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Approximate location of the Dentheletae and other Thracian tribes in the second half of the 5th century BC.
Location of the Dentheletae
The Roman strategy of Danteletike

The Dentheletae (Greek: Δενθελῆται) were a Thracian tribe that in antiquity lived near the sources of the River Strymon,[1] and are mentioned in texts by Polybius, Cassius Dio, Tacitus and by Livy. They lived in the neighbourhoods of the modern towns Kyustendil (ancient Pautalia) and Dupnitsa (ancient Germania, "hot" in Thracian due the springs), stretching to as far as the mountains to the west towards the valleys of the Morava and the Vardar river, with territories situated next to the Thracian tribes Agrianes (per Theopompus) and the Maedi (per Strabo).[2][3] Their main city, called Dentheletica, was presumably Pautalia (modern-day Kyustendil) as this was the capital of the Roman reigion Dentheletica. They possibly built fortifications around Stara Planina in the 1st century BC[citation needed], lived around Sofia[4][5] and Skaptopara (modern Blagoevgrad) was their town.[6][7]

Livy mentions them in passing in his account of King Philip V of Macedon, who in 214BC plundered them for supplies even though they were his ally.[8] The Dentheletae were allies of Rome.[9][10] Along with the Scordisci, the Dentheletae invaded Macedonia.[11]

Circa 30BC, when under their king 'Sitas, who was blind',[12] and whilst under treaty with Rome, their territories were invaded by the Bastarnae. In response to this invasion and with the wider objective of securing the Macedonia/Thrace frontier of the Roman Empire, Consul Marcus Licinus Crassus Dives (grandson of Crassus the triumvir) earned a triumph [13] for his attack on the Bastarnae in defense of the Denteleti in 28-29BC with Legio IIII Scythica, Legio V Macedonica and possibly Legio X Fretensis.[14]

Raids[citation needed] in Dardania 16-13BC marked the end of the Denteleti.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fanula Papazoglu, The central Balkan tribes in pre-Roman times (1978), pp101
  3. ^ The Cambridge Ancient History: pt. 1. The prehistory of the Balkans; and the Middle East and the Aegean world, tenth to eighth centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press, 1991. University of Minnesota/ The only writer who describes the Agrianes (under the form Agrii) as Thracians, is Theopom- pus (f 257(a)), but his evidence, isolated as it is, carries less weight.28 To the south of these two tribes lived the Dentheletae,29 in the neighbourhood of the towns of Stanke Dimitrov and of Kjustendil (Pautalia), as well as in the mountains to the west towards the valleys of the Morava and the Vardar
  4. ^ A History of Macedonia
  5. ^ The Provincial Rome
  6. ^ Heart of Bulgaria's Southeast
  7. ^ Sitzungsberichte
  8. ^ Ab Urbe Condita, Book XL, pp22, Livy
  9. ^ The Student's Roman Empire: A History of the Roman Empire from Its Foundation to the Death of Marcus Aurelius (27 B. C.--180 A. D.)
  10. ^ Appian and Illyricum
  11. ^ Pannonia and Upper Moesia (Routledge Revivals):
  12. ^ Historia Romana, Book LI, pp23, Cassius Dio
  13. ^ The Legions of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins, pp216, Quercus (December 2010)
  14. ^ The Legions of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins, pp212-6, Quercus (December 2010)

See also[edit]