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The Thracians were an Indo-European people, inhabitants of Thrace and adjacent lands (present-day Bulgaria, Romania, northeastern Greece, European Turkey and northwestern asiatic Turkey, eastern Serbia and parts of Republic of Macedonia). They spoke the Thracian language.

The Thracians were described by Herodotus as the most numerous of peoples, after the Indians, and potentially the most powerful, and he suggested that the extent of the lands they inhabited and controlled would have made them a vast empire, if they were united. The Thracians were broken up into a large number of groups and tribes, though a number of powerful states were organized during some periods, such as the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace and the Dacia of Burebista. In the 5th millennium B.C., Thracians occupied the area between northern Greece and southern Russia. By the 5th century bc, the Thracian presence was pervasive enough to have made Herodotus call them the second-most numerous people in the known world.

In the Iliad, the Thracians agreed to fight on the side of the Mycenaean Greeks in the Trojan War. According to Homer, the Thracians did not fulfill this promise. In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men raided Thrace on their way back home from the war. This was to punish them for their "cowardice", as the Odyssey puts it. The actual reason why the Thracians declined to join the campaign is unknown (perhaps economic reasons, perhaps subsequent alliances).

Many mythical figures, such as the god Dionysus, princess Europe and the hero Orpheus were borrowed by the Greeks from their Thracian neighbours.

Josephus claims the founder of the Thracians was the biblical character Tiras, son of Japheth. "Thiras also called those whom he ruled over Thirasians; but the Greeks changed the name into Thracians." AotJ I:6.

In the first years of 21st c., Bulgarian archaeologists made amazing discoveries in Central Bulgaria which were summarized as The Valley of the Thracian Kings.

Thracian tribes

These next tribes are not certainly Thracian:

Famous Thracians

  • Orpheus, in Greek legend, was the chief representative of the art of song and playing the lyre, and of great importance in the religious history of Greece and Bulgaria.
  • Spartacus was a Thracian enslaved by the Romans, who led a large slave uprising in what is now Italy in (73 - 71 B.C.). His army of escaped gladiators and slaves defeated several Roman legions in what is known as the Third Servile War.


Hoddinott, Ralph F., The Thracians,Траки de:Thraker et:Traaklased ro:Traci tr:Traklar


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