Dacians, Thracians, Getae

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The names used for the peoples in this area are sometimes confusing and contradictory:


Their homeland was the Thracian plain, south into the Macedonian and Rodope mountains and probably north into the Balkan mountains. Alexander of Macedonia defeated and ruled the Thracians in the 4th century BC, followed by the Roman Empire, Byzantium, the Bulgars & Slavs, and the Ottomans. Some Thracian elements were assimilated and have continued to recent times.

Bulgarians refer to all archaeology from the late Neolithic period to Slavic times as Thracian, and it is highly likely that the same peoples did populate the region. Bulgarians also claim the Getae of the Danube plain (Muntenia, Dobrogea and north east Bulgaria as a Thracian tribe and thus the empire of Burebista as Thracian.


Getae is the name that appears in ancient Greek texts for the people who inhaboited the Black Sea coast from the time of the History of Herodotus in the  5th century BC  Getae is generally used when referring to the period from 9th to 2nd centuries BC when the written information comes from the Greeks.

It is not known how the Getae were related to the Thracian tribes to the south and the tribes later to be know as Dacians. The Romanians hold that the Getae is the Greek name and Dacian is the Roman name for the same peoples and therefore generally refer to the Geto-Dacians.

The Bulgarians, on the other hand, treat the Getae as a Thracian tribe and claim the capital from where Burebista led his empire was near Svishtari in north east Bulgaria.


The Romans used the name Dacians for the people who lived north of the Danube. It may be that the Getae and the Dacians were the same people, or these were just the names of two important tribes that were used for the entire people.


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Dec-05