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Thrace had been largely subject to Macedon since the campaigns of Alexander's father Philip II in 347-346, followed by his conquest of southern Thrace in 341 BC. After Philip's death in 336 BC, the Thracian tribes revolted against Alexander, who waged a campaign against and defeated the Getai and King Syrmus of the Triballi. All other Thracians submitted to him and sent troops to join his army. A son of Seuthes, Cotys II, had gained Athenian citizenship.
Seuthes in turn revolted against the Macedonians about 325 BC, after Alexander's governor Zopyrion was killed in battle against the Getae. He was apparently subdued by Antipater, but after Alexander died in 323 BC he again took up arms in opposition to the new governor Lysimachus. They fought each other to a draw and each withdrew from battle, but ultimately Seuthes was compelled to acknowledge the authority of Lysimachus, by then one of Alexander's successor kings. In 320 BC, Seuthes III moved the Odrysian kingdom to central Thrace and built his capital city at Seuthopolis (Kazanluk). In 313 BC he supported Antigonus I in the latter's war against Lysimachus, occupying the passes of Mount Haemus against his overlord, but was again defeated and forced to submit. Lysimachus ultimately died in the Battle of Corupedium against Seleucus I Nicator in 281 BC, following which Thrace came under the suzerainty of Ptolemy Keraunos.
Tomb of the Thracian Tsar Sevt III
The Tomb of the Thracian Tsar Sevt III is situated in the Golyamata Kosmatka mound, at a distance of 1 km south from the town of Shipka north from the town of Kazanlak. It was found in 2004. The Tomb was built in the second half of 5th century BC. The following items were found inside it – the golden crown of the ruler, a golden kilix (a wine glass), knee-pads and a helmet, applications for horse tackle, etc., which are presented in the historical museum of the town of Kazanlak. A remarkable thing is the bronze head of the statue of Sevt III buried ritually in front of the façade, which is quite detailed. It is an important evidence of the Thracian Orphic rituals.
The tomb temple consists of a corridor, an anteroom, a round chamber with high tholos cover and a rectangular chamber, constructed as a sarcophagus by two monolith blocks, one of which weighs more than 60 tones. The three halls are built of rectangular stone blocks and are covered with slabs. A two-winged marble door closes the entrance to the round chamber. The upper plains of the wings are decorated with images of God Dionysus, as in the east part he is an embodiment of the sun, and in the west – of the earth and the night.
The ritual couch and the ritual chamber are placed in the rectangular chamber. They were covered with fabric made of a golden thread, after that a splendid funeral of the ruler was performed. Above the phial, the jug and the helmet was inscribed the name of Sevt, which proves that in the beginning of 3rd century BC here was buried Sevt III – the famous Thracian ruler of the Odrysian kingdom.
The capital of his kingdom, called Sevtopolis, is situated at about ten kilometers south-west from the tomb, on the bottom of Koprinka dam. The head of the statue of Sevt is buried in the tomb, and it was placed on a pedestal in the capital Sevtopolis.
The personal belongings and the gifts, needed for the afterlife of the ruler are carefully placed in the chamber. After the burial the entrance of the round chamber and the anteroom were blocked, the horse of the ruler was sacrificed, and the corridor was ritually set on fire.
The tomb is a part of the Valley of the Thracian Kings, which also includes the Kazanlak tomb, as well as the tombs and the temples found in the mounds Goliama Arsenalka, Shushmanets, Helvetsia, Grifoni, Svetitsa and Ostrusha.
- Dr Helen S Lun. Lysimachus: A Study in Early Hellenistic Kingship, page 20.
Seuthes IIIBorn: Unknown Died: Unknown
|King of Thrace