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The Thracian kingdom Bessi

The most famous king of the Satrae – that of the Bessi during and after the second half of the fourth century BC – combined undoubtedly both the royal and the priestly power over a territory with a centre located at the sanctuary of Dionysus, one of the most popular prophesying centres in the ancient times.

The practice of using the name of the Bessi started to impose with the disappearance of the ethnonym of the Satrae due to military-political, and, most of all, religious reasons. After the third century BC, it turned into a generalised ethnonym of all the Thracians. The Bessi dynasty whose state was conquered by the Odrysians most probably towards the end of the fifth or the beginning of the fourth century BC, stayed anonymous until the first century BC, when their leader Rabokentes was mentioned. The priest Vologaesos was mentioned later. The analysis of the type and the position of the funeral offerings in the six rich tombs from Duvanli tells us not only about the Dionysiac rites with which the Bessi were connected forever, but gives us also the names of two of their kings, Skythodokos and Dadalemes.

Prof. Aleksander Fol

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