Drumuri catre acasa...

Construit in urma cu mai bine de 1800 de ani si aflat la peste 3000 de kilometri distanta, pe granita de piatra ce despartea odinioara Scotia de Britania, fortul Banna (sau Birdoswald, in prezent) poarta inca amprenta vie a sufletului… romanesc. Ridicat de mainile celor 1000 de soldati daci din Cohorta I Aelia Dacorum Militaria, reconstruit si ranforsat de cateva ori de-a lungul timpului, transformat in ferma si locuit pana in 1984 de catre urmasii celor ce-au stapanit pamanturile aride ale acestor locuri, Banna este cel mai bine pastrat fort din cele 16 construite, ca parte a sistemului defensiv frontalier Zidul lui Hadrian.

Cum au ajuns insa dacii atat de departe de tara? Si ce i-ar fi putut determina sa-si lase in urma pamanturile mult-iubite, pentru acest capat de lume, aspru si prea putin prietenos? Motivul din pacate, a fost o obligatie, nicidecum o alegere. Obligatia de a furniza imperiului roman trupe auxiliare, ca urmare a infrangerii suferite in urma celor doua campanii ale imparatului Traian – 101-102 e.n si 105-106 e.n – si a transformarii a 14% din teritoriul Daciei in provincie romana. In consecinta, o cohorta a fost formata si trimisa in Britania, cel mai probabil la scurta vreme de la cucerire. Stationata la Bewcastle pe timpul domniei lui Hadrian, aceasta a construit Valul de intarire a Zidului, iar la inceputul secolului al III-lea, unitatea s-a mutat la Birdoswald, pentru 200 de ani.


Built more than 1800 years ago and 3000 kilometres away, based on the stone border that once separated Scotland from Britain, Banna Fort (or Birdoswald, in present day) still carries the intense mark of the… Romanian soul. Built by the hands of 1000 Dacian soldiers, known as Cohors I Aelia Dacorum Militaria (the first cohort of Dacians, Hadrian’s Own, 1.000 strong), rebuilt and reinforced through time, turned into farm and inhabited until 1984 by the descendants of those possessing the thirsty lands of this area, Banna is the best preserved fort out of 16 forts built as part of Hadrian’s Wall frontier system.

But how did Dacians get so far away from their country? What possibly could have made them leave their beloved lands for this remote corner of the world, harsh and unfriendly? The reason, unfortunately, was duty rather than free choice. The duty to give the Roman Empire auxiliary troops, as a consequence of the defeat suffered after  the two campaigns of Emperor Trajan – 101-102 AD and 105-106 AD – and of transforming 14% of Dacia’s territory into Roman province. Reductively, one cohort was formed and sent to Britain, most probably shortly after the conquest. Stationed at Bewcastle under Hadrian, it built the Vallum (earthworks) of Hadrian’s Wall, and in the early third century, the unit moved to Birdoswald, where it was based for 200 years. 

Aici a reusit sa intemeieze o asezare unica intre toate celelalte forturi romane, ale carei constructii continua sa uimeasca si-n prezent prin ingeniozitatea si firescul lor, chintesenta a mileniilor de viata, cultura si creatie ale poporului dac si ale inaintasilor acestora. De pilda, hambarele construite din piatra aveau podele inaltate, cu gauri de ventilatie, astfel incat granele sa se mentina permanent uscate si aerisite. Totodata, aceasta combinatie dintre zidurile groase de piatra si sistemul de ventilatie constituia mediul ideal - uscat si racoros - pentru depozitarea alimentelor perisabile.  

Dar poate cea mai neobisnuita constructie din interiorul fortului o reprezinta basilica exercitatoria, o biserica destinata exercitiilor militare, unica in tot imperiul roman, in care dacii, adevarati soldati ai lui Zalmoxe increzatori in nemurirea sufletului, se pregateau intru onoarea si bucuria unei morti in lupta. In prezent, mai bine de jumatate din ruinele sale sunt ingropate sub ferma muzeu, doar coltul de sud-vest mai putand fi vazut, chiar in fata turnului fermei. 


Here the unit established a unique settlement amongst the other Roman forts, a settlement whose buildings continue to amaze through their inventiveness and artlessness, a true quintessence of Dacian people’s culture and creation, inherited and developed over millennia. For instance, they built stone granaries with raised floors and slots in the walls so that cool air could circulate to keep the grain fresh. At the same time, this combination between the thick stone walls and the ventilation system, offered the ideal environment – cool and dry – for the storage of perishable goods.
But maybe the most unusual development within the fort is represented by the basilica exercitatoria, a temple for military exercises, unseen in any other part of the whole Empire, in which the Dacians, true soldiers of Zalmoxis, believing in the immortality of the soul, trained into the honour and joy of a death on the battle field. Now, about half of it lies under the farmhouse and only the south-west corner can be seen in front of the farmhouse tower.

In timp, multe inscriptii purtand marca si numele cohortei I Aelia Dacorum au fost descoperite la Birdoswald, insa din nefericire, nici una nu este expusa in perimetrul fortului ori in vreun muzeu din Marea Britanie. Una dintre ele, flancata de o frunza palmata si de mult-temutul falx – sabia curbata a dacilor -, dedicata tribunului dac Menander, este prezenta doar sub forma unei fotografii in incinta muzeului.

Many other inscriptions bearing the badge and the name of cohort I Aelia Dacorum had been discovered at Birdoswald in time, but unfortunately none of them is being exhibited within the fort’s perimeter or in any other museum in the United Kingdom. One of them, flanked by a palm frond and the much-feared falx (the Dacian curved sword), dedicated to the Dacian tribune Menander, is presented only as a picture inside the museum.  

O alta inscriptie, atestand denumirea romana a fortului – Banna, se afla expusa in holul muzeului si reprezinta un altar dedicat zeului geto-dac al padurilor (mai tarziu si al romanilor), Silvanus, de catre “Venatores Bannienses” .

 Another inscription, showing the fort’s Roman name – Banna, is displayed in the museum’s hallway, representing an altar dedicated to the Dacian god of forests (as well as Roman, later on), Silvanus, by the “Venatores Banniens”, the hunters of Banna.

De restul, nu se mai stie nimic. Depozitate cine stie unde, intentionat sau nu, condamna la tacere si uitare prin “pierderea” dovezilor arheologice, o civilizatie de teama careia, imparatul Traian si-a aruncat in lupta toate fortele pentru a o cuceri. Cand a pornit razboiul, pana si trupele din cele mai indepartate colturi ale imperiului au fost chemate la lupta…

The rest of them… no one knows. Dumped into who knows which museum’s basement, deliberate or not, doom to silence and oblivion by “losing” the archaeological evidence, a civilization so feared by the Emperor Trajan, that he unleashed almost all of his military forces to conquer Dacia. When he started the war, he even called the troops from the farthest corners of the empire…  

the view, pretty much unchanged since Roman occupation...

Legati prin juramant sa apere Britania si Roma pentru 200 de ani, aproape 2000 de ani mai tarziu, dacii de la Banna inca traiesc. Continua sa fie un model pentru cei de acasa si de pretutindeni, traind dincolo de moarte la fel cum si-au trait si viata: simplu si autentic, curajos si discret, cu bucurie, onoare si credinta.

Departe de templul impadurit al Carpatilor, departe de toate cele dragi si sfinte, au hranit cu oasele lor pamanturile ce i-au primit, lasand in urma un strop dintr-o uriasa mostenire de stiinta si filosofie de viata, alaturi de numele marelui rege Decebal, taiat in piatra funerara  a unui copil nascut si mort aici, la Banna, si numit dupa neinfricatul erou si conducator al Daciei libere.

O mostenire care ne obliga si pentru care nu stiu cat de vrednici mai suntem noi, nepotii lor de astazi…   

Sworn by an oath to protect Britain and Rome for 200 years, almost 2000 years later, the Dacians of Banna still live. They persist to be a role model for those back home and all around, living beyond death just as they had lived their lives: simple and authentic, brave and discreet, with joy, honour and faith.

Far away from the rich wooded temple of Carpathians, far away from everything they held dear and sacred, the Dacians of Banna fed with their bones the lands that welcomed them, leaving behind a small part from a great legacy of knowledge and life philosophy, along with the name of the great king Decebal, carved on the funeral stone of a child born and died here, at Banna, called Deceballus after the fearless hero and last leader of free Dacia.

A legacy which commits us and for which I truly don’t know how worthy we, their nephews, still are…

Mai multe detalii despre aceste locuri incarcate de istorie puteti citi, intr-o frumoasa si emotionanta marturie, aici: http://www.formula-as.ro/2008/842/societate-37/dacii-de-la-capatul-lumii-10366

6 comentarii:

  1. History is the better teacher...
    All you wrote about can teaches us about ancient times and about people and their way of living... and his believes...
    I am impreessed by your texts and pictures...
    Love and peace from Brazil!

  2. Vera Luiza,
    They say history is written by the conquerors and unfortunately it is true... It's just sad to see that in spite all evidence and acknowledgement, some of your own people refuse to admit the facts and restore the historic truth, choosing instead to perpetuate the conquerors version of the "truth".
    You are right: history is the better teacher! And I am very proud of our history and of our ancestors, the Dacians. Through this post I have tried to pay a tribute to them (I hope I succeeded in doing so...) and to their way of life: unsophisticated, deep, wise and full of love for their lands, language, culture and people...

    Thank you very much for your gentle words, I'm always happy to receive your visit and comments!
    My best of wishes and a warm hug!

  3. Hi Roxana,

    I knew a little about the history of your country and your people through this post.
    I understand the history has been viewed from the victors. There might have been many which was lost because of it and must be irrevocable, still I am sure "the quintessence of Dacian people's culture and tradition, inherited and developed over millennia"runs in you.
    I am struck with the changing times to see these vast and quiet remains.

    Spring has come in your part of the world?


  4. Hello cosmos,

    Thank you very much for your kind words! I don't know how much of the Dacian's legacy runs through me, but I would like very much that more of my people re-discover it, learn from its wisdom and be proud of it...

    I was impressed to see the vast and quiet remains myself, especially so far away from home. The places have a wild and austere beauty and you can almost feel the history written along Hadrian's Wall by many nations of the world, not only the Dacians.

    Spring is still belated in my city. Only yesterday I saw a few pink buds in a beautiful magnolia tree in the town center. But I think in a week or so everything should be fully bloomed. I can't wait!!

  5. Roxana, I’ve received your pride in your tribe and your regret against the fabricated history through your narratives. When I visit the ancient architectures of my country, I have mixed emotions. While I’m so impressed with the architectural style of each period and those who have made efforts to reconstruct or renovate the structures which were damaged by the natural disasters or wars, I’ve wondered what was the purpose to make such magnificent tangible things. Many people worked for them as their duty or with little wages to help glorify the empire and the then administration. Personally I prefer ruins to renovated structures. Through your photos, I feel only nature and the remains have seen the prosperity and decline of the empire and the fleeting lives of the people living there.

    Interestingly, Japanese traditional houses have the same kind of raised floor and good ventilation to cope with hot and humid Japanese summer, though materials are woods to absorb humidity.

    I have known little about Romania except the brutal and oppressive regime by Ceausescu. I was glad to know spring came after the long winter when Romanian people got liberated from that regime. Spring surely comes even after onslaught of winter. Wish you enjoying joyful spring days sooner.


  6. Dear Yoko,

    I completely understand your mixed feelings about magnificent monuments and constructions built in ancient times for "the glory of the empire". Most of them had been raised on behalf of the sacrifice of thousands of slaves or subjugated local populations forced to work in the exchange of their survival. Unfortunately, somehow, I get the feeling that we're still doing it...

    I also prefer ruins, because I feel they can tell the story of the lost ones better than any renovation. With only one condition: to be respected and remembered for what they were and for the sacrifice of those who built them, not to be turned into trash holes or completely shaved in order to have a mall instead or a parking area.

    About Ceausescu's regime there's a lot to say, but maybe now is not the best time to do it. It was very hard, but it also brought positive things to people, even though not many are willing to admit it.
    I will only say that the spring we were all waiting for in 1989 is still belated and more of us have less hope they'll get to see it coming.
    I've read once that after the darkest night, the brightest light will come. And even though I sometimes wonder how much darker can the night get, I know, I feel the light is near by. And I am waiting for it!

    I wish you happy days ahead and a fulfilling spring!