Thracian language

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RegionBulgaria, European Turkey, parts of Southern Serbia, parts of the region of Macedonia (including Paeonia), regions in Northern Greece, small parts of Albania, parts of Romania, parts of Bithynia in Anatolia. Probably also spoken in parts of Dardania.
Extinct6th century AD[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3txh

The Thracian language (/ˈθrʃən/) is an extinct and poorly attested language, spoken in ancient times in Southeast Europe by the Thracians. The linguistic affinities of the Thracian language are poorly understood, but it is generally agreed that it was an Indo-European language with satem features.

A contemporary, neighboring language, Dacian is usually regarded as closely related to Thracian. However, there is insufficient evidence with respect to either language to ascertain the nature of this relationship.

The point at which Thracian became extinct is a matter of dispute. However, it is generally accepted that Thracian was still in use in the 6th century AD: Antoninus of Piacenza wrote in 570 that there was a monastery in the Sinai, at which the monks spoke Greek, Latin, Syriac, Egyptian, and Bessian – a Thracian dialect.[2][3][4][5]

Other theories about Thracian remain controversial. A classification put forward by some linguists, such as Harvey Mayer, suggests that Thracian (and Dacian) belonged to the Baltic branch of Indo-European, or at least is closer to Baltic than any other Indo-European branch.[6] However, this theory has not achieved the status of a general consensus among linguists. These are among many competing hypotheses regarding the classification and fate of Thracian.[7]

Geographic distribution[edit]

The Thracian language or languages were spoken in what is now Bulgaria,[8][9] Romania, North Macedonia, Northern Greece, European Turkey and in parts of Bithynia (North-Western Asiatic Turkey).

Modern-day Eastern Serbia is usually considered by paleolinguists to have been a Daco-Moesian language area. Moesian (after Vladimir Georgiev et al.) is grouped with the Dacian language.

Remnants of the Thracian language[edit]

Limits of the (southern) Thracian linguistic territory according to Ivan Duridanov, 1985

Little is known for certain about the Thracian languages, since no phrase beyond a few words in length has been satisfactorily deciphered, and the sounder decipherments given for the shorter phrases may not be completely accurate. Some of the longer inscriptions may indeed be Thracian in origin but they may not reflect actual Thracian language sentences, but rather jumbles of names or magical formulas.[10]

Enough Thracian lexical items have survived to show that Thracian was a member of the Indo-European language family and that it was a satemized language by the time it is attested. Besides the aforementioned inscriptions, Thracian is attested through personal names, toponyms, hydronyms, phytonyms, divine names, etc. and by a small number of words cited in Ancient Greek texts as being specifically Thracian.[11][unreliable source?]

Other ancient Greek lexical items were not specifically identified as Thracian by the ancient Greeks but are hypothesized by paleolinguists as being or probably being of Thracian origin. Other lexical items are hypothesized on the basis of local anthroponyms, toponyms, hydronyms, oronyms, etc. mentioned in primary sources (see also List of ancient cities in Thrace and Dacia, List of Dacian plant names).

Below is a table showing both words cited as being Thracian in classical sources, and lexical elements that have been extracted by paleolinguists from Thracian anthroponyms, toponyms, etc. In this table the closest cognates are shown, with an emphasis on cognates in Bulgarian, Albanian, Baltic, Slavic, Greek, and substratum and/or old-layer words in the Eastern Romance languages: Romanian, Aromanian, et cetera. See also the List of reconstructed Dacian words.

Significant cognates from any Indo-European language are listed. However, not all lexical items in Thracian are assumed to be from the Proto-Indo-European language, some non-IE lexical items in Thracian are to be expected.

There are 23 words mentioned by ancient sources considered explicitly of Thracian origin and known meaning.[12]

Word Meaning Attested by Cognates
ἄσα (asa) colt’s foot (Bessi) Dioskurides Lit. dial. asỹs ‘horse-tail, Equisetum’, Latv. aši, ašas ‘horse-tail, sedge, rush’
βόλινθος (bólinthos) aurochs, European bison Aristotle Proto-Slavic *volъ ("ox"). Pre-Greek, according to Beekes 2010: 225.
βρία (bría) unfortified village Hesychius, compare the Toponyms Πολτυμβρία, Σηλυ(μ)μβρία, and Βρέα in Thrace. Compared to Greek ῥίον (ríon; "peak, foothills") and Tocharian A ri, B riye ("town") as if < *urih₁-. Alternatively, compare Proto-Celtic *brix- ("hill").
βρίζα (bríza) rye Galen Perhaps of Eastern origin, compare Greek ὄρυζα, Sanskrit vrīhí- ("rice").
βρυνχός (brynkhós) guitar[anachronism] Compared with Slavic *bręčati "to ring".
βρῦτος (brŷtos) beer of barley many Germanic *bruþa- ("broth"), Old Irish bruth ("glow"), Latin dēfrŭtum ("must boiled down").[a]
dinupula, si/nupyla wild melon Pseudoapuleus Lithuanian šùnobuolas, lit. ("dog’s apple"), or with Slavic *dynja ("melon").
γέντον (génton) meat Herodian., Suid., Hesych Taken from IE *gʷʰn-tó-, cf. Sanskrit hatá- ‘hit, killed’
καλαμίνδαρ (kalamíndar) plane-tree (Edoni) Hesych.
κη̃μος (kêmos) a kind of fruit with follicle Phot. Lex.
κτίσται (ktístai) Ctistae Strabo
μίδνη (midne) village inscription from Rome Latvian mītne ("a place of stay")
Πολτυμ(βρία) (poltym-bría) board fence, a board tower Old Norse spjald ("board"), Old English speld ("wood, log")
ῥομφαία (rhomphaía) broadsword many Compared with Latin rumpō ("to rupture"), Slavic: Russian разрубать, Polish rąbać ("to hack", "to chop", "to slash"), Polish rębajło ("eager swordsman"), Serbo-Croatian ’’rmpalija’’ ("bruiser")
σκάλμη (skálmē) knife, sword Soph. y Pollux, Marcus Anton., Hesych., Phot. L Albanian shkallmë ("sword"), Old Norse skolm ("short sword, knife")
σκάρκη (skárkē) a silver coin Hesych., Phot. Lex.
σπίνος (spínos) a kind of stone (?) Arist.
τορέλλη (toréllē) a refrain of lament mourn song Hesych.
ζαλμός (zalmós) animal hide Porphyr.
ζειρά (zeira) long robe worn by Arabs and Thracians Hdt., Xen., Hesych.
ζελᾶ (zelâ), also ζῆλα (zêla), ζηλᾱς (zelās) wine many Compared with Greek χάλις (khális; "unblended wine") and κάλιθος (kálithos; "wine")
ζετραία (zetraía) pot Pollux
zibythides the noble, most holy one Hesych. Lith. žibùtė ("shining")

An additional 180 Thracian words have been reconstructed.[12]

The proposed Thracian words in the Ancient Greek lexicon are not numerous. They include the parth- element in Parthenon;[citation needed] balios ("dappled"; < PIE *bhel-, "to shine", Bul. bel/bial (бял) "white" or bljaskav 'bright, shiny'; Pokorny also cites Illyrian as a possible source, the non-Greek origin is argued on phonological grounds), bounos, "hill, mound".[14]

The Thracian horseman hero was an important figure in Thracian religion, mythology, and culture. Depictions of the Thracian Horseman are found in numerous archaeological remains and artifacts from Thracian regions. From the Duvanlii ring and from cognates in numerous Indo-European languages, mezēna is seen to be a Thracian word for "horse", deriving from PIE *mend-. Another Thracian word for "horse" is hypothesized, but it looks certain, there is no disagreement among Thracologists: aspios, esvas, asb- (and some other variants; < PIE *ekwo [2], the Thracian showing a satem form similar to Sanskrit áśva-, "horse", Avestan aspa, "horse", Ossetic jäfs, Prussian aswinan ‘mare milk’, Lithuanian ašvíenis ‘stallion’, ašvà, dial. ešvà ‘mare’[15]), from outaspios, utaspios, an inscription associated with the Thracian horseman. Ut- based on the PIE root word ud- (meaning "up") and based on several Thracic items, would have meant "upon", "up", and utaspios is theorized to have meant "On horse(back)", parallel to ancient Greek ephippos (epi-hippos).[16]

The early Indo-European languages had more than one word for horse; for example Latin had equus from PIE *ekwo- and mannus ("a pony") from another IE root, later receiving cabalus as a loanword.

In many cases in current Thracology, there is more than one etymology for a Thracian lexical item. For example, Thracian Diana Germetitha (Diana is from Latin while the epithet Germetitha is from Thracian) has two different proposed etymologies, "Diana of the warm bosom" (Olteanu; et al.?) or "Diana of the warm radiance" (Georgiev; et al.?). In other cases, etymologies for the Thracian lexical items may be sound, but some of the proposed cognates are not actually cognates, thus confusing the affinity of Thracian.


The following are the longest inscriptions preserved. The remaining ones are mostly single words or names on vessels and other artifacts.

Ezerovo inscription[edit]

The Ring of Ezerovo, found in 1912

Only four Thracian inscriptions of any length have been found. The first is a gold ring found in 1912 in the village of Ezerovo (Plovdiv Province of Bulgaria); the ring was dated to the 5th century BC.[17] On the ring an inscription is found written in a Greek script and consisting of 8 lines, the eighth of which is located on the edge, the rim, of the rotating disk; it reads without any spaces between: ΡΟΛΙΣΤΕΝΕΑΣΝ / ΕΡΕΝΕΑΤΙΛ / ΤΕΑΝΗΣΚΟΑ / ΡΑΖΕΑΔΟΜ / ΕΑΝΤΙΛΕΖΥ / ΠΤΑΜΙΗΕ / ΡΑΖ // ΗΛΤΑ

as Dimitar Dechev (Germanised as D. Detschew) separates the words thus[18][19] ΡΟΛΙΣΤΕΝΕΑΣ ΝΕΡΕΝΕΑ ΤΙΛΤΕΑΝ ΗΣΚΟ ΑΡΑΖΕΑ ΔΟΜΕΑΝ ΤΙΛΕΖΥΠΤΑ ΜΙΗ ΕΡΑ ΖΗΛΤΑ i.e. Rolisteneas Nerenea tiltean ēsko Arazea domean Tilezypta miē era zēlta proposing the following translation:

I am Rolisteneas, a descendant of Nereneas; Tilezypta, an Arazian woman, delivered me to the ground.

Kyolmen inscription[edit]

A second inscription, hitherto undeciphered, was found in 1965 near the village of Kyolmen, Varbitsa Municipality, dating to the sixth century BC. Written in a Greek alphabet variant, it is possibly a tomb stele inscription similar to the Phrygian ones; Peter A. Dimitrov's transcription thereof is:[20]




Duvanlii inscription[edit]

A third inscription is again on a ring, found in Duvanlii, Kaloyanovo Municipality, next to the left hand of a skeleton. It dates to the 5th century BC. The ring has the image of a horseman with the inscription surrounding the image. It is only partly legible (16 out of the initial 21):



ēuziē.....dele / mezēnai

The meaning of the inscription is 'Horseman Eusie protect!'

If this reading is correct, the Thracian word mezenai might be cognate to Illyrian Menzanas (as in "Juppiter/Jove Menzanas" 'Juppiter of the foals' or 'Juppiter on a horse');[23] Albanian mëz 'foal'; Romanian mînz 'colt, foal'; Latin mannus 'small horse, pony';[24][25] Gaulish manduos 'pony' (as in tribe name Viromandui[26] 'men who own ponies').[b]


The Thracian language in linguistic textbooks is usually treated either as its own branch of Indo-European, or is grouped with Dacian, together forming a Daco-Thracian branch of IE. Older textbooks often grouped it also with Illyrian or Phrygian. The belief that Thracian was close to Phrygian is no longer popular and has mostly been discarded.[28]

No definite evidence has yet been found that demonstrates that Thracian or Daco-Thracian belonged on the same branch as Albanian or Baltic or Balto-Slavic or Greco-Macedonian or Phrygian or any other IE branch. For this reason textbooks still treat Thracian as its own branch of Indo-European, or as a Daco-Thracian/Thraco-Dacian branch.

The generally accepted clades branched from the Proto-Indo-European language are, in alphabetical order, the Proto-Albanian language, Proto-Anatolian language, Proto-Armenian language, Proto-Balto-Slavic language, Proto-Celtic language, Proto-Germanic language, Proto-Greek language, Proto-Indo-Iranian language, Proto-Italic language, and the Proto-Tocharian language. Thracian, Dacian, Phrygian, Illyrian, Venetic, and Paeonian are fragmentarily attested and cannot be reliably categorized.

Language/difference according to Duridanov (1985)
Change o > a r > ir, ur (or)
l > il, ul (ol)
m > im, um (om)
n > in, un (on)
kʷ, gʷ, gʷʰ
> k, g (k), g
ḱ, ǵ, ǵʰ
> s (p), z (d)
p, t, k
> pʰ, tʰ, kʰ
b, d, g
> p, t, k
bʰ, dʰ, gʰ
> b, d, g
sr > str tt, dt > st
Thracian + + + + + + + + + +
Dacian + + + + + - - + + -
Balto-Slavic + + + + + - - + -/+ +
Pelasgian + + + + + + + + ? ?
Albanian + + - +/- +/- - - + - -
Germanic + + + - - - + + + -
Indo-Iranian + - - +/- + - - +/- - +/-
Greek - - - - - - - - - +
Phrygian - - - - + + + + - ?
Armenian - - - - + + + - - ?
Italic - + - - - - - - - -
Celtic - - - - - - - + - -
Hittite + - - - - - + + ? ?
Tocharian +/- - - - - - + + - ?
Divergent sound-changes in Paleo-Balkan languages according to Georgiev (1977)[29]
Proto-Indo-European Dacian Thracian Phrygian
*o a a o
*e ie e e
*ew e eu eu
*aw a au
*r̥, *l̥ ri ur (or), ur (ol) al
*n̥, *m̥ a un an
*M M T T
*T T TA (aspirated) TA
*s s s
*sw s s w
*sr str str br

Note: Asterisk indicates reconstructed IE sound. M is a cover symbol for the row of voiced stops (mediae), T for unvoiced stops (tenues) and TA for aspirated stops (tenues aspiratae). ∅ indicates zero, a sound that has been lost.

Divergent sound-changes in Dacian and Thracian according to Duridanov (1985)[30]
Indo-European Dacian Thracian
*b, *d, *g b, d, g p, t, k
*p, *t, *k p, t, k ph, th, kh
ä (a) ē
*e (after consonant) ie e
*ai a ai
*ei e ei
*dt (*tt) s st

Thraco-Dacian has been hypothesized as forming a branch of Indo-European along with Baltic.[31]

For a large proportion of the 300 Thracian geographic names there are cognates within the Baltic toponymy, most similarities between Thracian and Balto-Slavic personal and geographic names were found, especially Baltic. According to Duridinov the "most important impression make the geographic cognates of Baltic and Thracian" "the similarity of these parallels stretching frequently on the main element and the suffix simultaneously, which makes a strong impression". According to him there are occasional similarities between Slavic and Thracian because Slavic is related to Baltic, while almost no lexical similarities within Thracian and Phrygian were found.[32] This significant relatedness show close affinity and kinship of Thracian with Baltic.

The following table shows the cognate Thracian and Baltic place names,[12] some Polish and related Lechitic names from the transitional area of the ancient Veneti-Eneti along the Amber Road were added:[citation needed]

Thracian place Lithuanian place Latvian place Old Prussian place Polish / Lechitic place cognates
Alaaiabria Alajà Lith. aléti ‘to be flooded’
Altos Altis
Antisara Sarija Sarape
Armonia Armona, Armenà Lith. armuõ, -eñs ‘a swamp, bog’, arma ‘the same’[citation needed]
Armula Armuliškis Muły lit. arma ‘mud’[citation needed], Pol. muł ‘mud’
Arpessas Varpe, Varputỹs, Várpapievis Warpen, Warpunen Latv. vārpats ‘whirlpool’; Lith. varpýti (-pa, -pia) ‘to dig’[citation needed]
Arsela Arsen Arsio, Arse Ursynów May refer to multiple etymologies: ursa ("she-bear"), अर्थ artha (arəθa) ("true meaning", "truthfulness", "honesty", "integrity", "wealth", "prosperity"), some other word derived from अश्व (Aśvā) ("horse"), or rather its back like the English arse or some combination based on selo, e.g. ("village of the honest people", "prosperious hamlet", "wealthy residences", "river of wealth"). The -a ending denotes a plural or feminine form. In Taunus there is Urselbach, originally probably Arsela (compare Ašarya near mines in Harz and Ašaperk in Vindelicia) from आशा āśā́ ("hope", "desire", "prospect") and/or aṣ̌a (the Zarathuštrian concept of "truth") next to antique goldmines of the zibythides of Bithynia, Apaša, Sparda, Sparte, Aśa and Chaldia (goldmines, e.g. near Speri) referred above known for their Golden hats.[citation needed]
Aspynthos Latv. apse; Old-Pruss. abse; Lith. apušẽ[citation needed]
Atlas Adula
Asamus aśman- ‘stone’; Lit. ašmuo, ašmenys, also derived from आशा āśā́ ("hope", "desire", "prospect") and/or aṣ̌a (the Zarathuštrian concept of "truth") - the gem or any kind of [precious] stone being totally "integer", "truthfull" and "honest" not changing "itself", "equal" to "oneself", withstanding interference and passing of time, "promising" "wealth", therefore being object of "desire" from samъ, सम sam, also "hymns" were composed about its multiple aspects and "weapons" साम sām were made of it. The "weapons" of "wrath" were called in Avestan aēšma and so eventually the terminus aēšma-daēva Lat. Deus Asmodeus was born. The name Osama, Arsenius but also Arya and Siddhartha may be related. The names around the Thracian river Asamus incl. Yantra point to the presence of Sarmatians, probably Zychy (Zyx) (House of Zyx - Zy- "from" + x or Sanskr. short for क्षत्रिय kṣatriya kšatrija xšaθra (Varńa caste), "ruler, authority, satrap, voivode") who were not only guards of the Solar dynasty, e.g. Iakšaku of Andhra Pradeś but also of their European kinsmen, the aforementioned zibythides known as Sperun, Spyra, Pernus e.t.c. The Yantras of Zyx or their Sindi followers carved in stone have been discovered on Crimea.[citation needed]
Vairos Vaira Lit. vairus ‘diverse’
Baktunion Batkunu kaimas
Beres Bẽrė, Bėrẽ, Bėr-upis, Bėrupė Bēr-upe, Berēka Bieruń, Beroun, Pěrno Lit. bėras, Latv. bęrs ‘brown, swarthy’, Pol. apparently germanized P>B form of original Pieruń / Pěroun (sanctuary of Perun - Perkūnas - Perkwunos)
Bersamae Berezina, Brest Brześć, Brest (incl. Brest of the Veneti in Armorica), Brest (Dravěnopołabski), Brzózki (multiple entries), Brzeziny (multiple entries), Břest, Brest (ancient settlement), Brest (Merošina), Brest (depopulated), Brest (repopulated) Lith. béržas; Latv. bẽrzs; Old-Pruss. berse, Pol. brzoza ‘birch’

The Breton language Brezhoneg, Pol. przybrzeżny less the przy- prefix, of the Veneti, Namnęti and their Samožony of Armorica was considered by the Norman invaders a "tongue of the Dacians", in contrast to the "tongue of the Romans" used by the Gauls and even already by the Franks. Toponyms derived from brzeg, e.g. Brzeg do not appear in the listing, however close to brzoza they may sound.[citation needed][citation needed]

Veleka Velėkas Łęg (multiple entries), Wieluń, Wylewa, Wysieka Lit. velėklės ‘place in the water’, Pol. łęg ‘flood-meadow, riparian forest‘, wylewa ‘overflows, spills over‘, wycieka present tense 3rd person singular ‘leaks out‘, wysiąka ‘leaks out‘ (less intensive)[citation needed]
Bolba bria Balvi, Bàlvis, Bolva Lith. Bálvis 'a lake'; Old-Pruss. Balweniken
Brenipara Brenna (Brennabor), Branibor / Braniborsko, Brenna, Brenno, Brenica, Brenik, Brennik (multiple entries), Brynica (multiple entries), Branew (Thracians among settlers), Branica (multiple entries) Messapian brendon, Latv. briedis ‘deer’, Pol. Branibor ‘the protecting forest/woods’[citation needed]
Calsus Kalsi, Kalsiņš, Kals-Strauts ‘dry stream’ Kalisz Latv. kalst, kaltēt ‘dry’, the town Kalisz already mentioned by Ptolemy[citation needed]
Chalastra chałastra, hałastra Lith. sravà ‘a stream’; Latv. strava ‘stream, torrent’, Pol. hałastra ‘a disorderly crowd, stream of peoples, mob’, chałtura ‘an ad hoc job, unprepared performance (often of low quality), a forced slaverish work’, chała ‘substandard, poor quality, worthless’ - so the toponym may mean a "worthless stream" (muddy or poisonous water)[citation needed]
Daphabae Lith. dãpas ‘a flood’; Old-Pruss. ape ‘river’[citation needed]
Dingion Dingas, Dindze, Dingupite Dinge Dynów Latv. dinga ‘a plant’ and ‘fertile place’[citation needed]
Dimae Dūmė Dūmis Dumen Dukla (Scythian settlement since 2nd millennium BCE) Lit. dūmas ‘dark (for beef)’; Latv. dūms ‘dark-brown’[citation needed]
Egerica Vegerė Vedzere
Ereta Veretà
Gesia Gesavà Dzêsiens Gesaw Gąsiek, Rzeszów? Latv. dzēse ‘heron’, Pol. gęś ‘goose’, Gesia (Gęsia) in Pol. genitive ‘of the goose’, Gąsiek nominative from gęś+zasieki ‘fenced goose’, compare Gusle and Duzagaš Pol. duża gęś ‘big goose’ - apparently a certified poultry weight found among "Kassite deities". Gęsia seems to be one of the most popular IE words.[citation needed][citation needed][citation needed][citation needed]
Ginula Ginuļi Ginulle Goniądz Latv. g'inis, g'inst ‘to spoil’, Pol. ginąć ‘to get lost, to perish’, compare Engl. gone[citation needed]
Armonia Armona Lit. armuo, -ens ‘quagmire’[citation needed]
Iuras Jūra, Jūrė, Jūrupis Jura Lit. and Latv. jūra ‘sea’[citation needed]
Kabyle Kabile Cabula
Kallindia Galindo, Galinden, Galynde Golina, Goleniów, Gołdap, Gołańcz Galindai, Lit. galas ‘end’[citation needed]
Kapisturia Kaplava Kapas-gals Kappegalin Kopanica (multiple entries)

Latv. kãpa, kãpe ‘long mountainous strip, dune, slope’; Lith. kopà ‘sandy hill’, Pol. directly from kopa ‘heap, pile’, from kopati ‘to dig’, e.g. kop+pernik ‘dig+rock/stone’ Kopernik ‘rock digger, miner’ > Copper ‘dugout/mined rock’, Kopa is still the original Venetic name of the main mountain massive of the Hallstatt culture[citation needed]

Kurpisos, Kourpissos Kurpų kámas, Kurpulaukis Kazūkurpe, Kurpesgrāvis, Kurpkalns Kurpie Lit. kurpti ‘to dig', Pol. kierpce (kurpś) - archaic mocassinss called in Romania opincă[citation needed]
Kersula Keršuliškių kaimas Lit. keršulis ‘pigeon’
Knishava Knisà Knīsi, Knīši, Knīsukalns Knyszyn Lith. knìsti ‘to dig, to rummage’
Kypsela Kupšeliai Kupšeļi Kutno?
Lingos Lingė, Lingenai Lingas, Lingi, Lingasdikis Lingwar Lędziny, Leżajsk, Legnica, Lit. lengė 'valley’
Markellai Markẽlis, Markelỹne Marken Marki (mesolithic settlement) Lit. marka ‘pit’, merkti ‘dunk’
Meldia Meldė, Meldínis Meldine, Meldini Mildio, Mildie Zhemait. Melьdəikvirshe, Melьdəinəi, Lith. meldà, méldas ‘marsh reed’; Latv. meldi ‘reed’
Mygdonia Mūkė Mukas Myszków, Myšno Zhemait. river Muka, Mukja, Pol. mysz ‘mouse’ (the same in Iranian languages) is cognate rather with Moesia, another region of Thrace and Mysia across Propontis. Mygdonia is rather akin to ‘land of heroes’ or more precisely ‘land, that gives men/(heroes)’[citation needed]
Ostophos Uõstas, Ũstas Uostupe, Ũostup Ustup (part of Zakopane), Ústup, Puszczykowo Lit. pušynas ‘spurs forest’, Pol. ostęp (regional: ustup) ‘wilderness’, ‘section set aside’, compare pustynia ‘desert’, pustkowie ‘wasteland’[citation needed]
Paisula Paišeliai Paissyn Pasłęk, Pasym Lit. paišai ‘soot’
Palae Palà Połczyn-Zdrój, Pelpin, Pełczyce, Poltava Lit. palios ‘swamp'
Palnma Palminỹs, Palmajos káimas Paļmuota Palmiry Lit. palios ‘swamp'
Panion Panewniki Old-Pruss. pannean ‘swamp, quagmire’, Pol. panew (panewka) ‘frying pan, flash pan, socket’, compare Panis, Punics, Pan, Pan (god), Pannonia.[citation needed].[citation needed][citation needed]
Pannas Panyen Panewniki Old Pruss. pannean ‘quagmire’, Pol. panew (panewka) ‘frying pan, flash pan, socket’, compare Panis, Punics, Pan, Pan (god), Pannonia..., Gothic fani[citation needed]
Pautalia Paũtupis Pauteļi, Pautupīte, Pautustrauts Pauta, Pauten Puck, Pułtusk, Puławy Lith. putà, pl. pùtos ‘foam, froth’, putóti ‘to foam’; Latv. putas ‘foam’
Pizos Pisa ęzęrs Pissa, Pissen, Pisse, Pysekaym, Piselauk Pyskowice Latv. pīsa ‘swamp’
Praizes Limne Praustuvė Praga Lith. praũsti (prausiù, -siaũ) ‘to wash’, prausỹnės ‘washing’; Latv. prauslât ‘to spray, to sprinkle’, Pol. prać ‘to wash, to beat’
Pusinon Pusyne, Pušinė, Pušyno káimasPušinė Pszczyna Lit. pušynas ‘spurs forest’, Zhemait. Pushina 'a stream', Pushine 'meadows', Pol. pszczoła ‘bee’, an animal living on the meadows
Pupensis vicus(village) Pupių káimas, Pupinė Pupa Pupkaym, Paupayn Latinized vicus for ‘village', Lit. and Latv. pupa 'beans', kaimas 'village'(cf. Bobov Dol)
Purdae Porden, Purde Zhemait. Purdjaknisə Popelьki
Raimula Raimoche Lith. ráimas ‘motley, particoloured’
Rhakule Rãkija, Rakavos káimas Roklawken, Rocke Raciąż, Racibórz Lith. ràkti, rankù, rakiaũ ‘to dig out, unearth’; Latv. rakt, rùoku ‘to dig’, rakņât ‘to dig’
Rhamae Rãmis, Ramùne Rāmava Ramio, Rammenflys Rumia (populated since 6th century BC) Lit. ramus ‘quiet’
Rhodope Mountains Rudupe Rudawy, Rudawy, Rudohoří, Rudnik, Ruda Śląska, Rudno, Rudniki, Rudnia e.t.c. Zhemait. Rudupja, Rudupə, Rudupi, Lith. rùdas ‘reddish, ruddy, dark yellow’, Lith. ùpė ‘river’, Pol. directly from ruda ‘ore, mineral’
Rhusion Russe, Russien, Rusemoter Lith. rūsỹs (and rúsas) ‘a pit for potatoes; cellar, basement’; Latv. rūsa ‘a pit’
Rumbodona Rum̃ba, Rum̃ba, Rum̃b, Rum̃bas, Rumbai Porąbka, Zaręby, Rębaczów e.t.c. Latv. rum̃ba ‘waterfall, river rapids’; Lith. rum̃bas, rùmbas, rumbà ‘periphery’, Pol. rąbać ‘to chop, to hew, to fell, to cut down’
Sarte Sar̃tė, Sartà Sār̃te, Sārtupe Zhemait. Sarta, Sarti, Lit. sartas ‘red (horse)’; Latv. sarts ‘ruddy’
Scretisca Skretiškė Zakręt Lit. skretė ‘circle’, Pol. skręcić się ‘to twist, to turn’ + the suffix -się ‘-oneself’
Seietovia Sietuvà, Siẽtuvas Zhemait. Setuva, Lit. sietuva ‘whirlpool’
Sekina Šėkinė Siekierki, Sieczka Lith. šėkas ‘recently mowed down grass, hay’; Latv. sêks ‘the same’, Pol. siekiera, sieczka directly from sekyra ‘axe’ and sěťi ‘to chop, cut, mow’ - from those roots derived also the Aryan name शक, शाक, Śaka, Śāka of the ‘Scythians‘ and of any kind of ‘chopped herbs/vegetables‘ and also of the Engl. ‘Scythe‘ and everything ‘Scottish‘. Via the proto-Celto-Scythian Iakšas and Kaśśu with the help of chariots and ships of the Panis, Pany (gemstone, ores, fabrics, fragrants, ghee and pan traders) and Pany (of their western colony) those and many other words, customs and inventions (Amber, Iškur, Sugar, Mead, Chariot, Bearing, Lathe, Industry, Wrought iron...) of proto-Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian origin entered Mesopotamia, Arabia, Ancient Egypt, Kingdom of Kush etc., see Scythopolis.

Some IE languages and dialects render शक, शाक, Śaka, Śāka as Saka, Sákai, Sacae, Sieka-, Siepa- (also variant Sierp, Serbi, Serboi...), Csaka, Caka, Ćaka (Ciaka-, Ciacha-), Čaka (Czaka-, Chaka-) related to the Scythians of Haraxvaitī / Haravati, Čechy (Czechy), Česko (Czesko-)... and Romance-Celto-Germanic borrowings (most from Magyarized version Csák) include Shaka, Shako, Sakko, Sacco, Sjako, Sciaccò, Chacó, Checo, Tchéqu, Tschako, Tschecho, Tsjech. The name Tesla (Cieśla) (‘carpenter‘) has similar roots. Another prominent शक, शाक, Śaka, Śāka name used in Sogdia and Europe, incl. ancient Thrace and Škudra is Škoda (‘archer‘).[citation needed]

Serme Sermas May be connected to Sarmatians, most probably to Siraces, who traded with Ancient Egypt and Syria or to Zychy (Zyx, Zichi…), Zakaryans of Armenia, House of Zik of the Seven Great Houses of Iran and finally the kidnapped by Nogais young Zych of Zychia who established the Burji dynasty of Egypt) who protected Thacians, Dacians, Kotyni, Speroi e.t.c. from the invasion of the Roman Empire, annihilated the Roman Legio XXI Rapax in battle [33][34][35] until Trajan crushed their forces. Legio XXII Deiotariana was then sent to subdue Kingdom of Pontus, Kingdom of Armenia (both partners of the Iazyges), Judea, Egypt and Nubia.[citation needed]
Silta Šiltupis Siltie, Siltums, Siltine Lit. šiltas ‘warm, nice’; Latv. sìlts ‘warm’
Skaptopara, Skalpenos, Skaplizo Skalbupis, Skalbýnupis, Skalbstas, Skaptotai, Skaptùtis Toporów Lith. skãplis ‘a type of axe’; Lith. skaptúoti ‘to cut, to carve', Pol. topór a special kind of siekiera ‘axe’ - a ‘cutting axe’ using asymmetric cutting edge[citation needed]
Skarsa Skarsin, Skarsaw Skoczów Lith. sker̃sas ‘transverse, oblique, slanting’, Sker̃sė, Sker̃s-upỹs, Sker̃sravi, Pol. directly from skakati ‘to hop, to leap’
Scombros Lith. kumbrỹs, kum̃bris ‘hill, top of a mountain; small mountain’; Latv. kum̃bris ‘hump, hunch’
Spindea Spindžių káimas, Spindžiùs Spindags Lit. spindžius, spindis, 'clearing'; Latv. spindis ‘spark’
Stambai Strũobas, Struõbas Lit. stramblys ‘cob’; Old-Pruss. strambo ‘stubble-field’
Strauneilon Strūnelė, Strūnà Lit. sr(i)ūti ‘flow’
Strymon Stryj, Strumień, Czerwony Strumień, Strumień Godowski e.t.c. Lit. sraumuo ‘stream’, Pol. strumień ‘stream’
Strauos Strėva Strawa, Strawka (rivers) Latv. strava, Lit. srava ‘course’, Pol. strawa ‘food, fodder’ also ‘costs, expenses’ - ’something that vanishes’ or precisely ’something that is being digested’ but also ’something that traces (a path)’, obviously names of small streams and a source of Celtic and English etymology of ‘trace’[citation needed]
Suitula Svite Świecie Lit. švitulys ‘light’, Pol. światło ‘light’, świecić ‘to light’, świt ‘dawn’, Świtula ‘the dawning one’ (feminine)
Souras Sūris, Sūrupė, Sūupis Sure Soła, Solina, Solinka, Wisła (Vysoła), (Wesoła) Lit. sūras ‘salty’, Pol. direct from solь ‘salt’, (Wesoła may have a different etymology veselъ ‘merry’)
Succi Šukis Sukas, Sucis Sucha (multiple entries) Pol. suchy ‘dry’, susi (akin to Succi) is the masculine plural nominative form
Tarpodizos Tárpija Târpi, Tārpu pļava Tarnów, , Tarnowola, Tarnowskie Góry, Tarnowo (multiple entries) Lith. tárpas ‘an interstice’ and ‘a gap, a crack’; Zhemait. Tarpu kalьne, Tarpdovdəi
Tarporon Poronin Lith. tárpas ‘an interstice’, Pol. ronić ‘to shed, to moult‘, poronić ‘to miscarry‘, compare Perkwunos - Perun - Tarḫunz - Tarchon - Taranis. Maybe a syncretism Tar(hun/ḫunz/chon/anis)-Poron(Perun) ? Something abrupt, shocking, hard... ?
Tarpyllos Terpìnė, Tárpija Cierplewo, Cierpisz, Łańcut County, Cierpisz, Ropczyce-Sędziszów County, Cierpięta (multiple entries), Cierpigórz (multiple entries), Cierpice (multiple entries) Pol. cierpienie ‘suffering, anguish‘, cierpliwość ‘patience‘
Tirsai Tirza Tirskaymen Lith. tir̃štis ‘density, thickness’ and ‘thicket, brush-wood’
Tranoupara Tranỹs Trani, Tranava Lit. tranas ‘hornet’
Trauos Traũšupis Lith. traũšti ‘to break, to crumble’, traušus ‘brittle’; Latv. traušs, trausls ‘brittle, fragile’
Tynta Tunti, Tunte Thuntlawken Lit. tumtas, tuntas ‘flock'
Urda, Urdaus Ùrdupis, Urdenà Urdava Zhemait. Urdishki; Lit. urdulys ‘mount stream’, virti ‘spring’
Veleka Velėkas Wielichowo (Pomerania), Wielichowo Lith. velėkles ‘a place, used for washing’
Verzela Vérža, Véržas Lith. váržas ‘a basket for fish’; Latv. varza ‘dam’
Vevocasenus Vàive Woywe, Wewa, Waywe Latin vicus
Zburulus Žiburių káimas Lit. žiburỹs ‘a fire, a light, something burning; a torch’
Zilmissus Žilmà, Žilmas Latv. zelme ‘green grass or wheat’
Zyakozeron Žvakùtė Zvakūž Lith. žvãkė ‘a light, a candle’

Fate of the Thracians and their language[edit]

According to Skordelis, when Thracians were subjected by Alexander the Great they finally assimilated to Greek culture and became as Greek as Spartans and Athenians, although he considered the Thracian language as a form of Greek.[36] According to Crampton (1997) most Thracians were eventually Hellenized or Romanized, with the last remnants surviving in remote areas until the 5th century.[37] According to Marinov the Thracians were likely completely Romanized and Hellenized after the last contemporary references to them of the 6th century.[38] This theory holds the Christianization of the Roman Empire as the main factor of immediate assimilation.

A quick extinction would intensely contrast the avoidance of Hellenization at least by Albanian till the present, possibly with the help of isolated mountainous areas.

Another author considers that the interior of Thrace have never been Romanized or Hellenized (Trever, 1939).[39] This was followed also by Slavonization. According to Weithmann (1978) when the Slavs migrated, they encountered only a very superficially Romanized Thracian and Dacian population, which had not strongly identified itself with Imperial Rome, while Greek and Roman populations (mostly soldiers, officials, merchants) abandoned the land or were killed.[40] Because Pulpudeva survived as Plovdiv in Slavic languages, not under Philippopolis, some authors suggest that Thracian was not completely obliterated in the 7th century.[41][42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Valdés (2017) cites other cognates to the root: Celtic deity Borvo and Latin ferveo "I boil" (from e-grade).[13]
  2. ^ A similarly looking word Mandicae 'to Mandica' is attested in an inscription from Asturia. It has been suggested to mean the name of a goddess related to foals.[27]


  1. ^ Thracian at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. ^ Arnold Joseph Toynbee, Some problems of Greek history, Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 56: In the late sixth century there were still Bessian-speaking monks in the monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai (see P. Geyer Itinera Hierosolymitana, Vienna 1898, Templaky, pp. 184; 213.)
  3. ^ Oliver Nicholson as ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity; Oxford University Press, 2018; ISBN 0192562460, p. 234:...The "Piacenza Pilgrim (56) mentioned Bessian-speaking monks on the Sinai Peninsula. ABA J. J. Wilkes, The Illyrians (1992)...
  4. ^ J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams as ed., Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture; Taylor & Francis, 1997; ISBN 1884964982, p. 576: The most recently attested Thracian personal names are found in two monasteries in the Near East (the Bessi of Mt Sinai) dating to the sixth century AD.
  5. ^ Bessian is the language of the Bessi, one of the most prominent Thracian tribes. The origin of the monasteries is explained in a mediaeval hagiography written by Symeon the Metaphrast in Vita Sancti Theodosii Coenobiarchae in which he wrote that Saint Theodosius founded on the shore of the Dead Sea a monastery with four churches, in each being spoken a different language, among which Bessian was found. The place at which the monasteries were founded was called "Cutila", which may be a Thracian name.
  6. ^ Mayer, Harvey E. "Dacian and Thracian as Southern Baltoidic." In: Lituanus: Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences. Volume 38, No. 2 – Summer 1992.. Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas, University of Rochester. ISSN 0024-5089. 1992 Lituanus Foundation, Inc.
  7. ^ 1994 Gottfried Schramm: A New Approach to Albanian History
  8. ^ Encyclopedia of European peoples, Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason, Infobase Publishing, 2006, ISBN 0-8160-4964-5, p. 205.
  9. ^ Archaeology and language: the puzzle of Indo-European origins, Colin Renfrew, CUP Archive, 1990, ISBN 0-521-38675-6, p. 71.
  10. ^ Olteanu et al.
  11. ^ Duridanov, Ivan. "The Language of the Thracians". Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  12. ^ a b c Duridanov, I. (1976). The Language of the Thracians (An abridged translation of Ezikyt na trakite, Ivan Duridanov, Nauka i izkustvo, Sofia, 1976. (c) Ivan Duridanov).
  13. ^ Valdés, Marcos Obaya. "Averamientu al astúricu. Vocalización de les nasales del grau-cero indo-européu: *mo > am / *no > an, y delles propuestes etimolóxiques". In: Lletres asturianes: Boletín Oficial de l'Academia de la Llingua Asturiana Nº. 117, 2017, p. 64. ISSN 2174-9612
  14. ^ Olteanu hypothesizes that the Thracian toponym Basibounon may contain bouno(n), a Greek word for "hill" that may also be a Thracian word
  15. ^ In Old Church Slavonic is found ehu, which may be a loan from Germanic[citation needed]; otherwise the Slavic word for horse from ekwo- was lost, due perhaps to the lack of equestrianism among the early Slavs[citation needed]
  16. ^ Georgiev, Olteanu et al.
  17. ^ "Golden ring with Thracian inscription. NAIM-Sofia exhibition". National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Sofia.
  18. ^ Duridanov, Ivan (1985). Die Sprache der Thraker. Bulgarische Sammlung (in German). Vol. 5. Hieronymus Verlag. ISBN 3-88893-031-6. Ich bin Rolisteneas, Sprößling des Nereneas; Tilezypta, Arazerin nach ihrer Heimat, hat mich der Erde übergeben (d.h. begraben).
  19. ^ Russu, Ion I. (1969). Die Sprache der Thrako-Daker (in German). Ed. Ştiinţificā.
  20. ^ Dimitrov, Peter A. (2009). "The Kyolmen Stone Inscription". Thracian Language and Greek and Thracian Epigraphy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4438-1325-9.
  21. ^ a b Written from right to left.
  22. ^ Written from left to right.
  23. ^ Meudler, Marcel. "[ Mézence, un théonyme messapien?]. In: Revue des Études Anciennes. Tome 105, 2003, n°1. pp. 5-6. DOI:
  24. ^ Kaluzkaja, Irina. "Thracian-Illyrian language parallels: Thrac. MEZENAI - Illyr. Menzanas". In: Thracian World at Crossroad of Civilizations - Proceedings of 7th International Congress of Thracology. Bucharest: 1996. pp. 372-373.
  25. ^ Francisco Marcos-Marin. "Etymology and Semantics: Theoretical Considerations apropos of an Analysis of the Etymological Problem of Spanish mañero, mañeria." In: Historical Semantics—Historical Word-Formation. de Gruyter, 1985. p. 381.
  26. ^ Balmori, C. Hernando. "[ Notes on the etymology of sp. ‘perro’]". In: Etudes Celtiques, vol. 4, fascicule 1, 1941. p. 49. DOI:
  27. ^ Valdés, Marcos Obaya. "Averamientu al astúricu. Vocalización de les nasales del grau-cero indo-européu: *mo > am / *no > an, y delles propuestes etimolóxiques". In: Lletres asturianes: Boletín Oficial de l'Academia de la Llingua Asturiana Nº. 117, 2017, p. 67. ISSN 2174-9612
  28. ^ See C. Brixhe – Ancient languages of Asia Minor, Cambridge University Press, 2008
    We will dismiss, at least temporarily, the idea of a Thraco-Phrygian unity. Thraco-Dacian (or Thracian and Daco-Mysian) seems to belong to the eastern (satem) group of Indo-European languages and its (their) phonetic system is far less conservative than that of Phrygian (see Brixhe and Panayotou 1994, §§ 3ff.)
  29. ^ Georgiev 1977, p. 63, 128, 282.
  30. ^ Duridanov, 1985 & ch. VIII.
  31. ^ Holst (2009):66.
  32. ^ [1](Duridanov 1978: с. 128)
  33. ^ Grainger 2004, p. 22.
  34. ^ Jones 1908, p. 143.
  35. ^ Swan 2004, p. 165.
  36. ^ Daskalov, Roumen; Vezenkov, Alexander (13 March 2015). Entangled Histories of the Balkans – Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. BRILL. p. 51. ISBN 9789004290365.
  37. ^ R.J. Crampton (1997). A Concise History of Bulgaria. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-521-56719-X.
  38. ^ Daskalov, Roumen; Vezenkov, Alexander (13 March 2015). Entangled Histories of the Balkans – Volume Three: Shared Pasts, Disputed Legacies. BRILL. p. 10. ISBN 9789004290365.
  39. ^ Trever, Albert Augustus. History of Ancient Civilization. Harcourt, Brace. p. 571
  40. ^ Michael W. Weithmann, Die slawische Bevolkerung auf der griechischen Halbinsel (Munich 1978)
  41. ^ Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 576. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.
  42. ^ Katičić, Radoslav (1976). Ancient Languages of the Balkans. Mouton. p. 136.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]