photo_verybig_115439Thrace by: Sabrina and Woody

Life in Thrace:

Thrace was very simple. It lacked the architecture of Greek city-states, but Thracians were really good warriors who were often hired by Greek and Macedonian forces. Around 516 BC to 510 BC Thrace was taken over by the Persian emperors. The lands of the Thracians were rich in natural resources. The dense woods gave them timber and game; copper, iron, gold and silver mines dotted the mountains.



Thrace is an area bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmaraon the east. In the old days, the ancient Greeks employed the term “Thrace” to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians. The largest cities of Thrace are Byzantium (İstanbul), Plovdiv, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Edirne, Çorluand Tekirdağ.


Origin of Thrace:

The name of Thrace derives from a Greek mythology sorceress called Thrace who lived in that region. She knew sorcery as well as heroics and was the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, and also sister of Europa. Oceanus was the divine personification of the sea and an enormous river encircling the world, Parthenope was believed to be one of the Sirens, and Europa was the mother of King Minos of Crete.

Thrace in Ancient Greek Mythology:

The Greeks believed the Thracian tribes were descended from a mythical ancestor named Thrax, son of the war-god Ares, who was said to live in Thrace. The Thracians appear in Homer’s Iliad as Trojan allies, led by Acamas and Peiros. Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, and stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east. In addition to the tribe that Homer calls Thracians, ancient Thrace was home to numerous other tribes, such as the Edones, Bisaltae, Cicones, and Bistones.

Thracian kings appear in numerous occasions in Greek mythology, and these include Diomedes, Tereus, Lycurgus, Phineus, Tegyrius, Eumolpus, Polymnestor, Poltys, and Oeagrus (father of Orpheus). One myth in particular revolves around King Tereus, who lusts after his sister-in-law, Philomela. He kidnaps her, holds her captive, rapes her, and cuts out her tongue. However, Philomela escapes and she and her sister, Procne, plot to get revenge, by killing Itys (son of Tereus and Procne) and serving him to his father for dinner. At the end of the myth, all three turn into birds – Procne, a swallow; Philomela, a nightingale; and Tereus, a hoopoe.

Thrace during Alexander the Great Era:

Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard his northern borders and, in the spring of 335 BC, he advanced into Thrace to deal with the revolt which was led by the Illyrians and Triballi.. He defeated the Thracians and Tribalians in series of battles and drove the rebels beyond the river. Then he marched back across Macedonia and on his return crushed in a single week the threatening Illyrians, before they could receive additional reinforcements.