Thrace

The modern boundaries of Thrace in Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.
The physical–geographical boundaries of Thrace: the Balkan Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains and the Bosporus. The Rhodope mountain range is highlighted.
The Roman province of Thrace
The Byzantine thema of Thrace.
Map of Ancient Thrace made by Abraham Ortelius in 1585, stating both the names Thrace and Europe.
Thrace and the Thracian Odrysian Kingdom under Sitalces c. 431–324 BC.

Thrace (s/; Greek: Θράκη, Thráki; Bulgarian: Тракия, Trakiya; Turkish: Trakya) is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace) and the European part of Turkey (East Thrace).

Etymology

The word Thrace was established by the Greeks for referring to the Thracian tribes, from ancient Greek Thrake (Θρᾴκη),[1] descending from Thrāix (Θρᾷξ).[2] It referred originally to the Thracians, an ancient Indo-European people inhabiting Southeast Europe. The name Europe first referred to Thrace proper, prior to the term vastly extending to refer to its modern concept. [3][4] The region could have been named after the principal river there, Hebros, possibly from the Indo-European arg "white river" (the opposite of Vardar, meaning "black river"),[5] According to an alternative theory, Hebros means "goat" in Thracian.[6]

In Turkey, it is commonly referred to as Rumeli, Land of the Romans, owing to this region being the last part of the Eastern Roman Empire that was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

Mythology

In terms of ancient Greek mythology the name appears to derive from the heroine and sorceress Thrace, who was the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, and sister of Europa.