15 Facts About Thrace


Thrace or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among 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.

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In terms of ancient Greek mythology the name appears to derive from the heroine and sorceress Thrace, who was the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, and sister of Europa.

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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 were added.

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Largest cities of Thrace are: Istanbul, Plovdiv, Corlu, Tekirdag, Burgas, Edirne, Stara Zagora, Sliven, Yambol, Haskovo, Komotini, Alexandroupoli, Xanthi, and Kirklareli.

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Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, and stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east.

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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 side of the Hellespont, which formed part of the contingent led by Asius.

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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".

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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.

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Indigenous population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups.

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The special interest of Athens to Thrace is underlined by the numerous finds of Athenian silverware in Thracian tombs.

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In 168 BC, after the Third Macedonian war and the subjugation of Macedonia to the Romans, Thrace lost its independence and became tributary to Rome.

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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.

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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.

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The boundaries between the Greek and Latin speaking Thrace are placed just above the northern foothills of Haemus Mountains.

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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.

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