Aristides was an ancient Athenian statesman. Nicknamed "the Just", he flourished in the early quarter of Athens' Classical period and is remembered for his generalship in the Persian War; the ancient historian Herodotus cited him as "the best and most honourable man in Athens", he received reverent treatment in Plato's Socratic dialogues. Aristides was the son of Lysimachus, a member of a family of moderate fortune. Of his early life, it is only told that he became a follower of the statesman Cleisthenes and sided with the aristocratic party in Athenian politics, he first came to notice as strategos in command of his native tribe Antiochis at the Battle of Marathon, it was no doubt in consequence of the distinction which he achieved that he was elected archon eponymos for the ensuing year. Pursuing a conservative policy to maintain Athens as a land power, he was one of the chief opponents of the naval policy proposed by Themistocles. According to Plutarch, the rivalry between Aristides and Themistocles began in their youth, when they competed for the love of a beautiful boy called Stesilaüs from Ceos.
The conflict between the two leaders ended in the ostracism of Aristides at a date variously given between 485 and 482. It is said that, on this occasion, an illiterate voter who did not recognise Aristides approached the statesman and requested that he write the name of Aristides on his voting shard to ostracize him; the latter asked. "No," was the reply, "and I do not know him, but it irritates me to hear him everywhere called'the Just'." Aristides wrote his own name on the ballot. Early in 480, Aristides profited by the decree recalling exiles to help in the defence of Athens against Persian invaders, was elected strategos for the year 480–479. In the Battle of Salamis, he gave loyal support to Themistocles, crowned the victory by landing Athenian infantry on the island of Psyttaleia and annihilating the Persian garrison stationed there. In 479, he was re-elected strategos, given special powers as commander of the Athenian forces at the Battle of Plataea, he so won the confidence of the Ionian allies that, after revolting from the Spartan admiral Pausanias, they gave him the chief command and left him with absolute discretion in fixing the contributions of the newly formed confederacy, the Delian League.
His assessment was universally accepted as equitable, continued as the basis of taxation for the greater part of the league's duration. He continued to hold a predominant position in Athens. At first he seems to have remained on good terms with Themistocles, whom he is said to have helped in outwitting the Spartans over the rebuilding of the walls of Athens, he is said by some authorities to have died at Athens, by others on a journey to the Black Sea. The date of his death is given by Nepos as 468, he lived to witness the ostracism of Themistocles, towards whom he always displayed generosity, but he died before the rise of Pericles. His estate seems to have suffered from the Persian invasions, for he did not leave enough money to defray the expenses of his burial, it is known that his descendants in the 4th century received state pensions. Herodotus is not the only trustworthy authority on Aristides' life, he is the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives, though writing during the Roman Empire, had at his disposal a range of historical sources that no longer survive, he was a conscientious scholar who weighed his evidence carefully.
Aristides is praised by Socrates in Plato's dialogues Gorgias and Meno as an exceptional instance of good leadership. In Plato's dialogue Theaetetus, Socrates refers to Aristides, the grandson of the famous Aristides, less positively, bringing him as an example of a student who leaves his care too soon and realizes that he is a fool
Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC. A moderate oligarch, he found himself caught between the democrats on the one hand and the extremist oligarchs on the other. Successful in replacing a narrow oligarchy with a broader one in 411 BC, he failed to achieve the same end in 404 BC, was executed by the extremists whose policies he had opposed. Theramenes was a central figure in four major episodes of Athenian history, he appeared on the scene in 411 BC as one of the leaders of an oligarchic coup, but, as his views and those of the coup's other leaders diverged, he began to oppose their dictates and took the lead in replacing the narrow oligarchy they had imposed with a more broadly based one. He served as a general for several years after this, but was not reelected to that office in 407 BC.
After the Battle of Arginusae, in which he served as a trierarch, he was assigned to rescue Athenian sailors from sinking ships, but was prevented from doing so by a storm. That incident prompted a massive furore at Athens, in which Theramenes had to exonerate himself from responsibility for the failed rescue. After the Athenian defeat at Aegospotami in 405 BC, Theramenes arranged the terms by which Athens surrendered to Sparta, he became a member of the narrow oligarchic government, known as the Thirty Tyrants, that Sparta imposed on its defeated rival. As he had in 411 BC, Theramenes soon came into conflict with the more extreme members of that government. Theramenes remained a controversial figure after his death. Modern historical assessments have shifted over time; some historians have found in others a principled moderate. The details of his actions, his motivations, his character continue to be debated down to the present day. No ancient biographies of Theramenes are known, but his life and actions are well documented, due to the extensive treatment given him in several surviving works.
The Attic orator Lysias deals with him at length in several of his speeches, albeit in a hostile manner. Theramenes appears in several ancient narrative histories: Thucydides' account includes the beginnings of Theramenes' career, Xenophon, picking up where Thucydides left off, gives a detailed account of several episodes from Theramenes career. Theramenes appears in several other sources, although they do not provide as many narrative details, have been used to illuminate the political disputes which surrounded Theramenes' life and memory. Only the barest outlines of Theramenes' life outside the public sphere have been preserved in the historical record, his father, Hagnon had played a significant role in Athenian public life in the decades before Theramenes' appearance on the scene. He had commanded the group of Greek colonists who founded Amphipolis in 437–6 BC, had served as a general on several occasions before and during the Peloponnesian War, was one of the signers of the Peace of Nicias.
Hagnon's career overlapped with his son's when he served as one of the ten commissioners appointed by the government of the 400 to draft a new constitution in 411 BC. Theramenes' first appearance in the historical record comes with his involvement in the oligarchic coup of 411 BC. In the wake of the Athenian defeat in Sicily, revolts began to break out among Athens' subject states in the Aegean Sea and the Peace of Nicias fell apart. In this context, a number of Athenian aristocrats, led by Peisander and with Theramenes prominent among their ranks, began to conspire to overthrow the city's democratic government; this intrigue was initiated by the exiled nobleman Alcibiades, at that time acting as an assistant to the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Claiming that he had great influence with Tissaphernes, Alcibiades promised to return to Athens, bringing Persian support with him, if the democracy that had exiled him were replaced with an oligarchy. Accordingly, a number of trierarchs and other leaders of the Athenian army at Samos began planning the overthrow of the democracy.
They dispatched Peisander to Athens, where, by promising that the return of Alcibiades and an alliance with Persia would follow if the Athenians would replace their democracy with an oligarchy, he persuaded the Athenian ecclesia to send him as an emissary to Alcibiades, authorized to make whatever arrangements were necessary. Alcibiades, did not succeed in persuading the satrap to ally with the Athenians, and, to hide this fact, demanded greater and greater concessions of them until they refused to comply. Disenchanted with Alcibiades but still determined to overthrow the democracy and his companions returned to Samos, where t
Aeschines was a Greek statesman and one of the ten Attic orators. Although it is known he was born in Athens, the records regarding his parentage and early life are conflicting. Aeschines' father was an elementary school teacher of letters, his mother Glaukothea assisted in the religious rites of initiation for the poor. After assisting his father in his school, he tried his hand at acting with indifferent success, served with distinction in the army, held several clerkships, amongst them the office of clerk to the Boule. Among the campaigns that Aeschines participated in were Phlius in the Peloponnese, Battle of Mantinea, Phokion's campaign in Euboea; the fall of Olynthus brought Aeschines into the political arena, he was sent on an embassy to rouse the Peloponnese against Philip II of Macedon. In spring of 347 BC, Aeschines addressed the assembly of Ten Thousand in Megalopolis, Arcadia urging them to unite and defend their independence against Philip. In the summer 347 BC, he was a member of the peace embassy to Philip, where he found it necessary, in order to counteract the prejudice vigorously fomented by his opponents, to defend Philip and describe him at a meeting of the Athenian popular assembly as being Greek.
His dilatoriness during the second embassy sent to ratify the terms of peace led to him being accused by Demosthenes and Timarchus on a charge of high treason. Aeschines counterattacked by claiming that Timarchus had forfeited the right to speak before the people as a consequence of youthful debauches which had left him with the reputation of being a whore and prostituting himself to many men in the port city of Piraeus; the suit succeeded and Timarchus was sentenced to atimia and politically destroyed, according to Demosthenes. This comment was interpreted by Pseudo-Plutarch in his Lives of the Ten Orators as meaning that Timarchos hanged himself upon leaving the assembly, a suggestion contested by some modern historians; this oration, Against Timarchus, is considered important because of the bulk of Athenian laws it cites. As a consequence of his successful attack on Timarchus, Aeschines was cleared of the charge of treason. In 343 BC the attack on Aeschines was renewed by Demosthenes in his speech On the False Embassy.
Aeschines was again acquitted. In 339 BC, as one of the Athenian deputies in the Amphictyonic Council, he made a speech which brought about the Fourth Sacred War. By way of revenge, Aeschines endeavoured to fix the blame for these disasters upon Demosthenes. In 336 BC, when Ctesiphon proposed that his friend Demosthenes should be rewarded with a golden crown for his distinguished services to the state, Aeschines accused him of having violated the law in bringing forward the motion; the matter remained in abeyance till 330 BC, when the two rivals delivered their speeches Against Ctesiphon and On the Crown. The result was a overwhelming victory for Demosthenes. Aeschines went into voluntary exile at Rhodes, he afterwards removed to Samos. His three speeches, called by the ancients "the Three Graces," rank next to those of Demosthenes. Photius knew of nine letters by him. Three of Aeschines speeches have survived: Against Timarchus On the Embassy Against Ctesiphon Gustav Eduard Benseler Andreas Weidner Friedrich Blass Thomas Leland, Weidner, G. A. Simcox and W. H. Simcox, Richardson, G. Watkin and Evelyn S. Shuckburgh.
The Speeches of Aeschines. Translated by Charles Darwin Adams. Loeb Classical Library 106. Harvard University Press. Available at archive.org Teubner ed. of Orationes: 1997, edited Mervin R. Dilts. ISBN 3-8154-1009-6 Aeschines. Translated by Chris Carey; the Oratory of Classical Greece Volume 3. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2000. ISBN 0-292-71222-7 Demosthenes, De Corona and De Falsa Legatione Aeschines, De Falsa Legatione and In Ctesiphontem Lives by Plutarch and Libanius Exegesis by Apollonius Stechow, Aeschinis Oratoris vita Marchand, Charakteristik des Redners Aschines Castets, Eschine, l'Orateur For the political problems see histories of Greece, esp. A. Holm, vol. iii. Und seine Zeit. On Timarchos see "Aechines" in Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. Dynes, Wayne R. Garland Publishing, 1990. Pp. 15&16. Works by or about Aeschines at Internet Archive Works by Aeschines at LibriVox Livius, Aeschines by Jona Lendering Against Timarchus at the Perseus Project On the Embassy at the Perseus Project Against Ctesiphon at the Perseus Project Aeschines Orations
Claudius Aelianus Aelian, born at Praeneste, was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222. He spoke Greek so fluently that he was called "honey-tongued", his two chief works are valuable for the numerous quotations from the works of earlier authors, which are otherwise lost, for the surprising lore, which offers unexpected glimpses into the Greco-Roman world-view. On the Nature of Animals is a curious collection, in seventeen books, of brief stories of natural history, sometimes selected with an eye to conveying allegorical moral lessons, sometimes because they are just so astonishing: "The Beaver is an amphibious creature: by day it lives hidden in rivers, but at night it roams the land, feeding itself with anything that it can find. Now it understands the reason why hunters come after it with such eagerness and impetuosity, it puts down its head and with its teeth cuts off its testicles and throws them in their path, as a prudent man who, falling into the hands of robbers, sacrifices all that he is carrying, to save his life, forfeits his possessions by way of ransom.
If however it has saved its life by self-castration and is again pursued it stands up and reveals that it offers no ground for their eager pursuit, releases the hunters from all further exertions, for they esteem its flesh less. However Beavers with testicles intact, after escaping as far away as possible, have drawn in the coveted part, with great skill and ingenuity tricked their pursuers, pretending that they no longer possessed what they were keeping in concealment."The Loeb Classical Library introduction characterizes the book as "an appealing collection of facts and fables about the animal kingdom that invites the reader to ponder contrasts between human and animal behavior."Aelian's anecdotes on animals depend on direct observation: they are entirely taken from written sources Pliny the Elder, but other authors and works now lost, to whom he is thus a valuable witness. He is more attentive to marine life than might be expected and this seems to reflect first-hand personal interest.
At times he strikes the modern reader as credulous, but at others he states that he is reporting what is told by others, that he does not believe them. Aelian's work is one of the sources of medieval natural history and of the bestiaries of the Middle Ages; the portions of the text that are still extant are badly mangled and garbled and replete with interpolations. Conrad Gessner, the Swiss scientist and natural historian of the Renaissance, made a Latin translation of Aelian's work, to give it a wider European audience. An English translation by A. F. Scholfield has been published in the Loeb Classical Library, 3 vols.. Various History — for the most part preserved only in an abridged form — is Aelian's other well-known work, a miscellany of anecdotes and biographical sketches, pithy maxims, descriptions of natural wonders and strange local customs, in 14 books, with many surprises for the cultural historian and the mythographer, anecdotes about the famous Greek philosophers, poets and playwrights and myths instructively retold.
The emphasis is on various moralizing tales about heroes and rulers and wise men. Aelian gives an account of fly fishing, using lures of red wool and feathers, of lacquerwork, serpent worship — Essentially the Various History is a Classical "magazine" in the original senses of that word, he is not trustworthy in details, his agenda was influenced by Stoic opinions so that his readers will not feel guilty, but Jane Ellen Harrison found survivals of archaic rites mentioned by Aelian illuminating in her Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. The first printing was in 1545; the standard modern text is Mervin R. Dilts's, of 1974. Two English translations of the Various History, by Fleming and Stanley made Aelian's miscellany available to English readers, but after 1665 no English translation appeared, until three English translations appeared simultaneously: James G. DeVoto, Claudius Aelianus: Ποιϰίλης Ἱοτορίας Chicago, 1995. Considerable fragments of two other works, On Providence and Divine Manifestations, are preserved in the early medieval encyclopedia, the Suda.
Twenty "letters from a farmer" after the manner of Alciphron are attributed to him. The letters are invented compositions to a fictitious correspondent, which are a device for vignettes of agricultural and rural life, set in Attica, though mellifluous Aelian once boasted that he had never been outside Italy, never been aboard a ship, thus conclusions about actual agriculture in the Letters are as to evoke Latium as Attica. The fragments are not available in English; the Letters are ava
Aristophanes, son of Philippus, of the deme Kydathenaion, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive complete; these provide the most valuable examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy and are used to define it, along with fragments from dozens of lost plays by Aristophanes and his contemporaries. Known as "The Father of Comedy" and "the Prince of Ancient Comedy", Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author, his powers of ridicule were acknowledged by influential contemporaries. Aristophanes' second play, The Babylonians, was denounced by Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis, it is possible that the case was argued in court, but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays The Knights, the first of many plays that he directed himself. "In my opinion," he says through that play's Chorus, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all."
Less is known about Aristophanes than about his plays. In fact, his plays are the main source of information about his life, it was conventional in Old Comedy for the Chorus to speak on behalf of the author during an address called the'parabasis' and thus some biographical facts can be found there. However, these facts relate entirely to his career as a dramatist and the plays contain few clear and unambiguous clues about his personal beliefs or his private life, he was a comic poet in an age when it was conventional for a poet to assume the role of'teacher', though this referred to his training of the Chorus in rehearsal, it covered his relationship with the audience as a commentator on significant issues. Aristophanes claimed to be writing for a clever and discerning audience, yet he declared that'other times' would judge the audience according to its reception of his plays, he sometimes boasts of his originality as a dramatist yet his plays espouse opposition to radical new influences in Athenian society.
He caricatured leading figures in the arts, in politics, in philosophy/religion. Such caricatures seem to imply that Aristophanes was an old-fashioned conservative, yet that view of him leads to contradictions, it has been argued that Aristophanes produced plays to entertain the audience and to win prestigious competitions. His plays were written for production at the great dramatic festivals of Athens, the Lenaia and City Dionysia, where they were judged and awarded prizes in competition with the works of other comic dramatists. An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice and corruption, reduced the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five; these judges reflected the mood of the audiences yet there is much uncertainty about the composition of those audiences. The theatres were huge, with seating for at least 10,000 at the Theatre of Dionysus; the day's program at the City Dionysia for example was crowded, with three tragedies and a'satyr' play ahead of a comedy, but it is possible that many of the poorer citizens occupied the festival holiday with other pursuits.
The conservative views expressed in the plays might therefore reflect the attitudes of the dominant group in an unrepresentative audience. The production process might have influenced the views expressed in the plays. Throughout most of Aristophanes' career, the Chorus was essential to a play's success and it was recruited and funded by a choregus, a wealthy citizen appointed to the task by one of the archons. A choregus could regard his personal expenditure on the Chorus as a civic duty and a public honour, but Aristophanes showed in The Knights that wealthy citizens might regard civic responsibilities as punishment imposed on them by demagogues and populists like Cleon, thus the political conservatism of the plays may reflect the views of the wealthiest section of Athenian society, on whose generosity all dramatists depended for putting on their plays. When Aristophanes' first play The Banqueters was produced, Athens was an ambitious, imperial power and the Peloponnesian War was only in its fourth year.
His plays express pride in the achievement of the older generation yet they are not jingoistic, they are staunchly opposed to the war with Sparta. The plays are scathing in criticism of war profiteers, among whom populists such as Cleon figure prominently. By the time his last play was produced Athens had been defeated in war, its empire had been dismantled and it had undergone a transformation from being the political to the intellectual centre of Greece. Aristophanes was part of this transformation and he shared in the intellectual fashions of the period—the structure of his plays evolves from Old Comedy until, in his last surviving play, Wealth II, it more resembles New Comedy; however it is uncertain whether he led or responded to changes in audience expectations. Aristophanes won second prize at the City Dionysia in 427 BC with his first play The Banqueters, he won first prize there with The Babylonians. It was usual for foreign d
Phocion was an Athenian statesman and strategos, the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives. Phocion was a successful politician of Athens, he lived in accord with this. Further, people thought. However, within this chamber, Phocion's tendency to strong opposition relegated him to a solitary stand against the entire political class. Nonetheless, by both his individual prestige and his military expertise, acquired by the side of Chabrias, Phocion was elected strategos numerous times, with a record 45 terms in office. Thus, during most of his 84 years of life, Phocion occupied the most important Athenian offices. In the late 320s, when Macedon gained complete control of Athens, though somewhat compromised Phocion defended both the urban center and its citizens, he refused to comply with some dishonorable requests of the enemy. However, his stance put Phocion in opposition to both most free Athenians and Polyperchon, the next ruler of Macedonia, who arranged his execution in Athens. Phocion's father operated a lathe.
His grandfather was the trierarch Phocion, killed at the battle of Cynossema in 411 BC. During his youth, Phocion sought to study liberal notions, he was both Xenocrates' friend. Through such philosophical education, Phocion was of virtuous moral character and he used to give prudent advice; this academic training left its mark upon him, but it was as a soldier rather than as a philosopher that he first came to notice. The Athenians recognized that Phocion was honest and he was respected as such, he had a reserved demeanor. Indeed, he appeared quite severe, was feared by those meeting him for first time. Phocion believed, he was never seen at the public baths. Both on the Athenian streets and on campaign, he walked around wearing a simple tunic and without shoes, he only made an exception in extreme cold, wearing a cloak, so other soldiers said that Phocion gave a meteorological indication. Throughout his life Phocion lived in a home, humble, with spare decoration, located at the Melite neighborhood, southward from the Acropolis.
His wife cooked their everyday bread, Phocion drew water, pumping it with his own hands. Phocion was first married to a woman, his second wife was famous in Athens for her humility. Once she said. Phocion's son was Phocus. During his youth he became licentious and addicted to partying and wine, so Phocion sent him off to Sparta for a period; the young Phocion enrolled in many campaigns, gaining much experience. Chabrias esteemed him because Phocion helped to compensate for his turbulent personality. Reciprocally, Phocion was commended for the chief actions of his campaigns, thus gained much fame, among the Athenians. In 376 BC, Phocion's participation was crucial in the Athenian naval victory of Naxos, where he commanded the leading left wing. Since it was the first clear Athenian victory since the Peloponnesian War, the Athenians honoured its military leaders; the battle was remembered for years. After Chabrias died, Phocion took care of his family and of his son, Ctesippus. However, Phocion could cope with Ctesippus' rather slow character.
At last he exclaimed "O Chabrias, did a man show so much gratitude as I do in putting up with your son" Publicly, Phocion was recognized as the most austere and wisest Athenian politician. However, in the Athenian Assembly, he had an attitude of opposition to most of his peers, criticism from Phocion was unpopular within the chamber. Once, an oracle was brought from Delphi, it said that one man would confront the rest of the politicians, whose opposing stand would be homogeneous. Phocion rose, exclaiming: "I am that person who disagrees." Once, after Phocion was applauded by the chamber he asked his friends: "Have I unwittingly said something vile?" Demosthenes called him "the chopper of my speeches."On another occasion, Phocion spoke but was not heeded and not permitted to continue. He said: "You may compel me to act against my wishes, but you shall never force me to speak against my judgment."On the other hand, Phocion never harmed anyone he disliked. Indeed, he was so kind. Additionally, Phocion was unhappy that Athenian public functions had become split between two groups.
Whereas the politicians dealt eminently with civilian matters, military issues were attended to by the generals. He campaigned for Athens to regain its old tradition, with politicians who could manage both sets of affairs. Parrying the eloquence of his opponents, Phocion resorted both to wise concepts and pithy sayings, which were famous in antiquity, yet he avoided his tone was harsh and demanding, with few embellishments. Another distinguishing quality was. Before any presentation, he spent much time considering. One of his friends said "You seem to be thinking about something, Phocion", he replied "Yes, I am considering whether I can shorten the speech I am going to make." When someone made a joke about his severe visage, some of the local politicians he was not on good terms with laughed in respons
Thrace is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria and Turkey, bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises northeastern Greece and the European part of Turkey; the word Thrace was established by the Greeks for referring to the Thracian tribes, from ancient Greek Thrake, descending from Thrāix. It referred 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. The region could have been named after the principal river there, Hebros from the Indo-European arg "white river", According to an alternative theory, Hebros means "goat" in Thracian. In Turkey, it is referred to as Rumeli, Land of the Romans, owing to this region being the last part of the Eastern Roman Empire, conquered by the Ottoman Empire. In terms of ancient Greek mythology the name appears to derive from the heroine and sorceress Thrace, the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, sister of Europa.
The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. The ancient Greeks employed the term "Thrace" to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians, a region which "had no definite boundaries" and to which other regions were added. In one ancient Greek source, the Earth is divided into "Asia, Libya and Thracia"; as the Greeks gained knowledge of world geography, "Thrace" came to designate the area bordered by the Danube on the north, by the Euxine Sea on the east, by northern Macedonia in the south and by Illyria to the west. This coincided with the Thracian Odrysian kingdom, whose borders varied over time. After the Macedonian conquest, this region's former border with Macedonia was shifted from the Struma River to the Mesta River; this usage lasted until the Roman conquest. Henceforth, Thrace referred only to the tract of land 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. The largest cities of Thrace are: Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Komotini, Xanthi, Istanbul, Çorlu, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ. Most of the Bulgarian and Greek population are Orthodox Christians, while most of the Turkish inhabitants of Thrace are Sunni Muslims. Ancient Greek mythology provides the Thracians with a mythical ancestor Thrax, the son of the war-god Ares, said to reside in Thrace; the Thracians appear in Homer's Iliad as Trojan allies, led by Peiros. In the Iliad, another Thracian king, makes an appearance. Cisseus, father-in-law to the Trojan elder Antenor, is given as a Thracian king. Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east; the Catalogue of Ships mentions three separate contingents from Thrace: Thracians led by Acamas and Peiros, from Aenus. Ancient Thrace was home to numerous other tribes, such as the Edones, Bisaltae and Bistones in addition to the tribe that Homer calls the “Thracians”.
Greek mythology is replete with Thracian kings, including Diomedes, Lycurgus, Tegyrius, Polymnestor and Oeagrus. Thrace is mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in the episode of Philomela and Tereus: Tereus, the King of Thrace, lusts after his sister-in-law, Philomela, he kidnaps her, holds her captive, rapes her, cuts out her tongue. Philomela manages to get free, however, she and her sister, plot to get revenge, by killing her son Itys and serving him to his father for dinner. At the end of the myth, all three turn into birds – Procne into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale, Tereus into a hoopoe; the indigenous population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent, Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. On, Thracian troops were known to accompany neighboring ruler Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont which abuts Thrace, during the invasion of the Persian Empire itself.
The Thracians did not describe themselves by name. Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not form any lasting political organizations until the founding of the Odrysian state in the 4th century BC. Like Illyrians, the locally ruled Thracian tribes of the mountainous regions maintained a warrior tradition, while the tribes based in the plains were purportedly more peaceable. Discovered funeral mounds in Bulgaria suggest that Thracian kings did rule regions of Thrace with distinct Thracian national identity. During this period, a subculture of celibate ascetics called the Ctistae lived in Thrace, where they served as philosophers and prophets. Sections of Thrace in the south star