Face Music - History: Horsemen – Nomads
      • History of the Horsemen

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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016

  • Thracians
    - 7th millennium BC until 1st century AD
- map sketch: Thracians
The Thracians were an Indo-Germanic people. The number of their tribes amounted up to 90 in the course of time. Some of them simply disappeared, whereas others merged with each other. Their tribes settled on the Balkan (Romania, Moldavia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and northern Greece). They lived between the northern Carpathians and the Aegean Sea but also in Asia Minor (today’s Turkey). This early farming culture, as the Thracians were cattle breeders, dates back to the 7th millennium BC. Herodot wrote that they were the biggest people, after the Indians. And Homer describes them as a hard drinking people, who loved to drink a lot of wine and who presented themselves as rough-and-ready warriors, who loved arms and horses, who excelled in fights using swords with a curved blade and a round shield, they fought with lancets and drove on chariots. If they had been united and led by only one leader, they would have been undefeatable and by far the most powerful people. The Thracians were masters in the field of singing and dancing as well as instrumental music and lyrics. They did not have their own script, but shared close contacts with the Greek and their culture (gods and mythology). The old Greek religion was significantly influenced by the Thracians. Their language is the Thracian language. Some linguists believe this language to be the cradle of the Indo-Germanic language family, which spread on to Asia Minor (Hittites) as well as the northern steppe areas as far as northern India; it also spread into northern and western direction. The Thracians had a differentiated society and were organized in tribes led by princes or kings. They established extensive trade relations with the Greek, the Persians, the Scythians and other steppe peoples, even with the Celts, the Romans and the Egypt. They were masters in processing metal, and their art developed from the late Bronze Age to the end of Antiquity. They left as their heritage enormous treasures, tombs, religious houses, holy sites and cities (as for example Seuthopolis). The burial hills in, which they buried their rulers and leaders, are very interesting architectural pieces of art. The majority of Thracian treasures were found in Bulgaria, and these constitute evidence of their artistic development and the creativity of the Thracian masters.

In 512 BC the Thracians were conquered by the Persians. Their western area was occupied in 351 BC by Philippe II of Macedonia, and his province was then conquered in 335 BC by Alexander the Great. In about 281 the Celts invaded the country when they returned from Delphi. Thracia, even though it showed long-lasting defence, was finally integrated into the Roman Empire in 46 AD, and it also remained integral part of the Byzantine Empire. Spartacus was a Thracian (major slave uprising). The Pomaks in Bulgaria and Romania are supposedly descendents of the Thracian people.

September 2010 – Albi – translated by Hermelinde Steiner - December 2010