Are the Dacians and the Getae the same people? When Caesar and Trajan refer to their enemies above the Danube, do they refer to the same people or different people?

Furthermore, how do Goths fit in? In Getica, there is a linkage made between the Getae and the Goths. Is it just a name confusion, or is there an accepted connection? If so, when did the Goths migrate do the Getae lands, or how did it work?


The exact relation between Dacians and Getae is unclear; ancient sources tell us that they spoke the same language, and some of them claim that they were the same tribe under different names. They should thus be considered related, possibly identical. Wikipedia has a review of the sources.

As for the connection to Goths, it was a common identification in late antiquity, probably based on the closeness of the names. However, the names are most likely entirely unrelated: "Getae" is probably greek in origin, "Goth" is Germanic. The Goths, when they first appear in recorded history, lived north of the Black sea and later expanded towards the south and west, including the former Dacia. (Much has beeen written about the Goths coming from southern Sweden, and later Poland, but this is based on late recorded myths, etymological speculation, and somewhat questionable identification of material culture with tribal identity.)

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    I'm a bit more forgiving of the "speculation" about the Goths origin, as that's the general vicinity all Germanic speakers seem to have originated from, and the Black Sea is certainly an outlier for Germanics. Still, that's debatable, and this is an excellent answer. – T.E.D. Aug 25 '15 at 12:59
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    It was pretty common for classical historians to refer to tribes in one area by "traditional" names used for peoples in the same region hundreds of years earlier as a salute to those old historians. Hence the name Scythian for anyone living north of the Black Sea. The fixing of Getae to the Goths once they moved into that area is thus pretty natural, if frustrating to modern folks trying to do some ethnology from ancient reports. – Oldcat Aug 25 '15 at 20:51
  • But related is very different than identical. If they were related, were the Getae gone by the time of Trajan? If they are identical, that question is void. I know from the answers we don't know for sure, just wondering out loud. Are there any records of different tactics employed by the two tribes? For some reason, I keep getting the impression (from various historical phrasings) that Getae are an older tribe which briefly coexisted with the Dacians, but I am no expert. – Will I Am Nov 12 '16 at 6:19

Procopius of Caesarea, descibing the wars against Goths in Italy mentioned the "Gothic tribes of Scirii and Alani". Scirii were Germans and Alani were of Scytic origins. Theophylact Simocatta, describing the Bizantine wars against Slavs, mentioned that (i) the Slavs are the former Getae and (ii) the Slavs are the former Goths! It seems that the Goths were a political union of barbarian tribes of various ethnicity united in their fight against the rich Rome. It is like now a lot of people call as "Russians" various nations that were part of the former USSR.


Dacia is a region roughly conterminus with modern Romania and lower Hungary. The Getae are a people who lived in Dacia. The Getae are mentioned by the ancient Greeks so their culture goes back to at least 400 B.C.. They are described as a Scythian race, being similar to Sarmatians and other semi-nomadic archers from that region.

The Goths were from Denmark and were not archers. Their principal weapon was the sword. They invaded or immigrated to Dacia in Roman times. The Goths in that region were specifically known as the "Ostrogoths" (east Goths) to differentiate them from other Gothic peoples who moved into Western Europe.

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    I am not sure if this answers my question, which was probably poorly asked. Primarily, Wikipedia refers to Burebista as king of Getae and Dacians, as if they were two united tribes, and to Decebalus (2nd century) as only the king of Dacians. I am primarily curious if Lucullus (77BC) and Trajan really fought the same people.The kingdom of Burebista seems to have dissolved after his death. I'm dropping my question about Jordane's Getica since I imagine it had to do with Romans starting to call the Visigoths by the term Getae. – Will I Am Aug 25 '15 at 2:57
  • It's Greuthingi and Tervingi tyler, rather than Ostro and Visigoths, and they both came from the region of Dacia. The Getae had Cavalry but fought mostly on foot, with the Sica and the Falx. – Jeroen K Aug 25 '15 at 11:40

Commodus had a brother named Geta whom he murdered and decreed a damnatio memoriae. In other words if anyone spoke this name out loud he would be killed summarily. The Goths appear right around this time… seems probable that perhaps Getae was not used anymore due to this and Goths became used.

The Getae were part of the Thracian super tribe which was the largest white tribe in the world according to Herodotus. Massagetae, Tyragetae, Thysagetae, were spread all over Eurasia and definitely did not disappear. Also the Goths couldn't have just appeared out of the mist. Not just Jordanes made the connection… the Goths were the Getae.


It was said here Geti comes from Geos and, as it is known it was a matriarchal, society it makes total sense. Also Daci(d-aci in Romanian) means "from here" = locals. Could be this is how they introduced themselves when asked who they are therefore the 2 names for the same people?!!. Also Geti which would translate as People of Mother Earth (oamenii pamantului/locului in modern Romanian) kept it's meaning and it is said in same words as people of the land, meaning also locals. All seems to make more sense.


It's rather simple. Getae(Latin) or Geti(plural)/Get(singular),that's how they called themselves, were the biggest ethnic group in Eurasia, the area they inhabited stretched from India to British Islands, and in different times and different areas they were given different names. For Example the tribes in the area of Romania were called Dacians, the ones to the North of the Black Sea(Getic Sea at the time) where caled SamoGets and some called them Scythian, in the Area of Bulgaria they were called Thracians, in Anatolia they were called Daksha or Trojans, etc. Jordanes was not a historian but a counterfeiter of history, that's why in his book Gets end up as Goths, a confusion made on purpose. They worshiped father Sun Mitra and mother earth Geos ,and because they were the sons of (Ge)os they called themselves (Ge)ti. Because of this Getic substrate, all languages in Europe share a number of common words. ...

  • This answer would be improved by sources. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 26 '16 at 11:06
  • Rather simple? Looks more like spun out of whole cloth to me. – Marakai Jul 16 '16 at 6:21

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