Thrace, in ancient geography, originally that part of modern Turkey in Europe lying between the Danube, the Black sea, the sea of Marmora, the Grecian archipelago, the Struma, and a line, not well defined, connecting that river with the Danube. In later times that part of Thrace which lay between the rivers Strymon (now Struma) and Nestus (Kara-su) was annexed to Macedonia by Philip, and the country N. of the Hsemus (Balkan) was made by the Romans a separate province under the name of Mcesia. Thrace, in the narrowest sense, was bounded N. by the Hoenms, E. by the Euxine, S. E. and S. by the Thracian Bosporus, the Propontis, the Hellespont, and the AEgean sea, and W. by the Nestus. Two offshoots of the Haemus, the Rhodope (Despoto Dagh), E. of the Nestus, and a parallel range near the Euxine, traversed it in a S. E. direction. It was watered, besides the Nestus, by the Hebrus (Maritza) and its affluents the Artiscus (Tundja), Agrianes (Erkeneh), and others. The principal towns were Apollonia and Salmvdessus on the Euxine; Bvzantium (Constantinople) on the Bosporus; Selymbria and Perinthus or Heraclca (Erekli) on the Propontis; Callipolis (Gallipoli) and Sestos on the Hellespont, in the Thracian Chersonesus (peninsula of Gallipoli); Lysimachia, AEnos, Me-sembria, Maronea, and Abdera, on the AEge-an; and Philippopolis, Hadrianopolis (Adria-nople), and Trajanopolis, on the Hebrus. The towns on the coast were all Greek settlements.
The district between the Strymon and Nestus, called Macedonia Adjecta, contained Neapolis, Philippi, and Amphipolis. In the times of Herodotus and Thucydides, Thrace, in the wider sense, was peopled by numerous tribes, probably Goths and Scythians, as Getae, Treres, Odrysae, Triballi, Daci, and Mcesi. At an early period they seem to have greatly influenced the culture of the Greeks, especially their mythology and religious rites. They are described as powerful, warlike, and cruel. They worshipped deities identified with Mars, Bacchus, and Diana, and had an oracle of'Bacchus on a lofty summit of Rhodope. Orpheus, Linus, Musaeus, and Eumolpus are said to have been Thracians. We find fragments of the Thracian race also in parts of Asia Minor and central Greece. - The Thracians are said to have been conquered by the Teucrians and Mysians. They were subdued by the Persians under Darius, but recovered their freedom after the reverses of Xerxes. Their most pow-erful native rulers were Sitalces, king of the Odrysae, who fell in battle against the Triballi in 424 B. C, and his nephew Seuthes, after whose death the Thracian kingdom was split up in parts.
Philip of Macedon conquered the greater part of it, and after the death of Alexander it was ruled by Lysiraachus. It was subsequently annexed to Macedonia, and finally, with the latter, to the Roman dominions, though it long continued to be governed by native chiefs. After the division of the Roman empire it shared the fate of the eastern part. Its main parts now form the vilayet of Edirneh (Adrianople). (See Roumelia).