Skip to main content Accessibility help

Lysimachus, the Getae, and archaeology

  • P. Delev (a1)

Among the principal successors to Alexander the Great, Lysimachus is probably the one that has suffered most by neglect in the scanty literary sources at our disposal. His wars with the Getae and their king Dromichaetes are among the few events in his long career which have received more than a casual notice in the historical tradition; no wonder that they have been examined repeatedly both in the context of Lysimachus' political biography and of the history of the region and its Thracian population, the Getae. However, many aspects of the circumstances remain obscure and dubious, and their discussion has more than once ended with the expression of hope that one day new archaeological finds might permit the solution of some of the associated riddles. The recent archaeological discoveries near Sveshtari in north-eastern Bulgaria seem now to warrant a re-examination of these problems.

Hide All

1 Among the many recent publications witnessing the renewed scientific interest in Lysimachus, see esp.Landucci Gattinoni, F., Lisimaco di Tracia: Un sovrano nella prospettiva delprimo ellemsmo (Milano, 1992); Lund, H. S., Lysimachus: A Study in Early Hellenistic Kingship (London, 1992); Franco, C., Il regno di Lisimaco: strutture amministrative e rapporti con le città (Pisa, 1993).

2 Diod. 21, frs. 11, 12; Strabo 7.3.8, 3.14; Paus. 1.9.5–6; Polyaen. Strut. 7.25; Polyb. fr. 102; Justin. 16.1.19; Plut. Demetr. 39, 52; Mor. 126ef (De Tu. San. 9); 183e (Reg. et Imp. Apophth. Lys. 1); 555de (De Sera Num. 11).

3 Possenti, G. B., Il re Lisimaco di Tracia (Torino, 1901), 132–5; Hünerwadel, W., Forschungen zur Geschichte des Konigs Lysimachos von Thrakien (Zürich, 1901), 72–4; Saitta, G., ‘Lisimaco di Tracia’, Kokalos 1 (Palermo, 1955), 87–9, 116–20; Landucci Gattinoni (n. 1), 182–6; Lund (n. 1), 43–9;Delev, P., Epohi (1994), 4.17–28.

4 Pârvan, V., Getica. O protoistorie a Daciei (Bucuresti, 1926), 5565; Fol, A., Trakia i Balkanite prez rannoelinisticheskata epoha (Sofia, 1975), 53–8; Jordanov, K., Bulgarian Historical Review (1990) 1.39–51; id., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 13–20; id., Istoria (1992), 2.1–10.

5 Or strategos? This was the traditional office in Alexander's lifetime, the strategos for Thrace being subordinate to Antipater as plenipotentiary strategos for the whole of Europe. It has, however, been suggested that with the Babylonian arrangement Thrace was given the status of the Asiatic satrapies, the purpose being to transfer the overall jurisdiction from Antipater to Perdiccas; cf.Droysen, J. G., Geschichte des Hellenismus 2.1 (Gotha, 1878 2), 31; Possenti (n. 3), 51; Saitta (n. 3), 62–3; Lund (n. 1), 20; contra Franco (n. 1), 14, n. 3.

6 Diod. 18.3.2; Arr. Succ. (FGrH no. 156) 7; Dexip. (FgrH no. 100) 8; Curt. 10.10.1–6; Justin. 13.4.16.

7 For the Nestus as a frontier dividing Macedonia from Thrace in Early Hellenistic times, see Strabo 7, fr. 33, 35.

8 On the Thracian Bosporus, Byzantium remained independent as before.

9 The depth of Lysimachus' penetration in the interior remains uncertain; Cabyle on the middle Tonzos seems to have remained out of his sphere.

10 On the Greek cities between the Haemus and the Istrus, see Danov, C. M., Zapadniat briag na Chemo more v drevnostta (Sofia, 1947); id., RE Suppl. 9 (1962), 844–1175;Blavatskaia, T. V., Zapadnopontiyskie goroda v 7—1 vekah do n.e. (Moscow, 1952); Preda, C., Callatis (Bucuresti, 1968); Pippidi, D. M., Berciu, D., Din istoria Dobrogei. 1, Geti si Greci la Dunarea dejos din cele mai vechi timpuri p ῖna la cucerirea romana (Bucuresti, 1965); Pippidi, D. M., I Greci nel basso Danubio dall'età arcaica alia conquista romana (Milano, 1971); id., Les cités grecques de la Dobroudja dans I'histoire de I'antiquité (Bucarest, 1977); numerous publications have appeared in the periodicals Pontica (Constanta) and Izvestia na Varnenskoto arheologichesko druzhestvo (continued as Izvestia na Narodnia muzei Varna), and in the monographic series Histria (Bucuresti).

11 See Lund (n. 1), 33–5; Franco (n. 1), 21–4, 33–6,41.

12 Welles, C. B., Royal Correspondence in the Hellenistic Period (New Haven, 1934), no. 1.

13 See note 2 above.

14 Paus. 1.9.6: ‘Then Lysimachus made war against his neighbours, first the Odrysae, secondly the Getae and Dromichaetes. Engaging with men not unversed in warfare and far his superiors in number, he himself escaped from a position of extreme danger, but his son Agathocles, who was serving with him then for the first time, was taken prisoner by the Getae. Lysimachus met with other reverses afterwards, and attaching great importance to the capture of his son made peace with Dromichaetes, yielding to the Getic king the parts of his empire beyond the Ister, and, chiefly under compulsion, giving him his daughter in marriage. Others say that not Agathocles but Lysimachus himself was taken prisoner, regaining his liberty when Agathocles treated with the Getic king on his behalf. On his return he married to Agathocles Lysandra, the daughter of Ptolemy, son of Lagus, and of Eurydice’ (trans. W. H. S. Jones).

15 Fol (n. 4), 57–8;Jordanov, K. in Istoria na Dobrudja 1 (Sofia, 1984), 116; Tacheva, M., Istoria nabulgarskite zemi v drevnostta prez elinisticheskata i rimskata epoha (Sofia, 1997 2), 1617. Cf. my objections in Delev, P., Epohi (1994), 4.17–28.

16 The vague appellation ‘Thracians’ in this text is not confusing, for Diodorus uses the same name for the Getae of Dromichaetes in the more circumstantial account dedicated to the second war (Diod. 21.12: ‘Thracians’ is repeated six times in this text, but the more precise ‘Getae’ is also used, if only once). Diodorus calls the South Danubian Getae ‘Thracians’ also in the account of the events in 313 b.c. discussed above (19.73.2,4–5). The Getae were a Thracian tribal group, so the appellation in itself is not incorrect.

17 Diod. 21.11 = Const. Exc 2 (1), p. 253: ‘The Thracians captured Agathocles, the king's son, but sent him home with gifts, partly to prepare for themselves a refuge against the surprises of Fortune, partly in the hope of recovering through this act of humanity that part of their territory which Lysimachus had seized. For they no longer hoped to be able to prevail in the war, since almost all the most powerful kings were now in agreement, and were in military alliance one with another’ (trans. F. R. Walton).

18 Pausanias mentions the crossing of Lysimachus into Asia and the war with Antigonus directly after the passage dedicated to the wars with Dromichaetes, and he also says that Agathocles married Lysandra, a daughter of Ptolemy by Eurydice, long before the marriage of Lysimachus himself to another daughter of Ptolemy, Arsinoë (Paus., 1.9.6; cf. 1.10.3). The marriage of Lysimachus and Arsinoë is confidently dated to the years immediately following the battle of Ipsus. The marriage between Agathocles and Lysandra is, however, a chronological puzzle. The statement of Pausanias is contradicted by the assertion of Plutarch that both marriages were simultaneous (Demetr. 31.5), while Porphyry (3.5 Jacoby = 4.3 FrHG = Euseb. 1, 232 Schöne) makes Lysandra the wife of Alexander, the son of Cassander. Many modern historians place the marriage of Agathocles and Lysandra only after 294 b.c. (the death of Alexander V), openly discrediting the chronology of Pausanias. Could not his statement then possibly be regarded as a misrepresentation of an original assertion that Lysimachus and Arsinoë already had children at the time of the marriage of Agathocles and Lysandra?

19 Reuss, F., Hieronymus von Kardien. Studien zur Geschichte der Diadochenzeit (Berlin, 1876), 124; Geyer, F., ‘Lysimachus’, RE 14 (1928), 67. Further, but also inconclusive argumentation in support of this hypothesis has been suggested by Papazoglu, F. in Adriatica praehistorica et antiqua (= Miscellanea G Novak dicata [Zagreb, 1970]), 335–46.

20 The fragment dealing with the captivity of Agathocles comes from the lost twenty-first book of the ‘Library of History’ which only starts with the battle of Ipsus, and the assertion of Diodorus that ‘all the most powerful kings were in agreement and in military alliance one with another’ can hardly be reconciled with any date between the ‘Year of the Kings’ and Ipsus. It should be remembered that whereas Diodorus is generally considered a relatively trustworthy and reliable source for the Age of the Successors, the information in Pausanias about events of the early Hellenistic age, although probably going back at least partly (but probably indirectly) to good primary sources, contains numerous confusions and inexactitudes in its details. See Segre, M., Historia 2 (1928), 217–37; Lévéque, P., Pyrrhos (Paris, 1957), 68–9.

21 Possenti (n. 3), 97–8 suggested it might have been simultaneous with the war against Antigonus in Asia, while Hünerwadel (n. 3), 58–60, 72 placed it soon after Ipsus and not later than 299 b.c. Saitta (n. 3), 116–19 proposed dating the end of the war in 297 b.c., when the new system of partial unions established after Ipsus (Lysimachus-Ptolemy and Seleucus-Demetrius) acquired, with the reconciliation between Ptolemy and Demetrius and for the short time before the latter's invasion of Greece in the following year, at least the outward appearance of universal concord.Niese, B.(Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Staaten seit der Schlacht bei Chaeronea 1 [Gotha, 1893], 367–8) referred the capture and release of Agathocles to the initial stages of the main war between Lysimachus and Dromichaetes; recently this view has been revived by Landucci Gattinoni (n. 1), 183–4, who accordingly dates the episode to 294 b.c..

22 So e.g.Beloch, K. J., Griechische Geschichte (Berlin/Leipzig, 1924–312), 4.1, 225, n. 2; the idea of reduplication has been taken over, although with less conviction, by Lund (n. 1), 45–6.

23 The word has tacitly been taken to imply nothing more than a sign of respect to an elder. The text of Diodorus, however, leaves the definite impression that some specific emphasis is laid on the use of πατρα.

24 For the use of similar appellations between father-in-law and son-in-law (Ptolemy and Pyrrhus), see Plut. Pyrrh. 6.7.

25 Cf. Hunerwadel (n. 3), 73–4; Possenti (n. 3), 134; Geyer (n. 19), 15; Saitta (n. 3), 89; Lund (n. 1), 48.

26 Diod. 21.12 = Const. Exc. 2 (1), pp. 253–4; 4, pp. 345–6.

27 Cf. Droysen (n. 5), 2.2, 275.

28 Strabo 7.3.14 (p. 305): Λυσμαχoς … στρατ εσας π Γτας; cf. 7.3.8 (p. 302); Polyaen. Strat. 7.25: Λυσμαχoς … στρατ εσ εν … π τν Δρᾴκην

29 Hünerwadel (n. 3), 72; Geyer (n. 19), 15.

30 Hünerwadel (n. 3), 72; Saitta (n. 3), 88, n. 56.

31 Justin. 16.1.19; Trog. Prol. 16; Oros. 3.23.52; cf. Plut. Pyrrh. 6.6.

32 Porphyr. fr. 3.3 FrHG = Syncell. 504.

33 Cf. Plut. Demetr. 35.5.

34 Hünerwadel (n. 3), 72; Possenti (n. 3), 133; Geyer (n. 19), 15; Saitta (n. 3), 154; Lund (n. 1), 45.

35 Polyaen. Strat. 7.25; cf. Droysen (n. 5), 2.2, 276.

36 Polyaen. loc. cit.: ς δυσχωρας.

37 Polyaen. loc. cit.; Diod. 21.12.1; Strabo 7.3.14 (p. 305); Plut. Mor. 126ef (De Tu. San. 9); 183e (Reg. et Imp. Apophth. Lys. 1); 555de (De Sera Num. 11).

38 Polyaen. loc. cit.

39 Diod. 21.12.3; Trog. Prol. 16; Plut. Demetr. 39.6; Mor. 126ef, 183e, 555de; Strabo 7.3.8 (p. 302); 7.3.14 (p. 305); Memnon 5.1 Jacoby.

40 Polyaen. Strat. 7.25.

41 Plut. Demetr. 39.6.

42 Plut. Demetr. 39.6ff.; Diod. 21.14.

43 Diod. 21.12.3–6; Strabo 7.3.8 (p. 302), 7.3.14 (p. 305); Plut. Demetr. 39.6; Trog. Prol. 16; Memnon 5.1 Jacoby.

44 Plut. Demetr. 40.7. The dating of the two sieges of Thebes by Demetrius has been discussed recently by B. Gullath, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte Boiotiens in der Zeit Alexanders und der Diadochen (Frankfurt am Main, 1982), 190–1.

45 Geyer(n. 19), 14.

46 Possenti (n. 3), 133; Beloch (n. 22), 4.2, 248;Tarn, W W., Antigonos Gonatas (Oxford, 1913), 40; Hammond, N. G. L. and Walbank, F. W., A History of Macedonia, vol. 3, 336–167 b.c. (Oxford, 1988), 220; Landucci Gattinoni (n. 1), 182–5.

47 Saitta (n. 3), 88; Lund (n. 1), 45.

48 Ibid.; cf. C. Wehrli. Antigone et Démétrios (Genéve, 1968), 175–6.

49 Memnon 5.1 Jacoby; cf. Hünerwadel (n. 3), 74; Possenti (n. 3), 133. Clearchus was not yet of age at the death of his father in 306/5 b.c. His relationship to Lysimachus results from the brief marriage of the latter and Amastris in 302–1 b.c.

50 See e. g. Droysen (n. 5), 2.2, 275–8; Hünerwadel (n. 3), 72–4; Possenti (n. 3), 132–5; Beloch (n. 22), 4.1,225; Pârvan (n. 4), 56–65; Geyer (n. 19), 15–16;Cloche, P., La Dislocation d'un empire (Paris, 1959), 255–6; Wiesner, J., Die Thraker (Stuttgart, 1963), 141; Pippidi and Berciu (n. 10), 133–5;Daicoviciu, C., Dacica (Cluj, 1970), 97100; Bengtson, H., Die Diadochen: Die Nachfolger Alexanders der Grossen (München, 1987), 128. Among the few who have opposed this widespread view, Fol (n. 4, 56–7) and Jordanov, K. (in Severoiztochna Bulgaria—drevnosl i suvremie [Sofia, 1985], 116) have recently proposed for Dromichaetes' kingdom a location in Dobrudja, along the right bank of the Danube between Silistra and Tulcea. This location seems improbable, however, for it is too near the coastal area which was firmly under the control of Lysimachus.

51 Zlatkovskaya, T. D. and Polevoi, L. L., in Drevnie frakiytsi v Severnom Prichernomorye (Moscow, 1969), 3560; Meliukova, A. I., Skifia i frakiyskiy mir (Moscow, 1979), 237–8; Nikulitse, I. T., Severnye frakiytsi v 6—1 v. do n.e. (Kishinev, 1987), 83, 192.

52 Pârvan (n. 4), 61–5; Pippidi, I Greci nel basso Danubio (n. 10), 18, 107; id., Scythica Minora. Recherches sur les colonies grecques du littoral roumain de la mer Noire (Bucuresti-Amsterdam, 1975), 51–2.

53 Trohani, G. and Nemoianu, L., Revista de istorie 34 (Bucuresti, 1981), 2.271–4.

54 Except for the vague and general expressions situating the wars of Lysimachus in Thrace or in the lands of the Getae and the just as indefinite in Ponto of Pompeius Trogus (Trog. Prol. 16), practically no ancient text offers any explicit localization of the events. The passage in Strabo (7.3.14 [p. 305]) about the Getic desert (τν Γ ετν ρημα) in what is now Bessarabia seems to mention the war between Lysimachus and Dromichaetes only as a typological parallel to the main story (the expedition of Darius against the Scythians, for which this localization is also rather problematic). The only direct mention of territories ‘across the Istrus’ in relation to Lysimachus is in Pausanias (1.9.6) and does not allude to any particular event from his wars with Dromichaetes, but only to the cession of territory after one of these (probably the first, as proposed above). Even if taken at face value, it would only imply that, from his bases in Dobrudja, Lysimachus had at some indefinite moment before or during the wars with Dromichaetes crossed the Danube and occupied some territory along the left bank, most probably in Eastern Muntenia, which he later returned to the Getae; this does not at all preclude a location of the main territory of the Getic kingdom on the southern bank of the river.

55 Grakov, B. N., Skify (Moscow, 1971), 29; Pippidi, I Greci nel basso Danubio (n. 10), 11–42;Fol, A., Politicheska istoria na trakite. Kraia na vtoroto hiliadoletie do kraia napeti vekpredinovata era (Sofia, 1972), 139, 144–54; id., Studia Thracica 1 (1975), 160–5.

56 From the abundant literature on the Getae, see e.g. Pârvan (n. 4); id., Dacia. An Outline of the early Civilisation of the Carpato-Danubian Countries (Cambridge, 1928); R. Vulpe, Histoire ancienne de la Dobroudja (Bucarest, 1938 = La Dobroudja, 35–454); Pippidi and Berciu (n. 10); Fol (n. 4), 35–59;Jordanov, K., Vekove (1974), 1.44–9; id., Études Balkaniques (1974), 208–17; id., Thracia antiqua 2 (Sofia, 1977), 110–22; id., Izvestia na Bulgarskoto istoruchesko druzhestvo 31 (1978), 5–17; id., in Actes du deuxième Congres international de thracologie (Bucarest, 1980), 1.331–6; id., in Istoria na Dobrudja 1 (Sofia, 1984), 72–123;Nikulitse, I. T., Severnie frakiytsi v 6–1 vv. do n.e. (Kishinev, 1987).

57 On the Odrysian kingdom, see Fol (n. 55), 115–54; id. (n. 4), 93–195;Archibald, Z. H., in The Cambridge Ancient History, VI: The Fourth Century b.c. (Cambridge, 1994 2), 444–75; id., The Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace. Orpheus Unmasked (Oxford, 1998).

58 Fol (n. 55), 139; Pippidi, I Greci nel basso Danubio (n. 10), 53.

59 Hecat. fr. 170–1 Jacoby (= St. Byz. s.w. Kρóβνζoι, Tριζo); Hdt. 4.49; Hellanic. fr. 73 Jacoby (= Phot., Suid. s. Zᾰλμoξις).

60 Fol (n. 55), 78; id. (n. 4), 44–50; K. Jordanov, in Severoiztochna Bulgaria—drevnost isuvremie(Sofia, 1985), 112, 115.

61 There are inscriptions of Cotys I on silver vessels from the tomb at Agighiol and from the Borovo treasure, and one reading Tρης / ’Aματóκoυ πδρν from Branichevo, cf. I. Venedikov, Arheologia 14 (1972), 2.1–7;Painter, K., in The Rogozen Treasure. Papers of the Anglo-Bulgarian Conference. 12 March 1987 (London, 1989), 76–8. The remaining finds of this type (e.g. Alexandrovo, Vratsa, Rogozen) are from the presumed realm of the Triballi further west.

62 Cf. Thuc. 2.97.3.

63 Jordan. Get. 10.65; cf. Athen. 14.24 (p. 627de) = FGrH 115 (Theopompos), F 216; Steph. Byz. s. Γ ετα. The curious story told by Jordanes shows Philip attacking Odessus and then intimidated into retreat by the unexpected sortie of Getic priests with white garments and guitars from the city. According to Jordanes, ‘the rich state of the Odessites in Moesia was then subject to the Goths [i.e. to the Getae] as far as neighbouring Thomes [Tomi]’. There is no other hint in the extant sources that, in one way or another, the Greek colonies had been subjected by the Getae; the situation, however, could have been similar to that of 313 b.c., when the Getae were allies of the same cities in their fight against Lysimachus.

64 Jordan. Get. 10.65; Athen. 13.5 (p. 557 d); Steph. Byz. s. Γ ετα. Jordanes calls the Getae Gothi, their king Gudila or Gothila, and the daughter that Philip took for a wife Medopa or Medora; Athenaeus gives the names Kothelas and Meda, adding that the latter became Philip's second wife after Olympias.

65 Justin. 9.2.1–4; cf. Plut. Mor. 174ef (Reg. et Imp. Apophth. Ateas); Polyaen. Strat. 7.44.1; Frontin. Strat. 2.4.20; Clem. Al. Strom. 5.31.3 = FGrH 493 (Aristokritos), F 6. The only coherent narration of the ensuing events is preserved in Justin's abbreviation of Pompeius Trogus: Atheas, the king of the Scythians, being at war with the Histriani asked Philip for help through the Apollonians; then as the king of the Histriani (Histrianorwn rex) died, the Macedonians of Philip were sent back without pay. The anonymous ‘king of the Histriani’ and the obscure Kothelas are the first real historical figures who could be associated with the political development in the lands of the Getae during the fourth century b.c. Any correlation of the two kings and their respective domains with archaeologically defined areas remains, however, purely hypothetical. It is tempting, for example, to place the Histriani and their nameless king in the north of Dobrudja, where the princely tomb at Agighiol seems to suggest the location of a seat of political power in the previous generation. But was this the seat of an independent Getic prince, as is usually presumed, or that of the last Odrysian governor watching the Danube frontier?

66 Justin. 9.2.4–16, 3.1–3; cf. Plut. Mor. 174 f; Frontin. Start. 2.8.14; (Ps.) Lucian. Macrob. 10. Philip must have acted in defence of (and possibly together with) his father-in-law Kothelas. The campaign was clearly decided in one general encounter, the death of the aged Atheas and the evidence for numerous captives and booty suggest that the defeat of the Scythians was complete and that they were probably driven for good beyond the Danube. Philip immediately started on his way back, but the return of the Macedonian army, overburdened with the spoils, was made difficult by the unexpected interference of the Triballi who demanded a part of the Scythian booty. The rapid and inglorious Macedonian retreat created favourable opportunities for the process of political consolidation in the Getic lands, which was an accomplished fact under Dromichaetes in the following generation. We can only guess at the part that Kothelas played in this process. The various political figures and domains active in the late forties and early thirties, however, mark an initial state of political division in the lands of the Getae, which recalls the similar situation described as usual by Strabo (7.3.11; cf. Cl. Ptol. 3.11.6) in a later age.

67 Arr. Anab. 1.3.5–4.5; Strabo, Geogr. 7.3.8 (C 301); cf. Diod. 17.8.1; Plut. Alex. 11.

68 The episode is mentioned by both Strabo and Arrian (cf. previous note); this coincidence and the probable common source Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, who must have been an eyewitness, increase the reliability of the story.

69 It has become customary to associate with the Getae all the rich and representative fourth-century archaeological finds from the lands along (and beyond) the left bank of the Lower Danube in modern Romania. A number of these originate from scattered sites in the Wallachian plain, like the gold helmet from Cotofenesti, the princely burial from Peretu, and the rich graves from Gurbanesti and Gavani. Similar finds from further away are readily added to the list, like the gold treasure from Baiceni in Northern Moldavia, the ‘Craiova treasure’, and the silver rhyton from Poroina in Oltenia. However, this random attribution is rather suspicious. It has recently been suggested that some or all of the finds mentioned might have belonged to ‘an élite group of incursive steppe nomads’ (Taylor, T., in The Rogozen Treasure [London, 1989], 96 ). We have no direct evidence about the real ethnic situation in this wide area, and the mechanical expansion of the use of an ethnic name witnessed for this age only at one indefinite location on the northern bank of the Danube seems an arbitrary procedure.

70 The evidence on Zopyrion is hopelessly confused in the few sources at our disposal (Justin. 12.1.4, 2.16; 37.3.2; Curt. 10.1.43; Macrob. Saturn. 1.11.32). Cf.Berve, H., Das Alexanderreich auf prosopographischer Grundlage 2 (Munchen, 1926), no. 340; Pârvan (n. 4), 49–50;Iliescu, V., Pontica 4 (1971), 5773; Fol (n. 4), 53, 189;Jordanov, K., Istoria (1996), 5/6.1–9.

71 Bozhkova, A., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 93–6; Chichikova, M., Dimitrov, K., In: D'epistemoniki synantisi gia tin ellinistiki keramiki (Athena, 1997), 128, 132–4.

72 The meandering canyon of the river Krapinets (or Demir Baba Dere) cuts deeply into the undulating hills of the Ludogorie (Deliorman) to give the area its most significant geographical feature. Another conspicuous characteristic of the site are the substantial natural springs, used nowadays for the water supply of a large surrounding area.

73 Fol, A. et al., The Thracian Tomb near the Village of Sveshtari (Sofia, 1986); cf. also M. Chichikova, Izkustvo (1983), 4.18–27; id., Muzei i Pametnitsi na Kulturata (1983, 3), 25–30; id., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 3 (1988), 125–3; id., in Thracians and Mycenaeans (Leiden/Sofia, 1989), 205–18; id., Helis 2 (1992), 143–63;Teofilov, T., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 3 (1988), 144–60; Trakiyskata grobnitsa ol Sveshtari (Catalogue of a photographic exhibition at the National Historical Museum in Sofia, July 1986); Ivanov, T., Helis 2 (1992), 132–42.

74 Built in excellent ashlar masonry, the tomb had an antechamber, a burial chamber and a side-chamber, all three rectangular and covered by semi-cylindrical vaults. The antechamber opens to the main and side chambers, the side entrance being doubled with an internal window.

75 The entrance has a carved lintel (bucrania supporting a garland and interceding rosettes) resting on rectangular pilasters topped by profiled capitals with painted ornaments (Ionic cyma and rosettes). A relief frieze representing caryatids with raised hands, crowned with calathoi and wearing peculiar dresses in the form of inverted lotus flowers, runs along the walls of the main chamber. The lunette of its back wall is decorated with an unfinished fresco depicting a horseman riding right, faced by a goddess who offers him a crown. Along the back and right side of the chamber are two stone beds with beautifully carved legs, the back one having originally been hidden behind a now crumbled partition screen in the form of a sham triple door under a pediment.

76 Fol et al. (n. 73), 112–14, 117–19, fig. 42, 72–4;Dimitrov, K., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 3 (1988), 161–4. A characteristic detail is the ram's horn depicted behind the ear of the horseman; in the current iconographical tradition of the age this should be interpreted as a royal symbol.

77 Chichikova, M., Helis 2 (1992), 148.

78 Boev, P., Kavgazova, L., Helis 2 (1992), 164–70.

79 The Sveshtari tomb was found in one of over 100 burial mounds scattered on both banks of the river canyon. With the exception of the early Iron Age burials in an isolated group of five small mounds (Stoyanov, T., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 3 [1988], 51–5; id., Helis 2 [1992], 93–114; id., Sborianovo 1. Early Iron Age Tumular Necropolis [Sofia, 1997]), all the tumuli studied archaeologically are early Hellenistic in date. Two more tombs with semi-cylindrical vaults, smaller and simpler, yet evidently contemporary to the great one in Ginina Mound, were excavated in two smaller tumuli in its immediate vicinity (Gergova, D., Helis 2 [1992], 118–26; id., Obredut na obezsmurtiavaneto v drevna Trakia [Sofia, 1996], 13–44), while another contained a sarcophagus-type tomb with red paint on the interior walls and a preserved inhumation burial (Ivanov, T., Helis 2 [1992], 137).

80 The author took part in the excavations of the settlement site in 1987–8 as a member of the team of Maria Chichikova. Since 1989 the excavations have been continued by T. Stoyanov and Z. Mihailova under the overall direction of D. Gergova. Among the preliminary publications, see Chichikova, M., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 8292; id., in Studies on Settlement Life in Ancient Thrace. Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium ‘Cabyle’ (Jambol, 1994), 34–43;Chichikova, M., Delev, P., and Bozhkova, A., Helis 2 (1992), 7388; Chichikova and Dimitrov (n. 71), 128–34; A. Bozhkova, Arheologia 32 (1990), 2.37–40; id., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 93–6;Gergova, D., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 6671; id., Helis 1 (1992), 9–27;Stoyanov, T., Istoria (1996), 5/6.84–92; (1997), 1/2.72–84.

81 The fortified settlement is situated on a comparatively fiat plateau surrounded on all sides like a peninsula by the abrupt meandering ravine of the river Krapinets which separates it from the surrounding tableland, over which the tumuli are scattered on all sides. The only easy natural approach is from the south-west, where a narrow neck of land connects the peninsula with the left bank of the river. The access to this isthmus was additionally barred by an exterior fortress with strong stone walls, preserved to a height of over 2 m in some places.

82 The defences follow the outline of the peninsula, repeating its roughly triangular shape and reaching through the isthmus in the south-west to the outer fortress. The outer defensive stone wall running along the edge of the peninsula has an impressive thickness of up to 4 m and encloses an area of about 100,000 sq m. This was doubled with an inner wall of similar construction, which delimited a roughly quadrangular inner area of about 50,000 sq m.

83 Chichikova et al. (n. 80), 78–79; Chichikova and Dimitrov (n. 71), 130–2.

84 Bozhkova, A., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 93–6; Chichikova and Dimitrov (n. 71), 128, 132–4.

85 As indicated e.g. by the finds of coins from Odessus, Histria, Callatis, and Mesambria Pontica; see Chichikova and Dimitrov (n. 71), 132–3, nos. 6–13.

86 The first and so far only inscription found in situ on the site was unearthed in 1987 near the southern gate—a dedication to the goddess Phosphorus from a certain Menecharmus, the son of Poseidonius (M εν εχρμoς Πoσ ειδoνoυ or possibly M εν εχρμoς Πoσ ειδóνιoς; the endings of both names are not clearly readable). The name of the dedicator is Greek, and he could well be a merchant (?) from Odessus or any of the other Greek cities along the western coast of the Pontus. On palaeographic evidence (notably the use of both the angular and lunar sigma) the inscription can be dated in the early Hellenistic period. Two other Hellenistic inscriptions from Thrace mention Phosphorus (literally ‘carrier of light’), an epithet often associated with Hecate or Artemis: the great inscription from Seuthopolis (IGBuIg 3.2, 1731;Velkov, V., in Cabyle 2 [Sofia 1991], 711) which contains a reference to a temple (‘Phosphorion’) in Cabyle, and a votive relief from Odessus (IGBulg 12, 88 bis).

87 Including metal-working for the production of tools, arms and ornaments, imitative bronze coinage, and presumably pottery; cf.Stoyanov, T., Istoria (1996), 5/6.89.

88 Cf.Dimitrov, K., Istoricheski pregled (1987), 12.19–30; Delev, P., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 97109.

89 Cf.Delev, P., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 103. Helen Lund's suggestion of identifying the ‘Thracians’ of Diodorus with the tribe of the Terizi and their fortress Tirizis on Cape Kaliakra (Lund [n. 1], 28–9) does not seem convincing in the light of the overall situation; the littoral would have been under the firm sway of Lysimachus in this period.

90 I believe I was the first to suggest this identification, cf.Delev, P., Terra Antiqua Balcanica 4 (1990), 97109. It has been accepted recently by Stoyanov, T., Istoria (1996), 5/6.90–1.

91 A different view is expressed by Fol in a number of statements which mention in connection with Sveshtari the name ‘Dausdava’, cf. Izkustvo (1983), 4.3–5; (1984), 4.26; (1985), 2.21. The only ancient evidence for this name is in the Geography of Claudius Ptolemy (3.10.6); placed on a modern map the Ptolemaic coordinates fall near the city of Razgrad. Taken at its face value, this communication amounts to the attestation, somewhere in present-day north-eastern Bulgaria, of a probably important urban centre, whose Thracian name loosely suggests the possibility of pre-Roman establishment. The decisive point is that the mention of Dausdava by Ptolemy undoubtedly attests that the city not only existed in the geographer's own age (i.e. the second century a.d.), but was evidently among the major urban centres of the time in the province of Moesia Inferior. In this case any large unidentified Roman site in the area could eventually prove to be Dausdava, but not the fortified city near Sveshtari which, according to the archaeological evidence, terminated its existence as an urban centre of any importance some four centuries before the age of Ptolemy.

92 Stoyanov, T., Istoria (1997), 1/2.73–5.

93 Cf.Chichikova, M., Helis 2 (1992), 148; P. Boev and L. Kavgazova, ibid., 164–70.

94 Justin. 25.1.

95 A different possibility is suggested by Polyaenus in a stratagem describing the siege of Cypsela in southern Thrace by Antiochus II Theos in 254 b.c. (Polyaen. Start. 4.16); Teres and Dromichaetes are mentioned there as leaders of some Thracian allies in the army of Antiochus who impressed the defendants with their magnificent attire. This Dromichaetes could well be a relative of the Dromichaetes who fought king Lysimachus forty years earlier or might even be identical with him, if we presume that he had survived that long; but the mere coincidence of names is not enough to make a strong case either way.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed