Astronomical Orientation in the Ancient Dacian Sanctuaries of Romania

Reference work entry


Sarmizegetusa Regia, the former capital city of the Dacians’ kingdom, is situated in the Şureanu (Orăştie) Mountains in the Southern Carpathians, Romania. This chapter reviews, from the astronomical point of view, two of the monuments located on its Sacred Terrace – the altar known as the “Andesite Sun” and the Central Apse of the Great Round Sanctuary – as well as sanctuaries at the nearby site of Costeşti. Astronomical analyses taking into consideration (a) the astronomical-geometrical methods of the time (the analemma of a sundial after Vitruvius and the stereographical projection in the sense of Hipparchus), (b) astronomical instruments of the time (the gnomon, the sundial and the astrolabe), and (c) other instruments known to the Dacians (the compass), have concluded that these monuments may have enabled the Dacians to carry out a number of astronomical observations. This would confirm several reports by contemporary historians regarding the Dacians’ knowledge of astronomy.


Minor Axis Stereographic Projection Central Circle Summer Solstice Local Meridian 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University “1 Decembrie 1918”Alba IuliaRomania

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