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THE LIFE OF THE THRACIANS

The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus (5th c. B.C.) describes the Thracians in the following way: ,,The Thracian people, next to that of the Hindus, is the most numerous of all peoples. If they were ruled by one sovereign and were united, they would have been invincible and more powerful than any other people. The Thracians bear many names - each tribe in accordance with their country. But they all have almost the same customs. Sitting round the new-born baby, its relatives bemoan it for the numerous evils awaiting the child after its birth and enumerate all human sufferings. They bury the dead in the earth joyfully mentioning all the evils he had got rid of, heading for the great happiness".

The Thracians married their daughters for money. Men had three or four wives, some up to thirty. If a woman complained of her husband, her parents returned what they had received from him and took their daughter back home. After a man's death, his successors inherited also his wives.

When a Thracian died, his wives started a dispute which of them was the most beloved. The one chosen was praised by the men and women present and then slain and buried with her husband.

Thracian rulers were buried in special stone tombs. Their riches, weapons and even their slaves and horses were also left in the tomb. The earliest Thracian tombs discovered in Bulgaria are the rock tombs by the River Arda in the Eastern Rhodopes and the dolmens in the Strandzha and Sakar mountains. Archeologists also discovered richly decorated tombs of Thracian kings and nobles. With their architecture and internal ornamentation, they are unique monuments of Thracian culture.

The tomb of Mezek is among the largest Thracian dome tombs in Thrace. It was discovered in 1931, 1 km southeast of the village of Mezek, Haskovo region. It is built of cut stone and consists of a dromos (corridor in front of the entrance), with a two-tier covering, two rectangular anterooms and burial chamber with a beehive dome. It is fully preserved and is 32 m long. Although the tomb was plundered as early as ancient times, some objects were found in it. Most interesting are the bronze candelabrum (large three-stem candlestick) and the bronze wild boar, which is probably part of the group representing the diseased on a boar hunt. The tomb is dated back to the middle of the 4th c. B.C.

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