Thrace

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Thrace (Bulgarian: Тракия, Trakiya, Greek: Θράκη, Thráki, Turkish: Trakya) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east. The areas it comprises are southeastern Bulgaria (Northern Thrace), northeastern Greece (Western Thrace), and the European part of Turkey (Eastern Thrace). The biggest part of Thrace is part of present-day Bulgaria. In Bulgaria and Turkey, it is also called Rumelia. The name comes from the Thracians, an ancient Indo-European people inhabiting Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

Contents

Geography

Borders

The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. Noteworthy is the fact that, at an early date, the ancient Greeks employed the term "Thrace" to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Greece (of Thessaly) inhabited by the Thracians,[1] a region which "had no definite boundaries" and to which other regions (like Macedonia and even Scythia) were added.[2] In one ancient Greek source, the very Earth is divided into "Asia, Libya, Europa and Thracia".[3] As the knowledge of world geography of the Greeks broadened, the term came to be more restricted in its application: Thrace designated the lands bordered by the Danube on the north, by the Euxine Sea (Black Sea) on the east, by northern Macedonia in the south and by the Illyrian lands (i.e. Illyria) to the west.[4] This largely coincided with the Thracian Odrysian kingdom, whose borders varied in time. During this time, specifically after the Macedonian conquest, the region's old border with Macedonia was shifted from the Struma River to the Mesta River.[5][6] This usage lasted until the Roman conquest. Henceforth, (classical) Thrace referred only to the tract of land largely covering the same extent of space as the modern geographical region. In its early period, the Roman province of Thrace was of this extent, but after the administrative reforms of the late 3rd century, Thracia's much reduced territory became the six small provinces which constituted the Diocese of Thrace. The medieval Byzantine theme of Thrace contained only what today is Eastern Thrace.

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