Thracian language

Last updated
Region Bulgaria, European Turkey, parts of Southern Serbia, parts of the region of Macedonia (including Paeonia), regions in Northern Greece, small parts of Albania, parts of Romania, parts of Bithynia in Anatolia. Probably also spoken in parts of Dardania.
Extinct 6th century AD [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 txh
Glottolog thra1250

The Thracian language ( /ˈθrʃən/ ) 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.


A contemporary, neighboring language, Dacian is usually regarded as closely related to Thracian. However, there is insufficient evidence with respect to either language to ascertain the nature of this relationship.

The point at which Thracian became extinct is a matter of dispute. However, it is generally accepted that Thracian was still in use in the 6th century AD: Antoninus of Piacenza wrote in 570 that there was a monastery in the Sinai, at which the monks spoke Greek, Latin, Syriac, Egyptian, and Bessian – a Thracian dialect. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Other theories about Thracian remain controversial. A classification put forward by some linguists, such as Harvey Mayer, suggests that Thracian (and Dacian) belonged to the Baltic branch of Indo-European, or at least is closer to Baltic than any other Indo-European branch. [6] However, this theory has not achieved the status of a general consensus among linguists. These are among many competing hypotheses regarding the classification and fate of Thracian. [7]

Geographic distribution

The Thracian language or languages were spoken in what is now Bulgaria, [8] [9] Romania, North Macedonia, Northern Greece, European Turkey and in parts of Bithynia (North-Western Asiatic Turkey).

Modern-day Eastern Serbia is usually considered by paleolinguists to have been a Daco-Moesian language area. Moesian (after Vladimir Georgiev et al.) is grouped with the Dacian language.

Remnants of the Thracian language

Limits of the (southern) Thracian linguistic territory according to Ivan Duridanov, 1985 ThracianLanguageMap.jpg
Limits of the (southern) Thracian linguistic territory according to Ivan Duridanov, 1985

Little is known for certain about the Thracian languages, since no phrase beyond a few words in length has been satisfactorily deciphered, and the sounder decipherments given for the shorter phrases may not be completely accurate. Some of the longer inscriptions may indeed be Thracian in origin but they may not reflect actual Thracian language sentences, but rather jumbles of names or magical formulas. [10]

Enough Thracian lexical items have survived to show that Thracian was a member of the Indo-European language family and that it was a satemized language by the time it is attested.

Besides the aforementioned inscriptions, Thracian is attested through personal names, toponyms, hydronyms, phytonyms, divine names, etc. and by a small number of words cited in Ancient Greek texts as being specifically Thracian. [11] [ unreliable source? ]

Other ancient Greek lexical items were not specifically identified as Thracian by the ancient Greeks but are hypothesized by paleolinguists as being or probably being of Thracian origin. Other lexical items are hypothesized on the basis of local anthroponyms, toponyms, hydronyms, oronyms, etc. mentioned in primary sources (see also List of ancient cities in Thrace and Dacia, List of Dacian plant names).

Below is a table showing both words cited as being Thracian in classical sources, and lexical elements that have been extracted by paleolinguists from Thracian anthroponyms, toponyms, etc. In this table the closest cognates are shown, with an emphasis on cognates in Bulgarian, Albanian, Baltic, Slavic, Greek, and substratum and/or old-layer words in the Eastern Romance languages: Romanian, Aromanian, et cetera. See also the List of reconstructed Dacian words.

Significant cognates from any Indo-European language are listed. However, not all lexical items in Thracian are assumed to be from the Proto-Indo-European language, some non-IE lexical items in Thracian are to be expected.

There are 23 words mentioned by ancient sources considered explicitly of Thracian origin and known meaning. [12] [13]

WordMeaningAttested byCognates
ἄσα (asa)colt’s foot (Bessi)DioskuridesLit. dial. asỹs ‘horse-tail, Equisetum’, Latv. aši, ašas ‘horse-tail, sedge, rush’
βόλινθος (bólinthos)aurochs, European bisonAristotleProto-Slavic *volъ ("ox"). Pre-Greek, according to Beekes 2010: 225.
βρία (bría)unfortified villageHesychius, compare the Toponyms Πολτυμβρία, Σηλυ(μ)μβρία, and Βρέα in Thrace.Compared to Greek ῥίον (ríon; "peak, foothills") and Tocharian A ri, B riye ("town") as if < *urih₁-. Alternatively, compare Proto-Celtic *brix- ("hill").
βρίζα (bríza)ryeGalenPerhaps of Eastern origin, compare Greek ὄρυζα, Sanskrit vrīhí- ("rice").
βρυνχός (brynkhós)kithara [14] Compared with Slavic *bręčati "to ring".
βρῦτος (brŷtos)beer of barleymanySlavic "vriti" (to boil), Germanic *bruþa- ("broth"), Old Irish bruth ("glow"), Latin dē-frŭtum ("must boiled down"). [14] [lower-alpha 1]
dinupula, si/nupylawild melonPseudoapuleusLithuanian šùnobuolas, lit. ("dog’s apple"), or with Slavic *dynja ("melon"). Per Vladimir Georgiev, derived from *kun-ābōlo- or *kun-ābulo- 'hound's apple'. [14]
γέντον (génton)meatHerodian., Suid., HesychTaken from IE *gʷʰn-tó-, cf. Sanskrit hatá- ‘hit, killed’
καλαμίνδαρ (kalamíndar)plane-tree (Edoni)Hesych.
κη̃μος (kêmos)a kind of fruit with folliclePhot. Lex.
κτίσται (ktístai) Ctistae Strabo
μίδνη (midne)villageinscription from RomeLatvian mītne ("a place of stay")
Πολτυμ(βρία) (poltym-bría)board fence, a board towerOld Norse spjald ("board"), Old English speld ("wood, log")
ῥομφαία (rhomphaía)broadswordmanyCompared with Latin rumpō ("to rupture"), [14] Slavic: Russian разрубать, Polish rąbać ("to hack", "to chop", "to slash"), Polish rębajło ("eager swordsman"), Serbo-Croatian ’’rmpalija’’ ("bruiser")
σκάλμη (skálmē)knife, swordSoph. y Pollux, Marcus Anton., Hesych., Phot. LAlbanian shkallmë ("sword"), Old Norse skolm ("short sword, knife")
σκάρκη (skárkē)a silver coinHesych., Phot. Lex.
σπίνος (spínos)'a kind of stone, which blazes when water touches it' (i.e. 'lime')Arist. PIE *k̑witn̥Hos 'white, whitish', Greek τίτανος (Attic) and κίττανος (Doric) 'gypsum, chalk, lime'.
Although from the same PIE root, Albanian shpâ(ni) 'lime, tartar' and Greek σπίνος 'lime' derive from a secondary origin as they were probably borrowed from Thracian due to phonetic reasons [16]
τορέλλη (toréllē)a refrain of lament mourn songHesych.
ζαλμός (zalmós)animal hidePorphyr.Per Georgiev, derived from *kolmo-s. Related to Gothic hilms, German Helm and Old Iranian sárman 'protection'. [14]
ζειρά (zeira)long robe worn by Arabs and ThraciansHdt., Xen., Hesych.Per Georgiev, related to Greek χείρ (kheir) and Phrygian ζειρ (zeir) 'hand'. [14]
ζελᾶ (zelâ), also ζῆλα (zêla), ζηλᾱς (zelās)winemanyCompared with Greek χάλις (khális; "unblended wine") and κάλιθος (kálithos; "wine")
ζετραία (zetraía)potPolluxPer Georgiev, related to Greek χύτρα (khútra) 'pot'. [14]
zibythidesthe noble, most holy oneHesych.Lith. žibùtė ("shining")

An additional 180 Thracian words have been reconstructed. [12]

The proposed Thracian words in the Ancient Greek lexicon are not numerous. They include the parth- element in Parthenon;[ citation needed ]balios ("dappled"; < PIE *bhel-, "to shine", Bul. bel/bial (бял) "white" or bljaskav 'bright, shiny'; Pokorny also cites Illyrian as a possible source, the non-Greek origin is argued on phonological grounds), bounos, "hill, mound". [17]

The Thracian horseman hero was an important figure in Thracian religion, mythology, and culture. Depictions of the Thracian Horseman are found in numerous archaeological remains and artifacts from Thracian regions. From the Duvanlii ring and from cognates in numerous Indo-European languages, mezēna is seen to be a Thracian word for "horse", deriving from PIE *mend-. Another Thracian word for "horse" is hypothesized, but it looks certain, there is no disagreement among Thracologists: aspios, esvas, asb- (and some other variants; < PIE *ekwo , the Thracian showing a satem form similar to Sanskrit áśva-, "horse", Avestan aspa, "horse", Ossetic jäfs, Prussian aswinan ‘mare milk’, Lithuanian ašvíenis ‘stallion’, ašvà, dial. ešvà ‘mare’ [18] ), from outaspios, utaspios, an inscription associated with the Thracian horseman. Ut- based on the PIE root word ud- (meaning "up") and based on several Thracic items, would have meant "upon", "up", and utaspios is theorized to have meant "On horse(back)", parallel to ancient Greek ephippos (epi-hippos). [19]

The early Indo-European languages had more than one word for horse; for example Latin had equus from PIE *ekwo- and mannus ("a pony") from another IE root, later receiving cabalus as a loanword.

In many cases in current Thracology, there is more than one etymology for a Thracian lexical item. For example, Thracian Diana Germetitha (Diana is from Latin while the epithet Germetitha is from Thracian) has two different proposed etymologies, "Diana of the warm bosom" (Olteanu; et al.?) or "Diana of the warm radiance" (Georgiev; et al.?). In other cases, etymologies for the Thracian lexical items may be sound, but some of the proposed cognates are not actually cognates, thus confusing the affinity of Thracian.


The following are the longest inscriptions preserved. The remaining ones are mostly single words or names on vessels and other artifacts.

Ezerovo inscription

The Ring of Ezerovo, found in 1912 Golden ring Ezerovo mound BG Ancient Thrace period.jpg
The Ring of Ezerovo, found in 1912

Only four Thracian inscriptions of any length have been found. The first is a gold ring found in 1912 in the village of Ezerovo (Plovdiv Province of Bulgaria); the ring was dated to the 5th century BC. [20] On the ring an inscription is found written in a Greek script and consisting of 8 lines, the eighth of which is located on the edge, the rim, of the rotating disk; it reads without any spaces between: ΡΟΛΙΣΤΕΝΕΑΣΝ / ΕΡΕΝΕΑΤΙΛ / ΤΕΑΝΗΣΚΟΑ / ΡΑΖΕΑΔΟΜ / ΕΑΝΤΙΛΕΖΥ / ΠΤΑΜΙΗΕ / ΡΑΖ // ΗΛΤΑ

as Dimitar Dechev (Germanised as D. Detschew) separates the words thus: [21] [22]






















Rolisteneas Nerenea tiltean ēsko Arazea domean Tilezypta miē era zēlta

I am Rolisteneas, a descendant of Nereneas; Tilezypta, an Arazian woman, delivered me to the ground.

Kyolmen inscription

A second inscription, hitherto undeciphered, was found in 1965 near the village of Kyolmen, Varbitsa Municipality, dating to the sixth century BC. Written in a Greek alphabet variant, it is possibly a tomb stele inscription similar to the Phrygian ones; Peter A. Dimitrov's transcription thereof is: [23]




Duvanlii inscription

A third inscription is again on a ring, found in Duvanlii, Kaloyanovo Municipality, next to the left hand of a skeleton. It dates to the 5th century BC. The ring has the image of a horseman [26] with the inscription surrounding the image. It is only partly legible (16 out of the initial 21):












ēuziē ..... dele / mezēnai

The word mezenai is interpreted to mean 'Horseman', and a cognate to Illyrian Menzanas (as in "Juppiter/Jove Menzanas" 'Juppiter of the foals' or 'Juppiter on a horse'); [27] Albanian mëz 'foal'; Romanian mînz 'colt, foal'; [28] [29] Latin mannus 'small horse, pony'; [30] [31] Gaulish manduos 'pony' (as in tribe name Viromandui [32] 'men who own ponies'). [33] [lower-alpha 2]


The Thracian language in linguistic textbooks is usually treated either as its own branch of Indo-European, or is grouped with Dacian, together forming a Daco-Thracian branch of IE. Older textbooks often grouped it also with Illyrian or Phrygian. The belief that Thracian was close to Phrygian is no longer popular and has mostly been discarded. [35]

No definite evidence has yet been found that demonstrates that Thracian or Daco-Thracian belonged on the same branch as Albanian or Baltic or Balto-Slavic or Greco-Macedonian or Phrygian or any other IE branch. For this reason textbooks still treat Thracian as its own branch of Indo-European, or as a Daco-Thracian/Thraco-Dacian branch.

The generally accepted clades branched from the Proto-Indo-European language are, in alphabetical order, the Proto-Albanian language, Proto-Anatolian language, Proto-Armenian language, Proto-Balto-Slavic language, Proto-Celtic language, Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Greek language, Proto-Indo-Iranian language, Proto-Italic language, and the Proto-Tocharian language. Thracian, Dacian, Phrygian, Illyrian, Venetic, and Paeonian are fragmentarily attested and cannot be reliably categorized.

Language/difference according to Duridanov (1985)
Changeo > ar > ir, ur (or)
l > il, ul (ol)
m > im, um (om)
n > in, un (on)
kʷ, gʷ, gʷʰ
> k, g (k), g
ḱ, ǵ, ǵʰ
> s (p), z (d)
p, t, k
> pʰ, tʰ, kʰ
b, d, g
> p, t, k
bʰ, dʰ, gʰ
> b, d, g
sr > strtt, dt > st
Dacian +++++--++-
Balto-Slavic +++++--+-/++
Pelasgian ++++++++ ? ?
Albanian ++-+/-+/---+--
Germanic +++---+++-
Indo-Iranian +--+/-+--+/--+/-
Greek ---------+
Phrygian ----++++- ?
Armenian ----+++-- ?
Italic -+--------
Celtic -------+--
Hittite +-----++ ? ?
Tocharian +/------++- ?
Divergent sound-changes in Paleo-Balkan languages according to Georgiev (1977) [36]
*r̥, *l̥riur (or), ur (ol)al
*n̥, *m̥aunan
*TTTA (aspirated)TA

Note: Asterisk indicates reconstructed IE sound. M is a cover symbol for the row of voiced stops (mediae), T for unvoiced stops (tenues) and TA for aspirated stops (tenues aspiratae). ∅ indicates zero, a sound that has been lost.

Divergent sound-changes in Dacian and Thracian according to Duridanov (1985) [37]
*b, *d, *gb, d, gp, t, k
*p, *t, *kp, t, kph, th, kh
ä (a)ē
*e (after consonant)iee
*dt (*tt)sst

Thraco-Dacian has been hypothesized as forming a branch of Indo-European along with Baltic. [38]

For a large proportion of the 300 Thracian geographic names there are cognates within the Baltic toponymy, most similarities between Thracian and Balto-Slavic personal and geographic names were found, especially Baltic. According to Duridinov the "most important impression make the geographic cognates of Baltic and Thracian" "the similarity of these parallels stretching frequently on the main element and the suffix simultaneously, which makes a strong impression". According to him there are occasional similarities between Slavic and Thracian because Slavic is related to Baltic, while almost no lexical similarities within Thracian and Phrygian were found. [39] This significant relatedness show close affinity and kinship of Thracian with Baltic.

The following table shows the cognate Thracian and Baltic place names, [12] some Polish and related Lechitic names from the transitional area of the ancient Veneti-Eneti along the Amber Road were added:[ citation needed ]

Thracian place Lithuanian place Latvian place Old Prussian place Polish / Lechitic placecognates
Alaaiabria Alajà Lith. aléti ‘to be flooded’
Altos Altis
Antisara Sarija Sarape
Armonia Armona, Armenà Lith. armuõ, -eñs ‘a swamp, bog’, arma ‘the same’[ citation needed ]
Armula Armuliškis Muły lit. arma ‘mud’[ citation needed ], Pol. muł ‘mud’
Arpessas Varpe, Varputỹs, Várpapievis Warpen, Warpunen Latv. vārpats ‘whirlpool’; Lith. varpýti (-pa, -pia) ‘to dig’[ citation needed ]
Arsela Arsen Arsio, Arse Ursynów
AspynthosLatv. apse; Old-Pruss. abse; Lith. apušẽ[ citation needed ]
Atlas Adula
Asamus Comparable to Old Bulgarian Ošam; per Georgiev, identical to Asamum, a city in Dalmatia, and both from *ak(a)m(u) 'stone' or *ak(a)myo- 'stony'. [40] Old Iranian aśman- ‘stone’; Lit. ašmuo, ašmenys,
Vairos Vaira Lit. vairus ‘diverse’
Baktunion Batkunu kaimas
Beres Bẽrė, Bėrẽ, Bėr-upis, Bėrupė Bēr-upe, Berēka Bieruń, Beroun, Pěrno Lit. bėras, Latv. bęrs ‘brown, swarthy’,
Bersamae Berezina, Brest
Veleka Velėkas
Bolba bria Balvi, Bàlvis, Bolva Lith. Bálvis 'a lake'; Old-Pruss. Balweniken
Calsus Kalsi, Kalsiņš, Kals-Strauts ‘dry stream’ Kalisz Latv. kalst, kaltēt ‘dry’,
Chalastra chałastra, hałastra Lith. sravà ‘a stream’; Latv. strava ‘stream, torrent’,
Daphabae Lith. dãpas ‘a flood’; Old-Pruss. ape ‘river’[ citation needed ]
Dingion Dingas, Dindze, Dingupite Dinge Dynów Latv. dinga ‘a plant’ and ‘fertile place’[ citation needed ]
Dimae Dūmė Dūmis Dumen Dukla (Scythian settlement since 2nd millennium BCE)Lit. dūmas ‘dark (for beef)’; Latv. dūms ‘dark-brown’[ citation needed ]
Egerica Vegerė Vedzere
Ereta Veretà
Germe, Germai, Germenne, Germania Cognate to Greek θερμός (thermós) 'warm, hot'. [41]
Gesia Gesavà Dzêsiens Gesaw Gąsiek, Rzeszów?
Ginula Ginuļi Ginulle Goniądz Latv. g'inis, g'inst ‘to spoil’, Pol. ginąć ‘to get lost, to perish’, compare Engl. gone [ citation needed ]
Armonia Armona Lit. armuo, -ens ‘quagmire’[ citation needed ]
Iuras Jūra, Jūrė, Jūrupis Jura Lit. and Latv. jūra ‘sea’ [42]
Kabyle Kabile Cabula
KallindiaGalindo, Galinden, Galynde Golina, Goleniów, Gołdap, Gołańcz Galindai, Lit. galas ‘end’[ citation needed ]
Kapisturia Kaplava Kapas-gals Kappegalin Kopanica (multiple entries)Latv. kãpa, kãpe ‘long mountainous strip, dune, slope’; Lith. kopà ‘sandy hill’,
Kurpisos, Kourpissos Kurpų kámas, Kurpulaukis Kazūkurpe, Kurpesgrāvis, Kurpkalns Kurpie Lit. kurpti ‘to dig',
Kersula Keršuliškių kaimas Lit. keršulis ‘pigeon’
Knishava Knisà Knīsi, Knīši, Knīsukalns Knyszyn Lith. knìsti ‘to dig, to rummage’
Kypsela Kupšeliai Kupšeļi Kutno?
Lingos Lingė, Lingenai Lingas, Lingi, Lingasdikis Lingwar Lędziny, Leżajsk, Legnica,Lit. lengė 'valley’
Markellai Markẽlis, Markelỹne Marken Marki (mesolithic settlement)Lit. marka ‘pit’, merkti ‘dunk’
Meldia Meldė, Meldínis Meldine, Meldini Mildio, Mildie Zhemait. Melьdəikvirshe, Melьdəinəi, Lith. meldà, méldas ‘marsh reed’; Latv. meldi ‘reed’
Mygdonia Mūkė Mukas Myszków, Myšno Zhemait. river Muka, Mukja,
Ostophos Uõstas, Ũstas Uostupe, Ũostup Ustup (part of Zakopane), Ústup, Puszczykowo Lit. pušynas ‘spurs forest’, Pol. ostęp (regional: ustup) ‘wilderness’, ‘section set aside’, compare pustynia ‘desert’, pustkowie ‘wasteland’[ citation needed ]
Paisula Paišeliai Paissyn Pasłęk, Pasym Lit. paišai ‘soot’
Palae Palà Połczyn-Zdrój, Pelpin, Pełczyce, Poltava Lit. palios ‘swamp'
Palnma Palminỹs, Palmajos káimas Paļmuota Palmiry Lit. palios ‘swamp'
Panion Panewniki Old-Pruss. pannean ‘swamp, quagmire’,
Pannas Panyen Panewniki Old Pruss. pannean ‘quagmire’,
Pautalia Paũtupis Pauteļi, Pautupīte, Pautustrauts Pauta, Pauten Puck, Pułtusk, Puławy Lith. putà, pl. pùtos ‘foam, froth’, putóti ‘to foam’; Latv. putas ‘foam’
Pizos Pisa ęzęrs Pissa, Pissen, Pisse, Pysekaym, Piselauk Pyskowice Latv. pīsa ‘swamp’
Praizes Limne Praustuvė Praga Lith. praũsti (prausiù, -siaũ) ‘to wash’, prausỹnės ‘washing’; Latv. prauslât ‘to spray, to sprinkle’, Pol. prać ‘to wash, to beat’
Pusinon Pusyne, Pušinė, Pušyno káimas Pušinė Pszczyna Lit. pušynas ‘spurs forest’, Zhemait. Pushina 'a stream', Pushine 'meadows',
Pupensis vicus(village) Pupių káimas, Pupinė Pupa Pupkaym, Paupayn Latinized vicus for ‘village', Lit. and Latv. pupa 'beans', kaimas 'village'(cf. Bobov Dol)
Purdae Porden, PurdeZhemait. Purdjaknisə Popelьki
Raimula Raimoche Lith. ráimas ‘motley, particoloured’
Rhakule Rãkija, Rakavos káimas Roklawken, Rocke Raciąż, Racibórz Lith. ràkti, rankù, rakiaũ ‘to dig out, unearth’; Latv. rakt, rùoku ‘to dig’, rakņât ‘to dig’
Rhamae Rãmis, Ramùne Rāmava Ramio, Rammenflys Rumia (populated since 6th century BC)Lit. ramus ‘quiet’
Rhodope Mountains Rudupe Rudawy, Rudawy, Rudohoří, Rudnik, Ruda Śląska, Rudno, Rudniki, Rudnia e.t.c.Zhemait. Rudupja, Rudupə, Rudupi, Lith. rùdas ‘reddish, ruddy, dark yellow’, Lith. ùpė ‘river’, Pol. directly from ruda ‘ore, mineral’
RhusionRusse, Russien, Rusemoter Lith. rūsỹs (and rúsas) ‘a pit for potatoes; cellar, basement’; Latv. rūsa ‘a pit’
Rumbodona Rum̃ba, Rum̃ba, Rum̃b, Rum̃bas, Rumbai Porąbka, Zaręby, Rębaczów e.t.c.Latv. rum̃ba ‘waterfall, river rapids’; Lith. rum̃bas, rùmbas, rumbà ‘periphery’, Pol. rąbać ‘to chop, to hew, to fell, to cut down’
Sarte Sar̃tė, Sartà Sār̃te, Sārtupe Zhemait. Sarta, Sarti, Lit. sartas ‘red (horse)’; Latv. sarts ‘ruddy’
Scretisca Skretiškė Zakręt Lit. skretė ‘circle’, Pol. skręcić się ‘to twist, to turn’ + the suffix -się ‘-oneself’
Seietovia Sietuvà, Siẽtuvas Zhemait. Setuva, Lit. sietuva ‘whirlpool’
Sekina Šėkinė Siekierki, Sieczka Lith. šėkas ‘recently mowed down grass, hay’; Latv. sêks ‘the same’,
Serme Sermas
Silta Šiltupis Siltie, Siltums, Siltine Lit. šiltas ‘warm, nice’; Latv. sìlts ‘warm’
Skaptopara, Skalpenos, Skaplizo Skalbupis, Skalbýnupis, Skalbstas, Skaptotai, Skaptùtis Toporów Lith. skãplis ‘a type of axe’; Lith. skaptúoti ‘to cut, to carve',
Skarsa Skarsin, Skarsaw Skoczów Lith. sker̃sas ‘transverse, oblique, slanting’, Sker̃sė, Sker̃s-upỹs, Sker̃sravi,
Scombros Lith. kumbrỹs, kum̃bris ‘hill, top of a mountain; small mountain’; Latv. kum̃bris ‘hump, hunch’
Spindea Spindžių káimas, Spindžiùs Spindags Lit. spindžius, spindis, 'clearing'; Latv. spindis ‘spark’
Stambai Strũobas, Struõbas Lit. stramblys ‘cob’; Old-Pruss. strambo ‘stubble-field’
Strauneilon Strūnelė, Strūnà Lit. sr(i)ūti ‘flow’
Strymon Stryj, Strumień, Czerwony Strumień, Strumień Godowski e.t.c.Lit. sraumuo ‘stream’, Pol. strumień ‘stream’
Strauos Strėva Strawa, Strawka (rivers)Latv. strava, Lit. srava ‘course’,
Suitula Svite Świecie Lit. švitulys ‘light’, Pol. światło ‘light’, świecić ‘to light’, świt ‘dawn’, Świtula ‘the dawning one’ (feminine)
Souras Sūris, Sūrupė, Sūupis Sure Soła, Solina, Solinka, Wisła (Vysoła), (Wesoła)Lit. sūras ‘salty’, Pol. direct from solь ‘salt’, (Wesoła may have a different etymology veselъ ‘merry’)
Succi Šukis Sukas, Sucis Sucha (multiple entries)Pol. suchy ‘dry’, susi (akin to Succi) is the masculine plural nominative form
Tarpodizos Tárpija Târpi, Tārpu pļava Tarnów, , Tarnowola, Tarnowskie Góry, Tarnowo (multiple entries)Lith. tárpas ‘an interstice’ and ‘a gap, a crack’; Zhemait. Tarpu kalьne, Tarpdovdəi
Tarporon Poronin Lith. tárpas ‘an interstice’,
Tarpyllos Terpìnė, Tárpija
Tirsai Tirza Tirskaymen Lith. tir̃štis ‘density, thickness’ and ‘thicket, brush-wood’
Tranoupara Tranỹs Trani, Tranava Lit. tranas ‘hornet’
Trauos Traũšupis Lith. traũšti ‘to break, to crumble’, traušus ‘brittle’; Latv. traušs, trausls ‘brittle, fragile’
Tynta Tunti, Tunte Thuntlawken Lit. tumtas, tuntas ‘flock'
Urda, Urdaus Ùrdupis, Urdenà Urdava Zhemait. Urdishki; Lit. urdulys ‘mount stream’, virti ‘spring’
Veleka Velėkas Wielichowo (Pomerania), Wielichowo Lith. velėkles ‘a place, used for washing’
Verzela Vérža, Véržas Lith. váržas ‘a basket for fish’; Latv. varza ‘dam’
Vevocasenus Vàive Woywe, Wewa, Waywe Latin vicus
Zburulus Žiburių káimas Lit. žiburỹs ‘a fire, a light, something burning; a torch’
Zilmissus Žilmà, Žilmas Latv. zelme ‘green grass or wheat’
Zyakozeron Žvakùtė Zvakūž Lith. žvãkė ‘a light, a candle’

Fate of the Thracians and their language

According to Skordelis, when Thracians were subjected by Alexander the Great they finally assimilated to Greek culture and became as Greek as Spartans and Athenians, although he considered the Thracian language as a form of Greek. [43] According to Crampton (1997) most Thracians were eventually Hellenized or Romanized, with the last remnants surviving in remote areas until the 5th century. [44] According to Marinov the Thracians were likely completely Romanized and Hellenized after the last contemporary references to them of the 6th century. [45] This theory holds the Christianization of the Roman Empire as the main factor of immediate assimilation.

Another author considers that the interior of Thrace have never been Romanized or Hellenized (Trever, 1939). [46] This was followed also by Slavonization. According to Weithmann (1978) when the Slavs migrated, they encountered only a very superficially Romanized Thracian and Dacian population, which had not strongly identified itself with Imperial Rome, while Greek and Roman populations (mostly soldiers, officials, merchants) abandoned the land or were killed. [47] Because Pulpudeva survived as Plovdiv in Slavic languages, not under Philippopolis, some authors suggest that Thracian was not completely obliterated in the 7th century. [48] [49]

See also


  1. Valdés (2017) cites other cognates to the root: Celtic deity Borvo and Latin ferveo "I boil" (from e-grade). [15]
  2. A similarly looking word Mandicae 'to Mandica' is attested in an inscription from Asturia. It has been suggested to mean the name of a goddess related to foals. [34]

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  1. Thracian at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. Arnold Joseph Toynbee, Some problems of Greek history, Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 56: In the late sixth century there were still Bessian-speaking monks in the monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai (see P. Geyer Itinera Hierosolymitana, Vienna 1898, Templaky, pp. 184; 213.)
  3. Oliver Nicholson as ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity; Oxford University Press, 2018; ISBN   0192562460, p. 234:...The "Piacenza Pilgrim (56) mentioned Bessian-speaking monks on the Sinai Peninsula. ABA J. J. Wilkes, The Illyrians (1992)...
  4. J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams as ed., Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture; Taylor & Francis, 1997; ISBN   1884964982, p. 576: The most recently attested Thracian personal names are found in two monasteries in the Near East (the Bessi of Mt Sinai) dating to the sixth century AD.
  5. Bessian is the language of the Bessi, one of the most prominent Thracian tribes. The origin of the monasteries is explained in a mediaeval hagiography written by Symeon the Metaphrast in Vita Sancti Theodosii Coenobiarchae in which he wrote that Saint Theodosius founded on the shore of the Dead Sea a monastery with four churches, in each being spoken a different language, among which Bessian was found. The place at which the monasteries were founded was called "Cutila", which may be a Thracian name.
  6. Mayer, Harvey E. "Dacian and Thracian as Southern Baltoidic." In: Lituanus: Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences. Volume 38, No. 2 – Summer 1992.. Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas, University of Rochester. ISSN   0024-5089. 1992 Lituanus Foundation, Inc.
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  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Georgiev, Vladimir I.. "Thrakisch und Dakisch". Band 29/2. Teilband Sprache und Literatur (Sprachen und Schriften [Forts.]), edited by Wolfgang Haase, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 1983. p. 1152. doi : 10.1515/9783110847031-015
  15. Valdés, Marcos Obaya. "Averamientu al astúricu. Vocalización de les nasales del grau-cero indo-européu: *mo > am / *no > an, y delles propuestes etimolóxiques". In: Lletres asturianes: Boletín Oficial de l'Academia de la Llingua Asturiana Nº. 117, 2017, p. 64. ISSN   2174-9612
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  17. Olteanu hypothesizes that the Thracian toponym Basibounon may contain bouno(n), a Greek word for "hill" that may also be a Thracian word
  18. In Old Church Slavonic is found ehu, which may be a loan from Germanic [ citation needed ]; otherwise the Slavic word for horse from ekwo- was lost, due perhaps to the lack of equestrianism among the early Slavs [ citation needed ]
  19. Georgiev, Olteanu et al.
  20. "Golden ring with Thracian inscription. NAIM-Sofia exhibition". National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Sofia.
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  24. 1 2 Written from right to left.
  25. Written from left to right.
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  29. Pax Leonard, Stephen (2021). "Hipponyms in Indo-European: using register to disentangle the etyma". Journal of Language Relationship. 19 (1–2): 4. doi:10.1515/jlr-2021-191-206 (inactive 2024-04-06).{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of April 2024 (link)
  30. Kaluzkaja, Irina. "Thracian-Illyrian language parallels: Thrac. MEZENAI - Illyr. Menzanas". In: Thracian World at Crossroad of Civilizations - Proceedings of 7th International Congress of Thracology. Bucharest: 1996. pp. 372-373.
  31. Francisco Marcos-Marin. "Etymology and Semantics: Theoretical Considerations apropos of an Analysis of the Etymological Problem of Spanish mañero, mañeria." In: Historical Semantics—Historical Word-Formation. de Gruyter, 1985. p. 381.
  32. Balmori, C. Hernando. "Notes on the etymology of sp. ‘perro’". In: Etudes Celtiques, vol. 4, fascicule 1, 1941. p. 49. DOI:
  33. Georgiev, Vladimir I.. "Thrakisch und Dakisch". Band 29/2. Teilband Sprache und Literatur (Sprachen und Schriften [Forts.]), edited by Wolfgang Haase, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 1983. p. 1161. doi : 10.1515/9783110847031-015
  34. Valdés, Marcos Obaya. "Averamientu al astúricu. Vocalización de les nasales del grau-cero indo-européu: *mo > am / *no > an, y delles propuestes etimolóxiques". In: Lletres asturianes: Boletín Oficial de l'Academia de la Llingua Asturiana Nº. 117, 2017, p. 67. ISSN   2174-9612
  35. See C. Brixhe – Ancient languages of Asia Minor, Cambridge University Press, 2008
    We will dismiss, at least temporarily, the idea of a Thraco-Phrygian unity. Thraco-Dacian (or Thracian and Daco-Mysian) seems to belong to the eastern (satem) group of Indo-European languages and its (their) phonetic system is far less conservative than that of Phrygian (see Brixhe and Panayotou 1994, §§ 3ff.)
  36. Georgiev, Vladimir (1977). Trakite i technijat ezik/Les Thraces et leur langue [The Thracians and their language] (in Bulgarian and French). Sofia, Bulgaria: Izdatelstvo na Bălgarskata Akademija na naukite. pp. 63, 128, 282.
  37. Duridanov 1985, ch. VIII.
  38. Holst (2009):66.
  39. (Duridanov 1978: с. 128)
  40. Georgiev, Vladimir I.. "Thrakisch und Dakisch". Band 29/2. Teilband Sprache und Literatur (Sprachen und Schriften [Forts.]), edited by Wolfgang Haase, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 1983. p. 1154. doi : 10.1515/9783110847031-015
  41. Georgiev, Vladimir I.. "Thrakisch und Dakisch". Band 29/2. Teilband Sprache und Literatur (Sprachen und Schriften [Forts.]), edited by Wolfgang Haase, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 1983. pp. 1154, 1156. doi : 10.1515/9783110847031-015
  42. Blažek, Vaclav. "Baltic *jūrā-/-(i)iā- 'sea' & "*jaurā-/-(i)iā-" 'wet soil, bog, deep water'". In: Acta linguistica Lithuanica t. 84, 2021, pp. 31-32. ISSN   1648-4444. DOI: 10.35321/all84-02
  43. Daskalov, Roumen; Vezenkov, Alexander (13 March 2015). Entangled Histories of the Balkans – Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. BRILL. p. 51. ISBN   9789004290365.
  44. R.J. Crampton (1997). A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN   0-521-56719-X.
  45. Daskalov, Roumen; Vezenkov, Alexander (13 March 2015). Entangled Histories of the Balkans – Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. BRILL. p. 10. ISBN   9789004290365.
  46. Trever, Albert Augustus. History of Ancient Civilization. Harcourt, Brace. p. 571
  47. Michael W. Weithmann, Die slawische Bevölkerung auf der griechischen Halbinsel (Munich 1978)
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Further reading