bastarnae or Basternae were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian
Carpathian
Carpathian may refer to:*Carpathian Mountains of Central and Eastern Europe*Carpathian Convention on sustainable development in that region*Carpathian Shepherd Dog, a Romanian sheep dog*Subcarpathian Voivodeship, an administrative division of Poland...

 mountains and the Dnieper river (corresponding to the modern Republic of Moldova and western part of southern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

). A branch of the Bastarnae, called the Peucini by Greco-Roman writers, occupied the region north of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 river delta.

Although possibly Celtic-speaking in 179 BC, the Bastarnae probably were Germanic in language and culture during the 1st century AD, but appear to have become assimilated by their neighbouring Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 by the 3rd century.
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Encyclopedia
The Bastarnae or Basternae were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian
Carpathian
Carpathian may refer to:*Carpathian Mountains of Central and Eastern Europe*Carpathian Convention on sustainable development in that region*Carpathian Shepherd Dog, a Romanian sheep dog*Subcarpathian Voivodeship, an administrative division of Poland...

 mountains and the Dnieper river (corresponding to the modern Republic of Moldova and western part of southern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

). A branch of the Bastarnae, called the Peucini by Greco-Roman writers, occupied the region north of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 river delta.

Although possibly Celtic-speaking in 179 BC, the Bastarnae probably were Germanic in language and culture during the 1st century AD, but appear to have become assimilated by their neighbouring Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 by the 3rd century. Like the latter, they were probably semi-nomadic. It has not yet been possible to identify specific Bastarnae archaeological sites.

The Peucini branch of the Bastarnae first came into conflict with the Romans in the 1st century BC, when they resisted, ultimately unsuccessfully, Roman expansion into Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, the region on the southern bank of the Danube. Although probably on friendly terms with the Romans in the early 1st century, there is little evidence of the Peucini until ca. 180, when they are recorded as participating in an invasion of Roman territory in alliance with Sarmatian and Dacian elements. In the mid 3rd century, the Bastarnae were part of a Gothic-led grand coalition of lower Danube tribes which inflicted immense damage on the Balkan provinces of the Roman empire in a series of massive invasions. Large numbers of Bastarnae were resettled within the empire in the late 3rd century.

Name etymology


The origin of the tribal name is uncertain. One possible derivation is from the proto-Germanic word *bastjan (from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root word *bhas) means "binding" or "tie". In this case, Bastarnae may have had the original meaning of an alliance or bund of tribes. It is possible that the Roman term basterna
Basterna
A basterna was a kind of vehicle, or litter, in which Ancient Roman women were carried. It appears to have resembled the lectica; and the only difference apparently was, that the lectica was carried on the shoulders of slaves, and the basterna by two mules, according to Isaac Casaubon. Several...

, denoting a type of wagon or litter, is derived from the name of this tribe, which was known, like many Germanic tribes, to travel with a wagon-train for their families. Trubačev proposes a derivation from Old Persian, Avestan bast- "bound, tied; slave" (cf. Ossetic bættən "bind", bast "bound") and Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 *arna- "offspring", equating it with the δουλόσποροι "slave Sporoi" mentioned by Nonnus
Nonnus
Nonnus of Panopolis , was a Greek epic poet. He was a native of Panopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid, and probably lived at the end of the 4th or early 5th century....

 and Cosmas, where Sporoi
Early Slavs
The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

 is the people Procopius
Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

 mentions as the ancestors of the Slavs.

Ethno-linguistic affiliation


The Roman historian Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, writing in ca. AD 10, may imply that the Bastarnae were of Celtic origin. Relating events of ca. 180 BC, he describes them then as "similar in language and customs" to the Scordisci
Scordisci
The Scordisci were an Iron Age tribe centered in the territory of present-day Serbia, at the confluence of the Savus , Dravus and Danube rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era...

, a tribe of Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

 described as Celtic by Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (although he adds that they had mingled with Illyrians and Thracians). Livy also names their king, Cotto. This name is possibly of Celtic derivation (cf. Cottius
Cottius
Marcus Julius Cottius was king of the Ligurian tribes inhabiting the mountainous region now known as the Cottian Alps early in the 1st century BC He was the son and successor of King Donnus, who had previously opposed but later made peace with Julius Caesar...

, king of the Alpine Salassi
Salassi
The Salassi were an Alpine tribe whose lands lay on the Italian side of the Little St Bernard Pass across the Graian Alps to Lyons, and the Great St Bernard Pass over the Pennine Alps...

 tribe and friend of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, after whom were named the Alpes Cottiae
Alpes Cottiae
Alpes Cottiae was a province of the Roman Empire, one of three small provinces straddling the Alps between modern France and Italy. Its name survives in the modern Cottian Alps. In antiquity, the province's most important duty was the safeguarding of communications over the Alpine passes...

 Roman province and the Cotini
Cotini
Cotini was a Celtic tribe most probably living in today's Slovakia, and in Moravia and southern Poland. They were probably identical or constituted a significant part of the archaeological Púchov culture, with the center in Havránok.The tribe was first time mentioned in 10 BC in the Elogium of...

 Celtic tribe of the northern Carpathians. Both probably derived from cotto- = "old" or "crooked"). It is possible that the Bastarnae were originally a mixed Celto-Germanic group. If so, they may have originally comprised residual Celtic elements in central eastern Europe such as the Cotini, who formed a Celtic enclave in the Germanic-speaking zone and are described by Tacitus as iron-ore miners working as tributaries of the powerful Quadi
Quadi
The Quadi were a smaller Germanic tribe, about which little is definitively known. We only know the Germanic tribe the Romans called the 'Quadi' through reports of the Romans themselves...

 Germanic people. The Romans often used "German" as a geographical rather than ethnic classification.

In any case, other Greco-Roman writers of the 1st century AD are unanimous that the Bastarnae were, in their own time, Germanic in language and culture. The Greek geographer Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, writing ca. AD 5-20, says the Bastarnae are "of Germanic stock", although he includes the non-Germanic Roxolani, a Sarmatian tribe, among the sub-tribes of the Bastarnae (probably in error). The Roman geographer Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 (ca. AD 77), refers to "Bastarnae and other Germans". The Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 (ca. AD 100), states: "The Peucini, however, who are sometimes called Bastarnae, are like Germans in their language, way of life and types of dwelling and live in similar squalor and indolence...[However] mixed marriages are giving them to some extent the vile appearance of the Sarmatians."

In the 3rd century, however, the Greek historian Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 states that the "Bastarnae are properly classed as Scythians" and "members of the Scythian race". Likewise, the 6th century historian Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

, reporting events around AD 280, refers to "the Bastarnae, a Scythian people". It is possible that the miscegenation mentioned by Tacitus had, by the 3rd century, resulted in the Bastarnae becoming assimilated by the Sarmatians, perhaps adopting their tongue (which belonged to the Iranic group of Indo-European languages) and/or Sarmatian customs. On the other hand, the Bastarnae maintained a separate name-identity into the late 3rd century AD, possibly implying retention of their Germanic cultural heritage, distinctive in the lower Danube, until the arrival of the Goths.

Ultimately, the question remains an open one. The Basternae could indeed have spoken a form of Indo-European which became extinct or developed into something new. Shchukin states that rather than trying to label them Celtic, Germanic or Sarmatian, the "Basternae were the Basternae".

Territory



It is generally assumed by scholars that the Bastarnae's original home was around the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 river (central Poland) and that they migrated south-eastwards to the Black Sea region around 200 BC (as, 400 years later, did the Gothic ethnos).

Strabo describes the Bastarnae territory vaguely as "between the Ister (river Danube) and the Borysthenes (river Dnieper)". He identifies three sub-tribes of the Bastarnae: the Atmoni, Sidoni and Peucini. The latter derived their name from Peuce, a large island in the Danube delta which they had colonised. The 2nd century geographer Ptolemy states that the Carpiani or Carpi (believed to have occupied Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

) separated the Peucini from the other Bastarnae "above Dacia". The consensus among modern scholars is that the Bastarnae were, in the 2nd century, divided into two main groups. The larger group inhabited the north-eastern slopes of the Carpathians and the area between the Prut
Prut
The Prut is a long river in Eastern Europe. In part of its course it forms the border between Romania and Moldova.-Overview:...

 and Dnieper rivers (Moldova Republic/Western Ukraine), while a separate smaller group (the Peucini) dwelt in and North of the Danube delta region. Only the Peucini, therefore, were situated on the extreme northern border of the Roman province of Moesia Inferior, which ran along the southernmost branch of the Danube delta.

Material culture



It is uncertain whether the Bastarnae were sedentary or nomadic (or semi-nomadic). Tacitus' statement that they were "German in their way of life and types of dwelling" implies a sedentary bias, but their close relations with the Sarmatians, who were nomadic, may indicate a more nomadic lifestyle, as does the wide geographical range of their attested inhabitation.

Traditional archaeology has not been able to unequivocally match individual archaeological sites as belonging to the Bastarnae, whilst "new" archaeology has moved away from trying to ascribe material remains to distinct "ethnic" groupings. Nevertheless, two closely related cultures are possible candidate regions as they broadly correspond to where sources placed the Basternae: the Zarubintsy culture
Zarubintsy culture
The Zarubintsy culture was a culture that from the 3rd century BC until 1st century AD flourished in the area north of the Black Sea along the upper and middle Dnieper and Pripyat Rivers, stretching west towards the Southern Bug river. Zarubintsy sites were particularly dense between the Rivers...

 lying in the forest-steppe zone in northern Ukraine-southern Belarus, and the Poienesti-Lukashevka culture in northern Moldavia. These cultures show a variety of influences: Pomeranian, Milogrady, Scythian and Getic, with La Tene and Roman Danubian influences evident at their maturity; making them more "Central European" in outlook (i.e. similar to the Przeworsk culture) rather than of the "forest-Venedic" or Carpic-Dacian types.

During the mid first century AD, the Zarubintsy and Lukashevka cultures came to an end in their true form, possibly due to Sarmatian invasions and perturbations of central European trade due to Caesar's invasion of Gaul (the 'heart' of the La Tene culture). The area inhabited by the Zarubintsy culture had no settlements after c. 100 AD. However, certain Zarubintsy elements remained, found scattered throughout neighbouring aras of eastern Europe. In the upper Dniester, where the Basternae are described to have inhabited, post-Zarubintsy, Przeworsk and Sarmatian elements formed the Zvenigrod group, which also has some analogies with the "Dacian" Lipitsa culture.

The cultures represent relatively large -scale socio-economic interactions between disperate communities of the broad region, possibly including mutually antagonistic groups.

Starting in about AD 200, the Chernyakhov culture became established in the W. Ukraine/Moldova region inhabited by the Bastarnae. The culture is characterised by a high degree of sophistication in the production of metal and ceramic artefacts, as well as of uniformity over a vast area. Although this culture has conventionally been identified with the migration of the Gothic ethnos into the region from the Northwest, Todd argues that its most important origin is Scytho-Sarmatian. Although the Goths certainly contributed to it, so probably did other peoples of the region such as the Dacians, proto-Slavs
Early Slavs
The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

, Carpi
Carpi (people)
The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided, between not later than ca. AD 140 and until at least AD 318, in the former Principality of Moldavia ....

, and possibly the Bastarnae.

Allies of Philip of Macedon (179-8 BC)



The Bastarnae first appear in the historical record in 179 BC, when they crossed the Danube in massive force (probably ca. 60,000 men, both cavalry and infantry, plus a wagon-train of accompanying women and children). They did so at the invitation of their long-time ally, king Philip V of Macedon
Philip V of Macedon
Philip V was King of Macedon from 221 BC to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man...

, a direct descendant of Antigonus
Antigonus
Antigonus, a Greek name meaning "comparable to his father" or "worthy of his father", may refer to:* Three Macedonian kings of the Antigonid dynasty that succeeded Alexander the Great in Asia:** Antigonus I Monophthalmus...

, one of the Diadochi
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

, the generals of Alexander the Great who had shared out his empire after his death in 323 BC. The Macedonian king had suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Romans in the Second Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
The Second Macedonian War was fought between Macedon, led by Philip V of Macedon, and Rome, allied with Pergamon and Rhodes. The result was the defeat of Philip who was forced to abandon all his possessions in Greece...

 (200-197 BC), which had reduced him from a powerful Hellenistic monarch to the status of a petty client-king with a much-reduced territory and a tiny army. After nearly 20 years of slavish adherence to the Roman Senate's dictats, Philip had been goaded beyond endurance by the incessant and devastating raiding of the Dardani
Dardani
Dardania was the region of the Dardani .Located at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone, their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe is uncertain. Their territory itself was not considered part of Illyria by Strabo. The term used for their territory was , while for other tribes had...

, a warlike Thraco-Illyrian tribe on his northern border, which his treaty-limited army was too small to counter effectively. Counting on the Bastarnae, with whom he had forged friendly relations in earlier times, he plotted a strategy to deal with the Dardani and then to regain his lost territories in Greece and his political independence. First, he would unleash the Bastarnae against the Dardani. After the latter had been crushed, Philip planned to settle Bastarnae families in Dardania (southern Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

/Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 region), to ensure that the region was permanently subdued. In a second phase, Philip aimed to launch the Bastarnae on an invasion of Italy via the Adriatic coast. Although he was aware that the Bastarnae were hardly likely to achieve the same success as Hannibal some 40 years earlier, and would most likely end up cut to pieces by the Romans, Philip hoped that the Romans would be distracted long enough to allow him to reoccupy his former possessions in Greece.

But Philip, now 60 years of age, died before the Bastarnae could arrive. The Bastarnae host was still en route through Thrace, where it became embroiled in hostilities with the locals, who were unable (or unwilling) to provide them with sufficient food at affordable prices as they marched through. Probably in the vicinity of Philippopolis
Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia with a population of 338,153 inhabitants according to Census 2011. Plovdiv's history spans some 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC; it is one of the oldest cities in Europe...

 (modern Plovdiv, Bulgaria), the Bastarnae broke out of their marching columns and pillaged the land far and wide. The terrified local Thracians took refuge with their families and animal herds on the slopes of Mons Donuca, the highest mountain in Thrace (Mt. Musala
Musala
Musala is the highest peak in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula, standing at 2,925 m . The summit of the Rila mountain in southwestern Bulgaria, Musala is the highest peak between the Alps and the Caucasus and the highest in Eastern Europe bar the Caucasus.Between 1949–1962 the peak was...

, Rila Mts., Bulgaria). A large force of Bastarnae chased them up the mountain, but were driven back and scattered by a massive hailstorm. Then the Thracians ambushed them, turning their descent into a panic-stricken rout. Back at their wagon-laager in the plain, around half the demoralised Bastarnae decided to return home, leaving ca. 30,000 to press on to Macedonia.

Philip's son and successor Perseus
Perseus of Macedon
Perseus was the last king of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great...

, while protesting his loyalty to Rome, deployed his Bastarnae guests in winter quarters in a valley in Dardania, presumably as a prelude to a campaign against the Dardani the following summer. But in the depths of winter their camp was attacked by the Dardani. The Bastarnae easily beat off the attackers, chased them back to their chief town, and besieged them. But they were surprised in the rear by a second force of Dardani which had approached their camp stealthily by mountain paths and proceeded to storm and ransack it. Having lost their entire baggage and supplies, the Bastarnae were obliged to withdraw from Dardania and to return home. Most perished as they crossed the frozen Danube on foot, only for the ice to give way. Despite the failure of Philip's Bastarnae strategy, the suspicion aroused by these events in the Roman Senate, which had been warned by the Dardani of the Bastarnae invasion, ensured the demise of Macedonia as an independent state. Rome declared war on Perseus in 171 BC and after the Macedonian army was crushed at the Battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna
The Battle of Pydna in 168 BC between Rome and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty saw the further ascendancy of Rome in the Hellenic/Hellenistic world and the end of the Antigonid line of kings, whose power traced back to Alexander the Great.Paul K...

 (168 BC), Macedonia was split up into 4 Roman puppet-cantons (167 BC). 21 years later, these were in turn abolished and annexed to the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 as the province of Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

 (146 BC).

Allies of Getan high king Burebista (62 BC)




The Bastarnae first came into direct conflict with Rome as a result of expansion into the lower Danube region by the proconsuls (governors) of Macedonia in the period 75-72 BC. Gaius Scribonius Curio
Gaius Scribonius Curio
Gaius Scribonius Curio was the name of a father and son who lived in the late Roman Republic.-Father:Gaius Scribonius Curio was a Roman statesman and orator. He was nicknamed Burbulieus for the way he moved his body while speaking...

 (proconsul 75-3 BC) campaigned successfully against the Dardani and the Moesi
Moesi
The Moesi were a Daco-Thracian tribe who inhabited present day Serbia and Bulgaria, part of the then Roman province of Moesia, which was named after them in 87 AD by the Romans after the Romans under Crassus defeated them in the 29 BC.- History :...

, becoming the first Roman general to reach the river Danube with his army. His successor, Marcus Licinius Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus , younger brother of the more famous Lucius Licinius Lucullus, was a supporter of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and consul of ancient Rome in 73 BC. As proconsul of Macedonia in 72 BC, he defeated the Bessi in Thrace and advanced to the Danube and the west coast of the...

 (brother of the famous Lucius Lucullus
Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

), campaigned against the Thracian Bessi
Bessi
The Bessi were an independent Thracian tribe who lived in a territory ranging from Moesia to Mount Rhodope in southern Thrace, but are often mentioned as dwelling about Haemus, the mountain range that separates Moesia from Thrace and from Mount Rhodope to the northern part of Hebrus...

 tribe and the Moesi, ravaging the whole of Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, the region between the Haemus (Balkan) mountain range and the Danube. In 72 BC, his troops occupied the Greek coastal cities of Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor, "Lesser Scythia" was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to today's Dobruja, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria....

 (modern Dobruja
Dobruja
Dobruja is a historical region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast...

 region, Romania/Bulgaria), which had sided with Rome's Hellenistic arch-enemy, king Mithridates VI of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, in the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

 (73-63 BC).

The presence of Roman forces in the Danube delta was seen as a major threat by all the neighbouring transdanubian peoples: the Peucini Bastarnae, the Sarmatians and, most importantly, by Burebista
Burebista
Burebista was a king of the Getae and Dacians, who unified for the first time their tribes and ruled them between 82 BC and 44 BC. He led plunder and conquest raids across Central and Southeastern Europe, subjugating most of the neighbouring tribes...

 (ruled 82-44 BC), king of the Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

. The Getae occupied the region today called Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 as well as Scythia Minor and were either a Dacian
Dacian language
The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...

- or Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

- speaking people. Burebista had unified the Getan tribes into a single kingdom, for which the Greek cities were vital trade outlets. In addition, he had established his hegemony over neighbouring Sarmatian and Bastarnae tribes. At its peak, the Getan kingdom reportedly was able to muster 200,000 warriors. Burebista led his transdanubian coalition in a struggle against Roman encroachment, conducting many raids against Roman allies in Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 and Thrace, penetrating as far as Macedonia and Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

.

The coalition's main chance came in 62 BC, when the Greek cities rebelled against Roman rule. In 61 BC, the notoriously oppressive and militarily incompetent proconsul of Macedonia, Gaius Antonius
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony....

, nicknamed Hybrida ("The Monster", an uncle of the famous Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

) led an army against the Greek cities. As his army approached Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

, Antonius detached his entire mounted force from the marching column and led it away on a lengthy excursion, leaving his infantry without cavalry cover, a tactic he had already used with disastrous results against the Dardani. Dio implies that he did so out of cowardice, in order to avoid the imminent clash with the opposition. But it is more likely that he was pursuing a large enemy cavalry force, probably Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

, which was possibly acting as a decoy. A Bastarnae host, which had crossed the Danube to assist the Histrians, promptly attacked, surrounded and massacred the Roman infantry, capturing several of their vexilla
Vexillum
The vexillum was a flag-like object used in the Classical Era of the Roman Empire. The word is itself a diminutive for the Latin word, velum, sail, which confirms the historical evidence that vexilla were literally "little sails" i.e. flag-like standards...

(military standards). This battle resulted in the collapse of the Roman position on the lower Danube. Burebista annexed the Greek cities (55-48 BC). At the same time, the subjugated "allied" tribes of Moesia and Thrace evidently repudiated their treaties with Rome, as they had to be re-conquered by Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 in 29-8 BC (see below).

For 44 BC, Roman dictator-for-life
Dictator perpetuus
Dictator perpetuo , also called dictator in perpetuum or incorrectly dictator perpetuus, was the office held by Julius Caesar from 26 January or 15 February of the year 44 BCE until his death on 15 March...

 Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 planned to lead a major campaign to crush Burebista and his allies once and for all, but he was assassinated before it could start. However, the campaign was made redundant by Burebista's overthrow and death in the same year, after which his Getan empire fragmented into 4, later 5 independent petty kingdoms. These were militarily far weaker, as Strabo assessed their combined military potential at just 40,000 armed men, and were often involved in internecine warfare. The Geto-Dacians did not again become a threat to Roman hegemony in the lower Danube until the rise of Decebal 130 years later (AD 86).

Augustan era (30 BC - AD 14)


Once he had established himself as sole ruler of the Roman state in 30 BC, Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 inaugurated a strategy of advancing the empire's southeastern European border to the line of the Danube from the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, the Dinaric Alps
Dinaric Alps
The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides form a mountain chain in Southern Europe, spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro....

 and Macedonia. The primary objective was to increase strategic depth between the border and Italy and also to provide a major fluvial supply-route between the Roman armies in the region. On the lower Danube, which was given priority over the upper Danube, this required the annexation of Moesia and Thrace; the latter, however, was spared annexation as it was in the hands of a friendly king. The Romans' target were thus the tribes which inhabited Moesia, namely (from West to East) the Triballi
Triballi
The Triballi were an ancient tribe whose dominion was around the plains of southern modern Serbia and west Bulgaria, at the Angrus and Brongus and the Iskur River, roughly centered where Serbia and Bulgaria are joined....

, Moesi and those Getae who dwelt South of the Danube. The Bastarnae were also a target because they had recently subjugated the Triballi, whose territory lay on the southern bank of the Danube between the tributary rivers Utus (Vit
Vit
The Vit also Vid is a river in central northern Bulgaria with a length of 18 km. It is a tributary of Danube. The source of the Vit is in Stara Planina, below Vezhen Peak at an altitude of 2,030 m, and it empties into the Danube close to Somovit...

) and Ciabrus (Tsibritsa
Tsibritsa
The Tsibritsa is a river in the western Danubian Plain of northern Bulgaria and a right tributary of the Danube. The river originates in the Shiroka Planina area of the Fore-Balkan Mountains near the Serbian border and flows in a northeast direction diagonally through Montana Province...

), with their chief town at Oescus
Oescus
Oescus, or Palatiolon Palatiolum, was an ancient town in Moesia, northwest of the modern Bulgarian city of Pleven, near the village of Gigen. It is a Daco-Moesian toponym. Ptolemy calls it a Triballian town, but it later became Roman...

 (Gigen, Bulgaria). In addition, Augustus wanted to avenge the defeat of C. Antonius
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony....

 at Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

 32 years before and to recover the lost standards. These were held in a powerful fortress called Genucla (Isaccea, near modern Tulcea, Rom., in the Danube delta region), controlled by Zyraxes
Zyraxes
Zyraxes was a Getae king who ruled north Dobruja in the 1st century BC. He was mentioned in relation with the campaigns of Licinius Crassus. His capital, Genucla was besieged by the Romans in 28 BC, but he managed to escape and flee to his Scythian allies....

, the local Getan petty king. The man selected for the task was Marcus Licinius Crassus, grandson of Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who commanded the right wing of Sulla's army at the Battle of the Colline Gate, suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus, provided political and financial support to Julius Caesar and entered into the political alliance known as the...

 the triumvir and an experienced general at 33 years of age, who was appointed proconsul of Macedonia in 29 BC.

The Bastarnae provided the casus belli by crossing the Haemus and attacking the Dentheletae, a Thracian tribe who were Roman allies. Crassus marched to the Dentheletae's assistance, but the Bastarnae host hastily withdrew over the Haemus at his approach. Crassus followed them closely into Moesia but they would not be drawn into battle, withdrawing beyond the Tsibritsa. Crassus now turned his attention to the Moesi, his prime target. After a successful campaign which resulted in the submission of a substantial section of the Moesi, Crassus again sought out the Bastarnae. Discovering their location from some peace envoys they had sent to him, he lured them into battle near the Tsibritsa by a stratagem. Hiding his main body of troops in a wood, he stationed as bait a smaller vanguard in open ground before the wood. As expected, the Bastarnae attacked the vanguard in force, only to find themselves entangled in the full-scale pitched battle with the Romans that they had tried to avoid. The Bastarnae tried to retreat into the forest but were hampered by the wagon-train carrying their women and children, as these could not move through the trees. Trapped into fighting to save their families, the Bastarnae were routed. Crassus personally killed their king, Deldo, in combat, a feat which qualified him for Rome's highest military honour, spolia opima
Spolia opima
Spolia opima refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat...

, but Augustus refused to award it on a technicality.
{{Primary sources|article|date=October 2011}}
The Bastarnae or Basternae ({{lang-grc|Βαστάρναι or Βαστέρναι}}) were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian
Carpathian
Carpathian may refer to:*Carpathian Mountains of Central and Eastern Europe*Carpathian Convention on sustainable development in that region*Carpathian Shepherd Dog, a Romanian sheep dog*Subcarpathian Voivodeship, an administrative division of Poland...

 mountains and the Dnieper river (corresponding to the modern Republic of Moldova and western part of southern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

). A branch of the Bastarnae, called the Peucini by Greco-Roman writers, occupied the region north of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 river delta.

Although possibly Celtic-speaking in 179 BC, the Bastarnae probably were Germanic in language and culture during the 1st century AD, but appear to have become assimilated by their neighbouring Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 by the 3rd century.{{or|date=October 2011}} Like the latter, they were probably semi-nomadic.{{or|date=October 2011}} It has not yet been possible to identify specific Bastarnae archaeological sites.

The Peucini branch of the Bastarnae first came into conflict with the Romans in the 1st century BC, when they resisted, ultimately unsuccessfully, Roman expansion into Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, the region on the southern bank of the Danube. Although probably on friendly terms with the Romans in the early 1st century, there is little evidence of the Peucini until ca. 180, when they are recorded as participating in an invasion of Roman territory in alliance with Sarmatian and Dacian elements. In the mid 3rd century, the Bastarnae were part of a Gothic-led grand coalition of lower Danube tribes which inflicted immense damage on the Balkan provinces of the Roman empire in a series of massive invasions. Large numbers of Bastarnae were resettled within the empire in the late 3rd century.

Name etymology


The origin of the tribal name is uncertain. One possible derivation is from the proto-Germanic word *bastjan (from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root word *bhas) means "binding" or "tie". In this case, Bastarnae may have had the original meaning of an alliance or bund of tribes. It is possible that the Roman term basterna
Basterna
A basterna was a kind of vehicle, or litter, in which Ancient Roman women were carried. It appears to have resembled the lectica; and the only difference apparently was, that the lectica was carried on the shoulders of slaves, and the basterna by two mules, according to Isaac Casaubon. Several...

, denoting a type of wagon or litter, is derived from the name of this tribe, which was known, like many Germanic tribes, to travel with a wagon-train for their families. Trubačev proposes a derivation from Old Persian, Avestan bast- "bound, tied; slave" (cf. Ossetic bættən "bind", bast "bound") and Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 *arna- "offspring", equating it with the δουλόσποροι "slave Sporoi" mentioned by Nonnus
Nonnus
Nonnus of Panopolis , was a Greek epic poet. He was a native of Panopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid, and probably lived at the end of the 4th or early 5th century....

 and Cosmas, where Sporoi
Early Slavs
The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

 is the people Procopius
Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

 mentions as the ancestors of the Slavs.

Ethno-linguistic affiliation


The Roman historian Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, writing in ca. AD 10, may imply that the Bastarnae were of Celtic origin. Relating events of ca. 180 BC, he describes them then as "similar in language and customs" to the Scordisci
Scordisci
The Scordisci were an Iron Age tribe centered in the territory of present-day Serbia, at the confluence of the Savus , Dravus and Danube rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era...

, a tribe of Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

 described as Celtic by Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (although he adds that they had mingled with Illyrians and Thracians). Livy also names their king, Cotto. This name is possibly of Celtic derivation (cf. Cottius
Cottius
Marcus Julius Cottius was king of the Ligurian tribes inhabiting the mountainous region now known as the Cottian Alps early in the 1st century BC He was the son and successor of King Donnus, who had previously opposed but later made peace with Julius Caesar...

, king of the Alpine Salassi
Salassi
The Salassi were an Alpine tribe whose lands lay on the Italian side of the Little St Bernard Pass across the Graian Alps to Lyons, and the Great St Bernard Pass over the Pennine Alps...

 tribe and friend of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, after whom were named the Alpes Cottiae
Alpes Cottiae
Alpes Cottiae was a province of the Roman Empire, one of three small provinces straddling the Alps between modern France and Italy. Its name survives in the modern Cottian Alps. In antiquity, the province's most important duty was the safeguarding of communications over the Alpine passes...

 Roman province and the Cotini
Cotini
Cotini was a Celtic tribe most probably living in today's Slovakia, and in Moravia and southern Poland. They were probably identical or constituted a significant part of the archaeological Púchov culture, with the center in Havránok.The tribe was first time mentioned in 10 BC in the Elogium of...

 Celtic tribe of the northern Carpathians. Both probably derived from cotto- = "old" or "crooked"). It is possible that the Bastarnae were originally a mixed Celto-Germanic group. If so, they may have originally comprised residual Celtic elements in central eastern Europe such as the Cotini, who formed a Celtic enclave in the Germanic-speaking zone and are described by Tacitus as iron-ore miners working as tributaries of the powerful Quadi
Quadi
The Quadi were a smaller Germanic tribe, about which little is definitively known. We only know the Germanic tribe the Romans called the 'Quadi' through reports of the Romans themselves...

 Germanic people. The Romans often used "German" as a geographical rather than ethnic classification.

In any case, other Greco-Roman writers of the 1st century AD are unanimous that the Bastarnae were, in their own time, Germanic in language and culture. The Greek geographer Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, writing ca. AD 5-20, says the Bastarnae are "of Germanic stock", although he includes the non-Germanic Roxolani, a Sarmatian tribe, among the sub-tribes of the Bastarnae (probably in error). The Roman geographer Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 (ca. AD 77), refers to "Bastarnae and other Germans". The Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 (ca. AD 100), states: "The Peucini, however, who are sometimes called Bastarnae, are like Germans in their language, way of life and types of dwelling and live in similar squalor and indolence...[However] mixed marriages are giving them to some extent the vile appearance of the Sarmatians."

In the 3rd century, however, the Greek historian Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 states that the "Bastarnae are properly classed as Scythians" and "members of the Scythian race". Likewise, the 6th century historian Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

, reporting events around AD 280, refers to "the Bastarnae, a Scythian people". It is possible that the miscegenation mentioned by Tacitus had, by the 3rd century, resulted in the Bastarnae becoming assimilated by the Sarmatians, perhaps adopting their tongue (which belonged to the Iranic group of Indo-European languages) and/or Sarmatian customs. On the other hand, the Bastarnae maintained a separate name-identity into the late 3rd century AD, possibly implying retention of their Germanic cultural heritage, distinctive in the lower Danube, until the arrival of the Goths.

Ultimately, the question remains an open one. The Basternae could indeed have spoken a form of Indo-European which became extinct or developed into something new. Shchukin states that rather than trying to label them Celtic, Germanic or Sarmatian, the "Basternae were the Basternae".

Territory



It is generally assumed by scholars that the Bastarnae's original home was around the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 river (central Poland) and that they migrated south-eastwards to the Black Sea region around 200 BC (as, 400 years later, did the Gothic ethnos).

Strabo describes the Bastarnae territory vaguely as "between the Ister (river Danube) and the Borysthenes (river Dnieper)". He identifies three sub-tribes of the Bastarnae: the Atmoni, Sidoni and Peucini. The latter derived their name from Peuce, a large island in the Danube delta which they had colonised. {{refn|group=Note|name=cnotea|It is not possible to identify the exact location of this feature both because of the imprecision of ancient sources and the fact that the Danube delta configuration has changed greatly since ancient times, as well as expanding into the sea by ca. 20km. Peuce (from the classical Greek word for "pine") was also the name of a town, most likely on the island. Strabo states the Danube had 7 mouths, the southernmost of which was known as the Hieron Stoma or "Sacred Mouth". Peuce town lay 120 stadia (ca. 22km) upriver from the "Sacred Mouth". In other words, Peuce island was not a true island, but delta land delimited by river branches. Strabo's directions, allowing for the advance of the coastline, would place Peuce town near today's Mahmudia
Mahmudia
Mahmudia is a commune in Tulcea County, Romania. It is composed of a single village, Mahmudia. It included the villages of Beştepe, Băltenii de Jos and Băltenii de Sus until 2004, when these were split off to form Beştepe Commune....

 (Rom.), if the course of the southernmost branch of the Danube (called the Braţul Sfântu Gheorghe today) has not changed since ancient times.}} The 2nd century geographer Ptolemy states that the Carpiani or Carpi (believed to have occupied Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

) separated the Peucini from the other Bastarnae "above Dacia". The consensus among modern scholars is that the Bastarnae were, in the 2nd century, divided into two main groups. The larger group inhabited the north-eastern slopes of the Carpathians and the area between the Prut
Prut
The Prut is a long river in Eastern Europe. In part of its course it forms the border between Romania and Moldova.-Overview:...

 and Dnieper rivers (Moldova Republic/Western Ukraine), while a separate smaller group (the Peucini) dwelt in and North of the Danube delta region. Only the Peucini, therefore, were situated on the extreme northern border of the Roman province of Moesia Inferior, which ran along the southernmost branch of the Danube delta.

Material culture



It is uncertain whether the Bastarnae were sedentary or nomadic (or semi-nomadic). Tacitus' statement that they were "German in their way of life and types of dwelling" implies a sedentary bias, but their close relations with the Sarmatians, who were nomadic, may indicate a more nomadic lifestyle, as does the wide geographical range of their attested inhabitation.

Traditional archaeology has not been able to unequivocally match individual archaeological sites as belonging to the Bastarnae, whilst "new" archaeology has moved away from trying to ascribe material remains to distinct "ethnic" groupings. Nevertheless, two closely related cultures are possible candidate regions as they broadly correspond to where sources placed the Basternae: the Zarubintsy culture
Zarubintsy culture
The Zarubintsy culture was a culture that from the 3rd century BC until 1st century AD flourished in the area north of the Black Sea along the upper and middle Dnieper and Pripyat Rivers, stretching west towards the Southern Bug river. Zarubintsy sites were particularly dense between the Rivers...

 lying in the forest-steppe zone in northern Ukraine-southern Belarus, and the Poienesti-Lukashevka culture in northern Moldavia. These cultures show a variety of influences: Pomeranian, Milogrady, Scythian and Getic, with La Tene and Roman Danubian influences evident at their maturity; making them more "Central European" in outlook (i.e. similar to the Przeworsk culture) rather than of the "forest-Venedic" or Carpic-Dacian types.

During the mid first century AD, the Zarubintsy and Lukashevka cultures came to an end in their true form, possibly due to Sarmatian invasions and perturbations of central European trade due to Caesar's invasion of Gaul (the 'heart' of the La Tene culture). The area inhabited by the Zarubintsy culture had no settlements after c. 100 AD. However, certain Zarubintsy elements remained, found scattered throughout neighbouring aras of eastern Europe. In the upper Dniester, where the Basternae are described to have inhabited, post-Zarubintsy, Przeworsk and Sarmatian elements formed the Zvenigrod group, which also has some analogies with the "Dacian" Lipitsa culture.

The cultures represent relatively large -scale socio-economic interactions between disperate communities of the broad region, possibly including mutually antagonistic groups.

Starting in about AD 200, the Chernyakhov culture became established in the W. Ukraine/Moldova region inhabited by the Bastarnae. The culture is characterised by a high degree of sophistication in the production of metal and ceramic artefacts, as well as of uniformity over a vast area. Although this culture has conventionally been identified with the migration of the Gothic ethnos into the region from the Northwest, Todd argues that its most important origin is Scytho-Sarmatian. Although the Goths certainly contributed to it, so probably did other peoples of the region such as the Dacians, proto-Slavs
Early Slavs
The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

, Carpi
Carpi (people)
The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided, between not later than ca. AD 140 and until at least AD 318, in the former Principality of Moldavia ....

, and possibly the Bastarnae.

Allies of Philip of Macedon (179-8 BC)



The Bastarnae first appear in the historical record in 179 BC, when they crossed the Danube in massive force (probably ca. 60,000 men, both cavalry and infantry, plus a wagon-train of accompanying women and children). They did so at the invitation of their long-time ally, king Philip V of Macedon
Philip V of Macedon
Philip V was King of Macedon from 221 BC to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man...

, a direct descendant of Antigonus
Antigonus
Antigonus, a Greek name meaning "comparable to his father" or "worthy of his father", may refer to:* Three Macedonian kings of the Antigonid dynasty that succeeded Alexander the Great in Asia:** Antigonus I Monophthalmus...

{{Disambiguation needed|date=June 2011}}, one of the Diadochi
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

, the generals of Alexander the Great who had shared out his empire after his death in 323 BC. The Macedonian king had suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Romans in the Second Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
The Second Macedonian War was fought between Macedon, led by Philip V of Macedon, and Rome, allied with Pergamon and Rhodes. The result was the defeat of Philip who was forced to abandon all his possessions in Greece...

 (200-197 BC), which had reduced him from a powerful Hellenistic monarch to the status of a petty client-king with a much-reduced territory and a tiny army.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnoteb|The terms imposed on Philip V of Macedon in 196 BC were: (i) loss of all possessions outside Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ia proper (Philip had previously ruled extensive territories in Greece, Thrace and Asia Minor); (ii) standing army limited to 5,000 men and no elephants; (iii) navy limited to 5 warships plus royal galley; (iv) reparation payment of 1,000 talents (ca. 26 tonnes) of silver, equivalent then to ca. 4 tonnes of gold. (In antiquity, silver was far more valuable than today: the gold/silver value ratio was ca. 1:7, compared to ca. 1:100 today); (v) prohibited from waging war outside his borders without the Roman Senate's permission}} After nearly 20 years of slavish adherence to the Roman Senate's dictats, Philip had been goaded beyond endurance by the incessant and devastating raiding of the Dardani
Dardani
Dardania was the region of the Dardani .Located at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone, their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe is uncertain. Their territory itself was not considered part of Illyria by Strabo. The term used for their territory was , while for other tribes had...

, a warlike Thraco-Illyrian tribe on his northern border, which his treaty-limited army was too small to counter effectively. Counting on the Bastarnae, with whom he had forged friendly relations in earlier times, he plotted a strategy to deal with the Dardani and then to regain his lost territories in Greece and his political independence. First, he would unleash the Bastarnae against the Dardani. After the latter had been crushed, Philip planned to settle Bastarnae families in Dardania (southern Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

/Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 region), to ensure that the region was permanently subdued. In a second phase, Philip aimed to launch the Bastarnae on an invasion of Italy via the Adriatic coast. Although he was aware that the Bastarnae were hardly likely to achieve the same success as Hannibal some 40 years earlier, and would most likely end up cut to pieces by the Romans, Philip hoped that the Romans would be distracted long enough to allow him to reoccupy his former possessions in Greece.

But Philip, now 60 years of age, died before the Bastarnae could arrive. The Bastarnae host was still en route through Thrace, where it became embroiled in hostilities with the locals, who were unable (or unwilling) to provide them with sufficient food at affordable prices as they marched through. Probably in the vicinity of Philippopolis
Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia with a population of 338,153 inhabitants according to Census 2011. Plovdiv's history spans some 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC; it is one of the oldest cities in Europe...

 (modern Plovdiv, Bulgaria), the Bastarnae broke out of their marching columns and pillaged the land far and wide. The terrified local Thracians took refuge with their families and animal herds on the slopes of Mons Donuca, the highest mountain in Thrace (Mt. Musala
Musala
Musala is the highest peak in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula, standing at 2,925 m . The summit of the Rila mountain in southwestern Bulgaria, Musala is the highest peak between the Alps and the Caucasus and the highest in Eastern Europe bar the Caucasus.Between 1949–1962 the peak was...

, Rila Mts., Bulgaria). A large force of Bastarnae chased them up the mountain, but were driven back and scattered by a massive hailstorm. Then the Thracians ambushed them, turning their descent into a panic-stricken rout. Back at their wagon-laager in the plain, around half the demoralised Bastarnae decided to return home, leaving ca. 30,000 to press on to Macedonia.

Philip's son and successor Perseus
Perseus of Macedon
Perseus was the last king of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great...

, while protesting his loyalty to Rome, deployed his Bastarnae guests in winter quarters in a valley in Dardania, presumably as a prelude to a campaign against the Dardani the following summer. But in the depths of winter their camp was attacked by the Dardani. The Bastarnae easily beat off the attackers, chased them back to their chief town, and besieged them. But they were surprised in the rear by a second force of Dardani which had approached their camp stealthily by mountain paths and proceeded to storm and ransack it. Having lost their entire baggage and supplies, the Bastarnae were obliged to withdraw from Dardania and to return home. Most perished as they crossed the frozen Danube on foot, only for the ice to give way. Despite the failure of Philip's Bastarnae strategy, the suspicion aroused by these events in the Roman Senate, which had been warned by the Dardani of the Bastarnae invasion, ensured the demise of Macedonia as an independent state. Rome declared war on Perseus in 171 BC and after the Macedonian army was crushed at the Battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna
The Battle of Pydna in 168 BC between Rome and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty saw the further ascendancy of Rome in the Hellenic/Hellenistic world and the end of the Antigonid line of kings, whose power traced back to Alexander the Great.Paul K...

 (168 BC), Macedonia was split up into 4 Roman puppet-cantons (167 BC). 21 years later, these were in turn abolished and annexed to the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 as the province of Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

 (146 BC).

Allies of Getan high king Burebista (62 BC)




The Bastarnae first came into direct conflict with Rome as a result of expansion into the lower Danube region by the proconsuls (governors) of Macedonia in the period 75-72 BC. Gaius Scribonius Curio
Gaius Scribonius Curio
Gaius Scribonius Curio was the name of a father and son who lived in the late Roman Republic.-Father:Gaius Scribonius Curio was a Roman statesman and orator. He was nicknamed Burbulieus for the way he moved his body while speaking...

 (proconsul 75-3 BC) campaigned successfully against the Dardani and the Moesi
Moesi
The Moesi were a Daco-Thracian tribe who inhabited present day Serbia and Bulgaria, part of the then Roman province of Moesia, which was named after them in 87 AD by the Romans after the Romans under Crassus defeated them in the 29 BC.- History :...

, becoming the first Roman general to reach the river Danube with his army. His successor, Marcus Licinius Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus , younger brother of the more famous Lucius Licinius Lucullus, was a supporter of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and consul of ancient Rome in 73 BC. As proconsul of Macedonia in 72 BC, he defeated the Bessi in Thrace and advanced to the Danube and the west coast of the...

 (brother of the famous Lucius Lucullus
Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

), campaigned against the Thracian Bessi
Bessi
The Bessi were an independent Thracian tribe who lived in a territory ranging from Moesia to Mount Rhodope in southern Thrace, but are often mentioned as dwelling about Haemus, the mountain range that separates Moesia from Thrace and from Mount Rhodope to the northern part of Hebrus...

 tribe and the Moesi, ravaging the whole of Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, the region between the Haemus (Balkan) mountain range and the Danube. In 72 BC, his troops occupied the Greek coastal cities of Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor, "Lesser Scythia" was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to today's Dobruja, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria....

 (modern Dobruja
Dobruja
Dobruja is a historical region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast...

 region, Romania/Bulgaria),{{refn|group=Note|name=cnotec|The main ones were: Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

, Tomis
Constanta
Constanța is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region....

, Callatis, Apollonia
Sozopol
Sozopol is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for the Apollonia art and film festival that is named after one of the town's ancient names.The busiest times of the year...

 (Istria, Constanţa, Mangalia, Sozopol)}} which had sided with Rome's Hellenistic arch-enemy, king Mithridates VI of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, in the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

 (73-63 BC).

The presence of Roman forces in the Danube delta was seen as a major threat by all the neighbouring transdanubian peoples: the Peucini Bastarnae, the Sarmatians and, most importantly, by Burebista
Burebista
Burebista was a king of the Getae and Dacians, who unified for the first time their tribes and ruled them between 82 BC and 44 BC. He led plunder and conquest raids across Central and Southeastern Europe, subjugating most of the neighbouring tribes...

 (ruled 82-44 BC), king of the Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

. The Getae occupied the region today called Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 as well as Scythia Minor and were either a Dacian
Dacian language
The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...

- or Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

- speaking people.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnoted|There is controversy about whether the Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

 were Dacian or Thracian speakers and whether those two languages were similar. Strabo claims that the Getans were Thracians
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

. He adds that the Dacians
Dacians
The Dacians were an Indo-European people, very close or part of the Thracians. Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia...

 spoke the same language as the Getae. This gave rise to the hypothesis that Thracian and Dacian were essentially the same language (the Daco-Thracian theory). But the modern linguist Vladimir Georgiev
Vladimir I. Georgiev
Vladimir Ivanov Georgiev was a prominent Bulgarian linguist, philologist, and educational administrator. He made multiple contributions to the field of Thracology, including a linguistic interpretation of an inscription discovered at the village of Kyolmen in the Shoumen district of northeastern...

 disputes that Dacian and Thracian were closely related for various reasons, especially that Dacian and Moesian town names commonly end with the suffix -DAVA, while towns in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 proper generally end in -PARA. According to Georgiev, the language spoken by the Getae should be classified as "Daco-Moesian" and regarded as quite distinct from Thracian. Support for the Daco-Moesian theory can be found in Dio, who confirms that the Moesians and Getae on the south bank of the Danube were Dacians. But the scant evidence available for these two extinct languages does not permit any firm conclusions. For the dividing-line between the two placename forms, see the following map (lower map, scroll down): members.tripod.com}} Burebista had unified the Getan tribes into a single kingdom, for which the Greek cities were vital trade outlets. In addition, he had established his hegemony over neighbouring Sarmatian and Bastarnae tribes. At its peak, the Getan kingdom reportedly was able to muster 200,000 warriors. Burebista led his transdanubian coalition in a struggle against Roman encroachment, conducting many raids against Roman allies in Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 and Thrace, penetrating as far as Macedonia and Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

.

The coalition's main chance came in 62 BC, when the Greek cities rebelled against Roman rule. In 61 BC, the notoriously oppressive and militarily incompetent proconsul of Macedonia, Gaius Antonius
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony....

, nicknamed Hybrida ("The Monster", an uncle of the famous Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

) led an army against the Greek cities. As his army approached Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

, Antonius detached his entire mounted force from the marching column and led it away on a lengthy excursion, leaving his infantry without cavalry cover, a tactic he had already used with disastrous results against the Dardani. Dio implies that he did so out of cowardice, in order to avoid the imminent clash with the opposition. But it is more likely that he was pursuing a large enemy cavalry force, probably Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

, which was possibly acting as a decoy.{{or|date=October 2011}} A Bastarnae host, which had crossed the Danube to assist the Histrians, promptly attacked, surrounded and massacred the Roman infantry, capturing several of their vexilla
Vexillum
The vexillum was a flag-like object used in the Classical Era of the Roman Empire. The word is itself a diminutive for the Latin word, velum, sail, which confirms the historical evidence that vexilla were literally "little sails" i.e. flag-like standards...

(military standards). This battle resulted in the collapse of the Roman position on the lower Danube. Burebista annexed the Greek cities (55-48 BC). At the same time, the subjugated "allied" tribes of Moesia and Thrace evidently repudiated their treaties with Rome, as they had to be re-conquered by Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 in 29-8 BC (see below).

For 44 BC, Roman dictator-for-life
Dictator perpetuus
Dictator perpetuo , also called dictator in perpetuum or incorrectly dictator perpetuus, was the office held by Julius Caesar from 26 January or 15 February of the year 44 BCE until his death on 15 March...

 Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 planned to lead a major campaign to crush Burebista and his allies once and for all, but he was assassinated before it could start. However, the campaign was made redundant by Burebista's overthrow and death in the same year, after which his Getan empire fragmented into 4, later 5 independent petty kingdoms. These were militarily far weaker, as Strabo assessed their combined military potential at just 40,000 armed men, and were often involved in internecine warfare. The Geto-Dacians did not again become a threat to Roman hegemony in the lower Danube until the rise of Decebal 130 years later (AD 86).

Augustan era (30 BC - AD 14)


Once he had established himself as sole ruler of the Roman state in 30 BC, Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 inaugurated a strategy of advancing the empire's southeastern European border to the line of the Danube from the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, the Dinaric Alps
Dinaric Alps
The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides form a mountain chain in Southern Europe, spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro....

 and Macedonia. The primary objective was to increase strategic depth between the border and Italy and also to provide a major fluvial supply-route between the Roman armies in the region. On the lower Danube, which was given priority over the upper Danube, this required the annexation of Moesia and Thrace; the latter, however, was spared annexation as it was in the hands of a friendly king.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnotee|Thrace, the country between Macedonia and Moesia, was a Roman satellite-state ruled by a friendly native dynasty, the Odrysae. It was eventually annexed in AD 46, by the emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 (r. 41-54).}} The Romans' target were thus the tribes which inhabited Moesia, namely (from West to East) the Triballi
Triballi
The Triballi were an ancient tribe whose dominion was around the plains of southern modern Serbia and west Bulgaria, at the Angrus and Brongus and the Iskur River, roughly centered where Serbia and Bulgaria are joined....

, Moesi and those Getae who dwelt South of the Danube. The Bastarnae were also a target because they had recently subjugated the Triballi, whose territory lay on the southern bank of the Danube between the tributary rivers Utus (Vit
Vit
The Vit also Vid is a river in central northern Bulgaria with a length of 18 km. It is a tributary of Danube. The source of the Vit is in Stara Planina, below Vezhen Peak at an altitude of 2,030 m, and it empties into the Danube close to Somovit...

) and Ciabrus (Tsibritsa
Tsibritsa
The Tsibritsa is a river in the western Danubian Plain of northern Bulgaria and a right tributary of the Danube. The river originates in the Shiroka Planina area of the Fore-Balkan Mountains near the Serbian border and flows in a northeast direction diagonally through Montana Province...

), with their chief town at Oescus
Oescus
Oescus, or Palatiolon Palatiolum, was an ancient town in Moesia, northwest of the modern Bulgarian city of Pleven, near the village of Gigen. It is a Daco-Moesian toponym. Ptolemy calls it a Triballian town, but it later became Roman...

 (Gigen, Bulgaria). In addition, Augustus wanted to avenge the defeat of C. Antonius
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony....

 at Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

 32 years before and to recover the lost standards. These were held in a powerful fortress called Genucla (Isaccea,{{or|date=October 2011}} near modern Tulcea, Rom., in the Danube delta region), controlled by Zyraxes
Zyraxes
Zyraxes was a Getae king who ruled north Dobruja in the 1st century BC. He was mentioned in relation with the campaigns of Licinius Crassus. His capital, Genucla was besieged by the Romans in 28 BC, but he managed to escape and flee to his Scythian allies....

, the local Getan petty king. The man selected for the task was Marcus Licinius Crassus, grandson of Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who commanded the right wing of Sulla's army at the Battle of the Colline Gate, suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus, provided political and financial support to Julius Caesar and entered into the political alliance known as the...

 the triumvir and an experienced general at 33 years of age, who was appointed proconsul of Macedonia in 29 BC.

The Bastarnae provided the casus belli by crossing the Haemus and attacking the Dentheletae, a Thracian tribe who were Roman allies. Crassus marched to the Dentheletae's assistance, but the Bastarnae host hastily withdrew over the Haemus at his approach. Crassus followed them closely into Moesia but they would not be drawn into battle, withdrawing beyond the Tsibritsa. Crassus now turned his attention to the Moesi, his prime target. After a successful campaign which resulted in the submission of a substantial section of the Moesi, Crassus again sought out the Bastarnae. Discovering their location from some peace envoys they had sent to him, he lured them into battle near the Tsibritsa by a stratagem. Hiding his main body of troops in a wood, he stationed as bait a smaller vanguard in open ground before the wood. As expected, the Bastarnae attacked the vanguard in force, only to find themselves entangled in the full-scale pitched battle with the Romans that they had tried to avoid. The Bastarnae tried to retreat into the forest but were hampered by the wagon-train carrying their women and children, as these could not move through the trees. Trapped into fighting to save their families, the Bastarnae were routed. Crassus personally killed their king, Deldo, in combat, a feat which qualified him for Rome's highest military honour, spolia opima
Spolia opima
Spolia opima refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat...

, but Augustus refused to award it on a technicality.
{{Primary sources|article|date=October 2011}}
The Bastarnae or Basternae ({{lang-grc|Βαστάρναι or Βαστέρναι}}) were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian
Carpathian
Carpathian may refer to:*Carpathian Mountains of Central and Eastern Europe*Carpathian Convention on sustainable development in that region*Carpathian Shepherd Dog, a Romanian sheep dog*Subcarpathian Voivodeship, an administrative division of Poland...

 mountains and the Dnieper river (corresponding to the modern Republic of Moldova and western part of southern Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

). A branch of the Bastarnae, called the Peucini by Greco-Roman writers, occupied the region north of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 river delta.

Although possibly Celtic-speaking in 179 BC, the Bastarnae probably were Germanic in language and culture during the 1st century AD, but appear to have become assimilated by their neighbouring Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 by the 3rd century.{{or|date=October 2011}} Like the latter, they were probably semi-nomadic.{{or|date=October 2011}} It has not yet been possible to identify specific Bastarnae archaeological sites.

The Peucini branch of the Bastarnae first came into conflict with the Romans in the 1st century BC, when they resisted, ultimately unsuccessfully, Roman expansion into Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, the region on the southern bank of the Danube. Although probably on friendly terms with the Romans in the early 1st century, there is little evidence of the Peucini until ca. 180, when they are recorded as participating in an invasion of Roman territory in alliance with Sarmatian and Dacian elements. In the mid 3rd century, the Bastarnae were part of a Gothic-led grand coalition of lower Danube tribes which inflicted immense damage on the Balkan provinces of the Roman empire in a series of massive invasions. Large numbers of Bastarnae were resettled within the empire in the late 3rd century.

Name etymology


The origin of the tribal name is uncertain. One possible derivation is from the proto-Germanic word *bastjan (from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 root word *bhas) means "binding" or "tie". In this case, Bastarnae may have had the original meaning of an alliance or bund of tribes. It is possible that the Roman term basterna
Basterna
A basterna was a kind of vehicle, or litter, in which Ancient Roman women were carried. It appears to have resembled the lectica; and the only difference apparently was, that the lectica was carried on the shoulders of slaves, and the basterna by two mules, according to Isaac Casaubon. Several...

, denoting a type of wagon or litter, is derived from the name of this tribe, which was known, like many Germanic tribes, to travel with a wagon-train for their families. Trubačev proposes a derivation from Old Persian, Avestan bast- "bound, tied; slave" (cf. Ossetic bættən "bind", bast "bound") and Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 *arna- "offspring", equating it with the δουλόσποροι "slave Sporoi" mentioned by Nonnus
Nonnus
Nonnus of Panopolis , was a Greek epic poet. He was a native of Panopolis in the Egyptian Thebaid, and probably lived at the end of the 4th or early 5th century....

 and Cosmas, where Sporoi
Early Slavs
The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

 is the people Procopius
Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

 mentions as the ancestors of the Slavs.

Ethno-linguistic affiliation


The Roman historian Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, writing in ca. AD 10, may imply that the Bastarnae were of Celtic origin. Relating events of ca. 180 BC, he describes them then as "similar in language and customs" to the Scordisci
Scordisci
The Scordisci were an Iron Age tribe centered in the territory of present-day Serbia, at the confluence of the Savus , Dravus and Danube rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era...

, a tribe of Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

 described as Celtic by Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (although he adds that they had mingled with Illyrians and Thracians). Livy also names their king, Cotto. This name is possibly of Celtic derivation (cf. Cottius
Cottius
Marcus Julius Cottius was king of the Ligurian tribes inhabiting the mountainous region now known as the Cottian Alps early in the 1st century BC He was the son and successor of King Donnus, who had previously opposed but later made peace with Julius Caesar...

, king of the Alpine Salassi
Salassi
The Salassi were an Alpine tribe whose lands lay on the Italian side of the Little St Bernard Pass across the Graian Alps to Lyons, and the Great St Bernard Pass over the Pennine Alps...

 tribe and friend of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, after whom were named the Alpes Cottiae
Alpes Cottiae
Alpes Cottiae was a province of the Roman Empire, one of three small provinces straddling the Alps between modern France and Italy. Its name survives in the modern Cottian Alps. In antiquity, the province's most important duty was the safeguarding of communications over the Alpine passes...

 Roman province and the Cotini
Cotini
Cotini was a Celtic tribe most probably living in today's Slovakia, and in Moravia and southern Poland. They were probably identical or constituted a significant part of the archaeological Púchov culture, with the center in Havránok.The tribe was first time mentioned in 10 BC in the Elogium of...

 Celtic tribe of the northern Carpathians. Both probably derived from cotto- = "old" or "crooked"). It is possible that the Bastarnae were originally a mixed Celto-Germanic group. If so, they may have originally comprised residual Celtic elements in central eastern Europe such as the Cotini, who formed a Celtic enclave in the Germanic-speaking zone and are described by Tacitus as iron-ore miners working as tributaries of the powerful Quadi
Quadi
The Quadi were a smaller Germanic tribe, about which little is definitively known. We only know the Germanic tribe the Romans called the 'Quadi' through reports of the Romans themselves...

 Germanic people. The Romans often used "German" as a geographical rather than ethnic classification.

In any case, other Greco-Roman writers of the 1st century AD are unanimous that the Bastarnae were, in their own time, Germanic in language and culture. The Greek geographer Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, writing ca. AD 5-20, says the Bastarnae are "of Germanic stock", although he includes the non-Germanic Roxolani, a Sarmatian tribe, among the sub-tribes of the Bastarnae (probably in error). The Roman geographer Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 (ca. AD 77), refers to "Bastarnae and other Germans". The Roman historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 (ca. AD 100), states: "The Peucini, however, who are sometimes called Bastarnae, are like Germans in their language, way of life and types of dwelling and live in similar squalor and indolence...[However] mixed marriages are giving them to some extent the vile appearance of the Sarmatians."

In the 3rd century, however, the Greek historian Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

 states that the "Bastarnae are properly classed as Scythians" and "members of the Scythian race". Likewise, the 6th century historian Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

, reporting events around AD 280, refers to "the Bastarnae, a Scythian people". It is possible that the miscegenation mentioned by Tacitus had, by the 3rd century, resulted in the Bastarnae becoming assimilated by the Sarmatians, perhaps adopting their tongue (which belonged to the Iranic group of Indo-European languages) and/or Sarmatian customs. On the other hand, the Bastarnae maintained a separate name-identity into the late 3rd century AD, possibly implying retention of their Germanic cultural heritage, distinctive in the lower Danube, until the arrival of the Goths.

Ultimately, the question remains an open one. The Basternae could indeed have spoken a form of Indo-European which became extinct or developed into something new. Shchukin states that rather than trying to label them Celtic, Germanic or Sarmatian, the "Basternae were the Basternae".

Territory



It is generally assumed by scholars that the Bastarnae's original home was around the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 river (central Poland) and that they migrated south-eastwards to the Black Sea region around 200 BC (as, 400 years later, did the Gothic ethnos).

Strabo describes the Bastarnae territory vaguely as "between the Ister (river Danube) and the Borysthenes (river Dnieper)". He identifies three sub-tribes of the Bastarnae: the Atmoni, Sidoni and Peucini. The latter derived their name from Peuce, a large island in the Danube delta which they had colonised. {{refn|group=Note|name=cnotea|It is not possible to identify the exact location of this feature both because of the imprecision of ancient sources and the fact that the Danube delta configuration has changed greatly since ancient times, as well as expanding into the sea by ca. 20km. Peuce (from the classical Greek word for "pine") was also the name of a town, most likely on the island. Strabo states the Danube had 7 mouths, the southernmost of which was known as the Hieron Stoma or "Sacred Mouth". Peuce town lay 120 stadia (ca. 22km) upriver from the "Sacred Mouth". In other words, Peuce island was not a true island, but delta land delimited by river branches. Strabo's directions, allowing for the advance of the coastline, would place Peuce town near today's Mahmudia
Mahmudia
Mahmudia is a commune in Tulcea County, Romania. It is composed of a single village, Mahmudia. It included the villages of Beştepe, Băltenii de Jos and Băltenii de Sus until 2004, when these were split off to form Beştepe Commune....

 (Rom.), if the course of the southernmost branch of the Danube (called the Braţul Sfântu Gheorghe today) has not changed since ancient times.}} The 2nd century geographer Ptolemy states that the Carpiani or Carpi (believed to have occupied Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

) separated the Peucini from the other Bastarnae "above Dacia". The consensus among modern scholars is that the Bastarnae were, in the 2nd century, divided into two main groups. The larger group inhabited the north-eastern slopes of the Carpathians and the area between the Prut
Prut
The Prut is a long river in Eastern Europe. In part of its course it forms the border between Romania and Moldova.-Overview:...

 and Dnieper rivers (Moldova Republic/Western Ukraine), while a separate smaller group (the Peucini) dwelt in and North of the Danube delta region. Only the Peucini, therefore, were situated on the extreme northern border of the Roman province of Moesia Inferior, which ran along the southernmost branch of the Danube delta.

Material culture



It is uncertain whether the Bastarnae were sedentary or nomadic (or semi-nomadic). Tacitus' statement that they were "German in their way of life and types of dwelling" implies a sedentary bias, but their close relations with the Sarmatians, who were nomadic, may indicate a more nomadic lifestyle, as does the wide geographical range of their attested inhabitation.

Traditional archaeology has not been able to unequivocally match individual archaeological sites as belonging to the Bastarnae, whilst "new" archaeology has moved away from trying to ascribe material remains to distinct "ethnic" groupings. Nevertheless, two closely related cultures are possible candidate regions as they broadly correspond to where sources placed the Basternae: the Zarubintsy culture
Zarubintsy culture
The Zarubintsy culture was a culture that from the 3rd century BC until 1st century AD flourished in the area north of the Black Sea along the upper and middle Dnieper and Pripyat Rivers, stretching west towards the Southern Bug river. Zarubintsy sites were particularly dense between the Rivers...

 lying in the forest-steppe zone in northern Ukraine-southern Belarus, and the Poienesti-Lukashevka culture in northern Moldavia. These cultures show a variety of influences: Pomeranian, Milogrady, Scythian and Getic, with La Tene and Roman Danubian influences evident at their maturity; making them more "Central European" in outlook (i.e. similar to the Przeworsk culture) rather than of the "forest-Venedic" or Carpic-Dacian types.

During the mid first century AD, the Zarubintsy and Lukashevka cultures came to an end in their true form, possibly due to Sarmatian invasions and perturbations of central European trade due to Caesar's invasion of Gaul (the 'heart' of the La Tene culture). The area inhabited by the Zarubintsy culture had no settlements after c. 100 AD. However, certain Zarubintsy elements remained, found scattered throughout neighbouring aras of eastern Europe. In the upper Dniester, where the Basternae are described to have inhabited, post-Zarubintsy, Przeworsk and Sarmatian elements formed the Zvenigrod group, which also has some analogies with the "Dacian" Lipitsa culture.

The cultures represent relatively large -scale socio-economic interactions between disperate communities of the broad region, possibly including mutually antagonistic groups.

Starting in about AD 200, the Chernyakhov culture became established in the W. Ukraine/Moldova region inhabited by the Bastarnae. The culture is characterised by a high degree of sophistication in the production of metal and ceramic artefacts, as well as of uniformity over a vast area. Although this culture has conventionally been identified with the migration of the Gothic ethnos into the region from the Northwest, Todd argues that its most important origin is Scytho-Sarmatian. Although the Goths certainly contributed to it, so probably did other peoples of the region such as the Dacians, proto-Slavs
Early Slavs
The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

, Carpi
Carpi (people)
The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided, between not later than ca. AD 140 and until at least AD 318, in the former Principality of Moldavia ....

, and possibly the Bastarnae.

Allies of Philip of Macedon (179-8 BC)



The Bastarnae first appear in the historical record in 179 BC, when they crossed the Danube in massive force (probably ca. 60,000 men, both cavalry and infantry, plus a wagon-train of accompanying women and children). They did so at the invitation of their long-time ally, king Philip V of Macedon
Philip V of Macedon
Philip V was King of Macedon from 221 BC to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man...

, a direct descendant of Antigonus
Antigonus
Antigonus, a Greek name meaning "comparable to his father" or "worthy of his father", may refer to:* Three Macedonian kings of the Antigonid dynasty that succeeded Alexander the Great in Asia:** Antigonus I Monophthalmus...

{{Disambiguation needed|date=June 2011}}, one of the Diadochi
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

, the generals of Alexander the Great who had shared out his empire after his death in 323 BC. The Macedonian king had suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Romans in the Second Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
The Second Macedonian War was fought between Macedon, led by Philip V of Macedon, and Rome, allied with Pergamon and Rhodes. The result was the defeat of Philip who was forced to abandon all his possessions in Greece...

 (200-197 BC), which had reduced him from a powerful Hellenistic monarch to the status of a petty client-king with a much-reduced territory and a tiny army.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnoteb|The terms imposed on Philip V of Macedon in 196 BC were: (i) loss of all possessions outside Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ia proper (Philip had previously ruled extensive territories in Greece, Thrace and Asia Minor); (ii) standing army limited to 5,000 men and no elephants; (iii) navy limited to 5 warships plus royal galley; (iv) reparation payment of 1,000 talents (ca. 26 tonnes) of silver, equivalent then to ca. 4 tonnes of gold. (In antiquity, silver was far more valuable than today: the gold/silver value ratio was ca. 1:7, compared to ca. 1:100 today); (v) prohibited from waging war outside his borders without the Roman Senate's permission}} After nearly 20 years of slavish adherence to the Roman Senate's dictats, Philip had been goaded beyond endurance by the incessant and devastating raiding of the Dardani
Dardani
Dardania was the region of the Dardani .Located at the Thraco-Illyrian contact zone, their identification as either an Illyrian or Thracian tribe is uncertain. Their territory itself was not considered part of Illyria by Strabo. The term used for their territory was , while for other tribes had...

, a warlike Thraco-Illyrian tribe on his northern border, which his treaty-limited army was too small to counter effectively. Counting on the Bastarnae, with whom he had forged friendly relations in earlier times, he plotted a strategy to deal with the Dardani and then to regain his lost territories in Greece and his political independence. First, he would unleash the Bastarnae against the Dardani. After the latter had been crushed, Philip planned to settle Bastarnae families in Dardania (southern Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

/Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 region), to ensure that the region was permanently subdued. In a second phase, Philip aimed to launch the Bastarnae on an invasion of Italy via the Adriatic coast. Although he was aware that the Bastarnae were hardly likely to achieve the same success as Hannibal some 40 years earlier, and would most likely end up cut to pieces by the Romans, Philip hoped that the Romans would be distracted long enough to allow him to reoccupy his former possessions in Greece.

But Philip, now 60 years of age, died before the Bastarnae could arrive. The Bastarnae host was still en route through Thrace, where it became embroiled in hostilities with the locals, who were unable (or unwilling) to provide them with sufficient food at affordable prices as they marched through. Probably in the vicinity of Philippopolis
Plovdiv
Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia with a population of 338,153 inhabitants according to Census 2011. Plovdiv's history spans some 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC; it is one of the oldest cities in Europe...

 (modern Plovdiv, Bulgaria), the Bastarnae broke out of their marching columns and pillaged the land far and wide. The terrified local Thracians took refuge with their families and animal herds on the slopes of Mons Donuca, the highest mountain in Thrace (Mt. Musala
Musala
Musala is the highest peak in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula, standing at 2,925 m . The summit of the Rila mountain in southwestern Bulgaria, Musala is the highest peak between the Alps and the Caucasus and the highest in Eastern Europe bar the Caucasus.Between 1949–1962 the peak was...

, Rila Mts., Bulgaria). A large force of Bastarnae chased them up the mountain, but were driven back and scattered by a massive hailstorm. Then the Thracians ambushed them, turning their descent into a panic-stricken rout. Back at their wagon-laager in the plain, around half the demoralised Bastarnae decided to return home, leaving ca. 30,000 to press on to Macedonia.

Philip's son and successor Perseus
Perseus of Macedon
Perseus was the last king of the Antigonid dynasty, who ruled the successor state in Macedon created upon the death of Alexander the Great...

, while protesting his loyalty to Rome, deployed his Bastarnae guests in winter quarters in a valley in Dardania, presumably as a prelude to a campaign against the Dardani the following summer. But in the depths of winter their camp was attacked by the Dardani. The Bastarnae easily beat off the attackers, chased them back to their chief town, and besieged them. But they were surprised in the rear by a second force of Dardani which had approached their camp stealthily by mountain paths and proceeded to storm and ransack it. Having lost their entire baggage and supplies, the Bastarnae were obliged to withdraw from Dardania and to return home. Most perished as they crossed the frozen Danube on foot, only for the ice to give way. Despite the failure of Philip's Bastarnae strategy, the suspicion aroused by these events in the Roman Senate, which had been warned by the Dardani of the Bastarnae invasion, ensured the demise of Macedonia as an independent state. Rome declared war on Perseus in 171 BC and after the Macedonian army was crushed at the Battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna
The Battle of Pydna in 168 BC between Rome and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty saw the further ascendancy of Rome in the Hellenic/Hellenistic world and the end of the Antigonid line of kings, whose power traced back to Alexander the Great.Paul K...

 (168 BC), Macedonia was split up into 4 Roman puppet-cantons (167 BC). 21 years later, these were in turn abolished and annexed to the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 as the province of Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

 (146 BC).

Allies of Getan high king Burebista (62 BC)




The Bastarnae first came into direct conflict with Rome as a result of expansion into the lower Danube region by the proconsuls (governors) of Macedonia in the period 75-72 BC. Gaius Scribonius Curio
Gaius Scribonius Curio
Gaius Scribonius Curio was the name of a father and son who lived in the late Roman Republic.-Father:Gaius Scribonius Curio was a Roman statesman and orator. He was nicknamed Burbulieus for the way he moved his body while speaking...

 (proconsul 75-3 BC) campaigned successfully against the Dardani and the Moesi
Moesi
The Moesi were a Daco-Thracian tribe who inhabited present day Serbia and Bulgaria, part of the then Roman province of Moesia, which was named after them in 87 AD by the Romans after the Romans under Crassus defeated them in the 29 BC.- History :...

, becoming the first Roman general to reach the river Danube with his army. His successor, Marcus Licinius Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus
Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus , younger brother of the more famous Lucius Licinius Lucullus, was a supporter of Lucius Cornelius Sulla and consul of ancient Rome in 73 BC. As proconsul of Macedonia in 72 BC, he defeated the Bessi in Thrace and advanced to the Danube and the west coast of the...

 (brother of the famous Lucius Lucullus
Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

), campaigned against the Thracian Bessi
Bessi
The Bessi were an independent Thracian tribe who lived in a territory ranging from Moesia to Mount Rhodope in southern Thrace, but are often mentioned as dwelling about Haemus, the mountain range that separates Moesia from Thrace and from Mount Rhodope to the northern part of Hebrus...

 tribe and the Moesi, ravaging the whole of Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, the region between the Haemus (Balkan) mountain range and the Danube. In 72 BC, his troops occupied the Greek coastal cities of Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor
Scythia Minor, "Lesser Scythia" was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to today's Dobruja, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria....

 (modern Dobruja
Dobruja
Dobruja is a historical region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast...

 region, Romania/Bulgaria),{{refn|group=Note|name=cnotec|The main ones were: Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

, Tomis
Constanta
Constanța is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region....

, Callatis, Apollonia
Sozopol
Sozopol is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for the Apollonia art and film festival that is named after one of the town's ancient names.The busiest times of the year...

 (Istria, Constanţa, Mangalia, Sozopol)}} which had sided with Rome's Hellenistic arch-enemy, king Mithridates VI of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, in the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

 (73-63 BC).

The presence of Roman forces in the Danube delta was seen as a major threat by all the neighbouring transdanubian peoples: the Peucini Bastarnae, the Sarmatians and, most importantly, by Burebista
Burebista
Burebista was a king of the Getae and Dacians, who unified for the first time their tribes and ruled them between 82 BC and 44 BC. He led plunder and conquest raids across Central and Southeastern Europe, subjugating most of the neighbouring tribes...

 (ruled 82-44 BC), king of the Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

. The Getae occupied the region today called Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 as well as Scythia Minor and were either a Dacian
Dacian language
The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...

- or Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

- speaking people.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnoted|There is controversy about whether the Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

 were Dacian or Thracian speakers and whether those two languages were similar. Strabo claims that the Getans were Thracians
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

. He adds that the Dacians
Dacians
The Dacians were an Indo-European people, very close or part of the Thracians. Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia...

 spoke the same language as the Getae. This gave rise to the hypothesis that Thracian and Dacian were essentially the same language (the Daco-Thracian theory). But the modern linguist Vladimir Georgiev
Vladimir I. Georgiev
Vladimir Ivanov Georgiev was a prominent Bulgarian linguist, philologist, and educational administrator. He made multiple contributions to the field of Thracology, including a linguistic interpretation of an inscription discovered at the village of Kyolmen in the Shoumen district of northeastern...

 disputes that Dacian and Thracian were closely related for various reasons, especially that Dacian and Moesian town names commonly end with the suffix -DAVA, while towns in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 proper generally end in -PARA. According to Georgiev, the language spoken by the Getae should be classified as "Daco-Moesian" and regarded as quite distinct from Thracian. Support for the Daco-Moesian theory can be found in Dio, who confirms that the Moesians and Getae on the south bank of the Danube were Dacians. But the scant evidence available for these two extinct languages does not permit any firm conclusions. For the dividing-line between the two placename forms, see the following map (lower map, scroll down): members.tripod.com}} Burebista had unified the Getan tribes into a single kingdom, for which the Greek cities were vital trade outlets. In addition, he had established his hegemony over neighbouring Sarmatian and Bastarnae tribes. At its peak, the Getan kingdom reportedly was able to muster 200,000 warriors. Burebista led his transdanubian coalition in a struggle against Roman encroachment, conducting many raids against Roman allies in Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

 and Thrace, penetrating as far as Macedonia and Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

.

The coalition's main chance came in 62 BC, when the Greek cities rebelled against Roman rule. In 61 BC, the notoriously oppressive and militarily incompetent proconsul of Macedonia, Gaius Antonius
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony....

, nicknamed Hybrida ("The Monster", an uncle of the famous Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

) led an army against the Greek cities. As his army approached Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

, Antonius detached his entire mounted force from the marching column and led it away on a lengthy excursion, leaving his infantry without cavalry cover, a tactic he had already used with disastrous results against the Dardani. Dio implies that he did so out of cowardice, in order to avoid the imminent clash with the opposition. But it is more likely that he was pursuing a large enemy cavalry force, probably Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

, which was possibly acting as a decoy.{{or|date=October 2011}} A Bastarnae host, which had crossed the Danube to assist the Histrians, promptly attacked, surrounded and massacred the Roman infantry, capturing several of their vexilla
Vexillum
The vexillum was a flag-like object used in the Classical Era of the Roman Empire. The word is itself a diminutive for the Latin word, velum, sail, which confirms the historical evidence that vexilla were literally "little sails" i.e. flag-like standards...

(military standards). This battle resulted in the collapse of the Roman position on the lower Danube. Burebista annexed the Greek cities (55-48 BC). At the same time, the subjugated "allied" tribes of Moesia and Thrace evidently repudiated their treaties with Rome, as they had to be re-conquered by Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 in 29-8 BC (see below).

For 44 BC, Roman dictator-for-life
Dictator perpetuus
Dictator perpetuo , also called dictator in perpetuum or incorrectly dictator perpetuus, was the office held by Julius Caesar from 26 January or 15 February of the year 44 BCE until his death on 15 March...

 Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 planned to lead a major campaign to crush Burebista and his allies once and for all, but he was assassinated before it could start. However, the campaign was made redundant by Burebista's overthrow and death in the same year, after which his Getan empire fragmented into 4, later 5 independent petty kingdoms. These were militarily far weaker, as Strabo assessed their combined military potential at just 40,000 armed men, and were often involved in internecine warfare. The Geto-Dacians did not again become a threat to Roman hegemony in the lower Danube until the rise of Decebal 130 years later (AD 86).

Augustan era (30 BC - AD 14)


Once he had established himself as sole ruler of the Roman state in 30 BC, Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 inaugurated a strategy of advancing the empire's southeastern European border to the line of the Danube from the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, the Dinaric Alps
Dinaric Alps
The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides form a mountain chain in Southern Europe, spanning areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro....

 and Macedonia. The primary objective was to increase strategic depth between the border and Italy and also to provide a major fluvial supply-route between the Roman armies in the region. On the lower Danube, which was given priority over the upper Danube, this required the annexation of Moesia and Thrace; the latter, however, was spared annexation as it was in the hands of a friendly king.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnotee|Thrace, the country between Macedonia and Moesia, was a Roman satellite-state ruled by a friendly native dynasty, the Odrysae. It was eventually annexed in AD 46, by the emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 (r. 41-54).}} The Romans' target were thus the tribes which inhabited Moesia, namely (from West to East) the Triballi
Triballi
The Triballi were an ancient tribe whose dominion was around the plains of southern modern Serbia and west Bulgaria, at the Angrus and Brongus and the Iskur River, roughly centered where Serbia and Bulgaria are joined....

, Moesi and those Getae who dwelt South of the Danube. The Bastarnae were also a target because they had recently subjugated the Triballi, whose territory lay on the southern bank of the Danube between the tributary rivers Utus (Vit
Vit
The Vit also Vid is a river in central northern Bulgaria with a length of 18 km. It is a tributary of Danube. The source of the Vit is in Stara Planina, below Vezhen Peak at an altitude of 2,030 m, and it empties into the Danube close to Somovit...

) and Ciabrus (Tsibritsa
Tsibritsa
The Tsibritsa is a river in the western Danubian Plain of northern Bulgaria and a right tributary of the Danube. The river originates in the Shiroka Planina area of the Fore-Balkan Mountains near the Serbian border and flows in a northeast direction diagonally through Montana Province...

), with their chief town at Oescus
Oescus
Oescus, or Palatiolon Palatiolum, was an ancient town in Moesia, northwest of the modern Bulgarian city of Pleven, near the village of Gigen. It is a Daco-Moesian toponym. Ptolemy calls it a Triballian town, but it later became Roman...

 (Gigen, Bulgaria). In addition, Augustus wanted to avenge the defeat of C. Antonius
Gaius Antonius Hybrida
Gaius Antonius Hybrida was a politician of the Roman Republic. He was the second son of Marcus Antonius Orator and brother of Marcus Antonius Creticus; his mother is unknown. He was the uncle of the famed triumvir Mark Antony....

 at Histria (Sinoe)
Histria (Sinoe)
Ancient Histria or Istros , was a Greek colony or polis on the Black Sea coast, established by Milesian settlers to trade with the native Getae. It became the first Greek town on the present day Romanian territory. Scymnus of Chios , the Greek geographer and poet, dated it to 630 BC...

 32 years before and to recover the lost standards. These were held in a powerful fortress called Genucla (Isaccea,{{or|date=October 2011}} near modern Tulcea, Rom., in the Danube delta region), controlled by Zyraxes
Zyraxes
Zyraxes was a Getae king who ruled north Dobruja in the 1st century BC. He was mentioned in relation with the campaigns of Licinius Crassus. His capital, Genucla was besieged by the Romans in 28 BC, but he managed to escape and flee to his Scythian allies....

, the local Getan petty king. The man selected for the task was Marcus Licinius Crassus, grandson of Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who commanded the right wing of Sulla's army at the Battle of the Colline Gate, suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus, provided political and financial support to Julius Caesar and entered into the political alliance known as the...

 the triumvir and an experienced general at 33 years of age, who was appointed proconsul of Macedonia in 29 BC.

The Bastarnae provided the casus belli by crossing the Haemus and attacking the Dentheletae, a Thracian tribe who were Roman allies. Crassus marched to the Dentheletae's assistance, but the Bastarnae host hastily withdrew over the Haemus at his approach. Crassus followed them closely into Moesia but they would not be drawn into battle, withdrawing beyond the Tsibritsa. Crassus now turned his attention to the Moesi, his prime target. After a successful campaign which resulted in the submission of a substantial section of the Moesi, Crassus again sought out the Bastarnae. Discovering their location from some peace envoys they had sent to him, he lured them into battle near the Tsibritsa by a stratagem. Hiding his main body of troops in a wood, he stationed as bait a smaller vanguard in open ground before the wood. As expected, the Bastarnae attacked the vanguard in force, only to find themselves entangled in the full-scale pitched battle with the Romans that they had tried to avoid. The Bastarnae tried to retreat into the forest but were hampered by the wagon-train carrying their women and children, as these could not move through the trees. Trapped into fighting to save their families, the Bastarnae were routed. Crassus personally killed their king, Deldo, in combat, a feat which qualified him for Rome's highest military honour, spolia opima
Spolia opima
Spolia opima refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat...

, but Augustus refused to award it on a technicality.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnotef|Crassus' feat, as Roman commander, of killing the enemy leader in combat arguably entitled him to the highest honour a Roman soldier could gain: the spolia opima
Spolia opima
Spolia opima refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat...

(literally: "bountiful spoils", but this term may be a corruption of spolia optima, "supreme spoils"), the right to hang the armour stripped from the enemy leader in the temple of Jupiter Feretrius
Feretrius
Feretrius is one of the titles of the Roman god Jupiter. In this capacity Jupiter was called upon to witness the signing of contracts and marriages. An oath was taken that called upon Jupiter to strike down the person if they swore the oath falsely....

 in Rome, in emulation of the Founder of Rome Romulus
Romulus
- People:* Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome* Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor* Valerius Romulus , deified son of the Roman emperor Maxentius* Romulus , son of the Western Roman emperor Anthemius...

, a privilege granted only twice previously. But Crassus was denied the honour by Augustus on the technicality that he was not commander-in-chief of Roman forces at the time, a position claimed by Augustus himself. Augustus also forbade Crassus to accept the honorary title of imperator ("supreme commander") from his troops, traditional for victorious generals. Instead, Augustus claimed the title for himself (for the 7th time). Finally, although Dio states that Crassus was voted a Triumph
Roman triumph
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

 in Rome by the Senate, there is no evidence in inscriptions of that year (27 BC) that it was actually celebrated. After his return to Rome, Crassus disappears from the record altogether, both epigraphic and literary. This is highly unusual in a relatively well-documented period for a person of such distinction who was still only about 33 years old.{{or|date=October 2011}} His tomb has not been found in the excavated Crassus family mausoleum in Rome. This official "air-brushing from history" may imply punitive internal exile
Internal Exile
Internal Exile was Fish's second solo album after leaving Marillion in 1988. The album, released 28 October 1991, was inspired by the singer's past, his own personal problems and his troubled experiences with his previous record label EMI.The album's music reflects Fish's indulgence in the vast...

 to a remote location, similar to that inflicted on the contemporary poet, Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, who in AD 8, for an unknown offence, was ordered by Augustus to spend the rest of his life in Tomis (Constanţa) on the Black Sea.{{or|date=October 2011}} Ronald Syme
Ronald Syme
Sir Ronald Syme, OM, FBA was a New Zealand-born historian and classicist. Long associated with Oxford University, he is widely regarded as the 20th century's greatest historian of ancient Rome...

 points out the similarity of Crassus' removal from the official record with that of Cornelius Gallus
Cornelius Gallus
Gaius Cornelius Gallus , Roman poet, orator and politician, was born of humble parents at Forum Livii in Italy.At an early age he moved to Rome, where he was taught by the same master as Virgil and Varius Rufus. Virgil, who dedicated one of his eclogues to him, was in great measure indebted to...

, the contemporary disgraced governor of Egypt, who was recalled by Augustus for assuming inappropriate honours. Thousands of fleeing Bastarnae perished, many asphyxiated in nearby woods{{or|date=October 2011}} by encircling fires set by the Romans, others drowned trying to swim across the Danube. Nevertheless, a substantial force dug themselves into a powerful hillfort. Crassus laid siege to fort, but had to enlist the assistance of Rholes
Rholes
Rholes or Roles was a Getae chieftain in Scythia Minor mentioned by Cassius Dio in his Roman History. According to Dio, he helped Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus defeat the Bastarnae, and when he visited Octavian, he was treated as "a friend and ally" for his support for the Romans...

, the Getan petty king to dislodge them, for which service Rholes was granted the title of socius et amicus populi Romani ("ally and friend of the Roman people").

The following year (28 BC),{{or|date=October 2011}} Crassus marched on Genucla. Petty king Zyraxes escaped with his treasure and fled over the Danube into Scythia to seek aid from the Bastarnae. But before he was able to bring reinforcements, Genucla fell to a combined land and fluvial assault by the Romans. The strategic result of Crassus' campaigns was the permanent annexation of Moesia by Rome.

Roman imperial era (14 - 180)


The Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Res Gestae Divi Augusti
Res Gestae Divi Augusti, is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments. The Res Gestae is especially significant because it gives an insight into the image Augustus portrayed to the Roman people...

("Acts of the divine Augustus"), a self-congratulatory inscription commissioned by Augustus to list his achievements, states that he received an embassy from the Bastarnae seeking a treaty of friendship. These would most likely have been the Peucini, who bordered on the empire.{{or|date=October 2011}} Such a treaty was seemingly remarkably effective, as the Bastarnae disappear, save for a single passing mention in Tacitus, from the Roman chronicles until c. AD 175, some 160 years after Augustus' inscription was carved.{{or|date=October 2011}} But the literary evidence for the history of this period is so thin that it cannot be excluded that the Bastarnae clashed with Rome during it.{{refn|group=Note|name=cnoteg|The Julio-Claudian period and the subsequent Roman Civil War of 68-9
Year of the Four Emperors
The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian....

 (until AD 69) is reasonably well-covered by Tacitus' Annales
Annals (Tacitus)
The Annals by Tacitus is a history of the reigns of the four Roman Emperors succeeding Caesar Augustus. The surviving parts of the Annals extensively cover most of the reigns of Tiberius and Nero. The title Annals was probably not given by Tacitus, but derives from the fact that he treated this...

(although substantial parts are missing) and Historiae
Histories (Herodotus)
The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that...

. But the loss of Tacitus' narrative for the entire Flavian
Flavian
Flavian may refer to:* Any member of the Flavian dynasty of three Roman rulers of the late 1st century CE- Religious leaders:** Flavian of Ricina , bishop in Italy** Bishops or patriarchs in Asia:*** Flavian I of Antioch Flavian may refer to:* Any member of the Flavian dynasty of three Roman rulers...

{{Disambiguation needed|date=June 2011}} period (69-96) and of Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

's continuation until 353, as well as of most of Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

's History (up to 229), leaves a massive gap in our knowledge of the political history of the early empire, which is only patchily filled by inferior chronicles such as the Historia Augusta, inscriptions and other evidence}}{{or|date=October 2011}} The Bastarnae were perhaps involved in the Dacian Wars
Dacian Wars
The Dacian Wars were two military campaigns fought between the Roman Empire and Dacia during Emperor Trajan's rule. The conflicts were triggered by the constant Dacian threat on the Danubian Roman Province of Moesia and also by the increasing need for resources of the staggering economy of the...

 of Domitian
Domitian
Domitian was Roman Emperor from 81 to 96. Domitian was the third and last emperor of the Flavian dynasty.Domitian's youth and early career were largely spent in the shadow of his brother Titus, who gained military renown during the First Jewish-Roman War...

 (86-88) and Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 (101-102 and 105-106), since these took place in the lower Danube region and it is known that both sides were supported by neighbouring indigenous tribes.{{or|date=October 2011}} In the late 2nd century, the Historia Augusta mentions that in the rule of Marcus Aurelius (161-80), an alliance of lower Danube tribes including the Bastarnae, the Sarmatian Roxolani and the Costoboci
Costoboci
The Costoboci were an ancient people located, during the Roman imperial era, between the Carpathian Mountains and the river Dniester.The Costoboci invaded the Roman empire in AD 170 or 171, pillaging its Balkan provinces as far as central Greece, until they were driven out by Romans...

 took advantage of the emperor's difficulties on the upper Danube (the Marcomannic Wars
Marcomannic Wars
The Marcomannic Wars were a series of wars lasting over a dozen years from about AD 166 until 180. These wars pitted the Roman Empire against the Marcomanni, Quadi and other Germanic peoples, along both sides of the upper and middle Danube...

) to invade Roman territory.

3rd century


During the late 2nd century, the main ethnic change in the northern Black sea region was the immigration, from the Vistula valley in the North, of the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 and accompanying Germanic tribes such as the Taifali and the Hasdingi
Hasdingi
The Hasdingi were the southern tribes of the Vandals, an East Germanic tribe. They lived in areas of today's southern Poland, Slovakia and Hungary...

, a branch of the Vandal people. This migration was part of a series of major population movements in the European barbaricum (the Roman term for regions outside their empire). The Goths appear to have established a loose political hegemony over the existing tribes in the region, or at least to have played the leading role in a series of major invasions of the empire launched by a grand coalition of lower Danubian tribes from ca. 238 onwards. The participation of the Bastarnae in these is likely but largely unspecified, due to Zosimus' and other chroniclers' tendency to lump all these tribes under the general term "Scythians" - meaning all the inhabitants of Scythia, rather than the specific people called the Scythians.{{or|date=October 2011}} Thus, in 250-1, the Bastarnae were probably involved in the Gothic and Sarmatian invasions which culminated in the Roman defeat at the Battle of Abrittus
Battle of Abrittus
The Battle of Abritus, also known as the Battle of Forum Terebronii, occurred in the Roman province of Moesia Inferior probably in July, 251, between the Roman Empire and a federation of Scythian tribesmen under the Goth king Cniva. The Romans were soundly defeated, and Roman emperors Decius and...

 and the slaying of the emperor Decius
Decius
Trajan Decius , was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. In the last year of his reign, he co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus until they were both killed in the Battle of Abrittus.-Early life and rise to power:...

 (251). This disaster was the start of the Third Century Crisis, a period of military and economic collapse which came close to destroying the empire.{{or|date=October 2011}} At this critical moment, the Roman army was crippled by the outbreak of a second smallpox pandemic, the plague of Cyprian
Plague of Cyprian
The Plague of Cyprian is the name given to a pandemic, probably of smallpox, that afflicted the Roman Empire from AD 250 onwards. It was still raging in 270, when it claimed the life of emperor Claudius II Gothicus . The plague caused widespread manpower shortages in agriculture and the Roman army....

 (251-70). The effects are described by Zosimus as even worse than the earlier Antonine plague
Antonine Plague
The Antonine Plague, AD 165–180, also known as the Plague of Galen, who described it, was an ancient pandemic, either of smallpox or measles, brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East...

 (166-80), which probably killed 15-30% of the empire's inhabitants.

Taking advantage of Roman military disarray, a vast number of barbarian peoples overran much of the empire. The Sarmato-Gothic alliance of the lower Danube carried out major invasions of the Balkans region in 252, and in the periods 253-8 and 260-8. The Peucini Bastarnae are specifically mentioned in the 267/8 invasion, when the coalition built a fleet in the estuary of the river Tyras (Dnieper). The Peucini Bastarnae would have been critical to this venture since, as coastal and delta dwellers, they would have had seafaring experience that the nomadic Sarmatians and Goths lacked. The barbarians sailed along the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast to Tomis in Moesia Inferior, which they tried to take by assault without success. They then attacked the provincial capital Marcianopolis
Marcianopolis
Marcianopolis or Marcianople was an ancient Roman city in Thracia. It was located at the site of modern day Devnya, Bulgaria.-History:...

 (Devnya, Bulg.), also in vain. Sailing on through the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

, the expedition laid siege to Thessalonica in Macedonia. Driven off by Roman forces, the coalition host moved overland into Thracia, where finally it was crushed by emperor Claudius II
Claudius II
Claudius II , commonly known as Claudius Gothicus, was Roman Emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought successfully against the Alamanni and scored a crushing victory against the Goths at the Battle of Naissus. He died after succumbing to a smallpox plague that ravaged the provinces of...

 (r. 268-70) at Naissus
Battle of Naissus
The Battle of Naissus was the defeat of a Gothic coalition by the Roman Empire under Emperor Gallienus near Naissus...

 (269).

Ultimate fate


Claudius II was the first of a sequence of military emperors (the so-called "Illyrian emperors
Illyrian emperors
The Illyriciani or Illyrian emperors were a group of Roman emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century who hailed from the region of Illyricum , and were raised chiefly from the ranks of the Roman army...

" from their main ethnic origin) who restored order in the empire in the late 3rd century. These emperors followed a policy of large-scale resettlement within the empire of defeated barbarian tribes, granting them land in return for an obligation of military service much heavier than the usual conscription quota. The policy had the triple benefit, from the Roman point of view, of weakening the hostile tribe, repopulating the plague-ravaged frontier provinces (bringing their abandoned fields back into cultivation) and providing a pool of first-rate recruits for the army. But it could also be popular with the barbarian prisoners, who were often delighted by the prospect of a land grant within the empire. In the 4th century, such communities were known as laeti
Laeti
Laeti, the plural form of laetus, was a term used in the late Roman Empire to denote communities of barbari permitted to, and granted land to, settle on imperial territory on condition that they provide recruits for the Roman military...

. The emperor Probus (r. 276-82) is recorded as resettling 100,000 Bastarnae in Moesia, in addition to other peoples (Goths, Gepids and Vandals). The Bastarnae are reported to have honoured their oath of allegiance to the emperor, while the other resettled peoples mutinied while Probus was distracted by usurpation attempts and ravaged the Danubian provinces far and wide. A further massive transfer of Bastarnae was carried out by emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 (ruled 284-305) after he and his colleague Galerius
Galerius
Galerius , was Roman Emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sassanid Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300...

 defeated a coalition of Bastarnae and Carpi in 299. Such numbers may have amounted to a substantial proportion, if not all, of the Peucini Bastarnae:{{or|date=October 2011}} Victor
Aurelius Victor
Sextus Aurelius Victor was a historian and politician of the Roman Empire.Aurelius Victor was the author of a History of Rome from Augustus to Julian , published ca. 361. Julian honoured him and appointed him prefect of Pannonia Secunda...

 claims that the Carpi resettled in Pannonia by Diocletian at the same time, together with those previously transferred by Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

, amounted to the entire Carpi tribe.

The remaining Bastarnae of the Ukraine disappear into obscurity in the late empire. Neither of the main ancient sources for this period, Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus
Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

 and Zosimus
Zosimus
Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

, mention the Bastarnae in their accounts of the 4th century, possibly implying the loss of their separate identity, presumably subsumed into the neighbouring Sarmatians or Goths. If the Bastarnae remained an identifiable group, it is highly likely that they participated in the vast Gothic-led migration, driven by Hunnic pressure, that was admitted into Moesia by emperor Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 in 376 and eventually defeated and killed Valens at Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

 in 378. Zosimus consistently refers to the migrants as "Scythians" (unlike Ammianus, who refers to them as "Goths"), specifically stating at one point that, in addition, "Goths, Taifali and other tribes" were involved.

However, after a gap of 150 years, there is a final mention of Bastarnae in the mid 5th century. In 451, the Hunnic leader Attila invaded Gaul with a large army which was ultimately routed at the Battle of Châlons
Battle of Chalons
The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains , also called the Battle of Châlons sur Marne, took place in AD 451 between a coalition led by the Visigothic king Theodoric I and the Roman general Flavius Aëtius, against the Huns and their allies commanded by their leader Attila...

 by a Roman-led coalition under the general Aetius
Flavius Aëtius
Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

. Attila's host, according to Jordanes
Jordanes
Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

, included contingents from the "innumerable tribes that had been brought under his sway." One such were the Bastarnae, according to the Gallic nobleman Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

. According to E.A. Thompson, it is likely that Sidonius, whose purpose was to write a panegyric
Panegyric
A panegyric is a formal public speech, or written verse, delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally highly studied and discriminating eulogy, not expected to be critical. It is derived from the Greek πανηγυρικός meaning "a speech fit for a general assembly"...

 and not a history, simply added some spurious names to his list, including the Bastarnae. On the other hand, Thompson does accept that some peoples on the list are plausible e.g. Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

, Sciri
Scirii
The Scirii were an East Germanic tribe of Eastern Europe, attested in historical works between the 2nd century BC and 5th century AD.The etymology of their name is unclear...

 and Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

.{{or|date=October 2011}}

See also


{{Portal|Ancient Germanic culture}}
  • List of Germanic tribes
  • Carpi (Dacian tribe)
  • Dacians
    Dacians
    The Dacians were an Indo-European people, very close or part of the Thracians. Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia...

  • Early Slavs
    Early Slavs
    The early Slavs were a diverse group of tribal societies in Migration period and early medieval Europe whose tribal organizations indirectly created the foundations for today’s Slavic nations .The first mention of the name Slavs dates to the 6th century, by which time the Slavic tribes inhabited a...

  • Goths
    Goths
    The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

  • Sarmatians
    Sarmatians
    The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

  • Slavs


{{Germanic peoples}}

Ancient

  • Res Gestae Divi Augusti
    Res Gestae Divi Augusti
    Res Gestae Divi Augusti, is the funerary inscription of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, giving a first-person record of his life and accomplishments. The Res Gestae is especially significant because it gives an insight into the image Augustus portrayed to the Roman people...

    (ca. AD 14)
  • Ammianus Marcellinus
    Ammianus Marcellinus
    Ammianus Marcellinus was a fourth-century Roman historian. He wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity...

     Res Gestae (ca. AD 395)
  • Dio Cassius
    Dio Cassius
    Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

     Roman History (ca. AD 230)
  • Eutropius Historiae Romanae Breviarium (ca. 360)
  • Anonymous Historia Augusta (ca. 400)
  • Livy
    Livy
    Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

     Ab Urbe Condita
    Ab urbe condita
    Ab urbe condita is Latin for "from the founding of the City ", traditionally set in 753 BC. AUC is a year-numbering system used by some ancient Roman historians to identify particular Roman years...

    (ca. AD 20)
  • Jordanes
    Jordanes
    Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

     Getica (ca. 550)
  • Pliny the Elder
    Pliny the Elder
    Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

     Naturalis Historia
    Naturalis Historia
    The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

    (ca. AD 70)
  • Ptolemy
    Ptolemy
    Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

     Geographia (ca. 140)
  • Sextus Aurelius Victor De Caesaribus (ca. 380)
  • Sidonius Apollinaris
    Sidonius Apollinaris
    Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

     Carmina (late 5th c.)
  • Strabo
    Strabo
    Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

     Geographica
    Géographica
    Géographica is the French-language magazine of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society , published under the Society's French name, the Société géographique royale du Canada . Introduced in 1997, Géographica is not a stand-alone publication, but is published as an irregular supplement to La...

    (ca. AD 10)
  • Tacitus
    Tacitus
    Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

     Annales
    Annals (Tacitus)
    The Annals by Tacitus is a history of the reigns of the four Roman Emperors succeeding Caesar Augustus. The surviving parts of the Annals extensively cover most of the reigns of Tiberius and Nero. The title Annals was probably not given by Tacitus, but derives from the fact that he treated this...

    (ca. AD 100)
  • Tacitus
    Tacitus
    Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

     Germania
    Germania (book)
    The Germania , written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire.-Contents:...

    (ca. 100)
  • Zosimus
    Zosimus
    Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

    Historia Nova (ca. 500)

Modern

  • Barrington (2000): Atlas of the Greek and Roman World
  • Crişan, Ion (1978): Burebista and his Time
  • Faliyeyev, Alexander (2007): Dictionary of Continental Celtic Placenames (online)
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian (2000): Roman Warfare
  • Jones, A.H.M. (1964): Later Roman Empire
  • Köbler, Gerhard (2000): Indo-Germanisches Wörterbuch (online)
  • Thompson, E.A. (1996): The Huns
  • Todd, Malcolm (2004): The early Germans
  • O. N. Trubačev (1999): INDOARICA в Северном Причерноморье
  • Wolfram, Herwig (1988): History of the Goths