Gold Treasure Thracian Horsemen Ancient Thrace Bulgaria Scythia Jewelry Rhyton

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Seller: ancientgifts ✉️ (5,288) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, US, Ships to: WORLDWIDE, Item: 124226999205 Gold Treasure Thracian Horsemen Ancient Thrace Bulgaria Scythia Jewelry Rhyton. "Gold of the Thracian Horsemen: Treasures from Bulgaria: Montreal, Palais de la Civilization, 30 May-4 October 1987". NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: Editions de l'Homme (1987) . Pages: 320. Size: 8¾ x 8¾ inches x 1¼ inches; 2½ pounds. Summary: The imperishable treasure in this exhibition entitled "Gold of the Thracian Horsemen - Treasures from Bulgaria", showcases the marvelous works of art created millennia ago and moves us to wonder and admire them as they will for generations to come. Archaeological research has shown that the Thracian people, who were, according to Herodotus "the most numerous nation in the world after the Indians", were endowed with such creative genius that we may well describe their land as one of the cradles of civilization. The cultural heritage of the world is greatly enriched by the extraordinarily beautiful creations of the Thracians. The masterpieces shown here were made over a period stretching from the end of the Chalcolithic era (the fourth millennium B.C.) up to the Roman occupation of the Balkan peninsula. These magnificent works from the dawn of time are, in their universal human qualities, important to us and to posterity. We need their human and spiritual values, for they make us the heirs of a great culture which is still to some extent unknown and insufficiently appreciated. The Thracian works of art are mute but eloquent witnesses to man's endless quest for beauty and harmony. Each of these objects, made by the skillful hands of Thracian craftsmen, depicts an aspect of the struggle between good and evil, in which both men and animals take part. CONDITION: LIKE NEW. Unread (albeit "shopworn") oversized softcover. Editions de l'Homme (1987) 320 pages. Book is unread, but 30 years old, and so exhibits mild shelfwear. The in side of the book is pristine; the pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, and clearly unread (though of course it's always possible the book was flipped through once or twice - perhaps to browse through the pictures; but the book has clearly never been "read through", and there's no discernible reading wear). From the outside the book is clean and attractive, evidencing only very mild edge and corner shelfwear to the covers, principally in the form of occasional faint "crinkling" along the open edges of the covers, though moreso to the cover's spine head and heel, as well as the cover "tips" (the four open corners of the covers, top and bottom, front and back). Also, if you inspect the book intently and hold the book up to a light source, you can see some faint rubbing and scuffing to the back cover (the covers are photo-finish, high gloss black and so show slight rub marks even merely from being shelved between other books). Except for the mild shelfwear, the overall condition of the book is not too far distant from what might pass as "new" from an open-shelf book store (such as Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton, for example) wherein patrons are permitted to browse open stock, and so otherwise "new" books are often a bit "shopworn" exhibiting modest shelfwear and/or cosmetic blemishes the consequence of routine handling and simply being repeatedly shelved and re-shelved. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! Meticulous and accurate descriptions! Selling rare and out-of-print ancient history books on-line since 1997. We accept returns for any reason within 30 days! #9052b. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: The imperishable treasures in the exhibition “Gold of the Thracian Horsemen – Treasures from Bulgaria”, marvelous works of art created millennia ago, move us to wonder and admiration, as they will more generations to come. Archaeological research has shown us that the Thracian people who were, according to Herodotus, “the most numerous nation in the world after the Indians”, we endowed with such cr4eative genius that we may well describe their land as one of the cradles of civilization. The cultural heritage of the world is greatly enriched by the extraordinarily beautiful creations of the Thracians. The masterpieces shown here were made over a period stretching from the end of the Chalcolithic era (the fourth millennia B.C.) up to the Roman occupation of the Balkan Peninsula. These magnificent works from the dawn of time are, in their universal human qualities, important to us and to posterity. We need their human and spiritual values, for they make us heirs of a great culture which is still to some extent unknown and insufficiently appreciated. The Thracian works of art are mute but eloquent witnesses to man’s endless quest for beauty and harmony. Each of these objects, made by the skilful hands of Thracian craftsmen, depicts an aspect of the struggle between good and evil, in which both men and animals take part. We see in them ordeals and victories, moments of grief and triumph, living scenes fixed forever in metal. They give us priceless insights into the times of our ancestors, those legendary times when the horseman-god of the Thracians still rode across the land, when the silver-tongued lyre of Orpheus sounded and Boreas, the formidable north wind, blew-the times of the heroes of Homer’s “Iliad”. The creations of the ancient Thracians are evidence of their rich spiritual life. The act of union with the universe, whose essential principle was represented by the Mother-Goddess, was concluded by a sacrifice. And what sacrifice could be more valuable than a human life? What fight could be worthier than the fight against oneself? Thracian art offers us images of mankind’s eternal search for self-fulfillment. The exhibits herein come from the National Museum of History in Sofia, the museum of the city of Varna and other collections. They represent only a part of the priceless treasures held in the museums of Bulgaria. We have every reason to believe that the heritage of centuries past, evidence of the astonishing talent of our ancestors, inspires through its spirit and its example the art and culture of our own times, and therein is the guarantee of its survival. We go back to the dawn of human civilization to discover the message of those who went before us, and to pass it on to our posterity. And in this way we discover the fundamental meaning of life, of art, of creation. Bulgaria has passed through thirteen centuries of history, a long path marked by tragic ordeals and astonishing recoveries. Our people created their own spiritual values, while keeping what earlier generations had bequeathed them. Mr. Todor Jivkov, President of the Privy Council of Bulgaria, has stated: “everything that immortalizes the creative genius, the art and the optimism of our ancestors must be preserved as a sacred heritage, which we have the duty to pass on to future generations”. Having emerged from a true social and economic transformation on to the path of progress and growth, our country is seeing today an extraordinary flowering of science, education, and the life of the intellect. It is with good reason that this is beginning to be called a new golden age of Bulgarian culture. Bulgaria offers to the cultural exchange between peoples and countries the most important achievements of a culture thousands of years old which was born on Bulgarian soil. We see this as a valuable symbol of knowledge and mutual trust which helps to bridge the gap between peoples and links us to the future of the world. For when national meet each other and show their wish for mutual understanding. It is easy for them to learn a common language of friendship and peace. Bulgaria speaks this language. We feel honored that this language of mutual comprehension should be the one spoken here, at this exhibition of Thracian masterpieces in the world-famous city of Montreal. REVIEW: The origin of the Thracians, an ancient race of valiant warriors and artists inhabiting what is now present-day Bulgaria, reaches back to the first millennium B.C. The poet Orpheus, sweet singer of mystic songs, tells of their legends and folklore, and it is said that his music had the power to move even inanimate objects. Through the generosity of the government of Bulgaria we are privileged to enter the mysterious world of this proud, high-spirited people, who possessed such a remarkable sense of beauty. Many of the works you will see in this exhibit are marvels of the goldsmith’s art, and demonstrate why gold remains to this day one of the most fascinating and breathtaking of all mediums. In these artifacts, whether they be for war, symbolic burials, or more daily concerns, we are able to glimpse the secrets that turn precious metal into works of art. REVIEW: Thanks to the generous participation of some thirty Bulgarian museums, “Gold of the Thracian Horsemen” presents us with a new world to be discovered, a marvelous world of Greek myths and legends, presenting a collection of varied exhibits which testify to the creative energy and originality of the peoples of ancient Thrace. It is our hope that this direct contact with the masterpieces of these people with their age-hold history, will enable us to understand and truly appreciate the unique role played by the Thracian horsemen in the history of the great peoples of ancient Europe. REVIEW: The “Gold of the Thracian Horsemen” exhibition provides an opportunity to discover archaeological treasures of a civilization that left its mark on the history of art as well as humanity. At the crossroads of Eastern and Western civilizations, the Thracians, described by Homer in the “Iliad”, still evoke admiration today, thrilling us with the delight of discovery. The treasures of this ancient civilization are proof that even in the space age, art is timeless. TABLE OF CONTENTS: Introduction: Created in Ancient Times, Precious to Posterity. Thrace in the Ancient World. Brief Collection of Ancient Texts on Orpheus and the Thracians. Thracian Figures in Greece: The Paradoxes of Orpheus. The Most Numerous People in the World, After the Indians. The Most Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria. The Thracian Tombs. The Thracians and their Art. -The First Kings and the Oldest Gold. -The Valcitran Treasure. -Birth of the New Thracian Art. -The Development of Thracian Horse Trappings. -The Style of Thracian Art in the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C. -The Gold and Silver Vessels of the Thracian Kings. -The Panagjuriste Treasure. “Interpretatio Thracia” of the Deciphering of Thracian Art. Thrace from the Early Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age (Seventh to Third Millennia B.C.) . Tomb Number 648, Male Burial. Necropolis of the Village of Durankulak, Near Tulbuhin. Early Chalcolithic, 5000-4500 B.C. Tomb Number 527, Female Burial. Necropolis of the Village of Durankulak, Near Tulbuhin. Late Chalcolithic, 4500-4000 B.C. Finds of the Early Bronze Age (3200-2000 B.C.). Thracian Art in the Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 B.C.) . Orsoja Ceramic. Near Mihajovgrad, Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 B.C.) . Two Moulds in Several Parts. Pobit Kamak, Rasgrad District, Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 B.C.) . The Valcitran Treasure, Pleven Region (Late Bronze Age, Thirteenth to Twelfth Centuries B.C.) . Thrace and Geometric Art in the Early Iron Age (Twelfth to Sixth Centuries B.C.) . Treasure of Sofia (Tenth to Eighth Century B.C.). The Duvalni Burial Mounds. Treasure from the Burial Mound Known as “Musovica Mogila”. Duvalni, Near Plovdiv. Late Sixth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Treasure from the Burial Mound Known as “Kukova Mogila”. Duvalni, Near Plovdiv. Early Fifth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Treasure from “Arabadziskata” Burial Mound. Duvalni, Near Plovdiv. End of the First Half of the Fifth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Treasure from the Burial Mound Known as “Goljamata Mogila”. Duvalni, Near Plovdiv. Middle of the Fifth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Treasure from the Burial Mound Known as “Basova Mogila”. Duvalni, Near Plovdiv. Late Fifth to Early Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Isolated or Accidental Finds. End of the Sixth Century and Beginning of the Fifth Century B.C. Burial Mounds from the End of the Fifth to the Third Century B.C. Treasure from the Srednata Mogila Burial Mound”. Near Mezek, Haskovo Area. Late Fifth to Early Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Treasure of Bozovo, Near Plovdiv. Late Fifth to Early Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Treasure of Raduvene, Near Lovec. Late Fifth to Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Elements of Horse Trappings from Bukjovci, Near Vraca, Late Fifth to Early Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Elements of Horse Trappings from Teteven. Late Fifth and Early Fourth Century B.C. Municipal Historical Museum of Teteven. Elements of Horse Trappings from Orizovo, Near Stara Zagora. Late Fifth and Early Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Elements of Horse Trappings from Lazar Stanevo, Near Lovec. Late Fifth Century B.C. Elements of Horse Trappings from Bednjakovo, Near Stara Zagora. Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Treasure of Vladinja, Near Lovec. Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Second Treasure from Bukjovci, Near Vlaca. Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Rich Tombs from the Fourth Century B.C. Treasure of Letnica, Near Lovec. 400-350 B.C. District Museum of History, Lovec. Treasure of Alexandrovo, Near Lovec. Early Fourth Century B.C. Treasure of Borovo, near Ruse. Firsy Half of the Fourth Century B.C. District Museum of History, Ruse. Treasure of Vraca from Burial Mound Known as “Mogilanskata Mogila”. 380-350 B.C. District Museum of History, Vraca. Elements of Harness from Treasure of Vraca. Treasure from Rozovec, Near Plovdiv. Early Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Treasure from Varbica, Near Sumen. Second Half of Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Treasure from Burial Mound Known as “Maltepe Mogila”. Near Mezek, Haskovo Area. 350-300 B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Lukovic Treasure. End of the Fourth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Harness Ornaments Forming Part of the Lukovic Treasure. Isolated Finds from the Fourth Century B.C. Panagjuriste Treasure (End of Fourth to Beginning of Fifth Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Plovdiv. Tumular Finds at Panagjuriste. Kralevo Treasure. First Half of the Third Century B.C. Parures from Seuthopolis, Near Kazanlak. Early Third Century B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Jewels from a Necropolis Near Nesebar. Finds from Svestari. Appliques from the Harnessing of a Chariot from a Burial Mound Near Mezek. Archaeological Museum Sofia. The Decline of the Thracian Civilization (End of the Third to First Centuries B.C.). Phalarae from Galice, Near Orjahovo. Second to First Centuries B.C. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Treasure from Bohot, Near Pleven. First Century B.C. District Museum of History, Pleven. Treasure of Jakimovo, Mihajlovgrad District. First Century B.C. Mihajlovgrad Museum. Thrace in the Roman Period. Treasure of Golijama Brestnica, Near Pleven. Second Century A.D. District Museum of History, Pleven. Treasure from Nikolaevo, Near Pleven. 249 A.D. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Isolated Finds of the Second and Third Centuries A.D. Chariot Decoration from Siskovci, Near Kjustendil. Second to Third Centuries A.D. Archaeological Museum Sofia. Matrices from the Roman Period. Ceramics from the Roman Period. Thracian Votive Reliefs. Coins. Coins of Thracian Tribes. Thracian Kings. Thracian Imitations of Antique Coins. Third to First Centuries B.C. The Rogozen Treasure. Abbreviations. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: Highly recommended is an exhibition entitled "Gold of the Thracian Horsemen". The show, loaned to the museum by Bulgaria (which occupies much of the land of ancient Thrace), traces the rise and eventual decadence of Thracian decorative arts. On exhibit are some pieces that have never before been shown, more than 1,000 artifacts, many made of 23-karat gold. There are primitive terra-cotta jugs and votive dolls that have survived centuries of burial. These show animal motifs and/or sophisticated geometric patterns that were used centuries later on elaborately decorated gold and silver flasks and personal adornments. Persians and Greeks dominated periodically, and eventually Thracian style and cultural independence declined. But the artifacts of that civilization are magnificent. [Los Angeles Times]. REVIEW: Reaching back more than six millennium into the past for its treasures - gold, precious stones, copper, bronze, silver, shells and terra cotta - a fabulous major exhibition titled "Gold of the Thracian Horsemen" recently opened at the Palais de Civilisation in Montreal. The exhibition consists of a collection of more than 1,000 exquisite artifacts discovered by archeologists in Bulgaria. [New York Times]. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Five stars! Very interesting catalog. REVIEW: Wonderful photography and interesting, fact-filled text in this vintage exhibition catalog of incredible Thracian treasures. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: REVIEW: Thrace was one of the crossroads of the Greek and Persian civilizations, and Thracian art reflects a variety of influences. The exhibition includes vessels and jewelry of exquisite refinement made by Greek and Persian craftsmen, Greek and Persian forms adapted by Thracian artisans, and purely Thracian works of great originality and vitality. All of the artifacts in Thracian Treasures from Bulgaria have been found in the past fifty or sixty years, and many of them are quite recent discoveries, still little-known even to experts. The ancient Thracian tribes lived in a territory that is now shared by Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia, Rumania and European Turkey. The region has been inhabited by man for at least 40,000 years. Sometime after 4000 B.C. the inhabitants discovered rich deposits of copper and other minerals and they turned to mining and metalwork. Before 3000 B.C. the precocious Thracian smiths were working in gold, probably panned from the local rivers. A large number of gold objects from this period have been excavated since 1972 from a necropolis near Varna, and they are shown in this exhibition for the first time. Sometime around 1500 B.C. the country was overrun by the warriors whom Homer called Thracians, and whom he described in the Iliad as allies of the Trojans. These Thracian kings arrived at Troy in chariots richly decorated with gold and silver, drawn by magnificent horses, and they bore dazzling golden arms. The taste for war, for gold and silver, and for fine horses, which Homer noted were to remain characteristic of the Thracian aristocracy down through the centuries. Some fifty years ago a farmer at Vulchitrun in northern Bulgaria unearthed a hoard that must have belonged to a Thracian chieftain of this period. The so-called Vulchitrun Treasure is a masterpiece of the Thracian goldsmith's art. The 13 large, solid gold objects from this find, in their simplicity of form and sparing use of ornament, exhibit a sense of proportion never again seen in Thracian works of art. Between the period of the Homeric epics, (1600- 1200 B.C.) and the 6th century B.C. very little is known of life in Thrace. Then, with the founding of Greek trading colonies along the Thracian coasts of the Aegean and Black Seas after 700 B.C. Thrace entered recorded history. The Greeks regarded the rough and warlike Thracians as barbarians. Instead of living in cities, the Thracians maintained their age-old tribal organization, living in hamlets and subsisting on meager farming, herding and brigandage. The Greek traveler Herodotus visited the Thracians around 425 B.C., and he left the earliest description of their customs and beliefs. Unlike the Greeks, the Thracians believed in a glorious afterlife and celebrated a warrior's death with rejoicing, The man's several widows -- for the Thracians, again unlike the Greeks, were polygamous -- competed for the honor of having been his favorite, and then the favorite was killed to join her husband in the other world. The man and his sacrificed wife were then buried in a tomb richly furnished with precious objects. It is from such tombs that most of the material in the exhibition has been excavated. Thracian men regarded fighting and brigandage as the only respectable means of livelihood, according to Herodotus, and many found regular employment as mercenary soldiers in the Greek armies. Herodotus also mentions the Thracian habit of selling their children into slavery abroad. As a result, tall, fair-haired Thracian men and women were a common sight in Greek households. Late in the fifth century B.C. a Thracian king named Sitalkes subjugated all of Thrace, even including the Greek cities along the coasts. Sitalkes and his powerful successors grew rich on tribute, eventually surpassing even Athens in revenue. Thracian culture in this period reached a high level of development. The rich burial mounds have yielded superb jewelry, armor and other objects, many of them imported from Greece or showing Persian influence. Though the Thracians imported Greek goods and employed Greek craftsmen and even Greek mercenaries, they maintained their old primitive habits and beliefs. The Greek historian, Xenophon, who passed through Thrace in 400 B.C., described a number of the customs and entertainments of the Thracian court. One was a game of skill with dire possibilities A man clutching a Thracian short sword would stand on a stone and put his head in a hangman's noose. Someone would kick the stone away, and the trick was to slash the cord before it was too late. Those not fast enough drew a big laugh from the crowd for their unfortunate lack of skill. The most spectacular group of objects in the exhibition dates from the end of this period, around 300 B.C. These elaborately decorated drinking vessels, called the Panagyurishte Treasure, were probably made at Lampsakos on the Asiatic shore of the Dardanelles. Several of the vessels are shaped like the heads of women, and others are ornamented with scenes from the repertory of Greek legends. The conquests of Alexander the Great in the later 4th century B.C. strongly affected the civilized world of the eastern Mediterranean, but the Thracians in the interior lived on much as before. In the 2nd century B.C. Rome entered the region. At first the Romans were content merely to recruit soldiers and gladiators from among the Thracians. In the middle of the first century A.D., however, the constant warfare of the Thracian tribes threatened the Roman order, so the emperors subdued and Romanized the country. Despite the thoroughness of the Romans, the Thracian religion and language persisted in remote mountain regions until the sixth century, when the Slavs migrated into the region and took over the land. Up to the Slavic conquest traditional burial customs were practiced, with landowners being buried under prominent mounds with funerary chariots and rich grave goods. The peasants continued to worship the traditional deities, especially the so-called Thracian Horseman, who is always represented on horseback charging with a spear at some wild animal. When Christianity penetrated these remote areas, the people simply shifted their allegiance to Saint George. REVIEW: Long ago, in the vast steppes stretching away into the heart of the Eurasian continent, there were once many tribes or the federations of the tribes of an equestrian people chiefly engaged in stock-raising. Their oppression of the civilized areas to the south is recounted in the annals of both East and West, and in the West they were known as the Scythians and Thracians. In his History, Herodotus made mention of these brave equestrian peoples, and the Thracians had earlier been cited in the Epic of Homer. However, while the Scythians and their distinctive equestrian culture had caught the interest of the West, thanks to archaeological finds, the Thracians were all but unknown up to World War II. The recent and rapid wave of archaeological research being conducted in the People's Republic of Bulgaria on Thracian sites is said to be gradually bringing its history and culture to light. A good portion of the many golden artifacts, which form the cultural inheritance dating from the early agrarian period up to the classical age of the Thracians, has been exhibited in Paris, London, and New York. These exhibitions brought rave notices for the exquisite aesthetic and scientific value evidenced by the objects displayed. Through the kind auspices of the government of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, some 560 of these treasures of Thracian antiquity have been loaned for display. It is no exaggeration to call this an event of immense cultural significance, for this is the first time that we have ever found on display, not individual works, but a full-scale exhibition which gives us an overall understanding of the cultural aspects of this equestrian people of ancient Thrace. The ensuing exhibitions have been events of overwhelming importance, giving a panoramic view of the entire sweep of Thracian culture, since the time before it emerged until it disappeared, a culture that along with that of the Scythians represents the equestrian peoples of antiquity. REVIEW: The Thracians formed a comparatively united ethno-cultural tribal community, which inhabited a territory in the Carpathians (nowadays it is the Socialist Republic of Romania) and from the Carpathians to the South, as far as the Aegean Sea, including several of the islands in this sea, at least, Samothraki, Thasos, Lemnos, Imbros, Naxos and Delos, as well as certain regions of European Hellas (today Greece). This tribal community was bounded on the West by the Iilyrians: the boundary ran approximately between the rivers Timok and Morava, and the rivers Vardar and Strouma, from the basin of the Danube to the Bay of Thessaloniki. The Black Sea, the ancient Pontus, bounded the Thracian lands to the East, but to the north-east Thracian groups were found in the territory between the rivers Dnieper and Dniester, and in the Bosporian Kingdom (today the Crimean Peninsula in the USSR), and to the south-east in North- Western Anatolia, in Bythinia. The Thracian people were according to Herodotus the most numerous known to him after the Indian people. They were also due to interaction with neighboring ethno-cultural communities, and to the frequent movements of tribes, or related tribes from the north-east to the south-west, and from the south-west to the north-east of the Thracian world. The multiconstituency of the Thracian ethno-cultural community, its interaction with other communities and its migrations are phenomena of an ethnogenetic character, as long as ethnogenesis is considered as a process, and not as a single act. The stratification of settlements (village mounds), the type of archaeological material and ornamentation form the material unity of culture in the Thracian lands during the whole period of the use of bronze alloy, i.e. from the end of the fourth to the end of the second millennium B.C. The transition to the Iron Age, i.e. towards the end of the second millennium B.C. was not an accident. The toponymy, the anthroponymy in part, and the theonomy of the Thracian linguistic traces, preserved in and after Homer in Hellenic expression and in certain epigraphic monuments of the Thracian in Hellenic letters, also convince us that in these extensive periods of time the culture of the population was in an evolutionary unity. Therefore, for the moment, the beginning of the ethnogenetic phenomena can be juxtaposed with the beginning of the Bronze Age. However, their pre-history lies at the end of a brilliant Neolithic and Chalcolithic culture, the synthesis of which was found in the necropolis near Varna. This synthesis contains ethno-cultural elements from Anatolia, from the steppes in the south-western regions of the European part of the USSR and Romania, and from the Southeastern European (Carpathian-Balkan) zone. In other terms, elements of the Anatolian culture (sixth to fourth millennium B.C.), of the Kurgan culture and of the culture of Goumelnitsa-Karanovo are interwoven in the final, supreme phase of the development of the Neolithic-Chalcolithic population. The Thracian ethno-cultural community was formed on this foundation. REVIEW: Archaeologists from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia in Bulgaria have discovered a massive ancient marble sarcophagus in the south east of the country. It once belonged to an aristocrat in Thrace, a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe, centered on the modern borders of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. The mound (tumulus) in which the tomb was found can be dated to the third century A.D. in the Roman period, and is located near the town of Boyanovo in Bulgaria’s Elhovo Municipality. The sarcophagus is 2.7 meters (8.8 feet) long and 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) wide with walls that are 15 centimeters (6 inches) thick and archaeologist Daniela Agre and her team have estimated its weight at around 6 metric tons (2,200 pounds). The archaeologists have also discovered a colonnade, and a second tomb constructed of brick masonry which has murals painted on its walls. However, the mound has been raided on several occasions by treasure hunters, over at least the past couple of centuries, meaning that many artifacts that the tomb may have contained are now lost. One of the raiders was a local Turkish Bey (a governor during the period when the country was occupied by the Ottoman Empire). Nevertheless, the archaeologists managed to recover a number of minor items that the treasure hunters overlooked. The Romans conquered much of the area south of the Danube in 46 A.D. The Thracian rulers were subsequently absorbed into the Roman provincial aristocracy. Thrace itself was named after the Thracian tribes by the Ancient Greeks. The word may also refer to a mythological character who was a sorceress and daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope. Her sister was Europa, after whom the continent of Europe was named. Thrax, an ancestor of the Greeks who was a son of the war god Ares, was also said to reside in Thrace. In Homer’s Illiad, the Thracians allied themselves to Troy during the Trojan War and the city-state is also mentioned in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. “We have an exceptional archaeological site here” said Ms. Agre, speaking to The ElhovoNews, in turn reported by the Archaeology in Bulgaria website. “This mound also presents interesting events from Bulgaria’s more recent past. Its ‘excavation’ began in the middle of the 19th century by the bey of Boyanovo who, in his search for treasures, had the local peasants dig up the mound. They found a very interesting sarcophagus, crushed its lid, and found inside a golden vessel, and several silver and bronze vessels.” Agre added that these events were recorded at the end of the 19th century by two Czech-Bulgarian brothers called Karel and Hermann Skorpil, who are widely considered to be the founders of modern Bulgarian archaeology following the liberation of the country from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. The treasure in the sarcophagus inspired the locals to start talking about the King’s Mound, which had been unknown until the present discovery. When the archaeologists investigated the site, they found that the mound had been raided in 2000. Indeed, the investigation itself was triggered by reports of more digging by treasure hunters earlier this year. The local people heard that they had reached the sarcophagus and that’s when they alerted the authorities. Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture decided a rescue mission was in order. “Our goal has been to unearth the sarcophagus, and to prepare it for its moving to the Elhovo Museum of Ethnography and Archaeology” Agre continued. “In the course of time, the sarcophagus had filled up [with earth]. Inside it, we have found a very interesting fragment from an alabaster vessel, several fragments of glass vessels, a bronze buckle. All of these are item demonstrating the wealth of the buried Thracian aristocrat who lived during the Roman Age. Based on the materials that we have found, our estimation is the beginning of the third century A.D.” The colonnade dates to the Roman period and may have been constructed in front of a façade, with columns on both sides. This may be related to the second tomb, built of masonry, and decorated with murals in a number of colors, including yellow, green, blue and shades of red. The murals also incorporate floral and geometric motifs. Unfortunately, this tomb has also been raided, first in the Antiquity period and also more recently. Bulgaria is home to hundreds of such rich burial mounds, such as the Thracian tombs of Sveshtari and Kazanlak, UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is thought they might represent royal burials. Such Thracian tombs are found across Bulgaria, such as the King’s Mound and marble sarcophagus as unearthed by archaeologists at Boyanovo recently. Representational image only. [AncientOrigins.Net]. REVIEW: The intact tomb of a Thracian warrior dating back some 5,000 years has been excavated in Turkey, the Istanbul Archaeology Museum announced. Experts are calling it the biggest archaeological find so far this year in Turkey—a country with many important archaeological sites. The kurgan tumulus is the first intact burial chamber of its kind ever found, says an article about the news in DailySabah.com. The dig on the kurgan started in December 2015 in Silivri in the Çanta region. Hurriyet Daily News says the tumulus was looted. However, looters had tried but failed to dig into the main burial chamber. The tumulus was likely that of a prominent Bronze Age warrior from northern areas. Researchers assume he was a warrior because they found a spear point in his grave, according to the First Istanbul Board for the Protection of Cultural Artifacts. Hurriyet Daily News says a kurgan is a burial mound constructed in a circle over a grave in a pit. Kurgan burials often have grave vessels, weapons and one body. “The type of tomb was originally used on the Russian steppes but later spread to eastern, central and northern Europe in the 3rd millennium B.C. The type of grave was holy in Turkic and Altay culture,” the article states. Professor Mehmet Özdoğan of Istanbul University Department of Archeology told Daily Sabah he has studied such tumuli before, but this discovery is important because it is the oldest one found in Thrace. It’s hoped the tomb will help shed light on historical mysteries about Thrace and help with studies about ancient Istanbul. Years ago, Özdoğan excavated another Thracian kurgan, from around 1200 B.C. in the village of Asılbeyli in Kırklareli in eastern Thrace, Daily Sabah says. “Thrace received migrations from the north. This is a kurgan-style tomb and such tombs exist in my studies, too,” Özdoğan told Hurriyet Daily News. “I know that lots of kurgan tombs have been destroyed in Thrace. We have rescued one of them from the digger. But this tomb is older and is from the Bronze Age. It is a very important discovery. I believe scientific examinations will lead to interesting results.” The Istanbul Archaeology Museum wants to register the grave as a historical site and place the remains of the warrior on exhibit in the museum. Kurgans are considered sacred burials in Turkic and Altaic cultures. People were buried in kurgans widely across central Asia and Eastern Europe. One of the most prominent historical figures buried in a kurgan was Philip II of Macedon—father of Alexander of Macedon. Philip was buried in Greece. The word kurgan is from an unknown Turkic language and in Turkish means “fortress,” says Daily Sabah. The practice of building kurgans for important people’s burials was done from the Copper Age, through the Bronze, Iron ages and into the Middle Ages, though it was not as popular during later times. The circular tomb chamber is 6 meters (19.7 feet) across and is inlaid with stones. The actual tomb itself is rectangular. The skeleton was on a stony floor in the fetal position, and his arms were placed to embrace his legs. Researchers say this may be either so he could enter the next world like a newborn or as a way to prevent him from rising from the dead. In addition to the spear point, which was on the body, archaeologists found two Bronze Age earthenware pots. Hurriyet called the point an arrowhead and added that it helped identify him as an important soldier or even a commander. There is a detailed study here about the Kurgan culture, which was widespread from Europe to Kazakhstan and up into Russia. The site says the Kurgan culture differs had common elements, including the distinctive burials, that differentiate it from other Bronze Age cultures in the regions where they overlapped. [AncientOrigins.Net]. REVIEW: The remains of an ancient Thracian noblewoman that was ritually dismembered has been unearthed along with bronze and silver jewelry buried with her in a rock tomb in the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria. Researchers are speculating the “Thracian princess,” as she is being called, was torn apart after death during ceremonies linked to the Orphic mysteries about 2,300 years ago. Dismemberment was not a mark of disfavor but rather an honor accorded to Thracian nobility and clerics. The woman had a Greek silver coin that was possibly placed under her tongue as an obol or offering to Charon, the mythical figure of Greece, Rome and Thrace who ferried the dead across the rivers Styx and Acheron into their afterlife in Hades. The body of the woman was in five pieces with her skull propped up on two rocks and sitting on a silver tiara, says the blog Archaeology in Bulgaria. The ancient people hewed her grave into the rock of the mountains. The archaeologist who discovered the burial, Assistant Professor Lyubin Leshtakov of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, speculates there may be a necropolis or rock mausoleum there and hopes to find more graves, the blog states. The grave contains almost 60 bronze and silver pieces, including the tiara, earrings, rings, necklaces and beads. It dates to the 4th century BC, around the time of Alexander the Great, who ruled an empire stretching from Macedonia and Greece to Afghanistan and India. His reign lasted from 336 to 323. The grave goods are among the richest of any found in Bulgarian burials from the era. The grave is just 4 meters (13.1234 feet) away from a rock altar found by Alexander Mitushev, an archaeological hobbyist who is financing the dig. The proximity of the grave and the altar plus the dismemberment have led archaeologists to speculate that the site was a center for Orphic cultic or ritual celebrations then in vogue in Thrace. “It is interesting that the body was dismembered which corresponds to some information about Orphic rituals. We know that Orpheus was ripped apart by the bacchantes," Leshtakov was quoted as saying by the 24 Chasa daily. Another archaeologist consulting on the dig, Nikolay Ovcharov, said dismembering of the dead was common among ancient Thracian nobility or priests before they were buried. “When Orpheus started the Orphic societies, women were not allowed in them, and began resenting him. We know that Orpheus died when he was ripped to pieces by bacchantes (maenads). He was dismembered and his body parts were thrown in the Maritsa River," said Ovcharov. The researchers are going to analyze the remains to ascertain whether more than one person was buried with the woman. They will also examine her body closely to verify that she was female. They have tentatively identified her as female because of the presence of the tiara. The tiara, fashioned from a very thin sheet of silver, is in very bad condition, but Leshkatov hopes experts will be able to restore the artifact. [AncientOrigins.Net]. REVIEW: A marble slab with an inscription to the goddess Demeter, which gives vital clues to the last ruling kings of ancient Thrace before Rome conquered the enigmatic people, has been unearthed in Bulgaria. The inscription brings to mind Percy Bysshe Shelley's lines in his poem “Ozymandias” about a large statue found alone in a desolate desert with the inscription: "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" The inscription, from around 26 to 37 A.D., was found in the ruins of Thermopolis or Aquae Calidae, which means “hot waters.” While there is more than a desolate desert in the ruins of Thermopolis today, the lines incised in marble name people who ruled so long ago they are forgotten by all but those well-read in history. The marble slab, excavated in June and announced this month, was probably part of a temple to Demeter, a goddess shared by Thracians, Romans and others in Asia, the Near East and Europe. Thermopolis was a spa city visited by many monarchs and even emperors around that time. It is being excavated now because workers are doing water-supply and sewerage works in the area and because the ruins are being transformed into a tourism destination. “The real value of the discovered inscription has to do with the fact that it mentions the names of three of the last Thracian kings of the Odrysian Kingdom from the Sapaean Dynasty as well as their dynastic links,” reports Archaeology in Bulgaria. “The inscription is the first historical source ever discovered to mention the children of Odrysian Thracian King Rhoemetalces II (reigned 18-38 A.D.) and his sister Pythodoris II (also known as Pythodorida II (reigned 38–46 A.D.), and confirms that the Thracian Queen Pythodoris was the daughter of King Cotys III (reigned 12-18 A.D.), who in turn was the son of Rhoemetalces I (reigned 12 B.C. – 12 A.D.)...The immediate interpretation of the meaning of the inscription is that Aquae Calidae was much more than just an ancient resort with mineral baths; rather, it appears to have been a developed administrative center in Ancient Thrace, and was probably a completely separate settlement from Anchialos.” While scholars are arguing over exactly how the text should be translated, Archaeology in Bulgaria gives it thus: "Apollonius, (son) of E(p)taikenthos, military governor of Anchialos, (dedicates) this altar to Demeter, for the well-being/salvation of his masters: King Rhoemetalces (II); and (his sister) Pythodoris (II), the daughter of Cotys (III/VIII), the son of King Rhoemetalces (I); and their children." While Demeter is usually listed as a Greek goddess, she was worshiped from Asia to Italy, according to The Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. She was a goddess of the fruitfulness of the earth and of women, nature, harmony and health. Barbara Walker's "Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" says in Greek meter means “mother.” Demeter is the same as the Asian goddess called “the Doorway of the Mysterious Feminine … the root from which Heaven and Earth sprang,” Walker says. Demeter is identified with the Great Mother, known in so many myths and religions around the world. While the inscription found in June in Bulgaria points to her as a savior, ancients regarded her son as the savior, Walker wrote. She was invoked at the Eleusian mysteries, which to modern people are a mystery in themselves because their exact nature is unknown. But Eleusis means “advent,” Walker says, and the rites brought about the advent of the savior, given as Dionysus, Brimus, Triptolemus, Iasion or Eleuthereos. The Archaeology in Bulgaria blog says Thracians settled the area near the mineral waters of Thermopolis in the mid-1st millennium BC. It was called the Sanctuary of the Three Nymphs by the 1st century AD. The site is near the modern Black Sea port city of Burgas. Archaeologists have found evidence that the mineral baths were used in the Neolithic and have found three settlements there dating to the 6th to 5th millennium B.C. “The Roman baths at Aquae Calidae were rebuilt and expanded in the early years of the Byzantine Empire– the 4th-5th century, with fortress walls constructed during the reign of Emperor Justinian I the Great,” the blog states. Archaeologists have found many important artifacts in Thermopolis, only 10 percent of whose territory has been excavated. They hope to find many other objects to shed light on this period and what is apparently an important city. The mayor of Burgas calls the marble slab with the inscription “worth more than gold.” Other finds include another inscription with part of the name of the Roman governor around 172 AD, Gaius Pantuleius Graptiacus; fragments of bronze maces; brooches; belt buckles; wooden and bone combs from various eras; coins from various eras, including ancient and medieval; Byzantine lead seals; and a Christian reliquary. Ancient Greek and Roman historians reported that the Thracians were great fighters and prized mercenaries and only political fragmentation kept them from conquering large areas of the northeastern Mediterranean. Ancient historians considered the Thracians primitive, but they had fine poetry and music and relatively advanced culture for the time. Macedonians and Romans made use of Thracian mercenaries. The Thracian people's territory was from the Aegean Sea on the south, to the Danube on the north, and from the Black sea on the east to the Sea of Marmara on the west. A tenth of the historical area of Thrace was in Turkey, a fourth in Greece and the rest in Bulgaria. [AncientOrigins.Net]. REVIEW: A team of archaeologists working at the Odeon site in Bulgaria’s second largest city Plovdiv, have announced the discovery of a mediaeval tomb that includes human remains and an arrow. The medieval tomb from the 11th or 12th century has recently been unearthed by archaeologists at the start of rescue excavations at the Antiquity Odeon, an ancient performance facility in the city of Plovdiv in Southern Bulgaria. The grave contains human remains, while an arrow was found to be placed next to the buried person. “Early on, in the uppermost layers, we have discovered lots of pottery and a burial, a medieval one. We found it yesterday. It is interesting that we have found an arrow at the chest [of the buried person]. The burial dates to the 11th-12th century," lead archaeologist Martinova told Archaeology in Bulgaria. The excavation works in Plovdiv’s downtown launched in order to clear up the area for the construction of a ticket center and other cultural tourism facilities for the Ancient Roman and Thracian ruins which are being exposed and restored in order to be exhibited in situ. Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria behind the country’s capital, Sofia, with a population of about 700,000 in the greater metropolitan area. The earliest signs of habitation in the territory of Plovdiv date as far back as the 6th millennium BC, a fact that makes Plovdiv one of the oldest cities in Europe. Plovdiv has settlement traces including necropolises dating from the Neolithic era, roughly 6000-5000 BC, like the mounds Yasa Tepe 1 in Philipovo district and Yasa Tepe 2 in Lauta park. Archaeologists have discovered fine pottery and artifacts of everyday life on Nebet Tepe from as early as the Chalcolithic Era, showing that at the end of the 4th millennium BC, there was already an established settlement there which was continuously inhabited from then on. Thracian necropolises dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium B.C. have also been discovered, while the Thracian town was established between the 2nd and the 1st millennium B.C. In 516 B.C. during the rule of Darius the Great, Thrace was included in the Persian Empire. In 492 B.C., the Persian general Mardonius subjected Thrace again, and it became nominally a vassal of Persia until 479 B.C. and the early rule of Xerxes I. The town was eventually conquered by Greek king Philip II of Macedon, from whom it got the name Philippopolis. In 72 B.C., the city was seized by the Roman general Marcus Lucullus but was soon restored to Thracian control. In 46 A.D., the city was finally incorporated into the Roman Empire by Emperor Claudius and it served as capital of the province of Thrace and gained city status in the late 1st century. The city was an important crossroad for the Roman Empire and was called "the largest and most beautiful of all cities" by Lucian. Although it was not the capital of the Province of Thrace, the city was the largest and most important center in the province. The Roman times were a period of growth and cultural excellence. The ancient ruins narrate a story of a colorful, growing city with numerous public buildings, shrines, baths, theaters, a stadium, and the only developed ancient water supply system in Bulgaria. The city had an advanced water system and sewage. In 250 A.D., the city was burned down by the Goths who were led by their ruler Cniva. Many of its citizens, 100,000 according to Ammianus Marcellinus, died or were taken captive. It would take more than a hundred years and hard work to recover the city. However, it was destroyed again by Attila's Huns in 441-442 A.D. and again by the Goths of Teodoric Strabo in 471 A.D. Back to 2017, experts speculate that the buried person in the grave was either murdered by the arrow, or maybe it was positioned in the grave as a funeral gift for the afterlife. In the case that the arrow served as a funeral gift, archaeologists suggest that the buried person – whose gender hasn’t been revealed yet – was most likely was a warrior. “Yet, there is also a custom of placing arrows [in graves] as burial gifts when the person in question is a warrior," Martinova tells Archaeology in Bulgaria. “We cannot say for sure yet which one it is – whether they were killed by the arrow or whether it was put in the grave – because the bones are not properly arranged," she adds. Scientists from the Plovdiv Medical University currently are cooperating with the archaeological team in order to help find out whether the buried person was killed by the arrow or not. The anthropological investigation is also expected to reveal the individual’s gender and age. [AncientOrigins.Net]. REVIEW: The indigenous population of ancient Thrace were Indo-Europeans who spoke their own language who archaeologists believe originated in the area of the Black Sea around 5,000 B.C. Thrace included areas of present day Bulgaria, Northeastern Greece, Eastern Serbia, portions of Macedonia, and portions of NorthWest Turkey. Divided into separate tribes, the Tracians did not form a lasting political kingdom until the Odrysian and Dacian States were founded in the early 4th century B.C. At its greatest it extended beyond the Danube to the North (Ancient Dacia and Pannonia, present day Moldova and Romania) and to Southern Russia and the Ukraine to the East. The Thracians were capable of wielding an army of 150,000, and threatened even regional powerhouse Macedonia until both were conquered by the Persians under Darius the Great. The Thracians were to fall under the cultural influence of the ancient Greeks, though as non-Greek speakers, they were viewed by the Greeks (and subsequently the Romans) as barbarians. The Greeks founded Thracian colonies as early as the sixth century B.C. Homer’s Iliad records that the Thracians had agreed to fight on the side of the Mycenaean Greeks in the Trojan War. However according to the account the Thracians did not fulfill this promise. In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men raided Thrace on their way back home from the war. This was to punish them for their "cowardice", as the Odyssey puts it. Many mythical figures, such as the god Dionysus, princess Europa, and the hero Orpheus were borrowed by the Greeks from their Thracian neighbors. The Thracians were described by Roman Historian Herodotus as the second most numerous of peoples, after the Indians, and potentially the most powerful, and he suggested that the extent of the lands they inhabited and controlled would have made them a vast empire, if they were united. Thrace was to fall to the great Persian armies of Darius the Great in the late sixth century B.C., and subsequently to Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. Thereafter Thrace was ruled by the Macedonians until Macedonia was stripped of its territories after losing its third war with the Romans. After the conclusion of the “Third Macedonian War, Thrace was ruled directly by Rome as a client state. The successor of the Roman empire on the Balkans, the Byzantine (or Eastern roman) Empire retained control over Thrace until the beginning of the 9th century, after which time control of Thrace alternated between the Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria. However ultimately the Ottoman Turks conquered the region and held it for five centuries until the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire after the conclusion of World War I. Recently Bulgarian archaeologists have made monumental discoveries of Royal Thracian burials dating back to the fifth through third centuries B.C. in what has become known as Thracian Valley of the Kings. REVIEW: Thrace is a geographical and historical area in southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace) and the European part of Turkey (Eastern Thrace). In antiquity, it was also referred to as "Europe", prior to the extension of the term to describe the whole continent. The name Thrace comes from the Thracians, an ancient Indo-European people inhabiting Southeastern Europe. The region took the name of the principal river there, Hebros, probably from the Indo-European arg "white river" (the opposite of Vardar, meaning "black river"). According to an alternative theory, Hebros means "goat" in Thracian. In Turkey, it is commonly referred to as Rumeli, Land of the Romans, owing to this region being the last part of the Eastern Roman Empire that was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The name appears to derive from an ancient heroine and sorceress Thrace, who was the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, and sister of Europa. The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. The ancient Greeks employed the term "Thrace" to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians, a region which "had no definite boundaries" and to which other regions (like Macedonia and even Scythia) were added. In one ancient Greek source, the very Earth is divided into "Asia, Libya, Europa and Thracia". As the Greeks gained knowledge of world geography, "Thrace" came to designate the area bordered by the Danube on the north, by the Euxine Sea (Black Sea) on the east, by northern Macedonia in the south and by Illyria to the west. This largely coincided with the Thracian Odrysian kingdom, whose borders varied over time. After the Macedonian conquest, this region's former border with Macedonia was shifted from the Struma River to the Mesta River. This usage lasted until the Roman conquest. Henceforth, (classical) Thrace referred only to the tract of land largely covering the same extent of space as the modern geographical region. In its early period, the Roman province of Thrace was of this extent, but after the administrative reforms of the late 3rd century, Thracia's much reduced territory became the six small provinces which constituted the Diocese of Thrace. The medieval Byzantine theme of Thrace contained only what today is Eastern Thrace. Ancient Greek mythology provides the Thracians with a mythical ancestor Thrax, the son of the war-god Ares, who was said to reside in Thrace. The Thracians appear in Homer's Iliad as Trojan allies, led by Acamas and Peiros. Later in the Iliad, Rhesus, another Thracian king, makes an appearance. Cisseus, father-in-law to the Trojan elder Antenor, is also given as a Thracian king. Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, and stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east. The Catalogue of Ships mentions three separate contingents from Thrace: Thracians led by Acamas and Peiros, from Aenus; Cicones led by Euphemus, from southern Thrace, near Ismaros; and from the city of Sestus, on the Thracian (northern) side of the Hellespont, which formed part of the contingent led by Asius. Ancient Thrace was home to numerous other tribes, such as the Edones, Bisaltae, Cicones, and Bistones in addition to the tribe that Homer specifically calls the “Thracians”. Greek mythology is replete with Thracian kings, including Diomedes, Tereus, Lycurgus, Phineus, Tegyrius, Eumolpus, Polymnestor, Poltys, and Oeagrus (father of Orpheus). Thrace is mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in the episode of Philomela, Procne, and Tereus: Tereus, the King of Thrace, lusts after his sister-in-law, Philomela. He kidnaps her, holds her captive, rapes her, and cuts out her tongue. Philomela manages to get free, however. She and her sister, Procne, plot to get revenge, by killing her son Itys (by Tereus) and serving him to his father for dinner. At the end of the myth, all three turn into birds – Procne into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale, and Tereus into a hoopoe. The indigenous population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent, and Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. Later on, Thracian troops were known to accompany neighboring ruler Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont which abuts Thrace, during the invasion of the Persian Empire itself. The Thracians did not describe themselves by name; terms such as Thrace and Thracians are simply the names given them by the Greeks. Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not form any lasting political organizations until the founding of the Odrysian state in the 4th century B.C. Like Illyrians, the locally ruled Thracian tribes of the mountainous regions maintained a warrior tradition, while the tribes based in the plains were purportedly more peaceable. Recently discovered funeral mounds in Bulgaria suggest that Thracian kings did rule regions of Thrace with distinct Thracian national identity. During this period, a subculture of celibate ascetics called the Ctistae lived in Thrace, where they served as philosophers, priests and prophets. Sections of Thrace particularly in the south started to become hellenized before the Peloponnesian War as a significant amount of Athenian and Ionian colonies were set up in Thrace before the war and Spartan and other Doric colonists followed suit after the war. The special interest of Athens to Thrace is underlined by the numerous finds of Athenian silverware in Thracian tombs. In 168 B.C., after the Third Macedonian war and the subjugation of Macedonia to the Romans, Thrace also lost its independence and became tributary to Rome. Towards the end of the 1st century BC Thrace lost its status as a client kingdom as the Romans began to directly appoint their kings. This situation lasted until 46 A.D., when the Romans finally turned Thrace into a Roman province (Romana provincia Thracia). During the Roman domination, within the geographical borders of ancient Thrace, there were two separate Roman provinces, namely Thrace ("provincia Thracia") and Lower Moesia ("Moesia inferior"). Later, in the times of Diocletian, the two provinces were joined and formed the so-called "Dioecesis Thracia". The establishment of Roman colonies and mostly several Greek cities, as was Nicopolis, Topeiros, Traianoupolis, Plotinoupolis and Hadrianoupolis resulted from the Roman Empire's urbanization. It is noteworthy that the Roman provincial policy in Thrace favored mainly not the Romanization but the Hellenization of the country, which had started as early as the Archaic period through the Greek colonisation and was completed by the end of Roman Antiquity. As regards the competition between the Greek and Latin language, the very high rate of Greek inscriptions in Thrace extending south of Haemus mountains proves the complete language Hellenization of this region. The boundaries between the Greek and Latin speaking Thrace are placed just above the northern foothills of Haemus mountains. During the imperial period many Thracians – particularly members of the local aristocracy of the cities – had been granted the right of the Roman citizenship (civitas Romana) with all his privileges. Epigraphic evidence show a large increase in such naturalizations in the times of Trajan and Hadrian, while in 212 A.D. the emperor Caracalla granted, with his well-known decree (constitutio Antoniniana), the Roman citizenship to all the free habitants of the Roman Empire. During the same period (in the 1st-2nd century A.D.), a remarkable presence of Thracians is testified by the inscriptions outside the borders (extra fines) both in the Greek territory and in all the Roman provinces, especially in the provinces of Eastern Roman Empire. By the mid 5th century, as the Western Roman Empire began to crumble, Thracia fell from the authority of Rome and into the hands of Germanic tribal rulers. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Thracia turned into a battleground territory for the better part of the next 1,000 years. The surviving eastern portion of the Roman Empire in the Balkans, later known as the Byzantine Empire, retained control over Thrace until the 8th century when the northern half of the entire region was incorporated into the First Bulgarian Empire and the remainder was reorganized in the Thracian theme. The Empire regained the lost regions in the late 10th century until the Bulgarians regained control of the northern half at the end of the 12th century. Throughout the 13th century and the first half of the 14th century, the region was changing in the hands of the Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empire (excluding Constantinople). In 1265 the area suffered a Mongol raid from the Golden Horde, led by Nogai Khan, and between 1305 and 1307 was raided by the Catalan company. In 1352, the Ottoman Turks conducted their first incursion into the region subduing it completely within a matter of two decades and occupying it for five centuries. In 1821, several parts of Thrace, such as Lavara, Maroneia, Sozopolis, Aenos, Callipolis and Samothraki rebelled during the Greek War of Independence. With the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Northern Thrace was incorporated into the semi-autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia, which united with Bulgaria in 1885. The rest of Thrace was divided among Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century, following the Balkan Wars, World War I and the Greco-Turkish War. In Summer 1934, up to 10.000 Jews were maltreated, bereaved and then forced to quit the region). Today, Thracian is a geographical term used in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria. The largest cities of Thrace are: Plovdiv, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Yambol, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Xanthi, Edirne, Çorlu and Tekirdağ. Most of the Bulgarian and Greek population are Christians, while most of the Turkish inhabitants of Thrace are Muslims. Notable Thracians include Orpheus, who was in Ancient Greek mythology, the chief representative of the art of song and playing the lyre. Protagoras was a Greek philosopher from Abdera, Thrace (circa 490–420 B.C.). An expert in rhetorics and subjects connected to virtue and political life, often regarded as the first sophist. He is known primarily for three claims: (1) that man is the measure of all things, often interpreted as a sort of moral relativism, (2) that he could make the "worse (or weaker) argument appear the better (or stronger)" (see Sophism), and (3) that one could not tell if the gods existed or not (see Agnosticism). Herodicus was a Greek physician of the fifth century B.C. who is considered the founder of sports medicine. He is believed to have been one of Hippocrates' tutors. Democritus was a Greek philosopher and mathematician from Abdera, Thrace (circa 460–370 B.C.) His main contribution is the atomic theory, the belief that all matter is made up of various imperishable indivisible elements which he called atoms. Spartacus was a Thracian who led a large slave uprising in what is now Italy in 73–71 B.C. His army of escaped gladiators and slaves defeated several Roman legions in what is known as the Third Servile War. A number of Roman emperors of the 3rd–5th century were of Thraco-Roman backgrounds (Maximinus Thrax, Licinius, Galerius, Aureolus, Leo the Thracian, etc.). These emperors were elevated via a military career, from the condition of common soldiers in one of the Roman legions to the foremost positions of political power. Two main gods of the Bessi Thracians were Dionysus (worshiped as Zagreus) and Bendis. Zagreus was worshipped by followers of Orphism (the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices associated with literature ascribed to the mythical poet Orpheus), whose late Orphic hymns invoke his name. Actually Zagreus was a Thracian god prototype later known as Dionysus – the god of joy, wine and ecstasy in the Greek and Bacchus in the Roman mythology. Holidays (mysteries) dedicated to Dionysus in Greece were called Dionysii; in Rome they were known as Bacchanalia and in Thrace as Rozalii. Orphic mysteries held in honor of Dionysus-Zagreus were performed only by devoted unmarried men. They were called a-bii, which means "not alive" because they did not lead an ordinary life. The mysteries were held in secret places far from the eyes of the ordinary people and were accompanied by choral songs and mimic games. The culmination of the mysteries was the symbolic death of the king-priest, identified with Zagreus who according to myth was torn apart by the Titans. Following the "death", the mother goddess was also symbolically born. The first part was carried out through a sacrifice of a bull, horse, goat or even people and the latter through a sexual orgy. Later on, Orphic mysteries became a part of the Bacchanalia. Wine and fire were essential to the cult of Dionysus. The act of wine producing itself was recognized as a tale of the life and sorrow of the god. Picking and smashing the vines represent the way that the Titans tore Dionysus apart. That is why vinification was a mystery that was accompanied by sad songs. Bendis was a goddess worshiped in Southwestern Thrace. She was typically presented as a hunter, wrapped with leather with boots and a fox fur hat. She holds a spear, a bow or a net and she is often accompanied by a hunting dog. In Greek mythology boots are a symbol of speed. Bendis is different from her Greek analogies in that she wears a fox hat. Vine and Haberlea rhodopensis (Orpheus' flower) were objects of cult for the Bessi. Wine and flame were believed to cause euphoria. Svetonii Tranquil and Herodotus described rituals in which worshippers would divine by pouring wine on the altar and observing the height of the blaze. Other tribes would also burn a sacrificial animal on the altar. They believed that if the flames were vigorous, the year would be fruitful. [Wikipedia]. REVIEW: The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting a large area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family. The study of Thracians and Thracian culture is known as Thracology. The first historical record about the Thracians is found in the Iliad, where they are described as allies of the Trojans in the Trojan War against the Greeks. In Greek mythology, Thrax (by his name simply the quintessential Thracian) was regarded as one of the reputed sons of the god Ares. In the Alcestis, Euripides mentions that one of the names of Ares himself was "Thrax" since he was regarded as the patron of Thrace (his golden or gilded shield was kept in his temple at Bistonia in Thrace). The origins of the Thracians remain obscure, in the absence of written historical records. Evidence of proto-Thracians in the prehistoric period depends on artifacts of material culture. Historian Leo Klejn identifies proto-Thracians with the multi-cordoned ware culture that was pushed away from Ukraine by the advancing timber grave culture or Srubna. It is generally proposed that a proto-Thracian people developed from a mixture of indigenous peoples and Indo-Europeans from the time of Proto-Indo-European expansion in the Early Bronze Age when the latter, around 1500 B.C. mixed with indigenous peoples. During the Iron Age (about 1000 B.C.) Dacians and Thracians began developing from proto-Thracians. Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not manage to form a lasting political organization until the Odrysian state was founded in the fifth century B.C. A strong Dacian state appeared in the first century B.C. during the reign of King Burebista. Including the Illyrians, the mountainous regions were home to various peoples regarded as warlike and ferocious Thracian tribes, while the plains peoples were apparently regarded as more peaceable. Thracians inhabited parts of the ancient provinces of Thrace, Moesia, Macedonia, Dacia, Scythia Minor, Sarmatia, Bithynia, Mysia, Pannonia, and other regions of the Balkans and Anatolia. This area extended over most of the Balkans region, and the Getae north of the Danube as far as beyond the Bug and including Panonia in the west. There were about 200 Thracian tribes. These Indo-European peoples, while considered barbaric and rural by their urbanized Greek neighbors, had developed advanced forms of music, poetry, industry, and artistic crafts. Aligning themselves in kingdoms and tribes, they never displayed any form of national unity beyond short, dynastic rules at the height of the Greek classical period. Similar to the Celtic (e.g., Gauls) and Slavic tribes, most people are thought to have lived simply in small fortified villages, usually on hilltops. Although the concept of an urban center was not developed until the Roman period, various larger fortifications which also served as regional market centers were numerous. Yet, in general, despite Greek colonization in such areas as Byzantium, Apollonia and other cities, the Thracians avoided urban life. The first Greek colonies in Thrace were founded in the eighth century B.C. Thrace south of the Danube (except for the land of the Bessi) was ruled for nearly half a century by the Persians under Darius the Great, who conducted an expedition into the region from 513 to 512 B.C. The Persians called Thrace "Skudra". The Odrysian kingdom in its maximum extent under Sitalces (431-424 B.C.). In the first decade of the sixth century B.C. the Persians invaded Thrace and made it part of their satrapy Skudra. Thracians were forced to join the invasions of European Scythia and Greece. According to Herodotus, the Bithynian Thracians also had to contribute a large contingent to Xerxes' invasion of Greece in 480 B.C. Subjugation of Macedonia was part of Persian military operations initiated by Darius the Great (521–486 B.C.) in 513 B.C., after immense preparations, a huge Achaemenid army invaded the Balkans and tried to defeat the European Scythians roaming to the north of the Danube River. Darius' army subjugated several Thracian peoples at the same time, and virtually all other regions that touch the European part of the Black Sea, including parts of present-day Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia, before it returned to Asia Minor. Darius left in Europe one of his commanders, named Megabazus, whose task was to accomplish conquests in the Balkans. The Persian troops subjugated gold-rich Thrace, the coastal Greek cities, as well as defeating and conquering the powerful Paeonians. Finally, Megabazus sent envoys to Amyntas, King of Macedon demanding acceptance of Persian domination, which the Macedonian accepted. At this time, many if not most Thracians fell under Persian rule. By the fifth century B.C. the Thracian presence was pervasive enough that Herodotus called them the second-most numerous people in the part of the world known by him (after the Indians), and potentially the most powerful, if not for their lack of unity. The Thracians in classical times were broken up into a large number of groups and tribes, though a number of powerful Thracian states were organized, such as the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace and the Dacian kingdom of Burebista. The peltast, a type of soldier of this period, probably originated in Thrace. During this period, a subculture of celibate ascetics called the "ctistae" lived in Thrace, where they served as philosophers, priests and prophets. In that period, contacts between the Thracians and Classical Greece intensified. Before the expansion of the Kingdom of Macedon, Thrace was divided into three camps (east, central, and west) after the withdrawal of the Persians from Europe. A notable ruler of the East Thracians was Cersobleptes, who attempted to expand his authority over many of the Thracian tribes. He was eventually defeated by the Macedonians. Thracian civilization was not urban, and the largest Thracian cities might have been in fact large villages. The Thracians were typically not city-builders and their only polis was Seuthopolis. The conquest of the southern part of Thrace by Philip II of Macedon in the fourth century B.C. made the Odrysian kingdom extinct for several years. After the kingdom had been reestablished, it was a vassal state of Macedon for several decades under generals such as Lysimachus of the Diadochi. In 279 B.C. Celtic Gauls advanced into Macedonia, southern Greece and Thrace. They were soon forced out of Macedonia and southern Greece, but they remained in Thrace until the end of the third century B.C. From Thrace, three Celtic tribes advanced into Anatolia and formed a the kingdom of Galatia. In parts of Moesia (northeast Serbia), Celtic Scordisci and Thracians lived beside each other, evident in the archaeological findings of pits and treasures, spanning from the third century BC to the first century B.C. During the Macedonian Wars, conflict between Rome and Thracia was unavoidable. The ruling parties in Macedonia weakened and Thracian tribal authority resurged. But after the Battle of Pydna in 168 B.C. Roman authority over Macedonia seemed inevitable, and the governing of Thracia passed to Rome. Initially, Thracians and Macedonians revolted against Roman rule. For example, the revolt of Andriscus, in 149 B.C. drew the bulk of its support from Thracia. Several incursions by local tribes into Macedonia continued for many years, though a few tribes, such as the Deneletae and the Bessi, willingly allied with Rome. After the Third Macedonian War, Thracia acknowledged Roman authority. The client state of Thracia comprised several tribes. The next century and a half saw the slow development of Thracia into a permanent Roman client state. The Sapaei tribe came to the forefront initially under the rule of Rhascuporis. He was known to have granted assistance to both Pompey and Caesar, and later supported the Republican armies against Antonius and Octavian in the final days of the Republic. The familiar heirs of Rhascuporis were then as deeply tied into political scandal and murder as were their Roman masters. A series of royal assassinations altered the ruling landscape for several years in the early Roman imperial period. Various factions took control, with the support of the Roman Emperor. The turmoil would eventually stop with one final assassination. After Rhoemetalces III of the Thracian Kingdom of Sapes was murdered in 46 A.D.by his wife, Thracia was incorporated as an official Roman province to be governed by Procurators, and later Praetorian prefects. The central governing authority of Rome was based in Perinthus, but regions within the province were uniquely under the command of military subordinates to the governor. The lack of large urban centers made Thracia a difficult place to manage, but eventually the province flourished under Roman rule. However, Romanization was not attempted in the province of Thracia. The Balkan Sprachbund does not support hellenization. Roman authority of Thracia rested mainly with the legions stationed in Moesia. The rural nature of Thracia's populations, and distance from Roman authority, certainly inspired the presence of local troops to support Moesia's legions. Over the next few centuries, the province was periodically and increasingly attacked by migrating Germanic tribes. The reign of Justinian saw the construction of over 100 legionary fortresses to supplement the defense. Thracians in Moesia were Romanized while those in Thrace and surrounding areas would come to be known as the Bessi. In the 6th century AD the Bessian (i.e. Thracian) language was reportedly still in use by monks in a Mount Sinai monastery. Thracians were regarded by other people as warlike, ferocious, and bloodthirsty. They were seen as "barbarians" by ancient Greeks and Romans. Plato in his Republic considers them, along with the Scythians, extravagant and high spirited and his Laws considers them war-like nations grouping them with Celts, Persians, Scythians, Iberians and Carthaginians. Polybius wrote of Cotys's sober and gentle character being unlike that of most Thracians. Tacitus in his Annals writes of them being wild, savage and impatient, disobedient even to their own kings. Polyaenus and Strabo write how the Thracians broke their pacts of truce with trickery. The Thracians struck their weapons against each other before battle, in the Thracian manner, as Polyaneus testifies. Diegylis was considered one of the most bloodthirsty chieftains by Diodorus Siculus. An Athenian club for lawless youths was named after the Triballi. According to ancient Roman sources, the Diiwere responsible for the worst atrocities of the Peloponnesian War killing every living thing, including children and the dogs in Tanagra and Mycalessos. Thracians would impale Roman heads on their spears and rhomphaias such as in the Kallinikos skirmish at 171 B.C. Herodotus writes that "they sell their children and let their maidens commerce with whatever men they please". The ancient languages of these people and their cultural influence were highly reduced due to the repeated invasions of the Balkans by Celts, Huns, Goths, Scythians, Sarmatians and Slavs, accompanied by, romanization and later slavicisation. However, the Thracians as a group did not entirely disappear, with the Bessi surviving at least until the late 4th century. Towards the end of the 4th century, Nicetas the Bishop of Remesiana brought the gospel to "those mountain wolves", the Bessi. Reportedly his mission was successful, and the worship of Dionysus and other Thracian gods was eventually replaced by Christianity. In 570, Antoninus Placentius said that in the valleys of Mount Sinai there was a monastery in which the monks spoke Greek, Latin, Syriac, Egyptian and Bessian. The origin of the monasteries is explained in a mediaeval hagiography written by Simeon Metaphrastes, in Vita Sancti Theodosii Coenobiarchae in which he wrote that Theodosius the Cenobiarch 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 where the monasteries were founded was called "Cutila", which may be a Thracian name. The further fate of the Thracians is a matter of dispute. Some authors like Schramm derived the Albanians from the Christian Bessi, or Bessians, an early Thracian people who were pushed westwards into Albania, while more mainstream historians support Illyrian-Albanian continuity or a possible Thraco-Illyrian creole. The rest of the Thracians were assimilated as one of the primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians. Withregard to religion, one notable cult that is attested from Thrace to Moesia and Scythia Minor is that of the "Thracian horseman", also known as the "Thracian Heros", at Odessos (Varna) attested by a Thracian name as Heros Karabazmos, a god of the underworld usually depicted on funeral statues as a horseman slaying a beast with a spear. Dacians had a monotheistic religion based on the god Zalmoxis. The supreme Baltic thunder god Perkon was part of the Thracian pantheon, although cults to Orpheus and Zalmoxis likely surpassed him. Some think that the Greek god Dionysus evolved from the Thracian god Sabazios. The Thracians were a warrior people, known as both horsemen and lightly armed skirmishers with javelins. Thracian peltasts had a notable influence in Ancient Greece. The history of Thracian warfare spans from circa 10th century B.C. up to the 1st century A.D. in the region defined by Ancient Greek and Latin historians as Thrace. It concerns the armed conflicts of the Thracian tribes and their kingdoms in the Balkans and in the Dacian territories. Emperor Traianus conquered Dacia after two wars in the 2nd century A.D. The wars finished with the occupation of the fortress of Sarmisegetusa and the death of the king Decebalus. Apart from conflicts between Thracians and neighboring nations and tribes, numerous wars were recorded among Thracian tribes too. Several Thracian graves or tombstones have the name Rufus inscribed on them, meaning "redhead" – a common name given to people with red hair. Ancient Greek artwork often depicts Thracians as redheads. Rhesus of Thrace, a mythological Thracian King, derived his name because of his red hair and is depicted on Greek pottery as having red hair and beard. Ancient Greek writers also described the Thracians as red haired. A fragment by the Greek poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians as blue-eyed and red haired: "...Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue eyes and red hair." Bacchylides described Theseus as wearing a hat with red hair, which classicists believe was Thracian in origin. Other ancient writers who described the hair of the Thracians as red include Hecataeus of Miletus, Galen, Clement of Alexandria, and Julius Firmicus Maternus. Nevertheless, academic studies have concluded that peoples had different physical features than the described by primary sources. Ancient authors described as red-haired varieties of peoples, they claimed that all Slavs had red-hair, likewise described the Scythians, which is diminished as incorrect. According to Dr. Beth Cohen, Thracians had "the same dark hair and the same facial features as the Ancient Greeks." Recent genetic analysis comparing mtDNA samples of ancient Thracian fossil material from southeastern Romania with individuals from modern ethnicities place Italian (7.9%), the Albanian (6.3%) and the Greek (5.8%) have shown a bias of closer genetic kinship with the Thracian individuals than the Romanian and Bulgarian individuals (4.2%), but it was noted that more mtDNA sequences from Thracian individuals are needed in order to perform a complex objective statistical analysis. On the other hand, Dr. Aris N. Poulianos states that Thracians, like modern Bulgarians, belong mainly to the Aegean anthropological type. A list of historically important personalities being entirely or partly of Thracian ancestry would include: Orpheus, mythological figure considered chief among poets and musicians; king of the Thracian tribe of Cicones. Spartacus, Thracian gladiator who led a large slave uprising in Southern Italy in 73–71 B.C. and defeated several Roman legions in what is known as the Third Servile War. Amadocus, Thracian King, the Amadok Point was named after him. Teres I, Thracian King who united the many tribes of Thrace under the banner of the Odrysian state. Sitalces, King of the Odrysian state; an ally of the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War. Burebista, King of Dacia. Decebalus, King of Dacia. Maximinus Thrax, Roman Emperor from 235 to 238 A.D. Aureolus, Roman military commander. Galerius, Roman Emperor from 305 to 311 A.D., born to a Thracian father and Dacian mother. Licinius, Roman Emperor from 308 to 324 A.D. Maximinus Daia or Maximinus Daza, Roman Emperor from 308 to 313 A.D. Justin I, Eastern Roman Emperor and founder of the Justinian dynasty. Justinian the Great, Eastern Roman Emperor; either Illyrian or Thracian, born in Dardania. Belisarius, Eastern Roman general of reputed Illyrian or Thracian origin. Marcian, Eastern Roman Emperor from 450 to 457; either Illyrian or Thracian. Leo I the Thracian, Eastern Roman Emperor from 457 to 474. Bouzes or Buzes, Eastern Roman general active in the reign of Justinian the Great (reigned 527–565 A.D.). Coutzes or Cutzes, general of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. The branch of science that studies the ancient Thracians and Thrace is called Thracology. The archaeological research of the Thracian culture started in the 20th century and especially after World War II, mainly on the territory of southern Bulgaria. As a result of intensive excavation works in the 1960s and 1970s a number of Thracian tombs and sanctuaries were discovered. More significant among them are: the Tomb of Sveshtari, the Tomb of Kazanlak, Tatul, Seuthopolis, Perperikon, the Tomb of Aleksandrovo, Sarmizegetusa in Romania and others. Also a large number of elaborately crafted gold and silver treasure sets from the 5th and 4th century BC were unearthed. In the following decades, those were exposed in museums around the world, thus gaining popularity and becoming an emblem of the ancient Thracian culture. Since the year 2000, Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov has made discoveries in Central Bulgaria which were summarized as "The Valley of the Thracian Kings". The residence of the Odrysian kings was found in Starosel in the Sredna Gora mountains. A 1922 Bulgarian study claimed that there were at least 6,269 necropolises in Bulgaria. [Wikipedia]. REVIEW: Who were the Thracians? Among the peoples of the Mediterranean, they have usually been numbered among fringe cultures, shadowy folk on the periphery of the bright world of Greeks and Romans. Emerging as a distinctive culture during the third millennium B.C., they lived in tribal groups in an area bordered on the south by the Aegean, on the east and west by the Black Sea and the Vardar River, and on the north by the Carpathians. Although loosely linked by culture and, apparently, by language, they never achieved political unity, living in small towns and villages. Cities did not appear until late in their history, and their most monumental buildings were tombs. The Thracians left no written account of their customs and history, and their language is known only from place names and a small number of inscriptions written in Greek characters. The Greeks, however, were well aware of their northern neighbors, with whom they came into contact, and conflict, in the course of colonizing the northern Aegean shore. To the Greeks, Thrace was a wild and woolly place: the birthplace of the violent war god, Ares, the home of the man-eating mares of Diomedes, and the land where demented women tore the singer Orpheus limb from limb. Homer's Iliad provides a striking portrait of the Thracian hero Rhesos, an ally of the Trojans and a fearsome warrior, remarkable for his large and beautiful horses, his ornate chariot, and his golden armor. The historian Herodotus describes the Thracians in some detail, commenting on their large numbers, their lack of political unity, and various customs such as polygamy and branding of slaves that, from a Greek perspective, struck him as very odd (Histories, 5.3-8). Greeks settled in Thrace and Thracians lived in Greek cities, and there was significant interaction between the two cultures, but any portrait that emerges from surviving written sources is fundamentally biased--the Greeks regarded the Thracians as barbarians. It is only by turning to archaeology that we can gain a better understanding of these people. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: On a soft, gray fall afternoon, a crowd of several hundred waited patiently outside the Iskra History Museum in Kazanluk, the unprepossessing main town in central Bulgaria's rose-growing region. The blank concrete facade of the museum, like that of most Communist-era cultural institutions, created a notably joyless impression. But inside, the 15 visitors allowed at a time into the small exhibition hall were awed by fantastic Thracian gold, silver, bronze, and ceramic objects, 28 in all, recently discovered only eight miles away and on public display for the first time. An ancient amphora housed on a wobbly metal stand rocked ominously as a woman brushed by. The excitement of the visitors washed over the tiny provincial museum as they carefully studied the objects that have been heralded across the world. "We are filled with history from the land to the sky," remarked Albena Mileva, who is 24 and unemployed. She hitchhiked 20 miles from the neighboring city of Stara Zagora with two friends to see the exhibit. "So long ago the Thracians were so developed in so many ways. You can touch their spirit and their way of life." "I have no words," sighed Nadka Nenkova, a 66-year-old retired economist who had just seen the exhibit. "All this time it's been underground, and we didn't even know it was there." The sensational finds from a 2,500-year-old necropolis dubbed the "Valley of the Thracian Kings" have fired the imagination of the Bulgarian public and the world beyond. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: "The Thracians are the most powerful people in the world, except, of course, for the Indians,” wrote the fifth-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus. In citing the Thracians, he was referring to the group of tribes who inhabited a large part of the Balkans and parts of Western Anatolia—from the Aegean to the Carpathian Mountains, and as far as the Caucasus—from approximately the twelfth century B.C. to the sixth century A.D. Despite their fearsome reputation, relatively little is known about them. Few examples of their writing survive, and what other information we have comes from Greek literary sources and Thracian burial mounds. Many of these mounds have been excavated since the end of the Cold War, when their former lands, Bulgaria and Romania in particular, became accessible to well-trained archaeologists and modern methodology. This past November, archaeologist Diana Gergova of the National Institute of Archaeology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences entered the burial chamber of an almost 60-foot-tall mound in the Sveshtari necropolis, some 250 miles northeast of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. There she discovered a wooden chest filled with hundreds of gold artifacts. Gergova believes that the burial belonged to a ruler of the Getae, one of the most powerful of the Thracian tribes, who, around 2,400 years ago, were “at their absolute height, politically, culturally, and militarily.” According to Gergova, the finely crafted gold treasures from Sveshtari help confirm the ancient writers’ accounts of Thracian culture. The craftsmanship also reveals previously unknown stylistic connections to other tribes in the northern and western regions of the Black Sea, providing evidence for a wide cultural ring across Thracian lands. The site could also provide new insight into the Thracian religion, including their belief in the immortal nature of the human soul, which may have influenced early Christianity, says Gergova. “These finds have given us an incredible amount of information about the burial and post-burial practices of the northern Thracians.” [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: A pair of gold-plated silver cups depicting Eros, the god of love, and a rare snail-shaped glass drinking vessel are among new discoveries made by Veselin Ignatov of the Nova Zagora Museum in a first-century A.D. Thracian burial mound in east-central Bulgaria. The brick tomb from which these artifacts were excavated belongs to the same person whose richly decorated chariot, horses, and favorite dog were found by Ignatov just a few feet away in 2008. It is the earliest intact grave ever found associated with a chariot burial. "This grave shows the Thracian aristocracy's exceptional wealth when Thrace became a province of the Roman Empire [in A.D. 46]," says Ignatov. He suggests the tomb belonged to a family member or associate of King Rhoemetalces III (A.D. 38-44), the last sovereign of the Odrysian Kingdom, who was murdered in a coup led by his wife. While more than 200 Thracian chariot burial complexes have been found in Bulgaria over the last two decades, most have been uncovered and destroyed by looters. "You can count on your fingers the number discovered and studied by archaeologists," says Ignatov, who estimates the total number of Thracian burial sites in Bulgaria to be about 12,000. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: The recent find of a magnificent 2,300-year-old solid-gold mask is helping to liberate the Thracians from the "barbarian" reputation given to them by their ancient Greek neighbors, according to archaeologist Georgi Kitov of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Kitov made the discovery during the excavation of a burial mound in a region of central Bulgaria considered the "Valley of the Thracian Kings" because of the number and wealth of royal tombs so far discovered there. The mask is believed to be a likeness of Seutus III, a Thracian king who ruled in the late fourth century B.C. Weighing about one and a half pounds, it is the first solid-gold mask found in the country. Only partial remains of an adult male were found in the tomb, which contained objects necessary for a kingly afterlife: a sword, a double ax, huge amphorae that were most likely once filled with wine, and bronze and silver vessels. Along with the mask, which was positioned where the head would have been (the skull is believed to be interred elsewhere), an elegant gold ring depicting an athlete was also found on the body. The mask would have been worn during royal drinking ceremonies that were described by ancient Greek authors, says Kitov. After a Thracian leader consumed wine from a golden vessel emblazoned with his likeness, he would place the mask on his face, impressing his company with his power. The Thracians were a nonliterate tribe often depicted by their southern neighbors as wild savages. "Archaeology is helping us understand that the Thracians were much more developed culturally and politically than the Greek authors portray them to be," says Kitov. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that a team has unearthed three Late Roman graves beneath the 20-foot-tall Otrusha burial mound in the Valley of Thracian Kings. Located in central Bulgaria, the mound was built to hold the remains of Thracian aristocrats who had integrated into Roman society. A landslide at the site last fall led to rescue excavations led by Diana Dimitrova of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology. Her team found two tombs containing skeletal remains, and one containing a cremated individual who had been buried with several artifacts, including a ceramic wine jug and Roman bronze coins minted between A.D. 335 and 378, which were probably buried near the remains in a leather purse. Dimitrova believes there could still be more tombs to be discovered at the Otrusha mound. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: Gold, chemical symbol Au (from the Latin aurum meaning ‘shining dawn’), is a precious metal which has been used since antiquity in the production of jewelry, coinage, sculpture, vessels and as a decoration for buildings, monuments and statues. Gold does not corrode and so it became a symbol of immortality and power in many ancient cultures. Its rarity and aesthetic qualities made it an ideal material for ruling classes to demonstrate their power and position. First found at surface level near rivers in Asia Minor such as the Pactolus in Lydia, gold was also mined underground from 2000 B.C. by the Egyptians and later by the Romans in Africa, Portugal and Spain. There is also evidence that the Romans smelted gold particles from ores such as iron pyrites. Easily worked and mixed with other metals such as silver and copper to increase its strength and change its color, gold was used for a wide range of purposes. In most ancient cultures gold was popular in jewelry and art because of its value, aesthetic qualities, ductility and malleability. Electrum (the natural alloy of gold and silver) was used in jewelry by the Egyptians from 5000 B.C. Gold jewelry was worn by both men and women in the Sumer civilization around 3000 B.C. and gold chains were first produced in the city of Ur in 2500 B.C. The Minoan civilization on Crete in the early 2nd millennium B.C. is credited with producing the first cable chain jewelry and the Minoans made a vast array of jewelry items using an extensive range of techniques. Gold jewelry took the form of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, diadems, pendants, pins and brooches. Techniques and shapes included filigree (a technique known to the Egyptians from 2500 B.C.) where the gold is pulled into wire and twisted into different designs), beaten thin shapes, granulation (surface decoration with small, soldered granules of gold), embossing, chasing, inlaying, molding and engraving. In South America, gold was similarly worked by the Chavin civilization of Peru around 1200 B.C. and gold casting was perfected by the Nazca society from 500 B.C. The Romans used gold as a setting for precious and semi-precious gemstones, a fashion continued into the Byzantine era with the use of pearls, gems and enamels. Gold was first used as coinage in the late 8th century B.C. in Asia Minor. Irregular in shape and often with only one side stamped, the coins were usually made of electrum. The first pure gold coins with stamped images are credited to king Croesus of Lydia, 561-546 B.C. and a contemporary gold refinery has been excavated at the capital, Sardis. Even the purest naturally occurring gold can contain 5% silver but the Lydians were able to refine their gold using salt and furnace temperatures of between 600 and 800°C. The salt mixed with the silver and formed a vapor of silver chloride leaving behind pure gold which could be used to create a standardized coinage of guaranteed gold content. The Mycenaean civilization also widely used gold coins, as did the later Greek and Roman Empires, although silver was the more usual material used. One of the most famous gold coins in antiquity was the Roman bezant. First introduced in the reign of Emperor Constantine it weighed up to 70 Troy grains and was in currency from the 4th to the 12th centuries A.D. The value and beauty of solid gold made it an ideal material for particularly important political and religious objects such as crowns, scepters, symbolic statues, libation vessels and votive offerings. Gold items were sometimes buried with the dead as a symbol of the deceased’s status and the conspicuous (and non-profitable) consumption of such a rare and valuable material must surely have been designed to impress. Perhaps the most famous example is the so-called mask of Agamemnon found at Mycenae. In the Inca civilization of Peru gold was considered the sweat of the sun god Inti and so was used to manufacture all manner of objects of religious significance, especially masks and sun disks. In ancient Colombia gold was similarly revered for its luster and association with the sun and in powdered form was used to cover the body of the future king in a lavish coronation ceremony which gave rise to the legend of El Dorado. As a decorative covering, gold plate and gold leaf (gold beaten into extremely thin sheets) have been used to decorate shrines, temples, tombs, sarcophagi, statues, ornamental weapons and armor, ceramics, glassware and jewelry since Egyptian times. Perhaps the most famous example of gold leaf from antiquity is the death mask of King Tutankhamun. Gold, with its malleability and incorruptibility, has also been used in dental work for over 3000 years. The Etruscans in the 7th century B.C. used gold wire to fix in place substitute animal teeth. As thread, gold was also woven into fabrics. Gold has also been used in medicine, for example, Pliny in the 1st century B.C. suggests gold should be applied to wounds as a defense to ‘magic potions’. Concerns over the authenticity of gold led the Egyptians to devise a method to determine the purity of gold around 1500 B.C. (or earlier). This method is called fire assaying and involves taking a small sample of the material under test and firing it in a small crucible with a quantity of lead. The crucible was made of bone ash and absorbed the lead and any other base metals during the firing process leaving only gold and silver. The silver was removed using nitric acid and the remaining pure gold was weighed and compared to the weight before firing. Archimedes was also aware that the specific gravity of gold is altered depending on the percentage content of base metals, pure gold having twice the gravity of silver for example. Gold is such a precious material that for centuries various attempts were made to produce it through alchemy - that is the chemical transformation of base metals into gold using the philosopher’s stone (lapis philosophorum). First attempts were made in China in the 4th century B.C. and also in ancient Greece and although unsuccessful, nevertheless, the activity laid the foundations of modern chemistry. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. SHIPPING & RETURNS/REFUNDS: We always ship books domestically (within the USA) via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). Most international orders cost an additional $17.99 to $48.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer. There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Our postage charges are as reasonable as USPS rates allow. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are fully insured against loss, and our shipping rates include the cost of this coverage (through stamps.com, Shipsaver.com, the USPS, UPS, or Fed-Ex). International tracking is provided free by the USPS for certain countries, other countries are at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. Please note for international purchasers we will do everything we can to minimize your liability for VAT and/or duties. But we cannot assume any responsibility or liability for whatever taxes or duties may be levied on your purchase by the country of your residence. If you don’t like the tax and duty schemes your government imposes, please complain to them. We have no ability to influence or moderate your country’s tax/duty schemes. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked 30-day return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price; 1) less our original shipping/insurance costs, 2) less non-refundable eBay payment processing fees. Please note that eBay does NOT refund payment processing fees. Even if you “accidentally” purchase something and then cancel the purchase before it is shipped, eBay will not refund their processing fees. So all refunds for any reason, without exception, do not include eBay payment processing fees (typically between 5% and 15%) and shipping/insurance costs (if any). If you’re unhappy with eBay’s “no fee refund” policy, and we are EXTREMELY unhappy, please voice your displeasure by contacting eBay. We have no ability to influence, modify or waive eBay policies. ABOUT US: Prior to our retirement we used to travel to Europe and Central Asia several times a year. Most of the items we offer came from acquisitions we made in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) during these years from various institutions and dealers. Much of what we generate on Etsy, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe and Asia connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. Though we have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, our primary interests are ancient jewelry and gemstones. Prior to our retirement we traveled to Russia every year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, Burma and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset. Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from us. There is a $3 fee for mailing under separate cover. I will always respond to every inquiry whether via email or eBay message, so please feel free to write. Condition: LIKE NEW. Unread but mildly "shopworn". See detailed condition description below., Format: Oversized softcover, Length: 320 pages, Dimensions: 8¾ x 8¾ inches x 1¼ inches; 2½ pounds, Publisher: Editions de l'Homme (1987)

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