Moesi

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The Moesi ( /ˈms/ or /ˈmz/ ; Ancient Greek : Μοισοί, Moisoí or Μυσοί, Mysoí; Latin : Moesi or Moesae) were a Paleo-Balkan tribe inhabiting the region around the River Timok to the south of the Danube, [1] between present-day north-western Bulgaria and south-eastern Serbia. Strabo considered them to be of Thracian origin and related to the Mysians, who inhabited the region of Mysia in northwest Anatolia. [2] [3]

Contents

The Moesi were the eponymous people of the Roman province of Moesia, after their defeat in 29 BC. Moesia was first established as a separate province in 45–46 AD. [4] [5] The province also included other Paleo-Balkan tribes, notably Dardani, Scordisci and Triballi. [5] In the time of Pliny and Ptolemy the civitas of the Moesi was located around Ratiaria. [6]

Name

Attestation

Moesi located to the south of the Danube and Mysi located in north-west Anatolia. ThracianTribes.jpg
Moesi located to the south of the Danube and Mysi located in north-west Anatolia.

The Moesi were recorded in ancient sources from the 1st century BC onwards. [1] Strabo mentioned the Moesi considering them to be of the same origin as the Homeric Mysi of northwest Anatolia. According to him the people that remained in their original territory in Europe were later called Moesi and were of Thracian descent. [2] [3] However the subsequent development of the Moesi and of the Mysi was completely different. In Appian's Illyrica the people living in Europe are always referred to as the Mysians. [2] The Roman province of Moesia was named after the Moesi. [5]

Etymology

The ethnic name of the Balkan Μοισοί Moesi, as well as of the Anatolian Μυσοί Mysoi , seems to be based on the root Masa, from the Paleo-Balkan word for 'horse', *me(n)za-; also the ethnic name Muška seems to be a suffixal derivative holding some kind of semantic distinction from the original root. They have been connected with the Albanian word for 'mule' mushk(ë) (virtually identical to Muška/i), Romanian muşcoiu and Aromanian musca, as well as in almost all Slavic languages (cf. Old Church Slavonic мьзгъ or мьскъ, Serbo-Croatian mazak or maz(a)g, Old Czech mesh, mzha, mezek, mezk 'hinny', Old Russian москъ, мъскъ or мьскъ etc.). The root is generally considered to have originated in the Balkans and thereafter spreading into the Slavic zone. [7]

Already in the 19th century German linguist Gustav Meyer suggested a link between Μυσοί and Albanian mushk. He perceived mushk as a suffixal formation *mus-k-o-, noting the phonetic similarity between the terms. [8] Furthermore he provided the evidence of a fragment written by Anacreon mentioning the Mysians of Anatolia as 'inventors' of the interbreeding between jacks and mares. Also according to Mayer the northern parts of Anatolia might have been the homeland of the mules. A connection of Mysians with mules is also present already in Homer's Iliad . [9] Further relevant Paleo-Balkan evidence can be seen in Iuppiter Menzanas, mentioned in a passage written by Festus in relation to a Messapian horse sacrifice, and in ΜΕΖΗΝΑ̣Ι from a Thracian inscription on the Duvanli gold ring also bearing the image of a horseman. Both these attestations might indicate that *me(n)zana- means 'horseman' and consequently that the root *me(n)za- means 'horse'. The term has been further compared with Albanian mëz or mâz 'foal', which also finds a correlation with Romanian mînz. [10] [note 1]

Exonym for Bulgarians

With the formation of the Bulgarian ethnicity in the mid-10th century, [11] [12] the Byzantines usually called the Bulgarians Moesi, and their lands, Moesia. [13]

History

Roman Moesia in 250 AD, divided into the provinces of Moesia Superior to the west and Moesia Inferior to the east. Map of the roman province of Moesia (250).jpg
Roman Moesia in 250 AD, divided into the provinces of Moesia Superior to the west and Moesia Inferior to the east.

The Moesi were formed out of the 14th century BC Brnjica culture. [14] Thracologists suggest that the Moesi may have spoken a language or dialect intermediary between Dacian and Thracian.[ citation needed ] Little is known about them prior to 29 BC. [4] During the "Wars of Augustus" the Romans under Crassus chased an army of the Bastarnae and marched towards the Moesi, successfully overtaking their stronghold and subduing the majority of the tribe by 29 BC.

The large number of davae (town names end in '-dava' or '-deva') across Moesia, parts of Thrace and Dalmatia, indicates a much closer linguistic affinity between Dacian and Moesian languages, than between Moesian and Thracian, hinting to a much closer connection between Dacians and Moesians. The distinctly Thracian -para and -bria endings for town names are mostly present south of Moesia, making the Balkan Mountains (Haemus Mons) the linguistic border between Daco-Moesian and Thracian languages and cultures. [15]

The close Dacian-Moesian connection is further emphasized by the fact that significant areas of Moesia were part of Burebista's Dacian kingdom formed by creating a union of related Geto-Dacian, Moesian and Thracian tribes. Additionally, after the Roman conquest of Moesia, the Geto-Dacians constantly raided across the Danube, under kings like Duras and Diurpaneus, harassing Roman troops and attempting to regain lost territory.[ citation needed ]

From the Moesian language or dialect, only a few items are recorded; their ethnonym (Moesoi, Moesi), some toponyms and anthroponyms, and a phytonym: Mendruta, the Moesian name for the False helleborine (L. Veratrum nigrum ) or the Beet (L. Beta vulgaris ).[ citation needed ]

See also

Notes

  1. Although Alb. mëz/mâz is usually considered to be inherited from Proto-Albanian *mandja-, related to PAlb. *mänd (cf. Alb. mënd, 'to suckle'), from a Paleo-Balkan perspective it seems more likely to explain the usage of the name *me(n)-za- ('horse') for 'foal' after a later semantic shift 'horse' > 'foal' in Albanian, which was triggered by the loan from Latin caballus into Albanian kalë ('horse'). [10]

Related Research Articles

Moesia Historical region of the Balkans

Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River, which included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo, the north-eastern parts of Albania and the northern parts of North Macedonia, the whole of Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobruja and small parts of Southern Ukraine.

Dacians Indo-European people

The Dacians were the ancient Indo-European inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the area near the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea. They are often considered a subgroup of the Thracians. This area includes mainly the present-day countries of Romania and Moldova, as well as parts of Ukraine, Eastern Serbia, Northern Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Southern Poland. The Dacians spoke the Dacian language, which has a debated relationships with the neighbouring Thracian language and may be a subgroup of it. Dacians were somewhat culturally influenced by the neighbouring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC.

Thracians Ancient Indo-European people that lived in eastern parts of Europe

The Thracians were an Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history. Thracians resided mainly in the Balkans, but were also located in Asia Minor and other locations in Eastern Europe.

Dacian language Extinct Indo-European language of the Carpathian region

Dacian is an extinct language, generally believed to be Indo-European, that was spoken in the Carpathian region in antiquity. In the 1st century, it was probably the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and possibly of some surrounding regions. The language was probably extinct by the 7th century AD.

The Scordisci were a Celtic Iron Age cultural group centered in the territory of present-day Serbia, at the confluence of the Savus (Sava), Dravus (Drava), Margus (Morava) and Danube rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era, and consolidated into a tribal state. At their zenith, their core territory stretched over regions comprising parts of present-day Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, while their influence spread even further. After the Roman conquest in the 1st century AD, their territories were included into the Roman provinces of Pannonia, Moesia and Dacia.

Illyrians Ancient Western Balkanic tribes

The Illyrians were a group of Indo-European speaking peoples, who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo-Balkan populations, along with the Thracians and Greeks.

Thracian language Extinct Indo-European language

The Thracian language is an extinct and poorly attested language, spoken in ancient times in Southeast Europe by the Thracians. The linguistic affinities of the Thracian language are poorly understood, but it is generally agreed that it was an Indo-European language with satem features.

Dardani Ancient tribe in the Balkans

The Dardani were a Paleo-Balkan people, who lived in a region that was named Dardania after their settlement there. They were among the oldest Balkan peoples, and their society was very complex. The Dardani were the most stable and conservative ethnic element among the peoples of the central Balkans, retaining for several centuries an enduring presence in the region.

Getae Thracian tribe of modern northern Bulgaria and southern Romania

The Getae or Gets were a Thracian-related tribe that once inhabited the regions to either side of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria and southern Romania. Both the singular form Get and plural Getae may be derived from a Greek exonym: the area was the hinterland of Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, bringing the Getae into contact with the ancient Greeks from an early date. Although it is believed that the Getae were related to their westward neighbours, the Dacians, several scholars, especially in the Romanian historiography, posit that the Getae and the Dacians were the same people.

Paleo-Balkan languages Geographical grouping of Indo-European languages

The Paleo-Balkan languages or Palaeo-Balkan languages is a grouping of various extinct Indo-European languages that were spoken in the Balkans and surrounding areas in ancient times.

The linguistic classification of the ancient Thracian language has long been a matter of contention and uncertainty, and there are widely varying hypotheses regarding its position among other Paleo-Balkan languages. It is not contested, however, that the Thracian languages were Indo-European languages which had acquired satem characteristics by the time they are attested.

Dardania (Roman province)

Dardania was a Roman province in the Central Balkans, initially an unofficial region in Moesia (87–284), then a province administratively part of the Diocese of Moesia (293–337). It was named after the tribe of the Dardani who inhabited the region in classical antiquity prior to the Roman conquest.

Illyrian religion refers to the religious beliefs and practices of the Illyrian peoples, a group of tribes who spoke the Illyrian languages and inhabited part of the western Balkan Peninsula since at least the 8th century BC and until the 7th century AD. The available written sources are very tenuous. They consist largely of personal and place names, and a few glosses from Classical sources.

Paleo-Balkan mythology is the group of religious beliefs held by Paleo-Balkan-speaking peoples in ancient times, including Illyrian, Thracian and Dacian mythologies.

The Eneti or Enetoi were an Illyrian people dwelling inland of Illyria, in an area located to the north or north-west of Macedonia in classical antiquity. They were neighbors of the Dardani and the Triballi.

References

  1. 1 2 Gavrilović Vitas 2021, p. 3.
  2. 1 2 3 Šašel Kos 2005, p. 489.
  3. 1 2 Zahariade 2013, pp. 4560–4561.
  4. 1 2 Cary & Wilkes 2012, p. 966.
  5. 1 2 3 Šašel Kos 2005, p. 488.
  6. Wilkes 1996, pp. 579–580.
  7. Oreshko 2020, p. 116.
  8. Oreshko 2020, pp. 77, 116.
  9. Oreshko 2020, p. 117.
  10. 1 2 Oreshko 2020, p. 118.
  11. Crampton, R. J. A (2005) Concise History of Bulgaria (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press, p. 15, ISBN   978-0-521-61637-9.
  12. Fine, John Van Antwerp (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. University of Michigan Press. p. 68, ISBN   978-0472081493.
  13. Tsvetelin Stepanov (2019) Waiting for the End of the World: European Dimensions, 950–1200, BRILL, p. 222, ISBN   9004409939.
  14. MILORAD STOJIC (2006). "Regional characteristics of the Brnjica cultural group" (PDF). Starinar (56): 73–84. doi:10.2298/STA0656073S.
  15. Olteanu, Sorin. "Linguae Thraco-Daco-Moesorum - Toponyms Section". Linguae Thraco-Daco-Moesorum (in Romanian and English). Retrieved 8 December 2010.

Bibliography