Cradle of Civilization

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Thracian language






Thraco-Phrygian or Thraco-Armenian


Dacian Languages









The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting a large area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family. The study of Thracians and Thracian culture is known as Thracology.

They were bordered by the Scythians to the north, the Celts and the Illyrians to the west, the Ancient Greeks to the south and the Black Sea to the east. The first historical record of the Thracians is found in the Iliad, where they are described as allies of the Trojans in the Trojan War against the Ancient Greeks.

The ethnonym Thracian comes from Ancient Greek Θρᾷξ (plural Θρᾷκες; Thrāix, Thrāikes) or Θρᾴκιος (Thrāikios; Ionic: Θρηίκιος, Thrēikios), and the toponym Thrace comes from Θρᾴκη (Thrāikē; Ionic: Θρῄκη, Thrēikē). These forms are all exonyms as applied by the Greeks.

In Greek mythology, Thrax (by his name simply the quintessential Thracian) was regarded as one of the reputed sons of the god Ares. In the Alcestis, Euripides mentions that one of the names of Ares himself was “Thrax” since he was regarded as the patron of Thrace (his golden or gilded shield was kept in his temple at Bistonia in Thrace).

The origins of the Thracians remain obscure, in the absence of written historical records. Evidence of proto-Thracians in the prehistoric period depends on artifacts of material culture. Leo Klejn identifies proto-Thracians with the multi-cordoned ware culture that was pushed away from Ukraine by the advancing Srubnaya culture.

It is generally proposed that a proto-Thracian people developed from a mixture of indigenous peoples and Indo-Europeans from the time of Proto-Indo-European expansion in the Early Bronze Age when the latter, around 1500 BC, mixed with indigenous peoples.

We speak of proto-Thracians from which during the Iron Age (about 1000 BC) Dacians and Thracians begin developing.  During the Iron Age (about 1000 BC) Dacians and Thracians began developing from proto-Thracians.

Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not manage to form a lasting political organization until the Odrysian state was founded in the 5th century BC. Like the Illyrians, the mountainous regions were home to people regarded as various warlike and ferocious Thracian tribes, while the plains peoples were apparently regarded as more peaceable.

Thracians inhabited parts of the ancient provinces of Thrace, Moesia, Macedonia, Dacia, Scythia Minor, Sarmatia, Bithynia, Mysia, Pannonia, and other regions on the Balkans and Anatolia. This area extends over most of the Balkans region, and the Getae north of the Danube as far as beyond the Bug and including Panonia in East. 

There were about 200 Thracian tribes. These Indo-European peoples, while considered barbarian and rural by their refined and urbanized Greek neighbors, had developed advanced forms of music, poetry, industry, and artistic crafts.

Aligning themselves in kingdoms and tribes, they never achieved any form of national unity beyond short, dynastic rules at the height of the Greek classical period. Similar to the Gauls and other Celtic tribes, most people are thought to have lived simply in small fortified villages, usually on hilltops.

A strong Dacian state appeared in the first century BC, during the reign of King Burebista. The mountainous regions were home to various peoples, including the Illyrians, regarded as warlike and ferocious Thracian tribes, while the plains peoples were apparently regarded as more peaceable.

Although the concept of an urban center wasn’t developed until the Roman period, various larger fortifications which also served as regional market centers were numerous. Yet, in general, despite Greek colonization in such areas as Byzantium, Apollonia and other cities, the Thracians avoided urban life. The first Greek colonies in Thrace were founded in the 8th century BC.

Thrace south of the Danube (except for the land of the Bessi) was ruled for nearly half a century by the Persians under Darius the Great, who conducted an expedition into the region from 513 BC to 512 BC. The Persians called Thrace Skudra.

Several Thracian graves or tombstones have the name Rufus inscribed on them, meaning “redhead” – a common name given to people with red hair. Ancient Greek artwork often depicts Thracians as redheads.

Rhesus of Thrace, a mythological Thracian King, derived his name because of his red hair and is depicted on Greek pottery as having red hair and beard. Ancient Greek writers also described the Thracians as red haired.

A fragment by the Greek poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians as blue-eyed and red haired: …Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue eyes and red hair.

Bacchylides described Theseus as wearing a hat with red hair, which classicists believe was Thracian in origin. Other ancient writers who described the hair of the Thracians as red include Hecataeus of Miletus, Galen, Clement of Alexandria, and Julius Firmicus Maternus.

Nevertheless, academic studies have concluded that Thracians had physical characteristics typical of European Mediterraneans. According to Dr. Beth Cohen, Thracians had “the same dark hair and the same facial features as the Ancient Greeks.”

Recent genetic analysis comparing DNA samples of ancient Thracian fossil material from southeastern Romania with individuals from modern ethnicities place Italian, Albanian and Greek individuals in closer genetic kinship with the Thracians than Romanian and Bulgarian individuals. On the other hand, Dr. Aris N. Poulianos states that Thracians, like modern Bulgarians, belong mainly to the Aegean anthropological type.

The ancient languages of these people had already become extinct and their cultural influence was highly reduced due to the repeated barbaric invasions of the Balkans by Celts, Huns, Goths, and Sarmatians, accompanied by hellenization, romanization and later slavicization.

After they were subjugated by Alexander the Great and consecutively by the Roman Empire, most of the Thracians eventually became hellenized (in the provinces of Thrace) or romanised (in Moesia and Dacia).

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.

However, the Thracians as a group did not entirely disappear, with the Bessi surviving at least until the late 4th century. Towards the end of the 4th century, Nicetas the Bishop of Remesiana brought the gospel to “those mountain wolves”, the Bessi.

Reportedly his mission was successful, and the worship of Dionysus and other Thracian gods was eventually replaced by Christianity. In 570, Antoninus Placentius said that in the valleys of Mount Sinai there was a monastery in which the monks spoke Greek, Latin, Syriac, Egyptian and Bessian.

The origin of the monasteries is explained in a medieval hagiography written by Simeon Metaphrastes, in Vita Sancti Theodosii Coenobiarchae in which he wrote that Theodosius the Cenobiarch 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 where the monasteries were founded was called “Cutila”, which may be a Thracian name. The further fate of the Thracians is a matter of dispute. Some authors like Schramm derived the Albanians from the Christian Bessi, or Bessians, an early Thracian people who were pushed westwards into Albania, while more mainstream historians support Illyrian-Albanian continuity or a possible Thraco-Illyrian creole.

According to Crampton (1997) most Thracians were eventually Hellenized or Romanized, with the last remnants surviving in remote areas until the 5th century. Most probably the remnants of the Thracians were assimilated into the Roman and later in the Byzantine society and became part of the ancestral groups of the modern Southeastern Europeans.

According to Marinov the Thracians were likely completely Romanized and Hellenized after the last contemporary references to them of the 6th century. This theory holds as the main factor of immediate assimilation the Christianization of the Roman Empire. 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). 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.

In the 6th century, some Thraco-Romans and hellenized Thracians (i.e. Byzantines) south of the Danube River made contacts with the invading Slavs and were later eventually slavicised. One of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians are the Thracians. Because Pulpudeva survived as Plovdiv in Slavic languages, not under Philippopolis, some authors suggest that Thracian was not completely obliterated in the 7th century.


Skudra or Scudra was a province (satrapy) of the Persian Empire in Europe between 510s BC and 479 BC. Its name is attested in Persian and Egyptian inscriptions (an Egyptian record of c. 498–497 BC, and a list on the tomb of Darius the Great at Naqsh-e Rustam, c. 486 BC. It is believed to have comprised the lands now known as Thrace and Macedon.

N. G. L. Hammond hypothesizes that the name Skudra may have been the name originally used for this region by the Phrygians, who had settled in the area before migrating to Asia.

Persian sources describe the province as being populated by three groups: the Saka Paradraya (“Saka beyond the sea”, the Persian term for all Scythian peoples to the north of the Caspian and Black Seas); the Skudra themselves (most likely the Thracian tribes), and Yauna Takabara. The latter term, which translates as “Ionians with shield-like hats”, is believed to refer to Macedonians.

The Thracian and Scythian regions were conquered by Darius I around 512 BC, the Macedonian kingdom by Mardonius in 492 BC. The latter had been a vassal of Persia since 512/511 BC, but remained having a large amount of autonomy. The 492 BC campaign led by Mardonius made it a fully subordinate part of the empire.

The three ethnicities (Saka, Macedonian, Thracian) enrolled in the Achaemenid army, as shown in the Imperial tomb reliefs of Naqsh-e Rostam, and participated on the Achaemenid side to the Second Persian invasion of Greece. Only did the final defeat of the Achaemenids in the campaign free them from Persian control in 479 BC.

Thracian language

The Thracian language is an extinct and poorly attested language, generally considered to be Indo-European, spoken in ancient times in Southeast Europe by the Thracians. It was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks.

The linguistic classification of the ancient Thracian language has long been a matter of contention and uncertainty, and there are widely varying hypotheses regarding its position among other Paleo-Balkan languages. It is not contested, however, that the Thracian languages were Indo-European languages which had acquired satem characteristics by the time they are attested.

The language, of which little is known from written sources was extinct by the Early Middle Ages. It exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly influenced by Satem languages. 

It was spoken in what is now the southern half of Bulgaria, eastern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Greece, European Turkey and in parts of Bithynia (North-Western Asiatic Turkey). Eastern Serbia is usually considered by paleolinguists to have been a Daco-Moesian language area. Moesian is grouped with Dacian.

The linguistic affinities of the Thracian language are poorly understood, but it is generally agreed that it exhibited 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 enable the nature of this relationship to be decided.

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.

Other theories about Thracian remain controversial. Some linguists have suggested that the Albanian language and the ethnogenesis of the Albanians followed a migration by members of the Bessi westward into Albania.

A classification put forward by some linguists, such as Harvey Mayer, suggests that Thracian (and Dacian) belonged to the Baltic branch of Indo-European. 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.

Little is known for certain about the Thracian language, 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.

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.

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. An additional 180 Thracian words have been reconstructed.

The proposed Thracian words in the Ancient Greek lexicon are not numerous. They include the parth- element in Parthenon; balios (“dappled”; < PIE *bhel-, “to shine”, Bul. bel/bial “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”.

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 Duvanli 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, 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’), 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).

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.


A Daco-Thracian (or Thraco-Dacian) grouping with Dacian as either the same language or different from Thracian was widely held until the 1950s, but is untenable (according to J. P. Mallory) in light of toponymic evidence: only a percent of place names north of the Danube betray “pan-Thracian” roots.

The hypothesis of a Thraco-Dacian or Daco-Thracian branch of IE, indicating a close link between the Thracian and Dacian languages, has numerous adherents, including Russu 1967, Georg Solta 1980, Vraciu 1980, Crossland, Trask (2000), McHenry (1993), Mihailov (2008). Crossland (1982) considers that the divergence of a presumed original Thraco-Dacian language into northern and southern groups of dialects is not so significant as to rank them as separate languages.

According to Georg Solta (1982), there is no significant difference between Dacian and Thracian. Rădulescu (1984) accepts that Daco-Moesian possesses a certain degree of dialectal individuality, but argues that there is no fundamental separation between Daco-Moesian and Thracian.

Crossland considers this seems to be a divergence of a Thraco-Dacian language into northern and southern groups of dialects, not as different as to rank as separate languages. Polomé (1982) considers that the evidence presented by Georgiev and Duridanov, although substantial, is not sufficient to determine whether Daco-Moesian and Thracian were two dialects of the same language or two distinct languages.

In the 1950s, the Bulgarian linguist Vladimir I. Georgiev published his work which argued that Dacian and Albanian should be assigned to a language branch termed Daco-Mysian, Mysian (the term Mysian derives from the Daco-Thracian tribe known as the Moesi) being thought of as a transitional language between Dacian and Thracian.

Georgiev argued that Dacian and Thracian are different languages, with different phonetic systems, his idea being supported by the placenames, which end in -dava in Dacian and Mysian, as opposed to -para, in Thracian placenames.

Georgiev argues that the distance between Dacian and Thracian was approximately the same as that between the Armenian and Persian languages. The claim of Georgiev that Albanian is a direct recent descendant of Daco-Moesian, not only a part of the branch, is highly based on speculations as suffixes from Dacian toponyms as Dava, for example, are lacking in modern Albanian toponymy (with one exception).



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. The Thraco-Illyrian grouping has also been called into question. Daco-Thracian or Thraco-Dacian is the main hypothesis.

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.

Thraco-Dacian has been hypothesized as forming a branch of Indo-European along with Baltic. For a big number 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. This significant relatedness show close affinity and kinship of Thracian with Baltic.


Thraco-Illyrian is a hypothesis that the Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian languages comprise a distinct branch of Indo-European. Thraco-Illyrian is also used as a term merely implying a Thracian-Illyrian interference, mixture or sprachbund.

That is a shorthand way of saying that it is not determined whether a subject is to be considered as pertaining to Thracian or Illyrian. Downgraded to a geo-linguistic concept, these languages are referred to as Paleo-Balkan.

The linguistical hypothesis was especially current in the early 20th century, but after the 1960s it was seriously called into question. New publications argued that no strong evidence for Thraco-Illyrian exists, and that the two language-areas show more differences than correspondences.

More recent linguists have argued that based on the available data, Illyrian and Thracian were mutually intelligible or at very least formed a dialect continuum in a way comparable to Czech-Slovak and Spanish-Portuguese or Continental Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish).

The Vardar, South Morava and Great Morava rivers are generally considered to approximate the border between the Illyrian and Thracian spheres, in the west and east respectively. However, Thracian and Illyrian did not have a clear-cut frontier.

There was also, clearly, significant interaction between the Illyrian and Thracian spheres, with some Thracian groups occupying the Illyrian sphere and vice versa; the identity of some groups as Illyrian or Thracian has also remained unclear, or, in some instances, a Thraco-Illyrian mix. Such factors reinforce the impression that many similarities between the Illyrian and Thracian lexes resulted from language contact.

Other scholars, such as Romanian linguist and historian Ion Russu, argue that there were major similarities between Illyrian and Thracian and so a shared, ancestral linguistic branch is probable, rather than them forming a sprachbund. 

Not many Thraco-Illyrian correspondences are definite, and a number may be incorrect, even from the list above. Sorin Paliga (2002) however states: “According to the available data, we may surmise that Thracian and Illyrian were mutually understandable, e.g. like Czech and Slovak, in one extreme, or like Spanish and Portuguese, at the other.”

Other linguists however argue that Illyrian and Thracian were different Indo-European branches which later converged through contact. It is also of significance that Illyrian languages still have not been classified whether they were centum or satem language, while it is undisputed that Thracian was a satem language by the Classical Period (the satem nature of proto-Thracian is disputed, Olteanu 2002).

Due to the fragmentary attestation of both Illyrian and Thraco-Dacian, the existence of a Thraco-Illyrian branch remains controversial. Evidence of a Thraco-Illyrian branch has also been sought in the Albanian language, which might have developed from either a Thraco-Dacian or Illyrian language, or possibly even a Thraco-Illyrian creole, a view generally propounded by Albanian linguists.


The Baltic classification of Dacian and Thracian has been proposed by the Lithuanian polymath Jonas Basanavičius, referred to as “Patriarch of Lithuania”, who insisted this is the most important work of his life and listed 600 identical words of Balts and Thracians and was the first to investigate similarities in vocal traditions between Lithuanians and Bulgarians.

He also theoretically included Dacian and Phrygian in the related group, but a part of this inclusion was unsupported by other authors, such as the linguistic analysis of Ivan Duridanov, which found Phrygian completely lacking parallels in either Thracian or Baltic languages.

The Bulgarian linguist Ivan Duridanov, in his first publication claimed that Thracian and Dacian are genetically linked to the Baltic languages and in the next one he made the following classification: “The Thracian language formed a close group with the Baltic (resp. Balto-Slavic), the Dacian and the ‘Pelasgian’ languages.

More distant were its relations with the other Indo-European languages, and especially with Greek, the Italic and Celtic languages, which exhibit only isolated phonetic similarities with Thracian; the Tokharian and the Hittite were also distant.”

Of about 200 reconstructed Thracian words by Duridanov, most cognates (138) appear in the Baltic languages, mostly in Lithuanian, followed by Germanic (61), Indo-Aryan (41), Greek (36), Bulgarian (23), Latin (10) and Albanian (8).

The use of toponyms is suggested to determine the extent of a culture’s influence. Parallels have enabled linguists, using the techniques of comparative linguistics, to decipher the meanings of several Dacian and Thracian placenames with, they claim, a high degree of probability. Of 300 attested Thracian geographic names, most parallels were found between Thracian and Baltic geographic names in the study of Duridanov.

According to Duridanov, “the similarity of these parallels stretching frequently on the main element and the suffix simultaneously, which makes a strong impression”. He also reconstructed Dacian words and Dacian placenames and found parallels mostly in the Baltic languages, followed by Albanian.

Other Slavic authors noted that Dacian and Thracian have much in common with Baltic onomastics and explicitly not in any similar way with Slavic onomastics, including cognates and parallels of lexical isoglosses, which implies a recent common ancestor.

After creating a list of names of rivers and personal names with a high number of parallels, the Romanian linguist Mircea M. Radulescu classified the Daco-Moesian and Thracian as Baltic languages, result of Baltic expansion to the south and also proposed such classification for Illyrian.

The Venezuelan-Lithuanian historian Jurate Rosales classifies Dacian and Thracian as Baltic languages. The American linguist Harvey Mayer refers to both Dacian and Thracian as Baltic languages and refers to them as Southern or Eastern Baltic.

He claims to have sufficient evidence for classifying them as Baltoidic or at least “Baltic-like”, if not exactly, Baltic dialects or languages and classifies Dacians and Thracians as “Balts by extension”. Mayer claims that he extracted an unambiguous evidence for regarding Dacian and Thracian as more tied to Lithuanian than to Latvian.



Odrysian kingdom

Thracian language

Thracian mythology





Classification of Thracian



There are a number of close cognates between Thracian and Albanian, but this may indicate only that Thracian and Albanian are related but not very closely related satem IE languages on their own branches of Indo-European, analogous to the situation between Albanian and the Baltic languages: Albanian and Baltic share many close cognates, while according to Mayer, Albanian is a descendant of Illyrian and escaped any heavy Baltic influence of Daco-Thracian.

Still, the hypothesis that Thracian and Albanian form a distinct branch (often in these scenarios, along with Dacian) of Indo-European is given much consideration even today. A few of the cognates between Thracian and Albanian may actually represent borrowings from one language to another; in most cases this is ruled out because a word or lexical item follows the sound-changes expected in the language from its PIE sound-changes.

Among the cognates between Thracian and Albanian: the Thracian inscription mezenai on the Duvanli gold ring has been unanimously linked to Messapian menzana (=horse deity) to Albanian mëz (=pony), as well as to Romanian mânz (=colt), and it is agreed that Thracian mezenai meant ‘horseman’; Thracian manteia is supposed to be cognate to Albanian mand (=mulberry).

This view has not gained wide acceptance among scholars and is rejected by most Albanian linguists, who both mainly consider that Albanian belongs to the Illyrian branch of IE.

Polome accepts the claim that Albanian is descended from Illyrian, not Thracian, although he considers the evidence for this as inconclusive. A toponymic analysis of a Bulgarian linguist showed inconsistency between toponymy of the Bessi and Albanian toponymy.


Sorin Mihai Olteanu, a Romanian linguist and Thracologist, proposed that the Thracian (as well as the Dacian) language was a centum language in its earlier period, and developed satem features over time. One of the arguments for this idea is that there are many close cognates between Thracian and Ancient Greek.

There are also substratum words in the Romanian language that are cited as evidence of the genetic relationship of the Thracian language to ancient Greek and the Ancient Macedonian language (the extinct language or Greek dialect of ancient Macedon).

The Greek language itself may be grouped with the Phrygian language and Armenian language, both of which have been grouped with Thracian in the past. As in the case with Albanian and Balto-Slavic, there is no compelling evidence that Thracian and Greek (or Daco-Thracian and Greco-Macedonian) share a close common ancestor.

Thraco-Phrygian or Thraco-Armenian

For a long time a Thraco-Phrygian hypothesis grouping Thracian with the extinct Phrygian language was considered, largely based on Greek historians like Strabo. By extension of identifying Phrygians with Proto-Armenians, a Thraco-Phrygian branch of Indo-European was postulated with Thracian, Phrygian and Armenian and constituent languages.

The evidence for this seems to have been mostly based on interpretations of history and identifying the eastern Mushki with Armenians and assuming they had branched off from western Mushki (whom has been conclusively identified as Phrygians).

However, in 1988 Fredrik Kortlandt argued, on linguistic grounds such as a common treatment of Proto-Indo-European glottal stops, that Armenian descended from a Thracian dialect. Thus, forming a Thraco-Armenian branch of Indo-European.

In 2016 Kortlandt extended his theories, postulating a link between Thraco-Armenian and the hypothetical Graeco-Phrygian language family, despite Thracian and Armenian being Satem languages and Greek and Phrygian Centum languages Kortlandt identifies sound correspondences and grammatical similarities postulating a relationship between his Thraco-Armenian family and the more established Graeco-Phrygian family.

Graeco-Armenian is by itself a common hypothesized subgrouping of Indo-European languages. Kortlandt considers Albanian a descendant of Dacian which he regards as belonging to a separate language family as Thraco-Armenian. Older textbooks grouped Phrygian and Armenian with Thracian, but the belief is no longer popular and is mostly discarded.

Today, Phrygian is not widely seen as linked to Thracian. Georgiev claimed that Thracian is different from Phrygian “as much as Greek from Albanian”, comparing 150 Phrygian inscriptions. Duridanov found in 1976 Phrygian completely lacking parallels in Thracian and concluded that the Thraco-Phrygian theory is debunked.

Duridanov argued that the Thraco-Illyrian theory is a mistake of the past: “In the past it was regarded that Thracian together with the Phrygian and other vanished languages belonged to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. This mistake was corrected in the 80’s of the last century, but the ambiguities still persisted: the Thracian was combined in one group with the Phrygian (P. Kretschmer), and later – with the Illyrian (the language, spoken in the modern Dalmatia and Albania).”


The Dacians (Latin: Daci) were an Indo-European people, part of or related to the Thracians. The Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia, located in the area in and around the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea. This area includes the present-day countries of Romania and Moldova, as well as parts of Ukraine, Eastern Serbia, Northern Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

There was a well-established tradition in the 4th century that the Getae, believed to be Dacians by mainstream scholarship, and the Gothi were the same people e.g. Orosius: Getae illi qui et nunc Gothi. This identification, now discredited, was supported by Jacob Grimm. In pursuit of his hypothesis, Grimm proposed many kindred features between the Getae and Germanic tribes.

The Dacians were known as Geta (plural Getae) in Ancient Greek writings, and as Dacus (plural Daci) or Getae in Roman documents, but also as Dagae and Gaete as depicted on the late Roman map Tabula Peutingeriana. It was Herodotus who first used the ethnonym Getae in his Histories.

In Greek and Latin, in the writings of Julius Caesar, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder, the people became known as ‘the Dacians’. Getae and Dacians were interchangeable terms, or used with some confusion by the Greeks.

The Dacians spoke the Dacian language, believed to have been closely related to Thracian, but were culturally influenced by the neighbouring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC. In the absence of written historical records, the origins of the Dacians (and Thracians) remain obscure. Evidence of proto-Thracians or proto-Dacians in the prehistoric period depends on the remains of material culture.

It is generally proposed that a proto-Dacian or proto-Thracian people developed from a mixture of indigenous peoples and Indo-Europeans from the time of Proto-Indo-European expansion in the Early Bronze Age (3,300–3,000 BC) when the latter, around 1500 BC, 2conquered the indigenous peoples. The indigenous people were Danubian farmers, and the invading people of the BC 3rd millennium were Kurgan warrior-herders from the Ukrainian and Russian steppes.

Indo-Europeanization was complete by the beginning of the Bronze Age. The people of that time are best described as proto-Thracians, which later developed in the Iron Age into Danubian-Carpathian Geto-Dacians as well as Thracians of the eastern Balkan Peninsula.

The eastern branch, who lived between the Isker, Yantra, and Danube rivers, were called the Getae, and the western group became known as Dacian. They all spoke a Thracian dialect of Indo-European, and were mainly sedentary grain farmers who also mined gold, silver, and later iron. The tribes were headed by chieftains with religious responsibilities and practices similar to the Brahmins of India, the magi of the Persians, and the druids of Ireland.

Between BC 15th–12th century, the Dacian-Getae culture was influenced by the Bronze Age Tumulus-Urnfield warriors who were on their way through the Balkans to Anatolia. When the La Tene Celts arrived in BC 4th century, the Dacians were under the influence of the Scythians.

Alexander the Great attacked the Getae in BC 335 on the lower Danube, but by BC 300 they had formed a state founded on a military democracy, and began a period of conquest. More Celts arrived during the BC 3rd century, and in BC 1st century the people of Boii tried to conquer some of the Dacian territory on the eastern side of the Teiss river.

The Dacians drove the Boii south across the Danube and out of their territory, at which point the Boii abandoned any further plans for invasion. By the end of the first century AD, all the inhabitants of the lands which now form Romania were known to the Romans as Daci, with the exception of some Celtic and Germanic tribes who infiltrated from the west, and Sarmatian and related people from the east.

The Dacians and Getae were always considered as Thracians by the ancients (Dio Cassius, Trogus Pompeius, Appian, Strabo and Pliny the Elder), and were both said to speak the same Thracian language.Thraco-Dacian (or Thracian and Daco-Mysian) seems to belong to the eastern (satem) group of Indo-European languages.

There are two contradictory theories: Some consider Dacian to be a Thracian language or a dialect thereof, while other scholars consider that Thracian and Dacian are two different and specific Indo-European languages which cannot be reduced to a common language.

Another variety that has sometimes been recognized is that of Moesian (or Mysian) for the language of an intermediate area immediately to the south of Danube in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romanian Dobruja: this and the dialects north of the Danube have been grouped together as Daco-Moesian.

According to Georgiev, the language spoken by the ethnic Dacians should be classified as “Daco-Moesian” and regarded as distinct from Thracian. Georgiev also claimed that names from approximately Roman Dacia and Moesia show different and generally less extensive changes in Indo-European consonants and vowels than those found in Thrace itself.

However, the evidence seems to indicate divergence of a Thraco-Dacian language into northern and southern groups of dialects, not so different as to qualify as separate languages. Polomé considers that such lexical differentiation ( -dava vs. para) would, however, be hardly enough evidence to separate Daco-Moesian from Thracian.

Dacians are represented in the statues surmounting the Arch of Constantine and on Trajan’s Column. The artist of the Column took some care to depict, in his opinion, a variety of Dacian people—from high-ranking men, women, and children to the near-savage. Although the artist looked to models in Hellenistic art for some body types and compositions, he does not represent the Dacians as generic barbarians.

Physically, the Dacians and the Getae had similar characteristics to other barbarians around them (Thracians, Celts, and Scythians). Unlike the Greeks, Scythians, and Germanics, Dacians are generally described as being much taller, their skin whiter and with straight light-coloured hair and blue eyes. On Trajan’s column, Dacian soldiers are shown with relatively short hair (although not as short as the Romans’) and trimmed beards.

Body-painting was customary among the Dacians. It is probable that the tattooing originally had a religious significance. They practiced symbolic-ritual tattooing or body painting for both men and women, with hereditary symbols transmitted up to the fourth generation.

Dacian Languages

Dacian is an extinct language, generally believed to be Indo-European, that was spoken in the Carpathian region in antiquity. In the 1st century, it was probably the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and possibly of some surrounding regions. The language was probably extinct by the 7th century AD.

The Dacian language is poorly documented. Unlike for Phrygian, which is documented by c. 200 inscriptions, only one Dacian inscription is believed to have survived. While there is general agreement among scholars that Dacian was an Indo-European language, there are divergent opinions about its place within the IE family. 

Some says Dacian was a dialect of the extinct Thracian language, or vice versa, e. g. Baldi (1983) and Trask (2000). Others say Dacian was a language distinct from Thracian but closely related to it, belonging to the same branch of the Indo-European family (a “Thraco-Dacian”, or “Daco-Thracian” branch has been theorised by some linguists).

some believs Dacian, Thracian, the Baltic languages (Duridanov also adds Pelasgian) formed a distinct branch of Indo-European, e.g. Schall (1974), Duridanov (1976), Radulescu (1987) and Mayer (1996). The theory of Georgiev (1977) Daco-Moesian was the ancestor of Albanian, belonging to a branch other than Thracian, but closely related to Thracian and distinct from Illyrian.

The Dacian names for a number of medicinal plants and herbs may survive in ancient literary texts, including about 60 plant-names in Dioscorides. About 1,150 personal names and 900 toponyms may also be of Dacian origin.

A few hundred words in modern Romanian and Albanian may have originated in ancient Balkan languages such as Dacian. Linguists have reconstructed about 100 Dacian words from placenames using established techniques of comparative linguistics, although only 20–25 such reconstructions had achieved wide acceptance by 1982.

There is scholarly consensus that Dacian was a member of the Indo-European family of languages. These descended, according to the two leading theories of the expansion of IE languages, from a proto-Indo European (proto-IE) tongue that originated in an urheimat (“original homeland”) in S. Russia/ Caucasus region, (Kurgan hypothesis) or in central Anatolia (Anatolian hypothesis). According to both theories, proto-IE reached the Carpathian region no later than c. 2500 BC.

Supporters of both theories have suggested this region as IE’s secondary urheimat, in which the differentiation of proto-IE into the various European language-groups (e.g. Italic, Germanic, Balto-Slavic, Celtic) began. There is thus considerable support for the thesis that Dacian developed in the Carpathian region during the third millennium BC, although its evolutionary pathways remains uncertain.

According to one scenario, proto-Thracian populations emerged during the Bronze Age from the fusion of the indigenous Eneolithic (Chalcolithic) population with the intruders of the transitional Indo-Europeanization Period. From these proto-Thracians, in the Iron Age, developed the Dacians / North Thracians of the Danubian-Carpathian Area on the one hand and the Thracians of the eastern Balkan Peninsula on the other.

According to Georgiev, the Dacian language was spread south of the Danube by tribes from Carpathia, who reached the central Balkans in the period 2000–1000 BC, with further movements (e.g. the Triballi tribe) after 1000 BC, until c. 300 BC.

According to the ancient geographer Strabo, Daco-Moesian was further spread into Asia Minor in the form of Mysian by a migration of the Moesi people; Strabo asserts that Moesi and Mysi were variants of the same name.

Dacian was probably one of the major languages of south-eastern Europe, spoken in the area between the Danube, Northern Carpathians, the Dnister River and the Balkans, and the Black Sea shore.

According to historians, as a result of the linguistic unity of the Getae and Dacians that are found in the records of ancient writers Strabo, Cassius Dio, Trogus Pompeius, Appian, and Pliny the Elder, contemporary historiography often uses the term Geto-Dacians to refer to the people living in the area between the Carpathians, the Haemus (Balkan) Mountains, the Black Sea, Dnister River, Northern Carpathians, and middle Danube.

Strabo gave more specific information, recording that “the Dacians speak the same language as the Getae” a dialect of the Thracian language. The information provided by the Greek geographer is complemented by other literary, linguistic, and archaeological evidence.

Accordingly, the Geto-Dacians may have occupied territory in the west and north-west, as far as Moravia and the middle Danube, to the area of present-day Serbia in the south-west, and as far as the Haemus Mountains (Balkans) in the south.

The eastern limit of the territory inhabited by the Geto-Dacians may have been the shore of the Black Sea and the Tyras River (Dnister), possibly at times reaching as far as the Bug River, the northern limit including the Trans-Carpathian westernmost Ukraine and southern Poland.

Over time, some peripheral areas of the Geto-Dacians’ territories were affected by the presence of other people, such as the Celts in the west, the Illyrians in the south-west, the Greeks and Scythians in the east and the Bastarnae in the north-east.

Nevertheless, between the Danube River (West), the Haemus Mountains (S), the Black Sea (E), the Dniester River (NE) and the northern Carpathians, a continuous Geto-Dacian presence as majority was permanently maintained, according to some scholars.

According to the Bulgarian linguist Georgiev, the Daco-Mysian region included Dacia (approximately contemporary Romania and Hungary east of the Tisza River, Mysia (Moesia) and Scythia Minor (contemporary Dobrogea).

It is unclear exactly when the Dacian language became extinct, or whether it has a living descendant. The first Roman conquest of part of Dacia did not extinguish the language, as Free Dacian tribes may have continued to speak Dacian in the area north-east of the Carpathians as late as the 6th or 7th century AD.

According to one hypothesis, a branch of Dacian continued as the Albanian language. Another hypothesis considers Albanian to be a Daco-Moesian dialect that split off from Dacian before 300 BC and that Dacian itself became extinct.

However, mainstream scholarship considers Albanian to be a descendant of the Illyrian language and not a dialect of Dacian. In this scenario, Albanian/Romanian cognates are either Daco-Moesian loanwords acquired by Albanian, or, more likely, Illyrian loanwords acquired by Romanian.

The argument for a split before 300 BC is that inherited Albanian words (e.g. Alb motër ‘sister’ < Late IE *ma:ter ‘mother’) show the transformation Late IE /aː/ > Alb /o/, but all the Latin loans in Albanian having an /aː/ show Latin /aː/ > Alb a.

This indicates that the transformation PAlb /aː/ > PAlb /o/ happened and ended before the Roman arrival in the Balkans. However, Romanian substratum words shared with Albanian show a Romanian /a/ that corresponds to an Albanian /o/ when the source of both sounds is an original common /aː/ (mazăre / modhull < *maːdzula ‘pea’, raţă / rosë < *raːtjaː ‘duck’), indicating that when these words had the same common form in Pre-Romanian and Proto-Albanian, the transformation PAlb /aː/ > PAlb /o/ had not yet begun.

The correlation between these two theories indicates that the hypothetical split between the pre-Roman Dacians, who were later Romanised, and Proto-Albanian happened before the Romans arrived in the Balkans.

According to Georgiev, Daco-Moesian was replaced by Latin as the everyday language in some parts of the two Moesiae during the Roman imperial era, but in others, for instance Dardania in modern-day southern Serbia and northern North Macedonia, Daco-Moesian remained dominant, although heavily influenced by eastern Balkan Latin.

The language may have survived in remote areas until the 6th century. Thracian, also supplanted by Latin, and by Greek in its southern zone, is documented as a living language in approximately 500 AD.


The ethnonym Moesi was used within the lands alongside the Danube river, in north-western Thrace. As analysed by some modern scholars, the ancient authors used the name Moesi speculatively to designate Triballians and also Getic and Dacian communities.

The Moesi 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).


The mainstream view among scholars is that Daco-Moesian forms the principal linguistic substratum of modern Romanian, a neo-Latin (Romance) language, which evolved from eastern Balkan Romance in the period AD 300–600, according to Georgiev. The possible residual influence of Daco-Moesian on modern Romanian is limited to a modest number of words and a few grammatical peculiarities.

According to Georgiev (1981), in Romanian there are about 70 words which have exact correspondences in Albanian, but the phonetic form of these Romanian words is so specific that they cannot be explained as Albanian borrowings. These words belong to the Dacian substratum in Romanian, while their Albanian correspondences were inherited from Daco-Moesian.

As in the case of any Romance language, it is argued that Romanian language derived from Vulgar Latin through a series of internal linguistic changes and because of Dacian or northern Thracian influences on Vulgar Latin in the late Roman era.

This influence explains a number of differences between Romanian -Thracian substrate-, French -Celtic substrate-, Spanish -Basque substratum-, Portuguese -Celtic substrate ?- Romanian has no major dialects, perhaps a reflection of its origin in a small mountain region, which was inaccessible but permitted easy internal communication.

The history of Romanian is based on speculation because there are virtually no written records of the area from the time of the withdrawal of the Romans around 300 AD until the end of the barbarian invasions around 1300 AD.

Many scholars, mostly Romanian, have conducted research into a Dacian linguistic substratum for the modern Romanian language. There is still not enough hard evidence for this. None of the few Dacian words known (mainly plant-names) and none of the Dacian words reconstructed from placenames have specific correspondent words in Romanian (as opposed to general correspondents in several IE languages).

DEX doesn’t mention any Dacian etymology, just a number of terms of unknown origin. Most of these are assumed by several scholars to be of Dacian origin, but there is no strong proof that they are. They could, in some cases, also be of pre-Indo-European origin (i.e. truly indigenous, from Stone Age Carpathian languages), or, if clearly Indo-European, be of Sarmatian origin – but there’s no proof for this either.

It seems plausible that a few Dacian words may have survived in the speech of the Carpathian inhabitants through successive changes in the region’s predominant languages: Dacian/Celtic (to AD 100), Latin/Sarmatian (c. 100–300), Germanic (c. 300–500), Slavic/Turkic (c. 500–1300), up to the Romanian language when the latter became the predominant language in the region.

The Romanian language has been denoted “Daco-Romanian” by some scholars because it derives from late Latin superimposed on a Dacian substratum, and evolved in the Roman colony of Dacia between AD 106 and 275.

Modern Romanian may contain 160–170 words of Dacian origin. By comparison, modern French, according to Bulei, has approximately 180 words of Celtic origin. The Celtic origin of the French substratum is certain, as the Celtic languages are abundantly documented, whereas the Dacian origin of Romanian words is in most cases speculative.

It is also argued that the Dacian language may form the substratum of the Proto-Romanian language, which developed from the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Balkans north of the Jirecek line, which roughly divides Latin influence from Greek influence. About 300 words in Balkan Romance languages, Daco-Romanian, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian, may derive from Dacian, and many of these show a satem-reflex.

Whether Dacian forms the substratum of Proto-Romanian is disputed, yet this theory does not rely only on the Romanisation having occurred in Roman Dacia, as Dacian was also spoken in Moesia and northern Dardania. Moesia was conquered by the Romans more than a century before Dacia, and its Latinity is confirmed by Christian sources.

The Jireček Line, an imaginary line through the ancient Balkans that divided the influences of the Latin (in the north) and Greek (in the south) languages until the 4th century. This line is important in establishing the Romanization area in Balkans

The Dacian / Thracian substratum of Romanian is often connected to the words shared between Romanian and Albanian. The correspondences between these languages reflect a common linguistic background.

Linguists like Eric Hamp, PB.P.Hasdeu, I.I.Russu and many others, see the Romanian language as a completely Romanised Daco-Moesian (Albanoid) language, whereas Albanian is a partly Romanised Daco-Moesian language. However, Dacian and Illyrian may have been more similar than most linguists believe, according to Van Antwerp Fine.


Russu asserts a Thraco-Dacian origin for the pre-Roman lexical items shared by Albanian and Romanian. He argues that the Albanians descend from the Carpi, which he considers a tribe of Free Dacians.

By rejecting the thesis of Illyrian- Albanian identification, Georgiev concludes that the Albanians originated in modern-day Romania or Serbia and that their language developed during the 4th to 6th centuries, when proto-Romanian appeared. Georgiev further suggested that Daco-Moesian is the ancestor of modern Albanian, based on the phonologies of the two languages.

Based on certain marked lexical and grammatical affinities between Albanian and Romanian, he also suggested proto-Albanian speakers migrated from Dardania into the region where Albanian is spoken today.

However, this theory is rejected by most Albanian linguists, who consider Albanian a direct descendant of ancient Illyrian. Polomé supports this view on balance, but considers the evidence inconclusive.

Other linguists argue that Albanian is a direct descendant of the language of the Bessi, a Thracian tribe that lived in the Rhodope Mountains. Many authors in general terms consider that Thraco-Illyrian branch including Dacian survived in a form of Albanian language.


There is significant evidence of at least a long-term proximity link, and possibly a genetic link, between Dacian and the modern Baltic languages. The Bulgarian linguist Ivan Duridanov, in his first publication claimed that Thracian and Dacian are genetically linked to the Baltic languages and in the next one he made the following classification: “The Thracian language formed a close group with the Baltic (resp. Balto-Slavic), the Dacian and the “Pelasgian” languages.

More distant were its relations with the other Indo-European languages, and especially with Greek, the Italic and Celtic languages, which exhibit only isolated phonetic similarities with Thracian; the Tokharian and the Hittite were also distant.”

Duridanov’s cognates of the reconstructed Dacian words are found mostly in the Baltic languages, followed by Albanian without considering Thracian. Parallels have enabled linguists, using the techniques of comparative linguistics, to decipher the meanings of several Dacian and Thracian placenames with, they claim, a high degree of probability. Of 74 Dacian placenames attested in primary sources and considered by Duridanov, a total of 62 have Baltic cognates, most of which were rated “certain” by Duridanov.

Polomé considers that these parallels are unlikely to be coincidence. Duridanov’s explanation is that proto-Dacian and proto-Thracian speakers were in close geographical proximity with proto-Baltic speakers for a prolonged period, perhaps during the period 3000–2000 BC.

A number of scholars such as the Russian Topоrov have pointed to the many close parallels between Dacian and Thracian placenames and those of the Baltic language-zone – Lithuania, Latvia and in East Prussia (where an extinct but well-documented Baltic language, Old Prussian, was spoken until it was displaced by German during the Middle Ages).

After creating a list of names of rivers and personal names with a high number of parallels, the Romanian linguist Mircea M. Radulescu classified the Daco-Moesian and Thracian as Baltic languages of the south and also proposed such classification for Illyrian.

The German linguist Schall also attributed a southern Baltic classification to Dacian. The American linguist Harvey Mayer refers to both Dacian and Thracian as Baltic languages. He claims to have sufficient evidence for classifying them as Baltoidic or at least “Baltic-like,” if not exactly, Baltic dialects or languages and classifies Dacians and Thracians as “Balts by extension”.

According to him, Albanian, the descendant of Illyrian, escaped any heavy Baltic influence of Daco-Thracian. Mayer claims that he extracted an unambiguous evidence for regarding Dacian and Thracian as more tied to Lithuanian than to Latvian. The Czech archaeologist Kristian Turnvvald classified Dacian as Danubian Baltic. The Venezuelan-Lithuanian historian Jurate de Rosales classifies Dacian and Thracian as Baltic languages.

It appears from the study of hydronyms (river and lake names) that Baltic languages once predominated much farther eastwards and southwards than their modern confinement to the southeastern shores of the Baltic sea, and included regions that later became predominantly Slavic-speaking.

The zone of Baltic hydronyms extends along the Baltic coast from the mouth of the Oder as far as Riga, eastwards as far as the line Yaroslavl–Moscow–Kursk and southwards as far as the line Oder mouth–Warsaw–Kiev–Kursk: it thus includes much of northern and eastern Poland, Belarus and central European Russia.


The Tauri, also Scythotauri, Tauri Scythae, Tauroscythae, the original inhabitants of Crimea, are sometimes identified as a people related to the Cimmerians and later the Taurisci, a federation of Celtic tribes who dwelt in today’s Carinthia and northern Slovenia (Carniola) before the coming of the Romans (c. 200 BC).

The Tauri were a people settled on the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula, inhabiting the Crimean Mountains in the 1st millennium BC and the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the Black Sea.

According to the sources, Taurians lived in Crimean peninsula for the first time and never abandoned its borders. They gave their name to the peninsula, which was known in ancient times as Taurica, Taurida and Tauris.

Taurians also played a major role in the development and settlement of the Kizil-Koban Culture (KKC) in the 8th-4th century BC. Osmolovsky, who conducted a research in the Krasnaya (Red) Cave in 1921, pointed out that the arrowheads, ceramics and necklaces found in the Cave were owned by the Taurians. There are several evidence that this culture belongs to the Tauris, such as:

Firstly, in the written sources of the earlier times than the 2nd century BC, there is no mention of any other society living in the Crimean foothills and mountains apart from the Taurians. Secondly, many artifacts found in Taurians territory and cemeteries were also found in the Kizil-Koba sites.

The similarity between the Kizil-Koba culture and the Koban culture created by the Cimmerian tribes in the Caucasus leads to suppose that the Kizil-Koba culture emerged in the Caucasus.

Taurians intermixed with the Scythians starting from the end of 3rd century BC, and were mentioned as Tauroscythians and Scythotaurians in the works of ancient Greek writers. The Taurians underwent the rule of the Pontic Kingdom in the 2nd century BC.

As a result of Roman occupations, Taurians were romanized in the first century AD. Later the Taurians were subsumed by the Alans and Goths, and existed till the 4th century.


Dacian language



Thraco-Cimmerian is a historiographical and archaeological term, composed of the names of the Thracians and the Cimmerians. It refers to 8th to 7th century BC cultures that are linked in Eastern Central Europe and in the area west of the Black Sea.

Paul Reinecke in 1925 postulated a North-Thracian-Cimmerian cultural sphere overlapping with the younger Hallstatt culture of the Eastern Alps. The term Thraco-Cimmerian was first introduced by I. Nestor in the 1930s. It reflects a “migrationist” tendency in the archaeology of the first half of the 20th century to equate material archaeology with historical ethnicities.

Nestor did intend to suggest that there was a historical migration of Cimmerians into Eastern Europe from the area of the former Srubna culture, perhaps triggered by the Scythian expansion, at the beginning of the European Iron Age.

This “migrationist” or “invasionist” view, assuming that the development of the mature Hallstatt culture (Hallstatt C) was triggered by a Cimmerian invasion, was the scholarly mainstream until the 1980s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, more systematic studies of the artefacts revealed a more gradual development over the period covering the 9th to 7th centuries, so that today the “invasionist” scenario or is considered untenable, and the term “Thraco-Cimmerian” is used by convention and does not necessarily imply a direct connection with either the Thracians or the Cimmerians.

Archaeologically, Thraco-Cimmerian artifacts consist of grave goods and hoards. The artifacts labelled Thraco-Cimmerian all belong to a category of upper class, luxury objects, like weapons, horse tacks and jewelry, and they are recovered only from a small percentage of graves of the period.

They are metal (usually bronze) items, particularly parts of horse tacks, found in a late Urnfield context, but without local Urnfield predecessors for their type. They appear rather to spread from the Koban culture of the Caucasus and northern Georgia, which together with the Srubna culture, blends into the 9th to 7th centuries pre-Scythian Chernogorovka and Novocherkassk cultures (ca. 900-650 BC).

The Chernogorivka and Novocherkassk cultures (c. 900 to 650 BC) are Iron Age steppe cultures in Ukraine and Russia, centered between the Prut and the lower Don. They are pre-Scythian cultures, associated with the Cimmerians.

In 1971 the Vysokaja Mogila kurgan (graves number 2 and 5) was excavated in the Lower Dnieper River basin. Grave number 5 dates to the late Chernogorivka period (900–750 BC) and grave number 2 to the younger Novocherkassk period (750–650 BC).

The Novocherkassk culture expands to a larger area between the Danube and the Volga and is associated with the Eastern European Thraco-Cimmerian artefacts.

The Chernogorovka and Novocherkassk cultures were Iron Age steppe cultures in Ukraine and Russia, centered between the Prut and the lower Don associated with the Cimmerians. The Novocherkassk culture expands to a larger area between the Danube and the Volga and is associated with the Eastern European Thraco-Cimmerian artefacts.

By the 7th century, Thraco-Cimmerian objects are spread further west over most of Eastern and Central Europe, locations of finds reaching to Denmark and eastern Prussia in the north and to Lake Zürich in the west. Together with these bronze artifacts, earliest Iron items appear, ushering in the European Iron Age, corresponding to the Proto-Celtic expansion from the Hallstatt culture.

In the central Hallstatt regions toward the end of the period, very rich graves of high-status individuals under large tumuli are found near the remains of fortified hilltop settlements. They often contain chariots and horse bits or yokes as commonly used by Cimmerian knights.


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List of ancient Daco-Thracian peoples and tribes






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