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Encyclopedia > Thracian language
Spoken in: Balkans
Language extinction: may have survived as late as the 6th century
Language family: Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: ine
ISO/DIS 639-3: txh 

The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times by the Thracians in South-Eastern Europe. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... An extinct language (also called a dead language) is a language which no longer has any native speakers. ... This Buddhist stela from China, Northern Wei period, was built in the early 6th century. ... Current distribution of Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families. ... The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred languages and dialects (443 according to the SIL estimate), including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Southwest Asia, Central Asia and Southern Asia. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2:1998 Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 2: Alpha-3 code Twenty-two of the languages have two three-letter codes: a code for bibliographic use (ISO 639-2/B) a code for terminological use (ISO 639-2/T). ... ISO 639-3 is in process of development as an international standard for language codes. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone = sound/voice) is the study of sounds (voice). ... Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... This is a concise version of the International Phonetic Alphabet for English sounds. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Indo-European languages include some 443 (SIL estimate) languages and dialects spoken by about three billion people, including most of the major language families of Europe and western Asia, which belong to a single superfamily. ... The Thracians were inhabitants of Thrace and adjacent lands (present-day Bulgaria, Romania, Republic of Moldova, northeastern Greece, European Turkey and northwestern Asiatic Turkey, eastern Serbia and parts of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) [1]. They spoke the Thracian language, an Indo-European language. ...


Geographic distribution

Excluding Dacian, whose status as a Thracian language is disputed1, Thracian was spoken in substantial numbers in what is now southern Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, Northern Greece (especially prior to Ancient Macedonian expansion), Albania, throughout European Turkey and in parts of North-Western Asiatic Turkey (e.g., Bithynia). The Dacian language was an Indo-European language spoken by the ancient people of Dacia. ... Serbia and Montenegro  â€“ Serbia      â€“ Kosovo (UN administration)      â€“ Vojvodina   â€“ Montenegro Official language Serbian1 Capital Belgrade Area – Total – % water 88,361 km² n/a Population – Total (2002) (not including data for Kosovo and Metohia Province) – Density 7. ... Motto: (Macedonian: Слобода или Смрт) (English: Liberty or death) Anthem: Macedonian: Денес Над Македонија (Transliteration: Denes Nad Makedonija) (Translation: Today Over Macedonia) Capital Skopje Largest city Skopje Official language(s) Macedonian1 Government President Prime Minister Parliamentary republic Branko Crvenkovski Vlado Bučkovski Independence Declared From Yugoslavia September 8, 1991 Area  - Total    - Water (%)   25,333 km² (146th... National motto: Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος (Greek: Liberty or Death) Official language Greek Capital Athens Largest city Athens Government Democratic parliamentary republic President Károlos Papoúlias Prime Minister Kóstas Karamanlís Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 70th 309,050 km² including Aegean, rivers, lakes and islets Population  - Total (2004)  - Density Ranked 74th 11... The Ancient Macedonians were the inhabitants of Macedon and adjacent regions in ancient times. ... This article is about the country of Turkey. ... This article is about the country of Turkey. ... This article contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ...

Including Dacian/Getian, it was spoken in Romania, northern Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, the Republic of Moldova, western-central Ukraine, and eastern Hungary and Slovak Republic as well. The Getae was the name by which the pre-Roman ancient writers reffered to the tribes that will become the later Dacians. ... Serbia and Montenegro  â€“ Serbia      â€“ Kosovo (UN administration)      â€“ Vojvodina   â€“ Montenegro Official language Serbian1 Capital Belgrade Area – Total – % water 88,361 km² n/a Population – Total (2002) (not including data for Kosovo and Metohia Province) – Density 7. ...


As an extinct language with only a few short inscriptions attributed to it (see below), there is little known about the Thracian language, but a number of features are agreed upon. Some Thracian words can be found cited in ancient texts [1] (this list excludes Dacian plant names which however are sometimes included): This is a List of Dacian plant names taken from Dioscorides De Materia Medica and PseudoApuleis. ...

  • asa — A Bessian word for the Coltsfoot.
  • bolinthos — "wild bull, bison"
  • bria — "town"
  • brynchos — "guitar"; compared to Romanian broancă, "a stringed instrument" and Russian brenčat' , "playing on a stringed instrument"
  • brytos, bryton, brutos, bryttion — "a kind of ale made from barley"
  • dinupula, *sinupyla — "wild pumpkin"; compared to Macedonian dinya a watermellon
  • genton — "meat"
  • kalamindar — "plane tree"
  • kemos — "a kind of fruit with follicles"
  • ktistai — "Thracians living in celibacy, monks"
  • mendruta — a Moesian name for the Beet or alternately the False Helleborine, Veratrum nigrum
  • rhomphaia — "a spear"; later the meaning "sword" is attested
  • skalme — "a knife, a sword"
  • skarke — "a coin"
  • spinos — "a stone which burns when water is poured on it"
  • torelle — "a lament, a song of mourning"
  • zalmos, zelmis — "a hide, skin"
  • zeira, zira — "a type of upper garment"
  • zelas — "wine"
  • zetraia — "a pot"
  • zibythides — "the noble Thracian men and women"

In addition there are many words and probable words extracted from anthroponyms, toponyms, hydronyms, oronyms and other lexical elements found in ancient and Byzantine sources (see also List of ancient Thracian cities): The Bessi were an independent Thracian tribe who lived in a territory ranging from Moesia to Mount Rhodope in southern Thrace, but are often mentioned as dwelling about Haemus, the mountain range that separates Moesia from Thrace. ... Binomial name Tussilago farfara L. Coltsfoot or Tussilago farfara is a plant in the family Asteraceae. ... Binomial name Bison bonasus (Linnaeus, 1758) The Wisent (pronounced vE-zent) is the European bison, species Bison bonasus. ... Ale is an ancient word for a fermented alcoholic beverage obtained chiefly from malted barley. ... Binomial name Hordeum vulgare L. Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a major food and animal feed crop, a member of the grass family Poaceae. ... Species See text. ... The Moesi (Moesoi) were a Thracic tribe who inhabited part of what would become the Roman province of Moesia, which was named after them. ... Binomial name Beta vulgaris L. The Beet (Beta vulgaris) is a flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae, native to the coasts of western and southern Europe, from southern Sweden and the British Isles south to the Mediterranean Sea. ... False Helleborine is a name is used in different parts of the world to describe several different plants of either the Orchid family or the Lily family. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Hunting spear and knife, from Mesa Verde National Park. ... Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century Sword (from Old English sweord, cognate to Old High German swert, literally wounding tool from a Proto-Indo-European root *swer- to wound, to hurt) is a term for a long-edged, bladed weapon, consisting in its most fundamental design of a blade, usually... A coin is usually a piece of hard material, generally metal and usually in the shape of a disc, which is issued by a government to be used as a form of money. ... Wine is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of grapes and grape juice. ... An anthroponym (Gk. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A hydronym (Gk. ... The Byzantine Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ... This is a list of ancient Thracian cities, towns, villages, and fortresses. ...

  • -disza, -diza, -dizos — "a fortified settlement"
  • -para, -pera, -paron, etc. — "a town"

A number of probable Thracian words are found in inscriptions (most of them written with Greek script) on buildings, coins, and other artifacts (see inscriptions below).

Another source for the Thracian vocabulary are words of unknown or disputed etymology found in Bulgarian (see Bulgarian lexis), Romanian (see Eastern Romance substratum), and Macedonian. Albanian is sometimes regarded as a descendant of Dacian or Thracian, or as a descendant of Illyrian with a Daco-Thracic admixture; thus the Albanian lexis is another source. Etymology is the study of the origins of words. ... // Native lexical items Around three-quarters of the word-stock in the standard, academy dictionaries of Bulgarian, consists of native lexical items. ... The Eastern Romance languages contain around 300 words considered by many linguists to be of substratum origin [1]. Including place-names and river-names, and most of the forms labelled as being of unknown etymology, the number of the substratum elements in Eastern Romance may surpass 500 basic roots. ... In linguistics, the lexis of a language is the entire store of its lexical items. ...

Thracian words in the Ancient Greek lexicon are also proposed. Greek lexical elements may derive from Thracian, such as balios ("dappled"; < PIE *bhel-, "to shine"; Pokorny also cites Illyrian as a possible source), bounos, "hill, mound", etc. Note: This article contains special characters. ... Julius Pokorny (1887–1970) was born in Prague and studied at Vienna university. ...


Only four Thracian insciptions have been found. One is a gold ring found in 1912 in the town of Ezerovo, Bulgaria. The ring was dated to the 5th century BC. On the ring is an inscription written in a Greek script which says: 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

rolisteneasn /ereneatil / teanēskoa / razeadom / eantilezy / ptamiēe / raz / ēlta

The meaning of the inscription is not known, and it bears no resemblance to any known language. Thracologists such as Georgiev and Dechev have proposed various translations for the inscription but these are just guesses.

A second inscription was found in 1965 near the village of Kjolmen, Preslav district, dating to the 6th century BC. It consists of 56 letters of the Greek alphabet, probably a tomb stele inscription similar to the Phrygian ones: 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ...

ebar. zesa asn ēnetesa igek. a / nblabaēegn / nuasnletednuedneindakatr.s

A third inscription is again on a ring, found in Duvanli, Plovdiv district, next to the left hand of a skeleton. It dates to the 5th century BC. The ring has the image of a horseman with the inscription surrounding the image. It is only partly legible (16 out of the initial 21)

ēziē ..... dele / mezēnai

ΜΕΖΗΝΑΙ likely corresponds to Menzana, the Messapian "horse deity" to which horses were sacrificed, compared also to Albanian mes, mezi and Romanian mânz "colt", derived from PIE *mend(i)- "horse". Salento is the south-eastern extremity of Italy, a sub-peninsula of the main Italian peninsula, sometimes described as the heel of the Italian boot. It is within the administrative area of Apulia (Puglia). ...

These are the longest inscriptions preserved. The remaining ones are mostly single words or names on vessels and other artefacts. In addition, Thracian lexical elements have been drawn from inscriptions in Greek or Latin. It has been suggested that History of the Latin language be merged into this article or section. ...

In a Latin inscription from Rome discussing a citizen from the Roman province of Thracia, the phrase Midne potelense is found; this is interpreted as indicating the Thracian's place of origin, midne being seen as the Thracian equivalent of Latin vicus, "village". If this is correct, the Thracian word has a close cognate (Latv. mitne, "a dwelling") in Latvian, a Baltic language. City motto: Senatus Populusque Romanus – SPQR (The Senate and the People of Rome) Founded 21 April 753 BC mythical, 1st millennium BC Region Latium Area  - City Proper  1285 km² Population  - City (2004)  - Metropolitan  - Density (city proper) 2,553,873 almost 4,300,000 1. ... Thrace (Greek Θράκη, ThrákÄ“, Bulgarian Тракия, Trakija, Turkish Trakya; Latin: Thracia or Threcia) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ... A village is a human residential settlement commonly found in rural areas. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Baltic languages are a group of genetically-related languages spoken in northeastern Europe and belonging to the Indo_European language family. ...


Thracian was an Indo-European language, a satem language. The details of its affiliation and place within Indo-European remain unclear (see Classification of Thracian). The Satem division of the Indo-European family includes the following branches: Indo-Iranian, Baltic and Slavic, Armenian, Albanian, perhaps also a number of barely documented extinct languages, such as Phrygian, Thracian, and Dacian (see: Indo-European languages). ... The classification of the Thracian language has long been a matter of contention and uncertainty, and widely varying hypotheses continue to be offered, from a grouping with Albanian, ancient Greek, Baltic, Slavic, to the isolate Burushaski language. ...


Most of the Thracians were eventually Hellenized (in the province of Thrace) or Romanized (in Moesia, Dacia, etc.). Small groups of Thracian speakers however may still have existed when the Slavs arrived in the Balkans in the 6th century, and theoretically some Thracians may have become Slavicized. Scholars have even proposed that the present-day Albanians may be direct descendants of Thracians who were not assimilated to an invading people, but this is controversial. Thrace (Greek Θράκη, Thrákē, Bulgarian Тракия, Trakija, Turkish Trakya; Latin: Thracia or Threcia) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ... In ancient geography, Moesia was a district inhabited chiefly by Thracian peoples. ... Dacia, in ancient geography the land of the Daci, named by the ancient Greeks Getae, was a large district of Southeastern Europe, bounded on the north by the Carpathians, on the south by the Danube, on the west by the Tisa, on the east by the Tyras or Nistru, now... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ... This Buddhist stela from China, Northern Wei period, was built in the early 6th century. ...


1 This is confirmed among others by Benjamin W. Fortson in his Indo-European Language and Culture, when he states that "all attempts to relate Thracian to Phrygian, Illyrian, or Dacian ... are ... purely speculative" (p. 90)

See also


  • I. I. Russu, Limba Traco-Dacilor / Die Sprache der Thrako-Daker, Bucharest (1967, 1969)

External links

  • The Language of the Thracians, an English translation of Ivan Duridanov's 1975 essay, Ezikyt na trakite

  Results from FactBites:
Bulgaria - a brief history outline - The Thracians (1492 words)
The biggest state alliance of the Thracians, the state of Odrys, existed from the beginning of the fifth century B.C. until the beginning of the third century B.C. Its first capital was situated somewhere along the lower reaches of the Maritsa River.
A courageous and daring people, the Thracians were employed as mercenaries in the armies of various rulers as early as the Hellenic epoch, later in the Roman auxiliary troops, and from the second century onwards in the legions.
Thracian culture, which preserved what was traditional and at the same time assimilated ideas from other nations, was a link between Europe and the East.
  More results at FactBites »



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