TRADE CONTACTS OF ROMAN DACIA

Mateusz Żmudziński
Knowledge about trade contacts in Roman Dacia is possible thanks to the foreign-made objects which are discovered on this ancient territory during archaeological digs. Among others, these are enamelled and terra sigillata potteries, oil lamps, jewels, art works and amphorae. Part of the amphorae could have been delivered to the military camps as annonae militaris. But we know for sure that, like in other provinces, there was a trade of some groups of products which did not leave archaeological traces. It is the case of glass products from Britannia which are often mentioned in written sources but seldom found, even fragmentarily (Cool 2003, 139-143). Apart from these objects, many inscriptions have been found on the Dacian territory that indicate the presence of foreign merchants from other regions of the empire. The flourishing Dacian cities little by little became attractive economic centres, but also production centres for goods exported to other provinces or countries outside the empire. Such Dacian products have been found in neighbouring countries. The development of local production also led to a decrease of the imports of goods which could be produced in Dacia (cf. Lipovan 1982-1983, 227-232). This explains why traders who wanted to develop their businesses turned to products which could not have been made in Dacia. The provincial elites who were becoming wealthier and the army officers represented a large group of clients for luxury goods. The Romanised local people living in the cities also was eager to buy Mediterranean food products. It seems therefore that the mere law of supply and demand determined the market (Temin 2001, 169-181). Among the goods imported at first to the territory of the newly founded province, many oil lamps have been discovered. Part of them came together with the invading legions, but a large amount obviously were imported by traders. These are sometimes volute oil lamps, but definitely more often so-called “firm lamps” which were produced in Italy and in the Western provinces. In this secTyragetia, s.n., vol. III [XVIII], nr. 1, 2009, 285-292.

ond group, part of the lamps wear the mark of their producers: Fortis, Armeni, Ianuari, Cassi, Flavi, Strobili, Crescens, Lucius, Atimeti, Titus (Băluţa 1977, 209-227; Băluţa 1986, 441-446, Gudea 1989, 447-448; Gudea 1996, 333/2). Their later local imitations are very difficult to distinguish from the original models and testify of the elimination of imports by a local production (Cf. Roman 2006, 545-553). The next group of imported goods are luxury table dishes. Among them enamelled pottery should be mentioned first. Usually, they were thin-shelled and covered with a yellow-green coloured enamel (Gudea 1989, 446, 858/1-3; Benea 2004, 203217). They were imported in little quantities from so far unidentified workshops most probably situated in Western Europe. The terra sigillata potteries were much more numerous. They can be dated with precision and show well the directions of imports. As an important fact, D. Gabler who has been studying the distribution of sigillates in the different Roman provinces could establish that most probably, there existed two large markets for this sector of trade, and maybe for other sectors too. The first one was Gallo-Germanic, and the second was the Danubian market. This searcher observed that producers usually sold their artefacts on only one of these markets (Gabler 1985, 3-29). Products from the Pfaffenhofen workshops can be mentioned as a typical example: products from Dicanus’s workshop alone have been found in the region of Lower Danube, where Helenius’s products were completely absent. As for the terra sigillata items discovered on the territory of Roman Dacia, the best knows are the ones from the Northern regions of the province (Chirlă et al. 1972, 123; Isac 2001, 79-97; 98-112, 113129). Among the imported smooth sigillates and stamped potteries, a large majority of them come from central Gaul (50% of the items), and the rest of identified origin show as follows: 1% from Italy (the earliest ones); 6% from Southern Gaul; 5% from Eastern Gaul and Germany; and more pre285

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cisely 20% from Rheizabern; 11% from Westerndorf; and 3% from Pannonia (Isac et al. 1979; Isac 2001, 130-154; Rusu-Bolineṭ, 2004, 712-734). In Apulum, it has been established that 20% of the sigillates were imported from Rheinzabern, and for comparison, 7% from Westerndorf. In Tibiscum in the Banat, that is in the Southern part of the province, on the contrary, the part of products from Westerndorf was much greater (up to 55%) (Isac 1981), (e.g. COMITIALIS). The products from Westerndorf are found almost exclusively in the near neighbourhood of the Danube, and only occasionally in the North, which is actually limited to the centre of Dacia because these products practically did not reach the far Northern border of the province. In the Southern regions of Dacia, in addition to the already mentioned ones, potteries from Butovo and Pavlikeni in Lower Moesia are also discovered. The last imports of sigillates took place under the reign of the Antonine dynasty. The great majority of the potteries came from Lezoux. They usually were produced by the following workshops: IANVARIVS, SACER, ATTIANVS, PAVLVS, ADVOCIVS, PATERNVS, LAXTVCISSA. As for the potteries from Southern Gaul, they were most often produced by CINNAMVS’s and ADVOCIS’s workshops. In Rheinzabern, we know above all the producers REGINVS and IANVARIVS (Băluţa 1982-1983). Decorated pottery as well as the so-called smooth sigillates were also sold. The discovered items are of the following types: Curle 15, Drag. 15/17, 18/31, 33, 35, 42, Déch. 72, Drag. 37, 39. The transports of potteries from far regions of the empire took place up to the middle of the 3rd Century, and then were almost completely stopped in the times of the economic crisis. An example of the late import is a vase which arrived from Augusta Treverorum to Porolissum in the last years of the province’s existence (Gudea 1993). It seems that for goods delivery, including that of sigillates, the transport possibilities were one of the main factors determining the products’ shapes. In the Western provinces, most of the items can be found along the rivers. This implies that the presence of waterways was important for the distribution of these products (Cf. Oenbrink 1998, 146/1). It was certainly the case in Dacia too. The large amount of products from Lezoux and its surroundings seems to show that they were transported through the Rhone – Rhine – Danube route. Transports through the Po river, or possibly sea transport through Ostia and 286

Rome, and then farther to Aquilea and through the Danube should not be excluded either. Beside pottery, various food products also were imported to Dacia. The discovered amphorae testify of wine, olive oil and fish sauce imports. Amphorae fragments are well known in neighbouring Pannonia. Items found in this region are of different types, among others Dr. 6 and similar types from Northern Italy, and were used to transport oil and wine (Kelemen 1987, 3-45). Archaeological digs have discovered Mediterranean amphorae (Pompei XXV) used for the export of fruit, Spanish (Dr. 7-11) for fish sauces, Spanish or Italian (Dr. 38) for wine and aromatised wines, (Dr. 12) for different fish sauces from Betic, (Dr. 20) for olive oil from the surroundings of Betic, (Dr. 16-17) for the transport of fish sauces and wines from the surroundings of Betic, and some of unidentified origin (Kelemen 1990, 147-193). Amphorae from Eastern provinces have been found too. Part of them (Scorpan VII) were used to export wine, which was largely delivered to the regions of Oltenia, Muntenia and Moldavia (Kelemen 1993, 45-73). In the neighbouring Upper Moesia, archaeologists found, among others, amphorae from Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Aegean region, Anatolia, Pontus and Africa (Bjelajac 1996, 123). Thanks to A. Ardeţ’s long research, we have now an extended knowledge on amphorae exports to Roman Dacia (Ardeţ 2006, 13 et al.). About 500 amphorae have been identified on his research territory. They were imported from Italy, Dalmatia, Betic, Lusitania, Gaul, Lower Moesia, Thrace, and Eastern and African provinces, that is mainly from the Aegean islands, the Near East and Northern Africa (Ardeţ 2004, 330341). In Italy, the Dacian population bought olive oil (amphorae Dressel 2-4, Dressel 6B), olives (Schörgendorfer 558) and wine (Forlimpopoli) (Ardeţ 2001). It is possible that these transports began before the foundation of the Dacian provinces, and they continued up to the middle of the 2nd Century AD. In the 2nd Century AD, olive oil was imported from Dalmatia (Portorecanati). Garum (Dressel 7, Dressel 11), olive oil and salted olives (Dressel 20), and wine from reputed vineyards (Metagallares I) were imported from Betic. Fish sauces also were imported from Lusitania (Dressel 14B and Almagro 50). Wine was transported from Gaul in amphorae (Gauloise 4 and Gauloise 5). From Lower Moesia, traders in the

M. Żmudziński, Trade contacts of Roman Dacia

2nd and 3rd Centuries mainly bought wine (Zeest 80, Zeest 94, Zeest 64, Zeest 92, Radulescu III a). Dacia was an olive oil provider (Knossos 18) and also sold fish products and probably fruit (Kuzmanov II). The islands and coasts of the Aegean Sea and the Pontus regions mainly exported olive oil (Zeest 90, Knossos 36, Dressel 24) and wine (Zeest 84, Knossos 22, Dressel 5, Agora F65/66, Kapitän II). In some cases, Ardeţ has been able to determine more precisely that oil transports came from Herakleia Pontike (Dressel 24), and wine from Rhodes (Rhodian), Kos (Koan), Knidos (Knidian) or Crete and Cyrena (Knossos, Benghazi MR2/Zeest 99). Olive oil (Dressel 30) also was bought in Mauretania Caesariensis in Africa. Oil was also shipped from the province of Africa Proconsularis (amphorae Africana “Grande”, Africana “Piccolo”, Benghazi MR 1). Together with the oil, little quantities of olives (Benghazi MR1) were exported from this region too. So far the results of researches on the mentioned amphorae made it possible to establish that the main deliveries of olive oil were imported from Pontus and Bithynia (over 50%), wine from Asia (about 45%), fish sauces from Betic and Lusitania (about 33% each), and olives from Italy and Asia (about 45% each) (Ardeţ 2006, 255 et al.). Wine and olive oil were thus bought in similar quantities, and all the rest of the food products imported in amphorae were rather marginal deliveries in the case of the analysed territory. It has been observed too that in the first fifty years after the conquest of Dacia, imports from the Western countries were largely dominant (about 80% of the amphorae). Ardeţ noted that after the middle of the 2nd Century, a tremendous change took place: Western amphorae-imported products only represented about 20% then, and imports from the East increased to over 74% of the deliveries. In the first half of the 3rd Century, the trends of the last fifty years of the 2nd Century strengthened. The transports from the East and Africa increased, and the ones from Betic and Lusitania completely ceased. No amphorae from the Western parts of the empire from the last period directly before the evacuation of the Dacian provinces have been found. It is obvious that in this time, trade contacts were maintained only with the Eastern provinces, and more surprisingly, imports from Africa increased (Ardeţ 2006, 262-263). P. Dyczek observed the same phenomenon with the Lower Moesia imports, and more precisely the imports to Novae

(Dyczek 1999, 264-268). We can then consider that in the analysed period, Dacia was part of the large economic and trade circuit of the empire. The contacts were made possible thanks to the Danube and other waterways connecting Dacia with the Western as well as the Eastern provinces. Within the province itself, the goods were delivered through the tributaries of the Danube and a dense road network connecting the cities and army camps. These roads also led over the province, through bridges or river rafts, and linked the whole Dacian province with the rest of the empire (Fodorean 2004). In addition to pottery and food products, artefacts were also imported to the province despite its well developed workshop industry. It was the case of goods whose production would have been difficult in Dacia. Together with the sigillates from Gaul, other objects were transported Eastwards, like for instance enamelled products (Benea et al. 2006, 177). C. Pop considers all large imperial bronzes as such products (Pop 1978). All sorts of imported products were discovered in Dacia, even Greek works of art like for example a statue of a centaur (Thomas 1988). Small bronze objects of different natures like amulets and statuettes were broadly sold (Pop 2001). The main lot of them (about 62%) were made in the Western provinces of the empire. Only some few ones (about 7%) came from the provinces situated South of Dacia, and all the rest from the Near East and North Africa. Luxury goods certainly were major import items (Cf. Jundziłł 1991, 99). These were all sorts of daily-use objects, jewels, purple stained clothes, delicate fabrics, furs, spices (Cf. Mrozek 1982, 15-21; Küster 1995, 1-26), and perfumes (Cf. Forbes 1955, 28-49). The clients were rich provincial elites (Peacock 1982, 153). Some of these products could have been imported from specialised workshops (Jones 1974, 350-364). Like in the other Roman provinces, amber products certainly were appreciated. Amber could have been transported through Carnuntum or through the Eastern Carpathian Mountains (Wielowiejski 1996, 218/1). In addition to those products, live animals were also sold to Dacia. Part of them (like cattle, horses and pigs) were sold for husbandry, which is visible thanks to analysis of the bones discovered in the province. Others quickly ended their lives at the butcher’s or in the amphitheatre arena. Another quite particular product sold on 287

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the Dacian marketplaces were slaves. They could be bought by mine managers (TC VI, TCVII ) or, for example, landowners (?) (TC XIII, TC XXV). Germanic women fibulae discovered in the castles (A 43, 129, 137) sometimes are interpreted as evidence of slavery, as slave women could be bought by soldiers who wanted them for wives (Cociş, Opreanu 1998, 202-203). When analysing categories of goods which were imported to Roman Dacia, we must not forget of the riches of the Carpathian forests nor the Dacian enormous ore deposits. It is quite probable that ships on their way back from Dacia did not only carry the money earned on the sale of imports, but also were loaded with local products sent for export. Different sorts of wild animals like bisons, bears and wolves certainly could be captured in the forests to be sent to the amphitheatre arenas in Italy or far provinces (Cf. from Moesia: AE 1996, nr 1341; Wilkes 2005, 212). In the forests, there were also many other animals which could be hunted for fur, hides and meat. It is very probable too that Dacia, like earlier Rhetia, which disposed of convenient waterways, could sell large amounts of wood to the very demanding Roman market (Cf. Meiggs 1982, 248). Wood was particularly demanded at the time of the enlarging of Rome under the Antonine emperors (Meiggs 1982, 251 et al.). It was necessary as building material, fuel for ceramic ovens and thermae water heating. C. Daicoviciu’s hypothesis that wood was exported to the Near East is likely too (Daicoviciu 1943, 127). Farm animals and animal products like wool, felt, raw leather and leather products certainly were exported too. It is also probable that salted meat was exported, as salt itself was produced in huge quantities in Dacia and was the object of a far trade (Cf. Saile 2000, 172-175). We can suppose that it was transported to the local markets as well as the other provinces through the waterways and the Danube (Glodariu 1977, 960). As neighbouring territories like, for instance, the breeder Jazyge people’s land lacked salt, it most probably was exported to these territories (Cf. Opreanu 1997, 247 et al.). This trade route certainly went through the Mureş river, and further the Cisa river. It is also possible that part of the salt from Dacia was transported by land roads over the limes, like was the case in the Western provinces (Saile 2000, 189). Metals, among others iron bars, could be exported and certainly were worth exporting. Ore mining and metallur288

gic production were more developed than was necessary to satisfy the needs of the province’s inhabitants. It is possible then that part of the production, as it was the case with the Noricum production (Graßl 1987-1988, 83-88), was exported to the Barbaricum. The metallurgists’ workshops in Gyoma (today Hungary) can be regarded as evidence of this trade, as there are no ore deposits in the region (Opreanu 1997, 250). Semifinished products discovered there were most probably imported from Dacia. The enormous amounts of gold and silver extracted in Dacia mainly flowed to the emperor’s and the Roman treasure. It is difficult to say which proportion of these precious metals reached the free market. Therefore their trade cannot be considered on the same level with the other kinds of trade. For the same reasons, the money market cannot be commented in this paper: however it was closely linked with trade, it also concerned the other economic sectors (Petolescu 1981; Găzdac 2002). Among the Roman items discovered over the limes, a kind of very characteristic fibulae with a trapezoid base, and also precious potteries can be distinguished. They were sold to the Jazyges, but also in other Danubian regions. Another local luxury pottery was also sold abroad: that is terra sigillata porolissensis (TSP), which is considered usually as an import from the Western provinces (Gudea 1989, 207-208). TSP potteries are found on the territories of today Hungary and Slovakia (Gudea 1989, 208). Sometimes, Dacia also exported to the Barbaricum some potteries which had been imported first from the Western provinces (Bader 1974-1975, 269-276; Gabler, Vaday 1992, 83160). Other artefacts exported from Dacia over the limes were jewels. These were bracelets and necklaces as well as some other glass-pearl jewels. They were produced in Porolissum and Tibiscum (Benea 2004b, 97 et al.). Large sets of goods with coloured enamel decoration can also be listed to luxury products (Benea et al. 2006, 174). Knowing the preferences of the rich Barbarians, weapons, harness parts, daily-use objects, and jewels among which fibulae were decorated using this method. It is also most probable that Dacia sold wine to the Barbaricum. Because of their harsh climate, the countries situated North of the Carpathian Mountains could not produce it themselves. It could be transported in goatskins or barrels, by road, through the mountain passes.

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According to P. Haupt, the dominant form of trade between the inhabitants of the Roman provinces and the Barbaricum was barter (Haupt 2001, 53). But it is likely that part of the Roman items discovered over the borders of the empire were not sold, but looted during wars or given (Kunow 1985, 248). As T. Kotula showed, all sorts of invasions and attacks interfered with the traders’ activities, and sometimes even limited trade to local markets (Kotula 1994, 136). It is interesting to note that after the Marcoman wars, a long period of trade development between Dacia and some of its neighbours seemed to take place. It looks as if the series of war lootings set up a fashion for empire-made goods in the Barbaricum (Cf. Opreanu 1997, 247; Wilkes 2005, 171). Similar phenomena have been observed in Germania (Whittaker 1994, 110). For the transport of goods from other provinces, an important element was the developed money market which was regularly supplied with the soldiers’ pay. The function of customs officers is closely linked with foreign trade. Dacia was part of the customs area of Publicum Portorii Illyrici (AE 1988, 0977). One of the most important testimonies in this field is the customs station building which has been discovered in Porolissum (Gudea 1996). So far, it is the only known example of such a building on the territory of the whole empire. But some other customs stations have been localised thank to inscriptions, and according to N. Gudea (Gudea 1996, 129), they were situated in Moldova Nouă (IDR III, 1,26), Dierna (IDR III, 1, 35), Drobeta (IDR II,15), Sucidava (IDR II 188), in the surroundings of Băie Herculane (Gudea 1996, 129-130), Pons Augusti (IDR III,1), Micia (IDR III, 2, 102), Ampelum (IDR III, 3, 362), Alburnus Maior (CIL III, 958, II, XXIII, XXIV) and Potaissia (Gudea 1996, 131). A customs office was situated in Apulum, too (Piso, Moga, 1998, 109-118.; AE 1998, 1074, IDR III, 5, 702), and another one was in the city of Partiscum neighbouring with the province (Opreanu 1997, 249). We know the names of some customs officers on the analysed territory, among others imperial slaves (Gudea 1996, 131 et al.; AE 1988, 0977; IDR III, 5, 702; IDR III, 1, 035). In addition to the customs officers, trade implied of course the activities of a whole range of different salers. Some of them are mentioned in inscrip-

tions such as IDR III, 5, 190; IDR III, 5, 218, CIL III, 14216. A group of Near East merchants has been identified too. They were probably commercial representatives for imports from their native region (in Napoca: CIL III, 860; CIL III 870; in Apulum: CIL III 7761; in Ampelum CIL III 1324). N. Gudea also identified Dacian traders in other provinces (Gudea 1996, 122): in Augusta Traiana in Thrace (IGB III, 1590; IGB III, 2, 1590), in Dalmatia (CIL III 2086), in Nedinum (CIL III 2866), Tragurum (CIL III 2679) and Achaia (IGB XII, 125). A merchant from Aquilea (CIL V, 1047) and two from Augusta Treverorum (IDR II, 22; CIL III, 1214) can also be linked with Roman Dacia trade. D. Benea showed that Aquilea was an important trade centre in the analysed province because it was situated at a trade crossroad (Benea 2003). Thanks to inscriptions, we know not only, to some extend, what goods were exchanged there, but also names of persons who traded them. It is obvious that there also were many small traders in addition to the famous ones mentioned in the inscriptions. But due to the lack of written evidence, we only know a little part of the products they sold. Commercial relationships linked people from the analysed province with the inhabitants of nearby territories over the limes as well as inhabitants of far regions of the empire. Trade was linked, of course, with other economic sectors, and its development gives evidence of the general economic condition of the province. We can observe that after the initial period of foundation of the province, when almost everything needed to be imported, Roman Dacia became an intensive production centre exporting goods to foreign markets. The economic development of the Dacian provinces brought about prosperity to some of their inhabitants, and thus contributed to the intensification of trade exchange in order to meet the demand of people of different degrees of wealth. The eventual trade slowdown can be explained by political troubles, money devaluation, and the progressive evacuation of the province. The main actors of trade exchange were the army and the Romanised population. The inhabitants of mountain villages, descendants of the conquered Daces, had very limited possibilities to buy or sell products more valuable than the ones sold on their local marketplaces.

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II. Materiale şi cercetări

Contactele comerciale ale Daciei Romane
Rezumat În articol sunt prezentate categoriile principale de produse importate şi exportate din Dacia Romană, precum şi inscripţiile, care menţionează negustorii şi ofiţerii vamali din această provincie. Printre produsele importate sunt amintite lămpile cu ulei, vasele terra sigillata, produsele de lux, amforele cu diferite produse şi animalele. Se remarcă că cea mai mare parte a uleiului de măsline era adus din Pontus şi Bithynia, vinurile din Asia, garum din Betic şi Lusitania, iar măslinele din Italia şi Asia. La început importurile principale veneau din provinciile de vest, iar în perioada târzie – din cele de est şi din Africa. O parte a produselor erau, desigur, aduse ca annona militaris. În ceea ce priveşte exporturile, produsele principale erau sarea, metalele, lemnul, vasele locale terra sigillata (TSP), produsele emailate, bijuteriile şi alte obiecte din sticlă şi perle. Relaţiile comerciale erau întreţinute atât cu populaţiile învecinate hotarelor imperiului, cât şi cu provinciile imperiale din Vestul îndepărtat, Africa şi din Orientul Apropiat. Principalele căi comerciale se întindeau de-a lungul Dunării şi a afluenţilor ei, însă exista şi o reţea internă de drumuri.

Торговые контакты Римской Дакии
Резюме В статье представлены основные категории импорта экспорта Римской Дакии, а так же надписи, упоминающие торговцев и таможенных служителей из этой провинции. Среди импортируемых товаров выделяются масляные светильники, terra sigillata, предметы роскоши, амфоры с различными продуктами и животные. Например, оливковое масло привозили из Понта и Битинии, вина – из Азии, оливки – из Италии и Азии. Первоначально товары импортировались из западных провинций, позже – из восточных и из Африки. Экспортировали из провинции: соль, металлы, древесину, эмалированные предметы, бижутерию и другие предметы из стекла и драгоценных камней. Торговые связи поддерживались как народами, проживающими у границ империи, так и с римскими провинциями с запада, из Африки и Ближнего Востока. Основные торговые пути проходили вдоль Дуная и его притоков, но в то же время существовали внутренние дороги, по которым перевозились эти товары.

03.04.2009
Dr. Mateusz Żmudziński, Institut of History Wrocław University, Szewska 49, PL-50-131 Wrocław, Poland, e-mail: mateusz@hist.uni.wroc.pl

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