Revised History of the Bulgarians (Thracian connection)

Perix

Ad Honoris
Dec 2009
10,029
Romania
Well, I see the user is banned, but so that other users may be informed, no modern scholar of the Tetrarchy that I've read (and I've read very many) considers Galerius to have said or done these things. This is the invective of a Christian rhetorician, Lactantius, against an emperor who was born in the province of Dacia Ripensis, whose mother may have been born in the old province of Dacia north of the Danube, and (crucially) who had persecuted the Christians. As a skilled rhetorician, Lactantius naturally uses Galerius' birth and origins to present the persecuting emperor as a savage non-Roman barbarian. If Galerius had really acted like this he would not have ruled for as long as he did. I discuss Lactantius' characterization of Galerius in an article that I have written, but it won't be published until 2021.
Maybe is a point of view, but this not prove he didn't say that. In that period, the old noble families from Italy, lost their absolute power in favor of balcanic ones. Within the empire it was a kind of rivalry between statesmen from different zones. Probably those from Balkans, regardless their direct kinship, identified themselves with Dacians, not only because they lived in a province called Dacia, but Decebal was still a resonant name in the Empire. On the other hand, there were many statesmen identified as Dacians by surviving sources - probably they were really lot of them in that period.
 
Oct 2018
1,734
Sydney
Maybe is a point of view, but this not prove he didn't say that. In that period, the old noble families from Italy, lost their absolute power in favor of balcanic ones. Within the empire it was a kind of rivalry between statesmen from different zones. Probably those from Balkans, regardless their direct kinship, identified themselves with Dacians, not only because they lived in a province called Dacia, but Decebal was still a resonant name in the Empire. On the other hand, there were many statesmen identified as Dacians by surviving sources - probably they were really lot of them in that period.
There was indeed rivalry within the Roman Empire between the old Italian aristocracy and the Balkan officer class, but if Galerius had proposed to call the Roman Empire the Dacian Empire and had treated Roman citizens (of which he and his fellow Balkan officers were also Roman citizens) ruthlessly on the basis of how Trajan had treated the Dacians 200 years earlier, then they would have overthrown him. The ideological concept of the Roman Empire was a powerful idea that transcended Italy. Emperors were located in the capital less and less, they could seize power without asking for senatorial approval, all free-born males in the empire were now citizens, and Caracalla had to remove a king of Edessa from power for pushing Romanization onto his subjects too vigorously. Because of this new environment, Zenobia could rule in Syria, Postumus could do so in Gaul, and Carausius could do so in Britain, and all three would convey themselves as Roman emperors. Likewise, when the regime of Constantinople took on a life of its own, they didn't cease to present themselves as Romans. Either these emperors/empresses all respected the idea of Rome, or they knew that their provincial subjects did. Galerius couldn't ignore such circumstances. Moreover, the senate continued to be honoured under the Tetrarchs, with Italian senators receiving important and powerful civil posts within the Tetrarchic administration. The late third-century army was all too ready to revolt at the drop of a hat, and he had three co-emperors who could force him from power should they so choose (Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius - who, while from the Balkans, none of whom had Dacian ancestry). These conditions alone make it unlikely that Galerius said or did such things.

But then we can add other factors:

1. As I noted before, Lactantius, in De Mortibus Persecutorum, is engaging in invective against a persecutor, using his origins against him. And Lactantius is known to lie about these emperors throughout the account in question. E.g. he pretends that there was no abdication plan between Diocletian and Maximian (despite the testimony of other sources), and he avoids anything that compromises Constantine, such as his promotion by Maximian, and the fact that his rival Maxentius had also issued an edict of toleration for the Christians in his own territory.
2. No other ancient author mentions what Lactantius claims about Galerius.
3. Galerius is known in art and inscriptions to have identified with Mars, Sol, Alexander the Great and (it has been argued) Septimius Severus, not Decebalus.
4. Tetrarchic monuments used the motif of captured Dacian prisoners to celebrate their victorious rule (see e.g. the Novus Arcus of Diocletian, where they re-used decorations from a monument of Trajan in order to suggest an affinity between Trajan and the Tetrarchs - such re-use isn't just a matter of cost-cutting - note that the Arch of Constantine, likewise of Balkan birth, only re-used the decorations of three of 'good emperors': specifically Trajan (again), Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius).
5. We don't know that Galerius was actually a Dacian. His mother was born north of the Danube. Therefore, her ancestors may well have been Roman settlers who entered Dacia after its conquest by Trajan. It is only natural that Lactantius should twist such a fact to make him into a Dacian.
6. Balkan soldiers were above all else celebrated for their exceptional hardiness and valour in the Roman army. For this reason, the Tetrarchs' Balkan provinces of birth were celebrated in a manner that emphasized the emperors' services within the Roman army. E.g. Aurelius Victor, Caes. 39.26: 'Illyricum was actually the native land of all of them: so, although they were deficient in culture, they had nevertheless been sufficiently schooled by the hardships of the countryside and of military service to be the best men for the state.' The panegyrist in 289 asserts that, whereas Italy is the domina of nations for the antiquity (uetustas) of her gloria, Pannonia is domina in uirtus (valour) (10(2).2.2), and he praises the units on that frontier as ‘the bravest of legions’ (fortissimarum … legionum; 2.4). The panegyrist in 291 praises that the emperors’ provinces of birth produce women stronger than the men of other provinces, being exposed to the enemy and where ‘all life is military service’ (omnis uita militia est) (11(3).3.8-4.1). In other words, Balkan soldiers did not need to resort to a distant pre-Roman past to enjoy their pride, since they were already highly respected within the army, and this is reflected in how these panegyrics and Victor praise Galerius and his co-emperors.

As with most things in ancient history, one can usually only argue rather than definitively 'prove' something incorrect, but for the reasons given above I consider the claims of Lactantius to be untenable. And this is reflected in the scholarship: see. e.g. Kolb, F. 1987: Diocletian und die Erste Tetrarchie. Improvisation oder Experiment in der Organisation monarchischer Herrschaft?, Berlin & New York; Kuhoff, W. 2001: Diokletian und die Epoche der Tetrarchie. Das römische Reich zwischen Krisenbewaltigung und Neuaufbau (284-313 n. Chr.), Frankfurt; Leadbetter, W. 2009: Galerius and the Will of Diocletian, London & New York.
 
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Perix

Ad Honoris
Dec 2009
10,029
Romania
There was indeed rivalry within the Roman Empire between the old Italian aristocracy and the Balkan officer class,...
I respect these arguments and I agree the sources are not enough to state anything. Indeed, if Galerius affirmations would been formal, he would had problems. But his affirmations were probably done at his court, in an informal environement, and were not followed by deeds. I'd rather think Galerius sayings were a reply of old italian senatorial class rethorics. Lacking enough sources, we need a bit of imagination, about how the things happened. Old senatorial families lost their affective power, but still didn't lose the right to criticise loudly their opponents. So, I think were them first who called Galerius and his fellows as "dacian barrbarians". Besides Lactantius was primary source, and if he'd invented all, he would had his detractors.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,664
Republika Srpska
The are Albanians claiming that they are Illyrians and Serbs claiming that they are Illyrians too, but generally they don't like each others too much, and I not seldom saw them fighting on various forums re: which of them are the true Illyrians. :)
No one but the stupid ultra-nationalists claim the Serbs are Illyrians. Illyrianism is much, much stronger in Albania.
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,992
Romania
No one but the stupid ultra-nationalists claim the Serbs are Illyrians. Illyrianism is much, much stronger in Albania.
Yes, I know that, but there are some very vocal such "stupid ultra-nationalists" Serbs, as I could clearly see by browsing various boards.
 
Jan 2015
1,553
Bosnia and Herzegovina
I didn't say that. Actualy dacians made more history as romans than before. Anyway, romanians are, imo, the folowers of all latin speakers in balkans, not only dacians(dacians, thracians, illyrians, dalmatianss, other colonists), who regarded themselves, after 2-3 cnt ad, as romans
You said Bulgarian Thracian inheritance is actually Roman because Thrace was incorporated and its culture lost. Following that logic Romanian inheritance is Roman only, as well. That's what I meant
 
Jan 2015
1,553
Bosnia and Herzegovina
No one but the stupid ultra-nationalists claim the Serbs are Illyrians. Illyrianism is much, much stronger in Albania.
Why is it bad to claim Serbs are Illyrian descendants? We're not pure Slavs.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,664
Republika Srpska
Why is it bad to claim Serbs are Illyrian descendants? We're not pure Slavs.
Because such a claim is connected to pseudo-historical claims that the Serbs were in the Balkans since Vinča. And it is most often used to counter the Albanian claim of them being the true, pure Illyrians and thus the only truly autochtonous people in the Balkans. That is also nonsense.
 

Perix

Ad Honoris
Dec 2009
10,029
Romania
You said Bulgarian Thracian inheritance is actually Roman because Thrace was incorporated and its culture lost. Following that logic Romanian inheritance is Roman only, as well. That's what I meant
well, depends what you mean by roman only. Romans were what they were: a mosaic