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ANCIENT THRACE

The oldest population, known to have inhabited Bulgarian territories, whose name we know, were the Thracians. They are mentioned for the first time by the Ancient Greek poet Homer (8th c. B.C.). If we can trust his "Iliad", Thracian tribes took part in the Thracian War (c. 1250 B.C.) under the commandment of King Rezos. The name Thracian means "brave", "courageous" people. The Ancient Greeks used it for all tribes living to the north.

The Thracians were a numerous people divided into tribes - Getae, Dacians, Moesians, Triballi, Satri, Bessoi, Odrysai and others. They formed their ethnic community at the beginning of the Iron Age and it contained about 90 tribal groups.

Thracian lands were famous for their fertility. In the plains the Thracians grew corn, barley, wheat, rye, millet and other cereals. Following the ancient authors, they also prepared leavened bread. In Antiquity it was made of legumes turned sour or wheat flour mixed with grape juice and then dried in the sun.

The Thracians also grew fruit trees, practiced gardening and vine-growing, bred horses, sheep, goats and cattle. Vines were plentiful to the south.
Even Homer mentions that the Thracians traded in wine. In the "Odyssey" he writes that the wine offered by the priest of the Maron Kikons to Odyssey and his friends, was dark, sweet and richly flavoured.

From deep Antiquity the Thracians practiced ore-mining and metal processing. After the development of iron metallurgy in the 1st millennium B.C., they inhabited plains surrounded by mountains and hills, which were known for their fertile soil, good pastures and their proximity to water and to ore deposits. Such places, suitable for settlement, were the pre-Balkan plains and those of the Strandzha Mountain, the pans in the northern skirts of the Rhodopes and the valley of the Maritza River.

They recovered iron, copper, silver and gold. Minting of coins by various Thracian rulers stimulated the growth of trade, which, in addition to wine, also included cereals, meat, fish, hides and beeswax.

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