Orpheus is a legendary musician and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. Some ancient Greek sources note Orpheus' Thracian origins. According to Tzeztes, his home was the Odrysian city of Bisaltia; the major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, from the underworld, his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music. As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, opera and painting. For the Greeks, Orpheus was a prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries, he was credited with the composition of the Orphic Argonautica. Shrines containing purported relics of Orpheus were regarded as oracles. Several etymologies for the name Orpheus have been proposed. A probable suggestion is that it is derived from a hypothetical PIE root *h₃órbʰos "orphan, slave" and the verb root *h₃erbʰ- "to change allegiance, ownership".
Cognates could include Greek ὄρφνη "darkness", Greek ὀρφανός "fatherless, orphan", from which comes English "orphan" by way of Latin. Fulgentius, a mythographer of the late 5th to early 6th century AD, gave the unlikely etymology meaning "best voice," "Oraia-phonos"; the earliest literary reference to Orpheus is a two-word fragment of the sixth-century BC lyric poet Ibycus: onomaklyton Orphēn. He is not mentioned in Hesiod. Most ancient sources accept his historical existence. Pindar calls Orpheus "the father of songs" and identifies him as a son of the Thracian king Oeagrus and the Muse Calliope. Greeks of the Classical age venerated Orpheus as the greatest of all musicians. Poets such as Simonides of Ceos said that Orpheus' music and singing could charm the birds and wild beasts, coax the trees and rocks into dance, divert the course of rivers. Orpheus was one of the handful of Greek heroes to visit the return; some sources credit Orpheus with further gifts to mankind: medicine, more under the auspices of Aesculapius or Apollo.
Orpheus was an seer. Pindar and Apollonius of Rhodes place Orpheus as the harpist and companion of Jason and the Argonauts. Orpheus had a brother named Linus, who became a Theban, he is claimed by Aristophanes and Horace to have taught cannibals to subsist on fruit, to have made lions and tigers obedient to him. Horace believed, that Orpheus had only introduced order and civilization to savages. Strabo presents Orpheus as a mortal, who died in a village close to Olympus. "Some, of course, received him willingly, but others, since they suspected a plot and violence, combined against him and killed him." He made money as a musician and "wizard" – Strabo uses agurteúonta used by Sophocles in Oedipus Tyrannus to characterize Teiresias as a trickster with an excessive desire for possessions. Agúrtēs most meant charlatan and always had a negative connotation. Pausanias writes of an unnamed Egyptian who considered Orpheus a mágeuse, i. e. magician. According to Apollodorus and a fragment of Pindar, Orpheus' father was Oeagrus, a Thracian king, or, according to another version of the story, the god Apollo.
His mother was the muse Calliope, her sister Polymnia, a daughter of Pierus, son of Makednos or lastly of Menippe, daughter of Thamyris. His birthplace and place of residence was in Pimpleia close to the Olympus. Strabo mentions. According to the epic poem Argonautica, Pimpleia was the location of Oeagrus' and Calliope's wedding. While living with his mother and her eight beautiful sisters in Parnassus, he met Apollo, courting the laughing muse Thalia. Apollo, as the god of music, taught him to play it. Orpheus' mother taught him to make verses for singing, he is said to have studied in Egypt. Orpheus is said to have established the worship of Hecate in Aegina. In Laconia Orpheus is said to have brought the worship of Demeter Chthonia and that of the Kóres Sōteíras. In Taygetus a wooden image of Orpheus was said to have been kept by Pelasgians in the sanctuary of the Eleusinian Demeter. According to Diodorus Siculus, Musaeus of Athens was the son of Orpheus; the Argonautica is a Greek epic poem written by Apollonius Rhodius in the 3rd century BC.
Orpheus used his skills to aid his companions. Chiron told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus, the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Sirens—the same Sirens encountered by Odysseus in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey; the Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them, which resulted in the crashing of their ships into the islands. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew his lyre and played music, louder and more beautiful, drowning out the Sirens' bewitching songs. According to 3rd century BC Hellenistic
The Dionysiaca is an ancient Greek epic poem and the principal work of Nonnus. It is an epic in 48 books, the longest surviving poem from antiquity at 20,426 lines, composed in Homeric dialect and dactylic hexameters, the main subject of, the life of Dionysus, his expedition to India, his triumphant return to the west; the poem is thought to have been written in the late 4th and/or early 5th century. The Dionysiaca appears to be incomplete, some scholars believe that a 49th book was being planned when Nonnus stopped work on the poem, although others point out that the number of books in the Dionysiaca is the same as the 48 books of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, it has been conjectured that conversion to Christianity or death caused Nonnus to abandon the poem after some revisions. Editors have pointed out various inconsistencies and the difficulties of Book 39 which appears to be a disjointed series of descriptions, as evidence of the poem's lack of revision. Others have attributed these problems to copyists or editors, but most scholars agree on the poem's incompleteness.
The primary models for Nonnus are the Cyclic poets. The influence of Euripides' Bacchae is significant, as is the influence of the other tragedians whose Dionysiac plays do not survive, his debt to poets whose work survives only in disjointed fragments is far harder to gauge, but it is that he alludes to earlier poets' treatments of the life of Dionysus, such as the lost poems by Euphorion, Peisander of Laranda's elaborate encyclopedic mythological poem and Soteirichus. Reflections of Hesiod's poetry the Catalogue of Women, of Pindar, Callimachus can all be seen in the work of Nonnus. Theocritus' influence can be detected in Nonnus' focus on pastoral themes. Virgil and Ovid seem to have influenced Nonnus' organization of the poem. Nonnus seems to have been an important influence for the poets of Late Antiquity Musaeus, Colluthus and Dracontius. Although it is difficult to determine whether Claudian influenced Nonnus or Nonnus influenced Claudian, the two poets have some striking similarities in their treatments of Persephone.
Nonnus remained continuously important in the Byzantine world, his influence can be found in Genesius and Planudes. In the Renaissance, Poliziano popularized him to the West, Goethe admired him in the 18th century, he was admired by Thomas Love Peacock in 19th-century England. The metrics of Nonnus have been admired by scholars for the poet's careful handling of dactylic hexameter and innovation. While Homer has 32 varieties of hexameter lines, Nonnus only employs 9 variations, avoids elision, employs weak caesurae, follows a variety of euphonic and syllabic rules regarding word placement, it is remarkable that Nonnus was so exacting with meter because the quantitative meter of classical poetry was giving way in Nonnus' time to stressed meter. These metrical restraints encouraged the creation of new compounds and coined words, Nonnus' work has some of the greatest variety of coinages in any Greek poem; the poem is notably varied in its organization. Nonnus does not seem to arrange his poem in a linear chronology.
The poem states as its guiding principle poikilia, diversity in narrative and organization. The appearance of Proteus, a shapeshifting god, in the proem serves as a metaphor for Nonnus' varied style. Nonnus employs the style of the epyllion for many of his narrative sections, such as his treatment of Ampelus in 10–11, Nicaea in 15–16, Beroe in 41–43; these epyllia are inserted into the general narrative framework and are some of the highlights of the poem. Nonnus employs synkrisis, throughout his poem, most notably in the comparison of Dionysus and other heroes in Book 25; the complexity of organization and the richness of the language have caused the style of the poem to be termed Nonnian "Baroque." The size of Nonnus' poem and its late date between Imperial and Byzantine literature have caused the Dionysiaca to receive little attention from scholars. The contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica, noting the poem's "vast and formless luxuriance, its beautiful but artificial versification, its delineation of action and passion to the entire neglect of character," remarked, "His chief merit consists in the systematic perfection to which he brought the Homeric hexameter.
But the correctness of the versification renders it monotonous. His influence on the vocabulary of his successors was very considerable," expressing the 19th-century attitude to this poem as a pretty and disorganized collection of stories; as with many other late classical poets, newer scholarship has avoided the value-laden judgments of 19th-century scholars and attempted to reassess and rehabilitate Nonnus' works. There are two main focuses of Nonnian scholarship today: structure. Nonnus' compendious accounts of Dionysiac legend and his use of variant traditions and lost sources have encouraged scholars to use him as a channel to recover lost Hellenistic poetry and mythic traditions; the edition of Nonnus in the Loeb Classical Library includes a "mythological introduction" which charts the "decline" of Dionysiac mythology in the poem and implies that the work's only value is as a repository of lost mythology. Nonnus remains an important source of mythology and information to those researching classical religion, Hellenistic poetry, Late Antiquity.
However, scholars have focused more positively on No
Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. Wine played an important role in Greek culture, the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption, his worship became established in the seventh century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenaean Greeks. His origins are uncertain, his cults took many forms. In some cults, he arrives as an Asiatic foreigner; some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults, he is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming important over time, included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, the only god born from a mortal mother.
His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia, his thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios, his wine and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful; those who partake of his mysteries are empowered by the god himself. The cult of Dionysus is a "cult of the souls", he is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. Dionysus is depicted in myth as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, although in the Orphic tradition, he was identified as the son of Zeus and Persephone. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with the son of Demeter; the dio- element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus. The earliest attested form of the name is Mycenaean Greek, di-wo-nu-so, written in Linear B syllabic script for /Diwonūsoio/.
This is attested on two tablets, found at Mycenaean Pylos and dated to the 12th or 13th century BC, but at the time, there could be no certainty on whether this was indeed a theonym. But the 1989–90 Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli Hill, unearthed, inter alia, four artefacts bearing Linear B inscriptions. Variants include Dionūsos and Diōnūsos in Boeotia. A Dio- prefix is found in other names, such as that of the Dioscures, may derive from Dios, the genitive of the name of Zeus; the second element -nūsos is associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs, but according to Pherecydes of Syros, nũsa was an archaic word for "tree". Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, writes that the name Dionysus means "Zeus-limp" and that Hermes named the new born Dionysus this, "because Zeus while he carried his burden lifted one foot with a limp from the weight of his thigh, nysos in Syracusan language means limping". In his note to these lines, W. H. D. Rouse writes "It need hardly be said that these etymologies are wrong".
The Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedia based on classical sources, states that Dionysus was so named "from accomplishing for each of those who live the wild life. Or from providing everything for those who live the wild life."R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name; the cult of Dionysus was associated with trees the fig tree, some of his bynames exhibit this, such as Endendros "he in the tree" or Dendritēs, "he of the tree". Peters suggests the original meaning as "he who runs among the trees", or that of a "runner in the woods". Janda accepts the etymology but proposes the more cosmological interpretation of "he who impels the tree"; this interpretation explains how Nysa could have been re-interpreted from a meaning of "tree" to the name of a mountain: the axis mundi of Indo-European mythology is represented both as a world-tree and as a world-mountain. The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male and robed, he holds a fennel staff, known as a thyrsus. Images show him as a beardless, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish".
In its developed form, his central cult imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from some place beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His procession is made up of bearded satyrs with erect penises; the god himself is drawn in a chariot by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, is sometimes attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus. This procession is presumed to be the cult model for the followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and he thus symbolizes the chaotic and unexpected
A nymph in Greek mythology is a supernatural being associated with many other minor female deities that are associated with the air, seas or water, or particular locations or landforms. Different from Greek goddesses, nymphs are more regarded as divine spirits who animate or maintain Nature for the environments where they live, are depicted as beautiful, young graceful maidens, they are divided into various broad subgroups, such as Aurai, Nereides and Dryades The Greek word νύμφη has the primary meaning of "young woman. Yet the etymology of the noun νύμφη remains uncertain; the Doric and Aeolic form is νύμφα. Modern usage more applies to young women at the peak of their attractiveness, contrasting with parthenos "a virgin", generically as kore "maiden, girl"; the term is sometimes used by women to address each other and remains the regular Modern Greek term for "bride". Nymphs were sometimes beloved by many and dwell in most specific areas related to the natural environment. E.g. mountainous forests by springs or rivers.
Other nymphs appeared in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess the huntress Artemis. The Greek nymphs were spirits invariably bound to places, not unlike the Latin genius loci, sometimes this produced complicated myths like cult of Arethusa to Sicily. In some of the works of the Greek-educated Latin poets, the nymphs absorbed into their ranks the indigenous Italian divinities of springs and streams, while the Lymphae, Italian water-goddesses, owing to the accidental similarity of their names, could be identified with the Greek Nymphae; the classical mythologies of the Roman poets were unlikely to have affected the rites and cults of individual nymphs venerated by country people in the springs and clefts of Latium. Among the Roman literate class, their sphere of influence was restricted, they appear exclusively as divinities of the watery element; the ancient Greek belief in nymphs survived in many parts of the country into the early years of the twentieth century, when they were known as "nereids".
Nymphs tended to frequent areas distant from humans but could be encountered by lone travelers outside the village, where their music might be heard, the traveler could spy on their dancing or bathing in a stream or pool, either during the noon heat or in the middle of the night. They might appear in a whirlwind; such encounters could be dangerous, bringing dumbness, besotted infatuation, madness or stroke to the unfortunate human. When parents believed their child to be nereid-struck, they would pray to Saint Artemidos. A motif that entered European art during the Renaissance was the idea of a statue of a nymph sleeping in a grotto or spring; this motif came from an Italian report of a Roman sculpture of a nymph at a fountain above the River Danube. The report, an accompanying poem on the fountain describing the sleeping nymph, are now concluded to be a fifteenth-century forgery, but the motif proved influential among artists and landscape gardeners for several centuries after, with copies seen at neoclassical gardens such as the grotto at Stourhead.
As H. J. Rose states, all the names for various classes of nymphs are plural feminine adjectives agreeing with the substantive nymphai, there was no single classification that could be seen as canonical and exhaustive. Thus, the classes of nymphs tend to overlap. Rose mentions dryads and hamadryads as nymphs of trees meliai as nymphs of ash trees, naiads as nymphs of water, but no others specifically; the following is not the authentic Greek classification, but is intended as a guide: The following is a list of groups of nymphs associated with this or that particular location. Nymphs in such groupings could belong to any of the classes mentioned above; the following is a selection of names of the nymphs whose class was not specified in the source texts. For lists of Naiads, Dryades etc. See respective articles. Sabrina Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-36281-9. Larson, Jennifer Lynn. Greek Nymphs: Myth, Lore. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514465-9.
Lawson, John Cuthbert, Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1910, p. 131 Nereids paleothea.com homepage Tomkinson, John L.. Haunted Greece: Nymphs and Other Exotika. Athens: Anagnosis. ISBN 978-960-88087-0-6; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Nymphs". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19. Cambridge University Press. P. 930. Theoi.com: Nymphs Theoi Project – List of Nymphs
The Suda or Souda is a large 10th-century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world attributed to an author called Soudas or Souidas. It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, derived from medieval Christian compilers; the derivation is from the Byzantine Greek word souda, meaning "fortress" or "stronghold", with the alternate name, stemming from an error made by Eustathius, who mistook the title for the author's name. The Suda is somewhere between an encyclopedia in the modern sense, it explains the source and meaning of words according to the philology of its period, using such earlier authorities as Harpocration and Helladios. It is a rich source of ancient and Byzantine history and life, although not every article is of equal quality, it is an "uncritical" compilation. Much of the work is interpolated, passages that refer to Michael Psellos are deemed interpolations which were added in copies.
This lexicon contains numerous biographical notices on political and literary figures of the Byzantine Empire to the tenth century, those biographical entries being condensations from the works of Hesychius of Miletus, as the author himself avers. Other sources were the encyclopedia of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus for the figures in ancient history, excerpts of John of Antioch for Roman history, the chronicle of Hamartolus for the Byzantine age; the biographies of Diogenes Laërtius, the works of Athenaeus and Philostratus. Other principal sources include a lexicon by "Eudemus," derived from the work On Rhetorical Language by Eudemus of Argos; the lexicon copiously draws from scholia to the classics, for writers, Josephus, the Chronicon Paschale, George Syncellus, George Hamartolus, so on. The Suda paraphrases these sources at length. Since many of the originals are lost, The Suda serves an invaluable repository of literary history, this preservation of the "literary history" is more vital than the lexicographical compilation itself, by some estimation.
The lexicon is arranged alphabetically with some slight deviations from common vowel order and place in the Greek alphabet according to a system called antistoichia. The order is: α, β, γ, δ, αι, ε, ζ, ει, η, ι, θ, κ, λ, μ, ν, ξ, ο, ω, π, ρ, σ, τ, οι, υ, φ, χ, ψIn addition, double letters are treated as single for the purposes of collation; the system is not difficult to learn and remember, but some editors—for example, Immanuel Bekker – rearranged the Suda alphabetically. Little is known about the author, named "Suidas" in its prefatory note, he lived in the second half of the 10th century, because the death of emperor John I Tzimiskes and his succession by Basil II and Constantine VIII are mentioned in the entry under "Adam", appended with a brief chronology of the world. At any rate, the work must have appeared by before the 12th century, since it is quoted from and alluded to by Eustathius who lived from about 1115 AD to about 1195 or 1196; the work deals with biblical as well as pagan subjects, from which it is inferred that the writer was a Christian.
The standard printed edition was compiled by Danish classical scholar Ada Adler in the first half of the twentieth century. A modern translation, the Suda On Line, was completed on 21 July 2014; the Suda has the Kitab al-Fehrest of Ibn al-Nadim. Compare the Latin Speculum Maius, authored in the 13th century by Vincent of Beauvais. Suidas. Gaisford, Thomas. Lexicon: post Ludolphum Kusterum ad codices manuscriptos. A - Theta. 1. Typographeo Academico. Volume 2, volume 3 Adler, Ada Suidae Lexicon. Reprinted 1967-71, Stuttgart. Citations Bibliography Index of the Suda on lineSuda On Line. An on-line edition of the Ada Adler edition with ongoing translations and commentary by registered editors. Suda lexicon at the Online Books Page Suda Lexicon in three volumes, Cambridge, 1705.
Eusebius of Caesarea known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an learned Christian of his time, he wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. During the Council of Antiochia he was excommunicated for subscribing to the heresy of Arius, thus withdrawn during the First Council of Nicaea where he accepted that the Homoousion referred to the Logos. Never recognized as a saint, he became counselor of Constantine the Great, with the bishop of Nicomedia he continued to polemicize against Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, Church Fathers, since he was condemned in the First Council of Tyre in 335. Little is known about the life of Eusebius.
His successor at the See of Caesarea, wrote a Life of Eusebius, a work that has since been lost. Eusebius' own surviving works only represent a small portion of his total output. Beyond notices in his extant writings, the major sources are the 5th-century ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Theodoret, the 4th-century Christian author Jerome. There are assorted notices of his activities in the writings of his contemporaries Athanasius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Alexander of Alexandria. Eusebius' pupil, Eusebius of Emesa, provides some incidental information. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius writes of Dionysius of Alexandria as his contemporary. If this is true, Eusebius' birth must have been before Dionysius' death in autumn 264, he was born in the town in which he lived for most of his adult life, Caesarea Maritima. He was baptized and instructed in the city, lived in Syria Palaestina in 296, when Diocletian's army passed through the region. Eusebius was made presbyter by Agapius of Caesarea.
Some, like theologian and ecclesiastical historian John Henry Newman, understand Eusebius' statement that he had heard Dorotheus of Tyre "expound the Scriptures wisely in the Church" to indicate that Eusebius was Dorotheus' pupil while the priest was resident in Antioch. By the 3rd century, Caesarea had a population of about 100,000, it had been a pagan city since Pompey had given control of the city to the gentiles during his command of the eastern provinces in the 60s BC. The gentiles retained control of the city for the three centuries to follow, despite Jewish petitions for joint governorship. Gentile government was strengthened by the city's refoundation under Herod the Great, when it had taken on the name of Augustus Caesar. In addition to the gentile settlers, Caesarea had large Samaritan minorities. Eusebius was born into the Christian contingent of the city. Caesarea's Christian community had a history reaching back to apostolic times, but it is a common claim that no bishops are attested for the town before about 190 though the Apostolic Constitutions 7.46 states that Zacchaeus was the first bishop.
Through the activities of the theologian Origen and the school of his follower Pamphilus, Caesarea became a center of Christian learning. Origen was responsible for the collection of usage information, or which churches were using which gospels, regarding the texts which became the New Testament; the information used to create the late-fourth-century Easter Letter, which declared accepted Christian writings, was based on the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, wherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE 3:25 and Origen's list at HE 6:25. Eusebius got his information about what texts were accepted by the third-century churches throughout the known world, a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen. On his deathbed, Origen had made a bequest of his private library to the Christian community in the city. Together with the books of his patron Ambrosius, Origen's library formed the core of the collection that Pamphilus established.
Pamphilus managed a school, similar to that of Origen. Pamphilus was compared to Demetrius of Phalerum and Pisistratus, for he had gathered Bibles "from all parts of the world". Like his model Origen, Pamphilus maintained close contact with his students. Eusebius, in his history of the persecutions, alludes to the fact that many of the Caesarean martyrs lived together under Pamphilus. Soon after Pamphilus settled in Caesarea, he began teaching Eusebius, somewhere between twenty and twenty-five; because of his close relationship with his schoolmaster, Eusebius was sometimes called Eusebius Pamphili: "Eusebius, son of Pamphilus". The name may indicate that Eusebius was made Pamphilus' heir. Pamphilus gave Eusebius a strong admiration for the thought of Origen. Neither Pamphilus nor Eusebius knew Origen personally.
The Maritsa, Meriç or Evros is, with a length of 480 km, the longest river that runs in the interior of the Balkans. Its drainage area is about 53,000 km2, of which 66.2% in Bulgaria, 27.5% in Turkey and 6.3% in Greece. It has its origin in the Rila Mountains in Western Bulgaria, flowing southeast between the Balkan and Rhodope Mountains, past Plovdiv and Parvomay to Edirne, Turkey. East of Svilengrad, the river flows eastwards, forming the border between Bulgaria and Greece, between Turkey and Greece. At Edirne, the river flows through Turkish territory on both banks turns towards the south and forms the border between Greece on the west bank and Turkey on the east bank to the Aegean Sea. Turkey was given a small sector on the west bank opposite the city of Edirne; the river enters the Aegean Sea near Enez. The Tundzha is its chief tributary; the lower course of the Maritsa/Evros forms part of the Bulgarian-Greek border and most of the Greek–Turkish border. The upper Maritsa valley is a principal east-west route in Bulgaria.
The unnavigable river is used for power irrigation. The places that the river flows through include Pazardzhik, Parvomay and Svilengrad in Bulgaria, Edirne in Turkey and Kastanies, Pythio and Lavara in Greece. There are a number of bridges over the river, including the one at Svilengrad, the one west of Edirne in Turkey and GR-2 with the D110/E90 further south and as its border crossings; the earliest known name of the river is Euros. Indo-European *ewru and Ancient Greek εύρύs meant "wide"; the Indo-European "wr" sound shifted in Thracian to "br". Thereafter, the river began to be known as Hebros in Greek and Latin. Rather than an origin as "wide river", an alternative hypothesis is that Hebros meant "goat" in Thracian. Since, when first attested, Europe referred only to Thrace proper, the name of the continent is derived from this river. While the name Έβρος was used in Ancient Greek, the name Μαρίτσα had become standard before the ancient form Έβρος was artificially restituted in Modern Greek.
The name Maritsa may derive from a mountain near the mouth of the river known in antiquity as Μηρισός or Μήριζος, Latinized as Meritus. In 1371, the river was the site of the Battle of Maritsa known as the battle of Chernomen, an Ottoman victory over the Serbs. Vukašin Mrnjavčević and Jovan Uglješa died in the battle; the Maritsa/Evros river has become one route for illegal migrants arriving into the EU. Many people, from Asia and Africa have used the Maritsa route after agreements sometimes seem to temporarily block other routes e.g. across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy and Spain. Starting from the river's source, significant tributaries of Maritsa include: Left tributaries: Topolnitsa Luda Yana Stryama Sazliyka Tundzha/Tunca Ergene Right tributaries: Chepinska reka Vacha Chepelarska reka Harmanliyska reka Arda/Ardas Erythropotamos/Luda reka The lower course of the river Maritsa/Evros, where it forms the border of Greece and Turkey, is vulnerable to flooding. For about 4 months every year, the low lands around the river are flooded.
This causes significant economic damage, estimated at several hundreds million Euro. Recent large floods took place in 2006 and 2007. Several causes have been proposed: more rainfall due to climate change, deforestation in the Bulgarian part of the catchment area, increased land use in the flood plains and difficult communication between the three countries. Maritsa Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Maritsa River. La Maritza is a 1968 song written by Jean Renard and Pierre Delanoë and interpreted by Sylvie Vartan. Hebrus Valles on Mars is named after this river; the Bulgarian Maritsa motorway, which follows the course of the river from Chirpan to the Turkish border at Kapitan Andreevo, is named in honour of the river. "МАРИЦА". Българска енциклопедия А-Я. БАН, Труд, Сирма. 2002. ISBN 954-8104-08-3. OCLC 163361648