the Pretorian Guard
& the Trajan’s GETÆ Campaigns
There’s a huge, and I mean really huge discrepancy between the numbers used by the romans for invading other territories, and the GETÆ Empire Capital, Sarmizegetusa REGIA. Romans conquest of Gaul was done with 4 legions, roman conquest of Britain 4 again, roman conquest of Macedonia with 2 and so on. Not even during the second punic war (fought between Carthage and Rome) did the romans had so more legions participating in the war as in Trajan’s GETÆ campaigns.
The GETÆ Empire were preparing themselves for a war against Rome for many years. After the peace with Domitian in ’89, the peace treaty was having Rome provide military trainers for the getae army. Together with all the roman deserters and refugee, the getae army was trained for more than 10 years in a roman style of battle, more than enough time to get a good grip of roman way of fighting.
Domitian’s Dacian wars started with general Oppius Sabinus leading I Italica (and vexillations from V Macedonica) killed and the legion destroyed (yet remade after that). Domitian’s first campaign in Dacia had Cornelius Fuscus, general and commander of the Pretorian Guard, lead 6 legions into GETÆ Empire, which were badly beaten, with Fuscus killed and the V Alaudae being destroyed and losing it’s eagle and most of the standards (including the standard of the Praetorian Guard).
⚔️ 20 LEGIONS ⚔️
For the second GETÆ campaign, Domitian had general Tettius Iulianus lead more than 4 legions (we have clear confirmation only for 4, but actually, there should have been at least 6, as in precedent campaign, there is no logic to mount another campaign with less legions than in the first one in which you were badly beaten). Another roman legion (XXI Rapax) was destroyed in Moesia inferior in 92. For his GETÆ campaigns, emperor Trajan summoned no less than 17 legions. Seventeen!! Rome never ever did that before, or after… ! Just as a short summary, 2-3 roman legions completely destroyed, an army of 6 legions beaten, with another 17 legions army summoned for the last invasion! No Rome’s enemy got such a high treatment like this.
Under Domitian, an army of 5-6 legions advancing into Dacia (that is 50-60k) suffered a severe defeat, with the V Alaudae almost destroyed and eagle lost. Next year, another army (somehow believed to be smaller than the first one, though that doesn’t make any sense) was sent to revenge the first, and won a partial victory over dacians, only to conclude it with a roman-dacian treaty in which Rome was paying tribute to Dacia, and sent military and engineer advisors to the same dacians in support! When Trajan got emperor, he prepared and started the famous dacian wars, 101-102 and 105-106, which seems to be the biggest wars ever fought by Rome. Almost all the affordable legions of the empire (that is almost 20 of them, for a total around 200k) were prepared to be sent into Dacia. Cothyso
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