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Old November 19th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #1

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Cool The Thracians and their place in history


The Thracians/Thrakoi of what is now Bulgaria are a good example of a fascinating culture that have tragically become a historical footnote. Outside of the Balkans and Greece, most people (except us history-nerds) have never even heard of them.

The context in which I best know the Thracians is their ancient fame as warriors - particularly mercenary soldiers in Hellenistic armies. Thracian warriors, particularly javelin-armed peltastoi skirmishers were in high demand throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, from at least as early as the 5th Century BC.

Thracian warriors were famous for singing as they marched into battle - the Greeks even had a special name for Thracian battle-hymns - the titanismos. They were also famed for their brutality and cruelty, their fleet-footedness, and their love of plundering enemy settlements and baggage trains.

Vast numbers of Thracian adventurers served in the Middle East and Central Asia under Alexandros III of Makedon and the Diadokhi. They also served under Rome - the Thracians even formed a fleet in the Black Sea that fought in the name of Rome.

Thrace was effectively under Roman control by the end of the 1st Century BC, but was not turned into a province proper until 46 AD. The Thracian cultural identity appears to have survived at least until the 4th Century AD; epigraphy attests to the use of Thracian personal names in Imperial Rome, particularly in the Army. The Thracian mercenaries of Makedonian times evolved into the auxiliary cohorts and alae of Roman times.

What are your thoughts on the ancient Thracians, their history, culture, language, and warfare? What is their legacy - their influence on modern Bulgaria and the surrounding countries?

Discuss.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #2

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


I have always found them fascinating.I love reading about them,and their tradition of warfare.As you may well guess,my personal favourites are Agrianians.For such a obscure tribe to become one of the irreplecable parts of Alexander's combined-arms strategy,a truly elite force(and a light infantry at that).They are among the most mentioned units of Alexander in ancient sources(alonside Pezhetairoi,Hetairoi,Hypaspists and Thessalian cavalry).Although Alexander used them in all his pitched battles,their specialty was mountanous warfare where they excelled,and where phalanx was ineffective.

As for their legacy as far as modern nations go,I may be wrong here,but unlike many of their neighbours(Ancient Greeks,Macedonians and Illyrians),no Balkan nation of today claim them as their ancestors(at least not directly).Although I'm not sure about Bulgaria(Sturm might help here).
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:39 AM   #3

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


I actually wanted ot make a thread about them, for some time now, but i see Salah ad-Din did it before me, but no metter he did it better then i would have.
Great thread Salah.
Thracians are very underrated in my own opinion, people don't know a lot about them (understandable, there history isn't as much recorded as the one of the greeks), and they remaind practically unknown.

Here are some photos of there great craftsmanship:

Panagyuriste treasure
Click the image to open in full size.
Some of the items:
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Rogozen trasure consisting of 165 receptacles made from silver:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Valchitrun treasure:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Recently found golden tration mask:
Click the image to open in full size.

There are also many thracian tombs that were found.

Interesting one is the Varna Necropolis, a burial place consists of 294 graves:
Click the image to open in full size.

I don't know if the thracians had impact on Bulgaria. But they countinued to exist, even when there country was conqured. I've heard about thracians who were part of the Byzantine empire, officials and military commanders, but im not sure here, im just having vivid memories of reading something about that subject.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #4

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


Question: Where is the Thracian go, when the Bulgars come and dominate the land?

anyway, good thread, Salah ad-Din!
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:51 AM   #5

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


Quote:
Originally Posted by plutoboyz View Post
Question: Where is the Thracian go, when the Bulgars come and dominate the land?
I think the Thracians were gradually assimilated by the Romans, in the first four centuries AD. Any who lasted that long were probably absorbed into the Goths.

I'll let Sturm tell you about the Bulgars.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #6

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


No, not the Goth. They were too few and stayed there for a too short time. But I agree that the Thracians were assimilated by the Romans, even if we do not know when. We must realize, that a Thracian state didn't already exist since the Makedonian Empire. So when the Romans came Hellenisation lasted already since more than a century.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #7

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


^^
The Gauls were another major influence on the Thracians, before the coming of Rome. Celtic tribes settled in Thrace c. 280 BC and destroyed its largest city, Seuthopolis. IIRC they founded a dynasty of kings that ruled much of Greece til some time in the 2nd Century BC.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #8

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


Who is your favourite Thracian figure,Salah?
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Old November 20th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #9
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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


They had a phenomenal Helmet of the "Phrygian" Cap style. It is unknown why they designed it this way.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #10

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Re: The Thracians and their place in history


They also had interesting shields. The "pelta".
Click the image to open in full size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plutoboyz
Question: Where is the Thracian go, when the Bulgars come and dominate the land?

anyway, good thread, Salah ad-Din!
As Salah explained they were assimillated by the Romans.
When Bulgars came that land was dominated mainly by slavic tribes. To the west was the Avar Khaganate.
I've heard that some traditions and celebrations of the modern bulgarians date back to the thracians, yet i don't know much of that.

As i said i have heard something about thracian on service in the Byzantine army, and part of the aristocracy, but im not sure.
Today there is a region called Thrace:
Click the image to open in full size.
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