The Odrysai and their dynasty


According to the words of the famous Athenian historian Thucydides (fifth century BC), the Odrysian rulers created the greatest state in Europe between the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea. Their first representative known to the historians and the founder of their state Teres I, profited by the withdrawal of the huge Persian army under the command of Darius I from its campaign against the Scythians (514 BC) and fixed the boundaries of the Odrysai on the lower course of the Danube River. The sons of Teres – Sparadokos amd Sitalkas/es, as well as their successors till Kotys I, spread their domination from the mouth of the Danube to the mouth of the Mesta River, the ancient Nestos, and they divided with Athens the political, military and financial control over the area of the Aegean Sea coast and the coast of the Sea of Marmara.

During the fifth century and the first half of the fourth century BC, when the Odrysian dynasty took the lead of all Thracian prosperity, vast resources were concentrated in the Odrysian royal treasury. The records of the received taxes and “royal presents” of gold and silver articles gave 500 or even 1000 talents total weight (1 talent = 26 kg) that at the time was commensurable only with the resources of the Persian Empire.

Got into a political and economic depression in the third – first centuries BC that befallen Southeast Europe, the Odrysian dynasty gradually lost large territories but kept its authority till the period of vassalage it got into during the first Roman emperors. This period definitely ended in 45 AD when the emperor Claudius established the province of Thracia between the Mount Haemus, today’s the Balkan Mountains, and the Aegean Sea.



Prof. Aleksander Fol


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