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The Thracians were an Indo-European people, inhabitants of Thrace and adjacent lands (present-day Bulgaria, northeastern Greece, European Turkey, eastern Serbia and parts of FYROM). They spoke the Thracian language.
The Thracians were described by Herodotus as the most numerous of peoples, after the Indians, and potentially the most powerful, and he suggested that the extent of the lands they inhabited and controlled would have made them a vast empire, if they were united. The Thracians were broken up into a large number of groups and tribes, though a number of powerful states were organized during some periods, such as the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace and the Dacia of Burebista.
In the Neolithic ages, Thracians inhabited an area from Greece up to the Danube, the northern parts of Asia Minor, Boiotia, and Evoia. Even as far back as the Neolithic age the area of Thracian inhabitance seems to have extended north of the Danube into Romania, Moldova, parts of the Ukraine, and part of Pannonia.
In the 7th millennia B.C., Thracians occupied the area between northern Greece and southern Russia. By the 5th century bc, the Thracian presence was pervasive enough to have made Herodotus call them the second-most numerous people in the known world.
In the Iliad, the Thracians agreed to fight on the side of the Mycenaean Greeks in the Trojan War. According to Homer, the Thracians did not fulfill this promise. In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men raided Thrace on their way back home from the war. This was to punish them for their "cowardice", as the Odyssey puts it. The actual reason why the Thracians declined to join the campaign is unknown (perhaps economic reasons, perhaps subsequent alliances).
- Dacians: see List of Dacian tribes
- Odrysian kingdom (a tribal union)
- Burebista was a king of Dacia between 70 BC-44 BC who united under his rule Thracians in a large teritory, from today's Moravia in the West, to the Bug river (Ukraine) in the East, and from Northern Carpathians to Southern Dionysopolis .
- Orpheus, in Greek legend, was the chief representative of the art of song and playing the lyre, and of great importance in the religious history of Greece.
- Spartacus was a Thracian enslaved by the Romans, who led a large slave uprising in what is now Italy in (73 - 71 B.C.). His army of escaped gladiators and slaves defeated several Roman legions in what is known as the Third Servile War.
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