Resisting rule in ancient Thrace

Adela Sobotkova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


This paper compares several different categories of evidence that illuminate the concept of leadership and authority in ancient Thrace. Greek historians provide us with contradictory images of Thracians as rich and powerful warriors on one hand and impoverished peasants on the other. Material evidence also provides contrasting datasets: rich mortuary material from imposing burial mounds versus simple, often transient villages with little evidence of wealth or craft specialization. Evidence from the Tundzha Regional Archaeological Project (TRAP), a recent, large-scale landscape archaeology project in central Thrace, sheds further light on Thracian political unity and centralization. Examining preliminary results from this project within a broader, comparative study of the Thracians and their neighbours, I argue that Thracian political institutions never reached the level of a centralised state, as might be assumed from Thucydides' account or a cursory examination of mortuary remains. Instead, authority remained very individualistic and ever changing, producing an unstable horizontal coherence and weak vertical integration of the society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring the hospitable sea
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the international workshop on the Black Sea in Antiquity held in Thessaloniki, 21-23 September 2012
EditorsManolis Manoledakis
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781407311142
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational workshop on the Black Sea in Antiquity (2012) - Thessaloniki, Greece
Duration: 21 Sep 201223 Sep 2012


WorkshopInternational workshop on the Black Sea in Antiquity (2012)
CityThessaloniki, Greece


  • social complexity
  • states
  • ancient thrace
  • archaeological survey
  • landscape archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Resisting rule in ancient Thrace'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this