Thracian language

Last updated
Thracian
Region Albania, Bulgaria, European Turkey, Southern Serbia parts of the region of Macedonia (including Paeonia), parts of Northern Greece, parts of Bithynia in Anatolia. Probably also spoken in parts of Dardania
Extinct 6th century [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 txh
txh
Glottolog thra1250 [2]

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.

Contents

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. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Other theories about Thracian remain controversial.

These are among many competing hypotheses regarding the classification and fate of Thracian. [8]

Geographic distribution

The Thracian language or languages were spoken in what is now Bulgaria, [9] [10] Romania, North Macedonia, Northern Greece, European Turkey and in parts of Bithynia (North-Western Asiatic Turkey).

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

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. [11]

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. [12]

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. [13]

WordMeaningAttested byCognates
asacolt’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)guitarCompared with Slavic *bręčati "to ring".
βρῦτος (brŷtos)beer of barleymanyGermanic *bruþa- ("broth"), Old Irish bruth ("glow"), Latin dēfrŭtum ("must boiled down").
dinupula, si/nupylawild melonPseudoapuleusLithuanian šùnobuolas, lit. ("dog’s apple"), or with Slavic *dynja ("melon").
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
midnevillageinscription 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"), 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 (?)Arist.
τορέλλη (toréllē)a refrain of lament mourn songHesych.
ζαλμός (zalmós)animal hidePorphyr.
ζειρά (zeira)long robe worn by Arabs and ThraciansHdt., Xen., Hesych.
ζελᾶ (zelâ), also ζῆλα (zêla), ζηλᾱς (zelās)winemanyCompared with Greek χάλις (khális; "unblended wine") and Macedonian κάλιθος (kálithos; "wine")
ζετραία (zetraía)potPollux
zibythidesthe noble, most holy oneHesych.Lith. žibùtė ("shining")

An additional 180 Thracian words have been reconstructed. [13]

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". [14]

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 Duvanli 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’ [15] ), 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). [16]

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.

Inscriptions

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
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

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 [17] . 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 [18] [19] ΡΟΛΙΣΤΕΝΕΑΣ ΝΕΡΕΝΕΑ ΤΙΛΤΕΑΝ ΗΣΚΟ ΑΡΑΖΕΑ ΔΟΜΕΑΝ ΤΙΛΕΖΥΠΤΑ ΜΙΗ ΕΡΑ ΖΗΛΤΑ i.e. Rolisteneas Nerenea tiltean ēsko Arazea domean Tilezypta miē era zēlta proposing the following translation:

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: [20]

ΙΛΑΣΝΛΕΤΕΔΝΛΕΔΝΕΝΙΔΑΚΑΤΡΟΣΟ [21]
ΕΒΑ·ΡΟΖΕΣΑΣΝΗΝΕΤΕΣΑΙΓΕΚΟΑ [22]
ΝΒΛΑΒΑΗΓΝ [21]

i.e.

ilasnletednlednenidakatroso
eba·rozesasnēnetesaigekoa
nblabaēgn

Duvanli inscription

A third inscription is again on a ring, found in Duvanli, 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 with the inscription surrounding the image. It is only partly legible (16 out of the initial 21):

ΗΥΖΙΗ.....ΔΕΛΕ / ΜΕΖΗΝΑΙ

i.e.

ēuziē.....dele / mezēnai

The meaning of the inscription is 'Horseman Eusie protect!'

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

Classification

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. [23] The Thraco-Illyrian grouping has also been called into question.[ citation needed ] Daco-Thracian or Thraco-Dacian is the main hypothesis.[ citation needed ]

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
Thracian++++++++++
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) [24]
Proto-Indo-EuropeanDacianThracianPhrygian
*oaao
*eieee
*eweeueu
*awaau
*r̥, *l̥riur (or), ur (ol)al
*n̥, *m̥aunan
*MMTT
*TTTA (aspirated)TA
*sss
*swssw
*srstrstrbr

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) [25]
Indo-EuropeanDacianThracian
*b, *d, *gb, d, gp, t, k
*p, *t, *kp, t, kph, th, kh
ä (a)ē
*e (after consonant)iee
*aiaai
*eieei
*dt (*tt)sst

Thraco-Dacian has been hypothesized as forming a branch of Indo-European along with Baltic. [26]

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. [27] This significant relatedness show close affinity and kinship of Thracian with Baltic.

The following table shows the cognates Thracian and Baltic place names: [13]

Thracian place Lithuanian place Latvian place Old Prussian 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’
Armula Armuliškis lit. arma ‘mud’
Arpessas Varpe, Varputỹs, Várpapievis Warpen, Warpunen Latv. vārpats ‘whirlpool’, the Lith. varpýti (-pa, -pia) ‘to dig’
Arsela Arsen Arsio, Arse
AspynthosLatv. apse, the Old-Pruss. abse, the Lith. apušẽ
Atlas Adula
Asamus aśman- ‘stone’, Lit. ašmuo, ašmenys,
Vairos Vaira Lit. vairus ‘diverse’
Baktunion Batkunu kaimas
Beres Bẽrė, Bėrẽ, Bėr-upis, Bėrupė Bēr-upe, Berēka Lit. bėras, Latv. bęrs ‘brown, swarthy’
BersamaeLith. béržas, the Latv. bẽrzs, Old-Pruss. berse
Veleka Velėkas Lit. velėklės ‘place in the water’
Bolba bria Balvi, Bàlvis, Bolva Lith. Bálvis 'a lake', the Old-Pruss. Balweniken
Brenipara Messapian brendon, Latv. briedis ‘deer’
Calsus Kalsi, Kalsiņš, Kals-Strauts ‘dry stream’Latv. kalst, kaltēt ‘dry’
ChalastraLith. sravà ‘a stream’, the Latv. strava ‘stream, torrent’
Daphabae Lith. dãpas ‘a flood’ , Old-Pruss. ape ‘river’
Dingion Dingas, Dindze, Dingupite Dinge Latv. dinga ‘a plant’ and ‘fertile place’
Dimae Dūmė Dūmis Dumen Lit. dūmas ‘dark (for beef)’, Latv. dūms ‘dark-brown’
Egerica Vegerė Vedzere
Ereta Veretà
Gesia Gesavà Dzêsiens Gesaw Latv. dzēse ‘heron’
Ginula Ginuļi Ginulle Latv. g'inis, g'inst ‘to spoil’
Armonia Armona Lit. armuo, -ens ‘quagmire’
Iuras Jūra Jūrė, Jūrupis Lit. and Latv. jūra ‘sea’
Kabyle Kabile Cabula
KallindiaGalindo, Galinden, Galynde Galindai, Lit. galas ‘end’
Kapisturia Kaplava Kapas-gals Kappegalin

Latv. kãpa, kãpe ‘long mountainous strip, dune, slope’, the Lith. kopà ‘sandy hill’

Kurpisos Kurpų kámas, Kurpulaukis Kazūkurpe, Kurpesgrāvis, Kurpkalns Lit. kurpti ‘to dig'
Kersula Keršuliškių kaimas Lit. keršulis ‘pigeon’
Knishava Knisà Knīsi, Knīši, Knīsukalns Lith. knìsti ‘to dig, to rummage’
Kypsela Kupšeliai Kupšeļi
Kourpissos Kurpų kaimas Kazu-kurpe
Lingos Lingė, Lingenai Lingas, Lingi, Lingasdikis Lingwar Lit. lengė 'valley’
Markellai Markẽlis, Markelỹne Marken Lit. marka ‘pit’, merkti ‘dunk’
Meldia Meldė, Meldínis Meldine, Meldini Mildio, Mildie Zhemait. Melьdəikvirshe, Melьdəinəi, Lith. meldà, méldas ‘marsh reed’ , the Latv. meldi ‘reed’
Mygdonia Mūkė Mukas Zhemait. river Muka, Mukja
Ostophos Uõstas, Ũstas Uostupe, Ũostup Lit. pušynas ‘spurs forest’
Paisula Paišeliai Paissyn Lit. paišai ‘soot’
Palae Palà Lit. palios ‘swamp'
Palnma Palminỹs, Palmajos káimas Paļmuota Lit. palios ‘swamp'
PanionOld-Pruss. pannean ‘swamp, quagmire’
Pannas Panyen Old Pruss. pannean ‘quagmire’, Gothic fani
Pautalia Paũtupis Pauteļi, Pautupīte, Pautustrauts Pauta, Pauten Lith. putà, pl. pùtos ‘foam, froth’, putóti ‘to foam’, the Latv. putas ‘foam’
Pizos Pisa ęzęrs Pissa, Pissen, Pisse, Pysekaym, Piselauk Latv. pīsa ‘swamp’
Praizes Limne Praustuvė Lith. praũsti (prausiù, -siaũ) ‘to wash’, prausỹnės ‘washing’, the Latv. prauslât ‘to spray, to sprinkle’
Purdae Purdyakasnis Porden, Purde
Pusinon Pusyne, Pušinė, Pušyno káimas Pušinė 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, Purde Zhemait. Purdjaknisə Popelьki
Raimula Raimoche Lith. ráimas ‘motley, particoloured’
Rhakule Rãkija, Rakavos káimas Roklawken, Rocke Lith. ràkti, rankù, rakiaũ ‘to dig out, unearth’, Latv. rakt, rùoku ‘to dig’, rakņât ‘to dig’
Rhamae Rãmis, Ramùne Rāmava Ramio, Rammenflys Lit. ramus ‘quiet’
Rhodope Mountains Rudupe Zhemait. Rudupja, Rudupə, Rudupi, Lith. rùdas ‘reddish, ruddy, dark yellow’, Lith. ùpė ‘river’
Rhusion Russe [ disambiguation needed ], Russien, Rusemoter Lith. rūsỹs (and rúsas) ‘a pit for potatoes; cellar, basement’, the Latv. rūsa ‘a pit’
Rumbodona Rum̃ba, Rum̃ba, Rum̃b, Rum̃bas, Rumbai Latv. rum̃ba ‘waterfall, river rapids’, Lith. rum̃bas, rùmbas, rumbà ‘periphery’
Sarte Sar̃tė, Sartà Sār̃te, Sārtupe Zhemait. Sarta, Sarti, Lit. sartas ‘red (horse)’, Latv. sarts ‘ruddy’
Scretisca Skretiškė Lit. skretė ‘circle’
Seietovia Sietuvà, Siẽtuvas Zhemait. Setuva, Lit. sietuva ‘whirlpool’
Sekina Šėkinė 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 Lith. skãplis ‘a type of axe’, Lith. skaptúoti ‘to cut, to carve'
Skarsa Skarsin, Skarsaw 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 Lit. sraumuo ‘stream’
StrauosLatv. strava, Lit. srava ‘course’
Suitula Svite Lit. švitulys ‘light’
Souras Sūris, Sūrupė, Sūupis SureLit. sūras ‘salty’
Succi Šukis Sukas, Sucis
Tarpodizos Tárpija Târpi, Tārpu pļava Lith. tárpas ‘an interstice’ and ‘a gap, a crack’, Zhemait. Tarpu kalьne, Tarpdovdəi
TarporonLith. 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 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. [28] According to Crampton (1997) most Thracians were eventually Hellenized or Romanized, with the last remnants surviving in remote areas until the 5th century. [29] According to Marinov the Thracians were likely completely Romanized and Hellenized after the last contemporary references to them of the 6th century. [30] This theory holds the Christianization of the Roman Empire as the main factor of immediate assimilation.

A quick extinction would intensely contrast the avoidance of Hellenization at least by Albanian till the present, possibly with the help of isolated mountainous areas.

Another author considers that the interior of Thrace have never been Romanized or Hellenized (Trever, 1939). [31] 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. [32] Because Pulpudeva survived as Plovdiv in Slavic languages, not under Philippopolis, some authors suggest that Thracian was not completely obliterated in the 7th century. [33]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Baltic languages belong to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family. Baltic languages are spoken by the Balts, mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe.

Indo-European languages Large language family originating in Eurasia

The Indo-European languages are a large language family native to western Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian Subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. A few of these languages, such as English, Portuguese and Spanish, have expanded through colonialism in the modern period and are now spoken across all continents. The Indo-European family is divided into several branches or sub-families, the largest of which are the Indo-Iranian, Germanic, Romance, and Balto-Slavic groups. The most populous individual languages within them are Spanish, English, Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu), Portuguese, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Russian, each with over 100 million speakers. German, French, Italian, and Persian have more than 50 million each. In total, 46% of the world's population speaks an Indo-European language as a first language, by far the highest of any language family. There are about 445 living Indo-European languages, according to the estimate by Ethnologue, with over two thirds (313) of them belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch.

Dacians Indo-European people

The Dacians were a Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the area near the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea. 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, a sub-group of Thracian, but were somewhat culturally influenced by the neighbouring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC.

Dacian language Extinct Indo-European language

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.

According to the official theory regarding the origin of the Eastern Romance languages, they developed from the local Vulgar Latin spoken in the region of the Balkans. That there is a connection between the Vulgar Latin and the Paleo-Balkan languages spoken in the area is a certainty. Taking into consideration the geographical area where these languages are spoken and the fact that there is not much information about the Paleo-Balkan languages, it is considered that the substratal of the Eastern Romance languages should be the ancient Thracian and Dacian.

The origin of the Albanians has long been a matter of dispute within scholarship. The Albanians first appear in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the 11th century. At this point, they were already fully Christianized. The Albanian language forms a separate branch of Indo-European, first attested in the 15th century, and is considered to have evolved from one of the Paleo-Balkan languages of antiquity. The surviving pre-Christian Albanian culture shows that Albanian mythology and folklore are of Paleo-Balkanic origin and that almost all of their elements are pagan.

Paleo-Balkan languages Geographical grouping of Indo-European languages

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

The Moesi was a Thracian tribe which inhabited present day Northern Bulgaria and Serbia, which gave its name to the Roman province of Moesia after its defeat in 29 BC. Moesia was first established as a separate province in 45–46 AD.

Thraco-Illyrian is a hypothesis that the Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian languages comprise a distinct branch of Indo-European. Thraco-Illyrian is also used as a term merely implying a Thracian-Illyrian interference, mixture or sprachbund, or as a shorthand way of saying that it is not determined whether a subject is to be considered as pertaining to Thracian or Illyrian. Downgraded to a geo-linguistic concept, these languages are referred to as Paleo-Balkan.

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.

Thracology is the scientific study of Ancient Thrace and Thracian antiquities and is a regional and thematic branch of the larger disciplines of ancient history and archaeology. A practitioner of the discipline is a Thracologist. Thracology investigates the range of ancient Thracian culture from 1000 BC up to the end of Roman rule in the 4th–7th centuries AD. Modern Thracology started with the work of Wilhelm Tomaschek in the late 19th century.

Dacology is a branch of Thracology which focuses on the scientific study of Dacia and Dacian antiquities and is a regional and thematic branch of the larger disciplines of ancient history and archaeology. A practitioner of the discipline is a Dacologist. Dacology investigates the range of ancient Dacian culture from c. 1000 BC up to the end of Roman rule in the 4th-7th centuries. It is directly subordinated to Thracology, since Dacians are considered a branch of the Thracians by most mainstream research and historical sources. Other theories sustain that the Daco-Thracian relation is not as strong as originally thought and as such Dacology has the potential to evolve as an independent discipline from Thracology.

Dava (Dacian) Dacian fortified settlement

Dava is a Geto-Dacian name for a city, town or fortress. Generally, the name indicated a tribal center or an important settlement, usually fortified. Some of the Dacian settlements and the fortresses employed the Murus Dacicus traditional construction technique.

Albanian-Romanian linguistic relationship Study of the similarities of the Albanian and Romanian languages

The Albanian-Romanian linguistic relationship is a field of the research of the ethnogenesis of both peoples. The common phonological, morphological and syntactical features of the two languages have been studied for more than a century. Both languages are part of the Balkan sprachbund but there are certain elements shared only by Albanian and Romanian. Aside from Latin, and from shared Greek, Slavic and Turkish elements, other characteristics and words are attributed to the Paleo-Balkan linguistic base: Illyrian, Thracian, Dacian and/or Thraco-Illyrian, Daco-Thracian.

References

  1. Thracian at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Thracian". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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)...
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Harvey E. Mayer. DACIAN AND THRACIAN AS SOUTHERN BALTOIDIC 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.
  8. 1994 Gottfried Schramm: A New Approach to Albanian History
  9. Encyclopedia of European peoples, Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason, Infobase Publishing, 2006, ISBN   0-8160-4964-5, p. 205.
  10. Archaeology and language: the puzzle of Indo-European origins, Colin Renfrew, CUP Archive, 1990, ISBN   0-521-38675-6, p. 71.
  11. Olteanu et al.
  12. Duridanov, Ivan. "The Language of the Thracians" . Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  13. 1 2 3 Duridanov, I. (1976). The Language of the Thracians (An abridged translation of Ezikyt na trakite, Ivan Duridanov, Nauka i izkustvo, Sofia, 1976. (c) Ivan Duridanov).CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  14. Olteanu hypothesizes that the Thracian toponym Basibounon may contain bouno(n), a Greek word for "hill" that may also be a Thracian word
  15. 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 ]
  16. Georgiev, Olteanu et al.
  17. "Golden ring with Thracian inscription. NAIM-Sofia exhibition". National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Sofia.
  18. Duridanov, Ivan (1985). Die Sprache der Thraker. Bulgarische Sammlung (in German). 5. Hieronymus Verlag. ISBN   3-88893-031-6. Ich bin Rolisteneas, Sprößling des Nereneas; Tilezypta, Arazerin nach ihrer Heimat, hat mich der Erde übergeben (d.h. begraben).
  19. Russu, Ion I. (1969). Die Sprache der Thrako-Daker (in German). Ed. Ştiinţificā.
  20. Dimitrov, Peter A. (2009). "The Kyolmen Stone Inscription". Thracian Language and Greek and Thracian Epigraphy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 5. ISBN   978-1-4438-1325-9.
  21. 1 2 Written from right to left.
  22. Written from left to right.
  23. 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.)
  24. Georgiev 1977, p. 63, 128, 282.
  25. Duridanov, 1985 & ch. VIII.
  26. Holst (2009):66.
  27. (Duridanov 1978: с. 128)
  28. Daskalov, Roumen; Vezenkov, Alexander. Entangled Histories of the Balkans – Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. BRILL. p. 51. ISBN   9789004290365.
  29. R.J. Crampton (1997). A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN   0-521-56719-X.
  30. Daskalov, Roumen; Vezenkov, Alexander. Entangled Histories of the Balkans – Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. BRILL. p. 10. ISBN   9789004290365.
  31. Trever, Albert Augustus. History of Ancient Civilization. Harcourt, Brace. p. 571
  32. Michael W. Weithmann, Die slawische Bevolkerung auf der griechischen Halbinsel (Munich 1978)
  33. Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 576. ISBN   978-1-884964-98-5.

Further reading