When the Roman emperor, Domitian, launched a punitive expedition against the Dacians, he suffered humiliating defeat at Sarmizegethusa in 88 CE. The Dacian general that day, Decebalus, became their king, and secured an annual retainer from the Romans to keep the peace. When Trajan became emperor in 98 CE, he decided the Dacian threat had to be eliminated and, in 101 CE, invaded. On this occasion Trajan defeated the Dacians, again near Sarmizegethusa, and Decebalus sued for peace. Trajan consented and, in return, Decebalus was required to use monies donated to him to maintain a bridge Trajan had built over the Danube, which would provide his legions access to Dacia. Instead Decebalus used the Roman largesse to build fortresses, and continue to raid their territory. In 105 CE, Trajan invaded again, systematically destroying fortresses and then razing the capital, Sarmizegethusa. Decebalus committed suicide, and to this day is considered a hero in Romania.
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