Thrace ( // ; Greek : Θράκη, Thráki; Bulgarian : Тракия, Trakiya; Turkish : Trakya) is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace), and the European part of Turkey (East Thrace). The region's boundaries are based on that of the Roman Province of Thrace; the lands inhabited by the ancient Thracians extended in the north to modern-day Northern Bulgaria and Romania and to the west into the region of Macedonia.
The word Thrace was first used by the Greeks when referring to the Thracian tribes, from ancient Greek Thrake (Θρᾴκη),descending from Thrāix (Θρᾷξ). It referred originally to the Thracians, an ancient people inhabiting Southeast Europe. The name Europe first referred to Thrace proper, prior to the term vastly extending to refer to its modern concept. The region could have been named after the principal river there, Hebros, possibly from the Indo-European arg "white river" (the opposite of Vardar, meaning "black river"), According to an alternative theory, Hebros means "goat" in Thracian.
In Turkey, it is commonly referred to as Rumeli , Land of the Romans, owing to this region being the last part of the Eastern Roman Empire that was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
In terms of ancient Greek mythology the name appears to derive from the heroine and sorceress Thrace, who was the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, and sister of Europa.
The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. The ancient Greeks employed the term "Thrace" to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians, [ clarification needed ] In its early period, the Roman province of Thrace was of this extent, but after the administrative reforms of the late 3rd century, Thracia's much reduced territory became the six small provinces which constituted the Diocese of Thrace. The medieval Byzantine theme of Thrace contained only what today is East Thrace.a region which "had no definite boundaries" and to which other regions (like Macedonia and even Scythia) were added. In one ancient Greek source, the very Earth is divided into "Asia, Libya, Europa and Thracia". As the Greeks gained knowledge of world geography, "Thrace" came to designate the area bordered by the Danube on the north, by the Euxine Sea (Black Sea) on the east, by northern Macedonia in the south and by Illyria to the west. This largely coincided with the Thracian Odrysian kingdom, whose borders varied over time. After the Macedonian conquest, this region's former border with Macedonia was shifted from the Struma River to the Mesta River. This usage lasted until the Roman conquest. Henceforth, (classical) Thrace referred only to the tract of land largely covering the same extent of space as the modern geographical region.
The largest cities of Thrace are: Istanbul, Çorlu, Tekirdağ, Plovdiv, Burgas, Edirne, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Yambol, Haskovo, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Xanthi, and Kırklareli,.
Most of the Bulgarian and Greek population are Orthodox Christians, while most of the Turkish inhabitants of Thrace are Sunni Muslims.
Ancient Greek mythology provides the Thracians with a mythical ancestor Thrax, the son of the war-god Ares, who was said to reside in Thrace. The Thracians appear in Homer's Iliad as Trojan allies, led by Acamas and Peiros. Later in the Iliad, Rhesus, another Thracian king, makes an appearance. Cisseus, father-in-law to the Trojan elder Antenor, is also given as a Thracian king.
Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, and stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east. The Catalogue of Ships mentions three separate contingents from Thrace: Thracians led by Acamas and Peiros, from Aenus; Cicones led by Euphemus, from southern Thrace, near Ismaros; and from the city of Sestus, on the Thracian (northern) side of the Hellespont, which formed part of the contingent led by Asius. Ancient Thrace was home to numerous other tribes, such as the Edones, Bisaltae, Cicones, and Bistones in addition to the tribe that Homer specifically calls the “Thracians”.
Greek mythology is replete with Thracian kings, including Diomedes, Tereus, Lycurgus, Phineus, Tegyrius, Eumolpus, Polymnestor, Poltys, and Oeagrus (father of Orpheus).
Thrace is mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses , in the episode of Philomela, Procne, and Tereus: Tereus, the King of Thrace, lusts after his sister-in-law, Philomela. He kidnaps her, holds her captive, rapes her, and cuts out her tongue. Philomela manages to get free, however. She and her sister, Procne, plot to get revenge, by killing her son Itys (by Tereus) and serving him to his father for dinner. At the end of the myth, all three turn into birds – Procne into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale, and Tereus into a hoopoe.
The Dicaea city in Thrace was named after, the son of Poseidon, Dicaeus.
The indigenous population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent,and Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. Later on, Thracian troops were known to accompany neighboring ruler Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont which abuts Thrace, during the invasion of the Persian Empire itself.
The Thracians did not describe themselves by name; terms such as Thrace and Thracians are simply the names given them by the Greeks.
Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not form any lasting political organizations until the founding of the Odrysian state in the 4th century BC. Like Illyrians, the locally ruled Thracian tribes of the mountainous regions maintained a warrior tradition, while the tribes based in the plains were purportedly more peaceable. Recently discovered funeral mounds in Bulgaria suggest that Thracian kings did rule regions of Thrace with distinct Thracian national identity.
During this period, a subculture of celibate ascetics called the Ctistae lived in Thrace, where they served as philosophers, priests, and prophets.
Sections of Thrace particularly in the south started to become hellenized before the Peloponnesian War as Athenian and Ionian colonies were set up in Thrace before the war. Spartan and other Doric colonists followed them after the war. The special interest of Athens to Thrace is underlined by the numerous finds of Athenian silverware in Thracian tombs.In 168 BC, after the Third Macedonian war and the subjugation of Macedonia to the Romans, Thrace also lost its independence and became tributary to Rome. Towards the end of the 1st century BC Thrace lost its status as a client kingdom as the Romans began to directly appoint their kings. This situation lasted until 46 AD, when the Romans finally turned Thrace into a Roman province (Romana provincia Thracia)
During the Roman domination, within the geographical borders of ancient Thrace, there were two separate Roman provinces, namely Thrace ("provincia Thracia") and Lower Moesia ("Moesia inferior"). Later, in the times of Diocletian, the two provinces were joined and formed the so-called "Dioecesis Thracia".The establishment of Roman colonies and mostly several Greek cities, as was Nicopolis, Topeiros, Traianoupolis, Plotinoupolis, and Hadrianoupolis resulted from the Roman Empire's urbanization. That the Roman provincial policy in Thrace favored mainly not the Romanization but the Hellenization of the country, which had started as early as the Archaic period through the Greek colonisation and was completed by the end of Roman antiquity. As regards the competition between the Greek and Latin language, the very high rate of Greek inscriptions in Thrace extending south of Haemus mountains proves the complete language Hellenization of this region. The boundaries between the Greek and Latin speaking Thrace are placed just above the northern foothills of Haemus mountains.
During the imperial period many Thracians – particularly members of the local aristocracy of the cities – had been granted the right of the Roman citizenship (civitas Romana) with all his privileges. Epigraphic evidence show a large increase in such naturalizations in the times of Trajan and Hadrian, while in 212 AD the emperor Caracalla granted, with his well-known decree (constitutio Antoniniana), the Roman citizenship to all the free inhabitants of the Roman Empire.During the same period (in the 1st-2nd century AD), a remarkable presence of Thracians is testified by the inscriptions outside the borders (extra fines) both in the Greek territory and in all the Roman provinces, especially in the provinces of Eastern Roman Empire.
By the mid 5th century, as the Western Roman Empire began to crumble, Thracia fell from the authority of Rome and into the hands of Germanic tribal rulers. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Thracia turned into a battleground territory for the better part of the next 1,000 years. The surviving eastern portion of the Roman Empire in the Balkans, later known as the Byzantine Empire, retained control over Thrace until the 8th century when the northern half of the entire region was incorporated into the First Bulgarian Empire and the remainder was reorganized in the Thracian theme. The Empire regained the lost regions in the late 10th century until the Bulgarians regained control of the northern half at the end of the 12th century. Throughout the 13th century and the first half of the 14th century, the region was changing in the hands of the Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empire (excluding Constantinople). In 1265 the area suffered a Mongol raid from the Golden Horde, led by Nogai Khan, and between 1305 and 1307 was raided by the Catalan company.
In 1352, the Ottoman Turks conducted their first incursion into the region subduing it completely within a matter of two decades and occupying it for five centuries. In 1821, several parts of Thrace, such as Lavara, Maroneia, Sozopolis, Aenos, Callipolis, and Samothraki rebelled during the Greek War of Independence.
With the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Northern Thrace was incorporated into the semi-autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia, which united with Bulgaria in 1885. The rest of Thrace was divided among Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century, following the Balkan Wars, World War I and the Greco-Turkish War. In Summer 1934, up to 10,000 Jewswere maltreated, bereaved, and then forced to quit the region (see 1934 Thrace pogroms).
Today, Thracian is a geographical term used in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria.
The Trakiya Heights in Antarctica "are named after the historical region."
Galatia was an ancient area in the highlands of central Anatolia, roughly corresponding to the provinces of Ankara and Eskişehir, in modern Turkey. Galatia was named after the Gauls from Thrace, who settled here and became its ruling caste in the 3rd century BC, following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. It has been called the "Gallia" of the East, Roman writers calling its inhabitants Galli.
The history of Bulgaria can be traced from the first settlements on the lands of modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state, and includes the history of the Bulgarian people and their origin. The earliest evidence of hominid occupation discovered in what is today Bulgaria date from at least 1.4 million years ago. Around 5000 BC, a sophisticated civilization already existed which produced some of the first pottery and jewellery in the world. After 3000 BC, the Thracians appeared on the Balkan peninsula. In the late 6th century BC, most of what is nowadays Bulgaria came under the Persian Empire. In the 470s BC, the Thracians formed the powerful Odrysian Kingdom which lasted until 46 BC, when it was finally conquered by the Roman Empire. During the centuries, some Thracian tribes fell under Ancient Macedonian and Hellenistic, and also Celtic domination. This mixture of ancient peoples was assimilated by the Slavs, who permanently settled on the peninsula after 500 AD.
In Greek mythology, Tereus was a Thracian king, the son of Ares and the naiad Bistonis. He was the brother of Dryas. Tereus was the husband of the Athenian princess Procne and the father of Itys.
Philomela or Philomel is a minor figure in Greek mythology and is frequently invoked as a direct and figurative symbol in literary, artistic, and musical works in the Western canon.
The Thracians were an Indo-European people who inhabited large parts of Southern Europe in ancient times. They spoke the Thracian language and shared a common culture. The study of the Thracians is known as Thracology.
Sérres (Greek: Σέρρες [ˈseɾes], is a city in Macedonia, Greece, capital of the Serres regional unit and second largest city in the region of Central Macedonia, after Thessaloniki.
The Struma or Strymónas is a river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymṓn. Its drainage area is 17,330 km2 (6,690 sq mi), of which 10,797 km2 (4,169 sq mi) in Bulgaria, 6,295 km2 (2,431 sq mi) in Greece and the rest in North Macedonia. It takes its source from the Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria, runs first westward, then southward, forming a number of gorges, enters Greek territory at the Kula village. In Greece it is the main waterway feeding and exiting from Lake Kerkini, a significant centre for migratory wildfowl. The river flows into the Strymonian Gulf in Aegean Sea, near Amphipolis in the Serres regional unit. The river's length is 415 kilometres (of which 290 kilometres in Bulgaria, making it the country's fifth-longest and one of the longest rivers that run solely in the interior of the Balkans.
Western Thrace or West Thrace is a geographic and historical region of Greece, between the Nestos and Evros rivers in the northeast of the country; East Thrace, which lies east of the river Evros, forms the European part of Turkey, and the area to the north, in Bulgaria, is known as Northern Thrace.
The Odrysian Kingdom was a state union of over 40 Thracian tribes and 22 kingdoms that existed between the 5th century BC and the 1st century AD. It consisted mainly of present-day Bulgaria, spreading to parts of Southeastern Romania, parts of Northern Greece and parts of modern-day European Turkey.
The Maedi were a Thracian tribe in antiquity. In historic times, they occupied the area between Paionia and Thrace, on the southwestern fringes of Thrace, along the middle course of the Strymon, between the Kresna Gorge and the Rupel Pass. Strabo says that the Maedi bordered eastward on the Thunatae of Dardania, and that the Axius flowed through their territory.
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last self-styled king of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved. The province incorporated the former kingdom of Macedonia with the addition of Epirus, Thessaly, and parts of Illyria, Paeonia and Thrace. This created a much larger administrative area, to which the name of 'Macedonia' was still applied.
East Thrace or Eastern Thrace, also known as Turkish Thrace or European Turkey, is the part of Turkey that is geographically part of Southeast Europe. It accounts for 3% of Turkey's land area but comprises 14% of its total population. The rest of much of the country is located on the Anatolian Peninsula as well as the Armenian Highlands, geographically in Western Asia. The largest city of the region is Istanbul, which straddles the Bosporus strait between Europe and Asia.
Thracia or Thrace is the ancient name given to the southeastern Balkan region, the land inhabited by the Thracians.
Cabyle or Kabyle, also known as Calybe or Kalybe (Καλύβη), is a town in the interior of ancient Thrace, west of Develtus, on the river Tonsus. The town later bore the names of Diospolis, and Goloë (Γολόη).
The history of Thracian warfare spans from the 10th century BC up to the 1st century AD in the region defined by Ancient Greek and Latin historians as Thrace. It concerns the armed conflicts of the Thracian tribes and their kingdoms in the Balkans. Apart from conflicts between Thracians and neighboring nations and tribes, numerous wars were recorded among Thracian tribes.
Madytus or Madytos was a Greek city and port of ancient Thrace, located in the region of the Thracian Chersonesos, nearly opposite to Abydos.
Thraco-Macedonian is a conventional name in the study of ancient history to describe the political geography of Macedonia (region) in antiquity. It may refer to:
Tereus is a lost Greek play by the Athenian poet Sophocles. Although fragments have long been known, the discovery of a synopsis among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri has allowed an attempt at a reconstruction. Although the date that the play was first produced is not known, it is known that it was produced before 414 BCE, because the Greek comedic playwright Aristophanes referenced Tereus in his play The Birds, which was first performed in 414. Thomas B. L. Webster dates the play to near but before 431 BCE, based on circumstantial evidence from a comment Thucydides made in 431 about the need to distinguish between Tereus and the King of Thrace, Teres, which Webster believes was made necessary by the popularity of Sophocles play around this time causing confusion between the two names. Based on references in The Birds it is also known that another Greek playwright, Philocles, had also written a play on the subject of Tereus, and there is evidence both from The Birds and from a scholiast that Sophocles' play came first.
Edonis or Edonida, also transliterated as Edonia, was an ancient region of Thrace which later became a district of Macedon. Its name is derived from the ancient Thracian inhabitants of the region, the Edonians. It was bordered by Odomantice in the north, Bisaltia in the west, and the Aegean Sea in the south, and was separated from Thrace proper by the river Nestos in the east.
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