Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans, 100 Words Story

Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans was inspired by the Dacian – Roman wars that are a great part of Romania’s ancient history, especially the battle from Tapae when the Dacians, under the ruling of Decebal, defeated the Roman army.

Before reading Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans a few historical terms need explaining.

Who were the Dáoi?

Dáoi, [ˈd̪aːoːihː], (wolves) is the name by which the Dacians (part of the original tribes inhabiting today’s Romania) called themselves. We know from Strabon (historian and geographer, 63 BC – 23 AD). Even the Dacian battle flag, named Draco, looked like a wolf head with several metal tongues and a dragon’s body. It made a terrible, hissing sound whenever the wind blew through it.

Dacian flag, wolf head with dragon body
Dacian flag, Draco, wolf head with dragon body

Have the Romans ever been defeated when at the height of their power?

Yes. During 86- 88 AD, when the Roman Empire was ruled by King Domitian, and their empire’s east border was marked by the Danube River, Dacian King Duras led his troops of Dacians in an attack of Moesia (south of Danube). King Duras ruled Dacia after Burebista and right before Decebalus.

The Dacians attack from 86 AD took the Romans by surprise. As a result Roman King Domitian arrived in Moesia to see to the province’s increased defenses and to plan a further attack against the Dacians, north of Danube…

What is a falx?

The falx was the Dacian’s weapon of choice. It had a curved blade that was sharp on the inside edge. Romans were so impressed by it that they adopted it as a siege hook.

Transylvania during the Roman Dacia until 4th century AD - Roman monument commemorating the Battle of Adamclisi shows Dacian warriors wielding a two-handed falx, weapon later used by Romans as siege hook
Roman monument commemorating the Battle of Adamclisi shows Dacian warriors wielding a two-handed falx, weapon later used by Romans as siege hook

What is a gladius?

A gladius is a sword used by Roman foot soldiers.

Today I have two versions for my 100 words story as my family is torn between them 🙂

Which one do you prefer?

Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans (version 1)

The Romans rolled towards Danube like a giant mill stone, carving roads through grasslands, converting free-thinking tribes into proud Roman citizens.

The legionaries’ sure-footing hesitated only once. Not after they traversed Danube to enter the land with thick forests… Nor after they rattled their two-edged gladius against the local’s deadly falx… And nor after the natives surprised them with advanced weaponry and war tactics.

But later, when their opponents showed themselves from underneath their wolf-skin coverings. Immortal beasts, not humans. Unafraid to trade their life for eternity. Unimpeded to kill or be killed. True wolves.  

They were the Dáoi, Dacians.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans (version 2)

The Romans rolled towards Danube like a giant mill stone carving roads, converting free-thinking tribes to proud citizens.

The legionaries’ sure-footing never hesitated, nor did their hand when thrusting the gladius to hilt. Their eyes never flinched from slaying enemies. Acta, non verba.

Until they traversed Danube entering an eerie forested land. Here, their double-edged gladius rattled against the local’s single-edged falx. Their reinforced shields half-split as did their helmets. Their progressive self shrank. Bewitched, they argued, by the immortal wolf-spirit inhabiting these lands. Beasts, not humans. Trading their lives for eternity and land (terra) not for victory.

The Dáoi.

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.


Transylvania during the Roman Dacia and until 4th century AD might also interest you.

Discover more 100 words stories on my blog here.

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17 Replies to “Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans, 100 Words Story”

  1. The first version. It filled me with pride more than the second one. 🙂 Although the idea is the same, it seems to me that in the first version you present the Dacians as more human. Brave humans. Whereas in the second version, they seem more like supernatural beings.

  2. Thank you for reading Jo 🙂

    They were perceived as supernatural human beings, at least up to a point in history, as I discovered. I tried to focus more on the battle in the 2nd version. 1st one focuses on the Dacians, yes 🙂

    1. Why do I have the feeling that the second version will get into your book? 🙂 Well I guess it depends upon what’s before and after the fragment. I liked that you challenged us to choose, though. Great post. Thank you!

      1. Oh, the 100 Words Stories are just that, Jo. There is nothing before or after each tale except for research 😉

  3. Pat, a fascinating post and it was interesting to learn about the Dacians. The Romans must have been in both awe and terror of them. Two brilliant stories and they create two distinct emotions within me. I was totally hooked by the drama in the second, the first a calmer yet equally captivating version. Well done!

  4. Thank you, dear Annika.

    I discovered, not without joy, that with age I I acquired a taste for history, especially that of Romania; very close to my heart.

    I thought it needed more drama as the two armies crossed their weapons.

  5. So glad to hear this, Martie.
    I’ll have to find this series; I loved The Thorn Birds! 🙂

    Kind thanks for stopping by xx

  6. You didn’t make this easy, Pat. 🙂 I really like BOTH versions, but if I had to make a choice, I would say Version #1. Very neat factoid about the hissing Dacian flag. There used to be a show called “Forged In Fire,” where talented sword and knife makers were pitted against eachother to see who could build the best sword or knife. I swear that in one episode, they had to make a Falx. Very cool post!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, Mark.
      I wrote the first text with my heart, the second with my mind.

      And I think I remember that ‘Forged in Fire’ series too. Oh, yes! Will try and find it again, surely my son (who preferred the first version) will enjoy watching it (with me) 🙂

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