The Thracian diet or what did the Thracians eat

The Thracians were famous warriors, wonderful riders and skilful hunters. Titus Livy, Arian, Plutarch and Procopius claim that the Thracians were large in height and manly, terrifying their opponents. It is no coincidence that Thrace is considered a sacred place of Ares, the God of war. High stature and muscular body are achieved not only with hard training, but also with the help of quality food. Quality food in these lands has always been in abundance, and even in these ancient times.

The Thracians owned huge herds of horses, goats, sheep, cattle … Pigs were raised in their lands, the forests were full of game, the rivers were full of fish, even eels were caught in Struma/ Strimon – one of the main rivers in ancient Thrace. Butter – a delicacy and expensive commodity in ancient times was quite available in Thrace. Our ancestors also had fresh cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk. Horse milk was also used for drinking, it is very possible that koumiss was made from it. Cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt were also known to the Thracians.

In ancient times, hunting was not just fun, but also a way to supplement the diet with foods rich in protein (game meat). Aristotle says that in Thrace the local population went hunting for birds with a falcon. The Thracian men also went wild boar hunting and wild bulls hunting.

In addition to meat, butter and dairy products, the Thracians also consumed cereals. We know this from Xenophon, Demosthenes and Strabo. Thracian wheat was called ‘’briza’’, it corresponds exactly to the wheat plant briza, which is still grown on these lands. The Thracians enriched their diet with various nuts and fruits – hazelnuts, figs, apples, pears, cherries, plums, raspberries, blackberries.. Olives, lemons, pistachios also grew in their territories near the Aegean Sea. Our ancestors did not lack vegetables too. Onions, garlic, lettuce, carrots, celery, dock, sorrel and more. They are grown and consumed in our lands from the deepest antiquity. Both today and in the distant past, many types of mushrooms have been found in these lands – field mushrooms, butter caps, chanterelles …

No wonder that the traditional food on this part of the Balkans and the diet of today’s people, adhering to the principles of healthy eating, largely overlap with that of the ancient Thracians.


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