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The Moesi (// or //; Greek: Μοισοί) was a Thracian tribe which inhabited present day Northern Bulgaria and Serbia, which gave its name to the Roman province of Moesia after its defeat in 29 BC. Moesia was first established as a separate province in 45–46 AD.
The Moesi were formed out of the 14th century BC Brnjica culture. Thracologists suggest that the Moesi may have spoken a language or dialect intermediary between Dacian and Thracian. Little is known about them prior to 29 BC. During the "Wars of Augustus" the Romans under Crassus chased an army of the Bastarnae and marched towards the Moesi, successfully overtaking their stronghold and subduing the majority of the tribe by 29 BC.
The large number of davae (town names end in '-dava' or '-deva') across Moesia, parts of Thrace and Dalmatia, indicates a much closer linguistic affinity between Dacian and Moesian languages, than between Moesian and Thracian, hinting to a much closer connection between Dacians and Moesians. The distinctly Thracian -para and -bria endings for town names are mostly present south of Moesia, making the Balkan Mountains (Haemus Mons) the linguistic border between Daco-Moesian and Thracian languages and cultures. However, it is also possible that '-dava' and '-bria' mean two different things in the same language, rather than meaning the same thing in two different languages. Thus bria could have been used for urbanized settlements, similar in scale and design to those of the "civilised" peoples like Greeks and Romans, whereas '-dava' could mean a settlement which is rural, being situated in the steppe-like part of the Thracian lands.
The close Dacian-Moesian connection is somewhat emphasized by the fact that significant areas of Moesia were part of Burebista's Dacian kingdom formed by creating a union of related Geto-Dacian, Moesian and Thracian tribes. Additionally, after the Roman conquest of Moesia, the Geto-Dacians constantly raided across the Danube, under kings like Duras and Diurpaneus, harassing Roman troops. And yet, the same lands were more easily acquired, and held for a much longer period of time, by the Odrysian Kingdom, a Thracian state.
From the Moesian language or dialect, only a few items are recorded; their ethnonym (Moesoi, Moesi), some toponyms and anthroponyms, and a phytonym: Mendruta, the Moesian name for the False helleborine (L. Veratrum nigrum) or the Beet (L. Beta vulgaris).
- Simon Hornblower; Antony Spawforth; Esther Eidinow (29 March 2012). The Oxford Classical Dictionary. OUP Oxford. pp. 966–. ISBN 978-0-19-954556-8.
- (PDF) http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0350-0241/2006/0350-02410656073S.pdf. Missing or empty
- Olteanu, Sorin. "Linguae Thraco-Daco-Moesorum - Toponyms Section". Linguae Thraco-Daco-Moesorum (in Romanian and English). Retrieved 8 December 2010.