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Thracian tribes in Scythia Minor

  • S. Casson


The Thracian tribe Bessoi are spoken of in Herodotus (vii, III, 22) as if they were a religious sect or subdivision of the larger Thracian trib e of Satrai—Βησσοί δὲ τῶν Σατρέων εἰσὶ οἱ προφητεύοντες τοῦ ἱροῦ (on Pangaion). Whether they were of wider distribution in the fifth-century B.C. is not known, but in the time of Livy and Pliny they seem to have been considered a large tribe. According to Pliny they lived on the left bank of the Strymon, which naturally includes their Pangaean settlement, while Strabo places them slightly further inland on Haimos—τὸ πλέον τοῦ ὄρους νέμονται τοῦ Αἵμου—and even on its northern slopes along the upper waters of the Hebros. We are thus able to identify them as being in their original home until the early years of our era. They were subdued by M. Lucullus in 72 B.C., and later by C. Octavius in 60 B.C. In 29-28 B.C. M. Licinius Crassus handed their sanctuary to the care of the Romanophil Odrysai.



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page 97 note 1 39, 53.

page 97 note 2 N.H. iv, 40.

page 97 note 3 318 and 331 fr. 48.

page 97 note 4 Suet. Aug. 3.

page 97 note 5 Cass. Dio 5, 25, 5.

page 97 note 6 Tristia iii,. x, 5, ‘Sauromatae cingunt, fera gens, Bessique, Getaeque’; and iv, i, 67, ‘Vivere quam miserum est inter Bessosque Getasque.’

page 97 note 7 Tomaschek, ‘Über Brumalia und Rosalia’ Sitzungsher. der Akad. d. Wiss. Wien 1868, p. 351 ff. See also p. 397 n. 2.

page 97 note 8 ibid. p. 399. It is thus linguistically connected with the name Strumon.

page 98 note 1 Pârvan, V., ‘I primordi della civiltà Romana alle foci del Danubio,’ Ausonia x, p. 187 ff: and Nume de râuri Daco-Scitiae (Bucharest, 1923), p. 16 ff.

page 98 note 2 ibid. p. 198 ff.

page 98 note 3 ibid. p. 208.

page 98 note 4 Histria vii, p. 57 (Academia Romana 1923, Memoriilie tectiunii istorice III, ii, 1).

page 99 note 1 A characteristic Bessian name, I think; cf. Tomaschek, op. cit. p. 388.

page 99 note 2 ii. 96.

page 99 note 3 Svoronos, J., L'Hellénisme primitif de la Macédoine (1919), pp. 22 ff., Ἐø. Ἀρχ. 1889, p. 93 ff., and my Macedonia, Thrace and Illyria, p. 265.

page 100 note 1 The Istrian altar, whose inscription is well preserved has A throughout for A.

page 100 note 2 See the Tabellae Ceratae in C.I.L. iii, p. 921 ff., Neigebaur, J. F., Dacien aus den Ueberresten des klassischen Alterthums (Kronstadt 1851) p. 185. ff. and Evans, A. J., Antiquarian Researches in Illyricum, ii, p. 13.

page 100 note 3 Ex Ponto, I. ii, 100.

page 100 note 4 Ex Ponto, I. iii, 59.

page 100 note 5 As in Ex Ponto, II. ix, 54. Other poets followed him, cf. Seneca Agam., 673 and Claudian, Proserp. ii, praef. 8. Ovid passed through the land of the Bistones on his way across Thrace by land from Tempyra to Tomi: see Tristia I, x.

page 101 note 1 See Tomaschek, op. cit. p. 396.

page 101 note 2 Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire, p. 558.

Thracian tribes in Scythia Minor

  • S. Casson


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