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Approximate location of the Dentheletae in the second half of the 5th century BC.

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 may have dwelled in the area of Sofia in towns such as Pautalia,[2] with their territories bordering the Agrianes and Maedi. Their main city, called Dentheletica, was presumably Pautalia (modern-day Kyustendil), and they possibly built fortifications around Stara Planina in the 1st century BC[citation needed].

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.[3]

Circa 30BC, when under their king 'Sitas, who was blind',[4] 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 [5] 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.[6]

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. ^ Ab Urbe Condita, Book XL, pp22, Livy
  4. ^ Historia Romana, Book LI, pp23, Cassius Dio
  5. ^ The Legions of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins, pp216, Quercus (December 2010)
  6. ^ The Legions of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins, pp212-6, Quercus (December 2010)

See also[edit]