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Hemp, Getae and the Ethnogenesis of the Romanian people.

Hemp, Getae and the Ethnogenesis of the Romanian people.

Anything present has a something something in the past, whether we try to figure out the Evolution road that Cannabis took over time or how different cultures and countries developed and evolved, there will always be history lanes and arches in time we have to cross in order to actually understand certain aspects of life.

Although most of the material culture of the Corded Ware horizon was indigenous to northern Europe, fundamental aspects such as traditional ritual and prestige use of Cannabis and its connections initially through parts of Romania, for instance, among Thracians.

There were other  tribal groups closely related to Scythians who occupied areas of the eastern Balkan Peninsula as well as Dacia (present-day north central and western Romania) aprox. 3000 to 2000 BP.


As previously mentioned, Herodotus tells us about one of the Thracians tribes from Dacia, the Getae, who occupied a region north of the Danube River and west of the Dniester River about 2500 BP.

Herodotus hemp

The Greek historian wrote in the 5th century BC: "Hemp ... it is very like flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller plant: some grown wild around the country, some is produced by cultivation: the Thracians make garments of it which closely resemble linen."

 First appearing in the 6th century BC, the Getae were subjected to Scythian influence and were known as expert mounted archers and devotees of the deity Zalmoxis.

Although the daughter of their king became the wife of Philip II of Macedon in 342 BC, the Macedonians under Philip II’s son Alexander crossed the Danube and burned the Getic capital seven years later.

Alexander Macedon

Getic technology was influenced by that of the invading Celts in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.

Under Burebista (fl. lst century BC), the Getae and nearby Dacians formed a powerful but short-lived state.

By the middle of the following century, when the Romans had gained control over the lower Danube region, thousands of Getae were displaced, and, not long thereafter, references to the Getae disappeared from history.

Later writers wrongly gave the name Getae to the Goths!

The Getae and Dacians were closely related; some historians even suggest that these were names applied to a single people by different observers or at different times.

Their culture is sometimes called Geto-Dacian.



Now let's dig a little deeper into this,

just enough to find out about the origins of Romania.


It posed such a threat to Rome’s ascendancy in the peninsula that Julius Caesar was preparing to undertake a major campaign against the Geto-Dacians when he was assassinated in 44 BCE.

In the same year, Burebista was also assassinated, by tribal chiefs who opposed his centralizing rule. His imposing tribal union disappeared with him.

The final showdown between Rome and the Geto-Dacians came at the beginning of the 2nd century CE.

By that time the Geto-Dacians had reconstituted a powerful state that, under their resourceful ruler, Decebalus, threatened Rome’s Danubian frontier.

Geto-Dacian civilization was at its height, but its flourishing economy, prosperous cities, and bustling trade throughout southeastern Europe posed as great a challenge as its army to Rome’s ambitions in the region.

getae dacians

According to some studies, the Getae developed a "curious mystic shaman cult - the Kapnobatai" - which would translate as those who "walk in the smoke clouds".

Presumably this indicates the ancient Getae use of Cannabis for ecstatic reasons during the first millennium BCE, then their consumption of its psychoactive products became an important social practice from the Balkans all the way to Central Asia.

In northwestern Romania, Feurdean and Astaloș (2005) used pollen data to study the impact of human activities in the Gutâiului Mountains, mountains that are a part of the Eastern Carpathian mountain chain and are located in the well known Maramureș county. 

Although there isn't proof that attests 100% that Cannabis appeared in the region, Feurdean and Astaloș, referring to pollen of "pasture plants" reported that apart from a peak in Artemisia pollen, the pollen percentages of ruderal plants (Artemisia, Chenopodiaceae and Urtica) stayed low until about 1500 BP.

They specifically referred to pollen of Cannabis type and Juglans type (walnut) as representing "cultivated plants" arguing that Cannabis and Juglans were grown in the lowlands of the Oaș Depression, located west of Gutâi Mountains. 

Juglans type

Feurdean and Astaloș suggested that Cannabis type pollen grains could also be derived from wild plants like "Humulus lupulus" or "Cannabis sativa ssp. spontanea" since both of these species occur spontaneously in Romania in damp scrubland, wet forest and as a weed.

They go on to propose that both Cannabis and Humulus grew wild during the Late glacial and the whole Holocene in the Gutâiului Mountains.

Gutâi mountains romania

The appearance of cultivates fields in the Oaș Depression corresponds with more settlements being established at the beginning of the Middle Ages.

The presence of hemp seeds in additional Romanian archeological sites dates back to 1250 BP.

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