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Where is Thrace? Map of Ancient Thrace

Ancient Thrace map

Where were the territories of the Ancient Thrace Civilization

Thracians are one of the most mysterious and intriguing civilizations that have ever existed. To some, they were barbarous tribes, while to others, Thracians were seen as great warriors and allies in epic battles such as the Trojan war. The borders of the lands they occupied varied but historians have still managed to map the Thracian territory to some extent.

Spreading over the southeast region of where modern-day Balkans currently are, the exact historical borders of Thrace are hard to define. They changed repeatedly as a result of different battles and invasions by other peoples as well as due to the fact that Thracians often tended to migrate from one place to another. According to ancient Greek records,

Thrace encompassed the region between the Danube River on the north, the Aeagean Sea on the south, the Euxine Sea (Black sea) on the east, and the mountains situated east of Vardar River on the west. At some point, the

Thracian territory included the area between the Danube River, the Black Sea, Ancient Macedonia, and the famous antique region Illyria.

Thracian Odrysian Kingdom

Those territories corresponded with the borders of the Thracian Odrysian Kingdom. Interestingly, though, Thracians never really established one central state of authority until the 4th century BC when they formed the Odrysian state. After the Macedonian conquest and the triumph of Philip II of Macedon, the Odrysian-like territory slightly changed. Instead of bordering with Struma River, the borders were pushed to the Mesta River in the south. Changes in the Thracian region continued to occur later on after several events including the Roman conquest and the formation of the Roman province of Thrace, a series of invasions and migrations by Gothic, Visigothic, and Slavic people; as well as after the Byzantine civil wars and so forth.

Geographical map of Ancient Thrace

The modern boundaries of Thrace in Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.
The modern boundaries of Thrace in Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrace)

But to map the geography of Ancient Thrace more clearly, its territory can be approximately defined as the region divided between today’s Bulgaria, Romania, north-eastern Greece, European Turkey, north-western Asiatic Turkey, eastern Serbia as well as some parts of the Republic of Macedonia.
Part of famous tourist destinations and present-day cities considered Thracian include Plovdiv, Burgas, Komotini, Xanthi, Alexandroupoli, Edirne, Istanbul, and more. Tracing the geographical location of these ancient people might be a bit complicated, but one thing is for sure. Thracians have left a deep imprint on the cultural and artistic growth of the Europeancivilization. Various archaeological discoverieshave raised so many questions about their life, history, and culture.

Yet, a good number of them remain unanswered. To some extent, this is due to the hardly attested language and very few written sources of information left behind by the people of Thrace. A scarce number of texts appear on objects such as rings, stone plates, and others but to be interpreted accurately is a challenging task. According to archaeologists, the most prominent inscriptions include the Kjolmen inscription, the Ezerovo inscription, the inscription from Duvanli, the inscriptions of Kjustendil and several others. Fortunately, other relics prove that the people of Thrace were skilful craftsmen who produced spectacular jewelleries and adornments. They were also excellent warriors, wine makers, and artists. It is no surprise, then, that some of the most popular antique heroes and figures, like Orpheus, Spartacus, Aureolus, derive from Thrace.