22.09.2013 г.


Thanks to the testimonies of the old writers we know a lot about Thrace and the people of this country. They inhabited considerably large area – the teritory of Modern Bulgaria, Rumania, Serbia, parts of Slovakia, Ukraine, Greece, European and Asian Turkey.

The best known Thracians are Spartacus, who made Rome tremble with his uprisal of the slaves, and Orpheus – the great musician and thinker. Not to forget the deified priest Zalmoxis, which doctrine became famous among many people.
Thracе was densely populated and its people began to migrate from their Balkan homeland very early in the past. Strabo mentioned Thracian journey and settling at the Northern coast of the Adriatic  Sea after the Trojan war [1] XIII.III.25.  Some Thracian tribes as Sarapari became neigbours of the Medes (living in Iran) and Armenians – “ It is also said that certain of the Thracians, those  called "Saraparae," that is "Decapitators," took up their abode beyond Armenia near  the Gurani and Medes…” [1] XI.XIV.14.

In the time of Pliny The Elder, Thracian Sarapari have reached even Bactria [2]. VI.xviii-48. Tribe with Thracian name Edoni is localized in the vicinity of Parthians and Sacae, who lived in Central Asia [3] VI.xviii- 50. Thracian Thuni and Ciconi (the last known from Odyssey) are mentioned not far from India [3] VI.xx-55.

Apparently, certain Thracians not only came near India, but also colonized some part of it. In his work “Anabasis Alexandri” Lucius Arianus wrote that the Thracian Dionyssos was considered the founder of the Indian civilization – “...But when Dionysus had come, and become master of India, he founded cities, and gave laws for these cities... Dionysus whoever he was came to India and gave the Indians seeds of domesticated plants; then Dionysus first yoked oxen to the plough and made most of the Indians agriculturists instead of wanderers, and armed them also with the arms of warfare. Further, Dionysus taught them to reverence other gods, but especially, of course, himself ”. [4] VIII.vii. 


Except Asia, Thracians visited many other places in the Antiquity. Irish chronicles claimed that a group of foreign colonizers came to their land from Thrace [5] p.229. Because of the fact that Thracian personal names are written on Cretan Linear A documents and artefacts, we know about the Thracian presence in Minoan Crete [6] p.18 (Porozhanov quoting P.van Soesbergen, cit. 10). 

That substantial number of Thracians inhabited Northern Part of Black Sea coast we know from the reserch of S.Krykin. He noticed the presence of a large number of Thracian personal names in epigraphy (and historical sources) in this region [7] pp.58-83.

Fist mentioning of Thracian tribes and the land Thrace is from 14 th ct BC. In Egyptian chronicle describing the Hittite-Egyptian war at Cadesh, Thracian Dardanians, Mysians (Phrygians) are listed among the Hittite alies [6] p.22. In Linear B document from Pylos is mentioned the toponym Thrace – TE-RE-KE-WI-JA [6] p.20.

Later, during the Trojan War, Thracians became allies of the Trojans, to whom they were related. Various Thracian tribes participated in that ancient conflict. Mysians, Paeonians, Phrygians etc defended their kin in the besieged city.

Thracians were present in other major events in the Antiquity. Knowing the excellent qualities of the Thracian warriors, Alexander the Great took many Agrianians, Paeonians and Odryssians in his army. They proved to be worthy agaist the soldiers of the Persian king Darius.

If Thracians have colonized so many places, and participated in so many events in different lands, it is no wonder, that these people have been called by Herodotus the most numerous nation after Indians [8] V-3. In the middle of first millennium BC Thracians created a mighty state. Thucydides testified about the strenght and splendour of  the Odryssian kingdom (Odryssi were major Tracian tribe) – “For of all the nations of Europe that lie between the Ionian Gulf and the Euxine Sea, it was, for revenue of money and other wealth, the mightiest.” [9]. II.97.

In 1st ct AD Thrace sunk in political crisis. The Romans used the chance and established their rule there in 44-45 AD [10] p. 229. In the next century emperor Trajanus managed to conquere part of the Northern Thracians [10] p. 230. However, even after the Roman conquest, Thracian population did not diminish seriously. Strabo testified that in 1st ct. AD Thracians could summon an army of 200 000 foot soldiers and 15 000 cavalry [11] VII. fr. 47(45). Even for modern standarts that is formidable force.

About half a century later, Pliny mentioned that Thrace is the mightiest in Europe [3] IV-xi-40. In 2nd ct AD Pausanias was also impressed by the numerous Thracian nation [12] I.9.5. In 4th ct AD the author of “Totus Orbis Descriptio” claimed that Thrace is inexhaustible source of good soldiers [13] p. 62. That situation didn’t change even in the 6th ct AD, when Roman Emperor Justinian The Great expressed his admiration of the excellent qualities of the Thracians [13] p.62.

There is no doubt that Thracians were respected by the Romans. Thracian people received high functions in Roman Empire. In the time of Constantine The Great, governor of Egypt and Lybia was Thracian man with name Rometalcas [13] p.54. The greatest general of the Late Antiquity – Belisarius was Thracian too [14] III.xi-21. Aetius – the mighty advercary of Attila was born in Durostorum and had Thracian father [15] p.241. Other high military commanders of Thracian origin were Vitalianus [16] p.91, Terentius, Zaidus, Rufinus, Marcian [14] III.xi-7-8.

Thracian were not only high military commanders in the Roman Emprire, many become even Emperors. Maximinus Thrax  was native of Thrace, who thanks to his suppernatural power and valour has managed to reach the rank of general and later was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers [17]. Other Roman emperors of Thracian origin were Constantine the Great, Justinus I, Constantius II, Julian, Leo I, Leo II, Justinus I [18], Marcianus,  Justinian I, Justin II, Tiberius, Phocas [19], Galerius [20], Maximinus Daia [21], Licinius, [22], Caludius II Gothicus [23].

We see that Roman conquest not only did not diminished the strenght of the Thracian people, but they even have become protectors and bulders of the empire. Thanks to the policy ot Constantine The Great, Christianity went out of persecution and became oficial religion. Other Roman emperor of Thracian origin – Justinian The Great financed the creation of the most magnificent buildings and fortifications.

Because of intense participation of the Thracians in the life of the Roman Emprire, it was believed that at the end of Late Antiquity Thracians had become romanized. It can not be denied that a large part of the Thracians learned Latin in order to make a carrier.

However, the largest part of the Thracian people – the peasants did not lose their old language and culture at least till 3rd ct AD [13] р.51-52. In 4th ct AD Thracians have translated the Bible into their own language [13]p.55. Even in the 6th ct AD Thracians still keep their names and hold on their language[13] pp. 57-64.

There is something else, which is often ovelooked by different scientists. Not all the Thracians were subjects to the Roman Empire. Many Thracians lived north of River Ister (Danube), near Carpatian Mountains and Black Sea steppe.  Strabo testified that Getae and Mysians ocupied lands on both sides of Danube – “the Getae lived on either side the Ister, as did also the Mysi, these also being Thracians and identical with the people who are now called Moesi”. [11] VII.III.2.

Part of Thracian Bessi were under Roman rule, but other part lived in freedom. Ptolemy localized branch of Bessi far north of Danube – “then the Saboci, then the Piengitae and the Biessi near the Carpathian Mountains”. [24] III.5. Thracian Tyragetae inhabited some area near River Dnester [3] IV.xii.82.

The free Thracians were menace for the Roman Empire. Often they crossed river Danube and terrorized the Roman colonist in Thrace. These so called invasions were nothing more than attempt for liberation

Of cource Romans thought otherwise, they considered Thrace as their dominion, looked upon free Thracian as savage invaders and described them as such.

In 7th ct AD the Greeks took the power in Constantinople – the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Greeks have always been great enemies of the Thracians, ploting against them and even organized the assasination of their kings. Kotys I was killed by Python and Heraclides - two students of Plato [27]. p.369.

From the deep antiquty there were bloody conflicts between Greek and Thracians. Thucydides testified about an attemp of Athenians to steal Thracian land. About 10 000 Greek colonists came along river Strymon and chased away the local population. That was not enough and the Greeks persueded further into foreign teritory. This time they did not have same luck and were destroyed by united tribes of the Thracians [9] I-100.

When in 2nd ct BC Greeks were conquered by the Romans the hostilities towards Thracians became impossible. However in 7ct AD the situation was different. Greeks had obtained power and were ready to use it in order to assimilate Thracians and take their land. 

The free Thracians and these under Roman rule realized the danger and began to organize themselves. At the end of 7th ct AD two large groups of Thracians – Getae and Mysians merged and formed tremendous army, who vanqueshed the legions of the emperor Constantin Pogonatos and even forced him to pay tribute to the new liberated state.

These united Getae and Mysians are known in the historical sources as Old Slavs and Old Bulgarians…and that brings a lot of confusion, because Slavs are considered as people, who lived far from Thrace, and about Bulgarians was said that they were Asians. 

The confusion exist because of the fanatic Greek propaganda and the fact that many historical sources and other proves are unknown to the broad public.

Theophylact Simocatta explained few times that Slavs in Danube region are not new people, but the progeny of Getae – “Sclavos sive Getas hoc enim nomine antiquitus appellati sunt” [26] p. 14-15. Slavs was just an alternative name for the Getae, just like Hellenes is an alternative name for the Greeks, and Germans is an alternative name for the people, who call themselves Deutschen.

Because the language of the Getae, called Slavs was related to those of ancestors of Polish, Czech, Slovenian etc. in later times these people were also called Slavs. In the very same way was formed the name of the Germans. Tacitus explained that initialy the name Germani was aplied to the whole comunity, and just later was used for all the people, who were related to each other – “The name Germany, on the other hand, they say is modern and newly introduced, from the fact that the tribes which first crossed the Rhine and drove out the Gauls, and are now called Tungrians, were then called Germans. Thus what was the name of a tribe, and not of a race, gradually prevailed, till all called themselves by this self-invented name of Germans, which the conquerors had first employed to inspire terror.” [27]

Old Bulgarians had also an alternative name – Mysians. In the course of 1100 years Bulgarians were called Mysians and Bulgaria was equated with Mysia. St. Hieronymus, L.Deacon, M.Ataliates, D.Homatian, J. Tsetses, N. Gregoras, M.Gavalas, L. Halkondylos, J. Kantakuzin, N. Choniates and others called repeatedly Bulgarians with the name Mysians.

Most of the scientists think  that was a mistake of the old authors. Of course many writers in the past were wrong about certain things, but it is very unlikely that one and the same mistake would be repeated in the course of 1000 years. 

And there is something else, which is overlooked by the most of the scientist. Old Bulgarian funeral rites, customs, weapons, homes and fortifications were as those of the Mysians and that is a prove that Bulgarians and Mysians are the same people.

The so called alliance between Old Slavs and Old Bulgarians was in matter of fact alliance between two major Thracian tribes – Getae and Mysians. That explains why the First Bulgarian Empire became so quickly a very powerful state – related people mix without problem. 

The claim that Old Bulgarians and Danubian Slavs were related is suppotred by two large anthropological researches. In both cases were examined more than 10 000 people and it was established that Bulgarian people are of European origin and have no relation with people of Central Asia [28], [29].

Few years ago Swiss genetic research showed that the most of Bulgarian people are progeny of the Thracians [30]. A bit later, genetic research was made by scientists from Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The result showed again that there is no tracé of Turko-Altaic genes in Bulgarian population and that Bulgarians do have Thracian blood [31].

Even before the genetic and ahthropological reserches, many scientist knew that Bulgarians are progeny of the Thracians. N.Y. Vladikin, C. Ginchev, G. Cenov, G.Sotirov and other presented many proves about Thracian origin of the Bulgarian people.

Unfortunately the works of these people did not receive the needed attention. There was also censorship during the totalitarian period 1944-1989. It was forbiden to promote any material, which could generate national pride.

Only in resent times researchers as prof. A. Chilingirov [32], A. Kiryakov [33], Ch. Bonev [34] and others were able to present to the Bulgarians public their discovery about the Thracian roots of the Bulgarian people. 

Hopefully further studies will be made and also translated into English, German, French, Spanish, so that the truth finaly reaches everyone.


1.Strabo, Geography, book XIII, trasl. H.L.Jones, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, London, 1928;
2.Strabo, Geography, book XI, trasl. H.L.Jones, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, London, 1928;
3.Pliny, Natural History, books 3-5, trasl. H.Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, London, 1999;
4.Arrian, Anabasis Alexndri, transl. E.I.Robson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1933
5.Encyclopaedia Britannica, Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature, 9th ed. Vol.V, Henry G. Allen and Co, London, 1833;
6.K.Porozhanov, Obshetsvo i Darzhavnost u Trakite – sredata na II- nachaloto na I hil. pr. Hr.( v kontesta na paleobalkanozapadnomaloaziyskata obshtnost), Studia Thracica 6, Academia Literarum Bulgariaca, Institutum Thracologicum, Sofia, 1988;
7.С.Крыкин, ФРАКИЙСКИЙ СУБСТРАТ В АНТИЧНЫХ КОЛОНИЯХ СЕВЕРНОГО ПРИЧЕРНОМОРЬЯ, THRACIA 8, Аcademia Litterarum Bulgarica, Serdicae, 1988, с.58-83;
8.Herodotus, Histories, transl.G.Rawlingson, Wodworths Classics of World Literature, Herfordshire, 1996;
9. Thucydides, The Peloponesian War, Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, 1972;
10.Al.Fol, K.Jordanov, K.Porozhanov, V.Fol, Ancient Thrace, International Foundation Europa Antiqua, Institute of Thracology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, 2000;
11.Strabo, books 5-7, transl. H.L.Jones, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, London, 1995;
12.Pausanias, Description of Greece, Book I, Attica, Ancient History Sourcebook,
13.В.Бешевлиев, Проучвания върху личните имена у траките, БАН, София, 1965;
14. Procopius, History of the Wars, transl. H.B. Dewing, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, London, 2000;
15.J.B.Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, Macmillan & Co, London, 1923;
16. G.Cenov, Krovatova Bulgaria i Pokrastvaneto na Bulgarite, Zlaten Luv, Plvdiv, 1998;
17.Historia Augusta, The two Maximini, Loeb Classical Library, 1929;
18.G.Sotirov, Ubiistvoto na Justinianovata Samolichnost, Linn, Toronto, 1974;
20. Galerius, Encyclopaedia Britanica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/223951/Galerius
23. Encyclopaedia Britanica, Claudius II Gothicus http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/120521/Claudius-II-Gothicus
24.Ptolemy, Geography, book III, Publisjed by the New York Public Library, 1932;
25.Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, transl.Rev.E.Berick, J.M’Creery, Black-Horse-Court, London, 1809;
26.G.Cenov, Praotechestvoto i Praezikut na Bulgarite, Heliopol, Sofia, 2005;
27. Medival Sourcebook, Tacitus, Germania, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/tacitus1.html
28.М. Поповъ, Българският народъ между европейските раси и народи, Придворна Печатница, София, 1938;
29.М.Попов, Антропология на българския народ, том -I , Физически облик на българите, БАН, София, 1959;
30. Българите взели най-много гени от траките, Труд, 27-05-2009
31.Учените представиха доказателства, че сме славяни, но не съвсем, Блиц, 08-08-2011; http://www.blitz.bg/news/article/117690
32.А.Чилингиров, Гети и Готи, Изследвания II, Ziezi ex quo Vulgares, София, 2009;
33.А.Киряков, Произход на древните българи, Българско общество за мултимедийно изкуство, София, 2006;  

34.Ч.Бонев, Праславянските племена, Институт по Балканистика при Българската Академия на Науките, София, 2007

15 коментара:

  1. from skit

    Hello Pavel! Nice text. It's a good idea to start publishing these data in English. By the way, you have mentioned many times that Thracians and Etruscans (Etrusque) are related. I am just back from a new exhibition on Etruscan culture in Paris. I envy the Italians for having so much to show. There were also (although few) documents written in Etruscan on metal plates and also tools for writing on wax plates. Isn't there a discrepancy between the number and complexity of artefacts found in Thracian thombs and those found on the surface or in excavations in Bulgaria? How come we have so little to show? Is there any parallel between the Etruscan and the Thracian languages? By the way, I saw lion statues that were so reminiscent of the Old Bulgarian images of lions.

    1. I think that Etruscans and Thracians do have different origins, but at the end of the Bronze Age migrants from Thrace mixed with the Etruscans. In my opinion the Etruscan words din-day, ati-mother, parent, dmia-home,papa-father...are of Thracian origin.

      Thracians brought with them the cult of Zemela - the earth goddess, and also the cult of Div, Diu.

    2. Are you familiar with the books The Making of the Slavs by Florin Curta and Black Athena by Martin Bernal


    Нямам съмнение,че не е далеч времето в което терминът "славяни"ще претърпи ревизия,както терминът "прабългари".
    За жалост,по политически,идеологически и други предразсъдъци,още дълго време нещата няма да могат да се назоват с истинските им имена.
    Едно е ясно - винаги сме били на Балканите.Е,не всички....

    1. Всяко нещо с времето си. На първо място трябва да премахнем заблудата, че българският народ е идвал от някъде, това е най-важното!

    2. Здравейте,
      И аз го чакам това време, ама ето на:
      Пак като не са казали, че направо от руснаците произлизат всички останали...

    3. Are any of you familiar with the books The Making of the Slavs by Florin Curta and Black Athena by Martin Bernal...extremely interesting...

    4. I have read The Making of Slavs, but I have to say that very important data is ommited, and that makes the underdstanding of the true impossible.

  3. Не виждам нищо на езика на траките!Нали за тях става на въпрос?

    1. Eто това е на езика на траките - А.Чилингиров, Гети и Готи, Изследвания II, Българите взели най-много гени от траките, Труд, 27-05-2009


  4. 1. The more popular English spelling is Dionysus not Dionyssos.
    2. Also 'Thracе was densely populated ant its people' should read 'anD its people'
    3. It is not recommended to start a sentence with 'because'.
    4. 'Northern Part of Black Sea' should be 'northern part of the Black Sea'
    5. Herodotu should be HerodotuS
    6. strenght should be strength
    7. 'There is no doubt that Thracians were appreciates by the Romans.' should be 'There is no doubt that Thracians were RESPECTED by the Romans.'
    8. 'the peasants did not lost' should be 'the peasants did not lose'
    9. looked uppon free Thracian as savage invaders should UPPON one P

  5. Намерих още няколко грешки:
    В абзаца след този за войната с персийския владетел е написано Herodotu.
    По-нататък се среща:
    Justinian The Great financed the creation of the most magnificent building and fortifications. - правилно е buildings в мн.ч.
    Strymon and chased away the local popolation. - population
    who vanqueshed the legions of the emperor Constantin Pogonatos - which vanquished
    In the cource of 1000 - course
    Of cource many writers - course
    in the cource of - course
    related people mix easy. - easily
    who could generate national pride. - which
    so that the true finaly reaches everyone. - the truth
    Иначе е чудесно четиво! Очаквам първоначално да има доста съпротива срещу новата информация, защото с години хората са учили и чували друго, но истината не може да бъде оборена.

    1. Благодаря за поправките! Нанесох промените в текста.

  6. The Greeks and the Romans were excellent in destroying any historical trace of their enemies. My family is from Thracia and we always referred to ourselves as Thracians and Bulgarians.