The region's name comes from the Thracian people
who were of Indo-European stock. According to ancient sources, the
Thracian peoples who settled and lived in the area of Haimos
and Rhodope mountains were of warrior and primitive character whereas,
another portion of the Thracian peoples that settled along the Aegean
and Marmara coasts, in comparison to the former, were more peaceful and
civilized. The most important of the Thracian tribes who
settled along the both sides of the Danube river were ;
who were considered as the bravest and the most honest, Moseis
who were considered as the ancestors of the Mysians and
occupied the area on the left bank of the Danube to the west of Getais.
Triballis dwelled in the southern areas.
Maedis centered in the Strymon valley,
whose former name was Maedobithyni and some of them moved to Anatolia
earlier. Maedi tribe rebelled against Macedonia and was defeated by an
army commanded by Alexander the Great himself. Drois,
Edons and Bistons lived close to the
Aegean coast. Kikons that were described by
Homer as "Spear Bearers" occupied the area
in the east as far as the Hebros river. Sapais who
later took Kikons under their hegemony settled in the same area. Korpils
were in the neighborhood of the town Ainos. To the east of Kikons and
on the right bank of the Maritsa river lived the Paitis.
On the left bank of the Maritsa river was Apsinthians.
On the Gallipoli peninsula was the Dolonks who
were relatives of the Bithynians. Further east from Gallipoli peninsula
and along the northern Propontis coast was Kaenis.
In the area to the north of and surrounding Selymbria and Perinthus was
the warrior Thynians who were close relatives of
the Bithynians and the Astians later moved in to
the same area. Odrysians settled along the Ardeskos
river, to the west of Odrysians were Satrais, Diis
and Diobessis (Bessis). In the middle Hebros valley
lived the Ben(n)s.
Homer in his Iliad, describes the Thracians as the
breeders of beautiful and fast running horses.
Thucydides in his account says, that the people of the area between the
Ionian Sea and Pontus Euxinus are the richest in income and all kinds
Strabo describes the Thracians 22 in number of tribes living in the
villages and in a close distance to each other. That must be true,
because we do not know any big town or city in Thrace before Alexander
the Great and his successors.
Herodotus in his History, about the Thracians ; "The most
populated area after India, is Thrace. If they were under one rule and
of one mind, they would have been the mightiest people on earth. But
the unity of these peoples have never been achieved, that's the weakest
point of the Thracians. They take different names by the area they live
around, but they all have common customs and traditions".
Pausanias makes a similar description of the Thracians. "If compared to
other nations of the earth, Thracians altogether are the most crowded
people after the Celts. For this reason, no other nation before the
Romans has been able to cover the Thracians under their hegemony. Only
Romans was the first to rule Thracians.
Although all Thracian tribes had common culture and
language, from political point, they have never gone far beyond a
primitive tribal order. Thracians, described as being the strongest
peoples of Europe by Plinius, tried to organize a local kingdom under
Odrysis in the 6th C BCE, but this was largely due to the military
superiority of the mentioned tribe, and as soon as this military power
declined, their political unity collapsed. It was fashion among the
Thracians to have tattoos on their body. They sold their kids as slaves
or hired them out as mercenaries to the armies of the other nations. It
was, in their philosophy, nobility sign not to do any work or job other
than robbery and war. It was the lowest form of life to work in the
fields and to be employed in the farms. Home Page