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can be seen in the few words in the comedy The Birds which Aristophanes puts into the mouth

of the god Triballos. These are in fact Greek words distorted for comic effect, with which the comic poet caricatured the coarse speech of the barbarians. According to the context, aav vaKa {3aKrapL «ooooa should mean aOL vcUw, {3aKTT/pi4? «povoc», and «asa»


Kat J1eya'Aa {3aaL'AL/laV - Ka'A7W Koprw Kat J1eya'Arw {3aaL'Aetav.210

Should one see in "this open pronunciation of the vowels a peculiarity of the Triballian dialect which the Athenians could notice in their Triballian slaves, or would these words have sounded the same in the mouth of a Scythian or Persian, or any other barbarian? On the basis of the name Triballos, as we have seen, two other phonetic principles of the Triballian tongue have been adduced, according to the interpretation of the name itself. The etymology T pL-{3aA'Ao, involves the conclusion that the Triballian language changed the old media aspirata to a media ((3aAAo" as compared with Gk. <pano,), while the derivation of Trib-alli from the root tjb- would show that the vocalic r was changed in Triballian into ri. The uncertainty of the etymology renders phonetic conclusions also unreliable. This is, in the main, as far as I have been able to see, all that the linguists have to tell us about the Triballian language. Before concluding this chapter, I must refer to the theory recently put forward by V. Georgiev about the Dace-Moesian language, which would include Triballian.
According to this distinguished Bulgarian linguist, Dace-Moesian, Thracian and Phrygian represented three separate Indo-European languages, with separate phonetic systems, which cannot be reduced to one. In the Balkan area there are two distinct regions: the northern, or Daco-Moesian, and the southern, or Thracian in the narrower sense. Their languages differ in the way in which they modify, or retain unchanged, the Indo-European consonants and in their treatment of the IndoEuropean vowels. The separation of Dacian from Thracian as a different language is undoubtedly important from the linguistic point of view. For historians it is much less significant, for the Dacians as a people have always been clearly differentiated, both in ancient sources and in contemporary historical literature. For us it would be of particular interest if we could establish the ethnic character of the population in the transitional belt between the Dacian and Thracian ethnic groups. In this matter, however, Georgiev shows so much hesitation that his results cannot be utilized in the form in which they appear without bringing greater confusion into this already very confused problem. 210. Arist. Av. 1629 sqq. (T 77). cr. Brandenstein, i.e., 410.


Georgiev himself seems to be uncertain what his North-Thracian linguistic group includes, and exactly what it should be called. In the numerous writings in which he has worked out his theory, he either, starting from it as from an already established fact, uses it as a basis for further combinations,211 or he constantly hesitates between the conceptions "Dacian" and "Dace-Moesian", so that it is not clear whether they are to be considered as identical or only to some extent corresponding. In his main work B~lgarska etimologija i onomastika, in which he has worked out his theory in the greatest detail, he speaks of three languages, "Dacian, Thracian and Phrygian", but later in his text he makes use of the expressions "Dace-Moesian", "(Dacoj-moesian", or "Daco(moesian). In the sections on "Dacian" names, "Dacian" place-names and "Dacian" glosses, he includes the ethnics ~ap6avoL, TpL(3aAAoi, and the Dardanian gloss sopitis, although he speaks of the Dardanian and Triballian languages as Daco-Moesian or Daco(moesian) languages, and not Dacian.212 On the other hand, discussing the etymology of Bulgarian river-names, he notes" as "Thracian" the ancient names of the rivers Isker, Nisava, Timok and Cibrica, which flow through former Triballian territory. 213Should the Triballian language, according to all this, be reckoned with Dacian, Daco-Moesian or Thracian? This hesitation is not only a matter of terminology. In distinguishing the fundamental characteristics "of the phonetic system of the "Thracian" language, G. uses also the etymologies of the river-names "Aepv~, 'APTciVT1~, .HATAa~, Utus, Timachus, i.e. material from the region north of Mt. Haemus, from. Moesia and the land of the Triballi. 214"Again it becomes uncertain whether the population living between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains spoke a Thracian or a Dacian dialect (or Daco-Moesian, to use the same way out of a confused situation). Place-names in -dava, which are the most typical remains of Dacian, are met with "in Dacia, Upper Moesia and the Dobrudja" or "in Dacia and the two Moesias".21s However, among the examples which Georgiev gives in the text and on the attached map, I do not see

~ have used the following works by Georgiev: Butgarska etimologija i onomastika, Sofia 1960; "Dnesnoto siistojanie na proucvanijata vurhu trakijski ezik", Arheologija (Sofia) 11-2, 1960, 13 ff. (this is in fact one section of the previous book); "Albanisch, Dakisch-Mysisch und Rumanisch" LB 2 (1960), 1 ff.; "Sur I'ethnogenese des peuples balkaniques: le dace, l'albanais et te roumain', Studii clasice 3 (1961), 23 ff.; "Le probleme de l'union linguistique balkanique", ler Congres international des etudes balkaniques, (Sofia), 1966, 5 ff. 212. Cf. Bfllgarska etimologija, p. 107 (Dacian), p. 108 ff. (Dacomoesian), 88 ff.; on the Dardanians - pp. 91 and 94 (he allows that darda may be a Thracian word). 213. Bidgarska etimologija, pp. 29 f. (Isker), 34 (Timok), 35 (Nisava), 45 (Cibrica). 214. Ibid. 97 ff. These are southern tributaries of the Danube: Athrys is the Jantra, the Utus runs between the Isker and the Jantra, and Artanis and Atlas between the J antra and the Black Sea. 215. Ibid. 85. Cf. also Le probleme de l'union linguistique balkanique, p. ·12 ("en Dacie et dans les deux Mesies"). 77






districts period

of Sofia,


and Custcndii in the province




In the early imperial
obviously, (which counts

they were included

of Thrace,

and later in Mediterranean Ceorgiev,

Dacia. the Triballi, the that Moesians expression), opinion, and the Dardanians but the arguments are ambiguous. that nowhere them as on This in his

"Daco-M oesians" explains works

is why he coined inconsistencies. of the

which he bases this in any case insufficiently the terminological do we find That


It is characteristic "Getae".

the concept would

Does he identify for,

with the from the (and to

"Dacians"? earliest indeed three

be quite


as is well-known, shows that they

times there

is evidence


the Athenians

for the ~CioL and riTaL belonged

also [or the TpL/ separate peoples. Among

and this obviously writers

the ancient

there are references, south

as we shall

see, to the mingling and

of the Moesians

and Getae in the district mingled with the Moesians country.

of the Danube, who much basin.

in the same way the Triballi the Danube

and the Getae,


into Moesia and the Triballian

The Dacians appear

later on the stage of history, Georgiev leans heavily

and then in the western

part of the lower Danube of place-names

on the geographical are typical and one


ending in

-dava and -para. The former Danube, Custcndii numbers ever, these district between areas. the

of Dacia, and we find them also south of the and also in the Piro t, Sofia and reasons why Georgiev Howamong the "Daco-Moesians". of the fundamental

Danube Triballi

Mt. Haernus,

This is probably

the Moesians,

and Dardanians

the matter place-names of

is not so simple. from the

If we look more carefully, district (ib., of IV, (Pirot 122,

we shall notice that all


- Sofia - Custcn dil), with one 5, in Mediterranean (IV, 121, Dacia), 33, in


are only noted Rernesiana), (IV, 123, Dacia),

by Procopius:


(Proc. de aed. IV, 123, 26, in the






Mediterranean that these


(IV, 121, 28, Kavetzos later,

district). 217 And this means of the


may have appeared Dacia

at the time of the coming and that




to Dacia between

Mcd itcrranea, Thracian


they are useless to show the relation

and Dacian

in that area. An

* Add.

n. 7

216. Cf. above, n. 175. 217. In Georgiev two more place-names are marked on the map: Zisnudeba in the Sofia district, not far from Kurnudeva, which Procopius places in the Rernesiana area, and Buteridava in the Custend il district. These positions are given, it is true, with a question-mark, but in no case is there any reason to locate Zisnudeba and Buteridava in the above-men tioned West- Thracian territory. Zwvovo EiJa was, according to Procopius, de aed., 148, 19, a fort MuoLa<; n aoi: /lEV norouou '"!OTpOV and was therefore in lower, Danubian Moesia. Detschew, 192, places it "irn Harnusgebie t", and this probably misled Georgiev. Bu teridava, indeed, is known from an inscription which reads: Inter IMJessiam Pude [ntil]lam et vicanos Buteridavenses (cf. Studii si cercetari de istorie veche 6, 1955,75 1'1'.). I do not see on what evidence this village can be located.



is Desudaba,

which is testified to in the second century B.C. in Livy's

account of the coming of the Bastarnian troops to Macedonia. But Desudaba is not Dardanian, but a Maedian settlement! And the Maedi were, as is generally recognized, a Thracian tribe. With Desudaba goes also Pulpudeva, Philip's famous town of Philippopolis, built in the very heart of Thrace, Although the form Pulpudeva is first noted by J ordanes, we may suppose that it arose soon after the foundation of the town, as a translation of the Greek name. But even if it arose later, it does not alter the case, for whenever it appeared, the fact remains that the name was given by natives, who were Thracians. Georgiev tries to explain the appearance of this name in -deva in a purely Thracian district in a very strange way: he says that the appellation was taken "from the west", and that it was not "Thracian" but "Daco-Moesian or Macedonian,,?18 It is not clear how a "Dace-Moesian" name came to be found in the heart of Thrace, and as regards Macedonian, this would have been the one and only instance of the Macedonians' naming a town "<dava": Georgiev does not find it necessary to explain the appearance of Desudaba so far to the south. However, Pulpudeva and Desudaba make it impossible to conclude, on the basis of the undoubted concentration of names in -dava in Dacia and -para in Thrace, that these place-names belonged to two different languages. On the contrary, to explain the appearance of Desudaba and Pulpudeva on Thracian territory, we must suppose that the word dava was understandable to the Thracians although-they used it infrequently. Perhaps dava with the Thracians acquired the meaning of a fortified town, or a large town, whereas para usually meant an open settlement? It is quite a common thing in the same linguistic area to find that one type of place-name appears more frequently, or even exclusively, in one district, another in another. Place-names in -diza, of which, according to Georgiev, there are eleven, are limited to the eastern part of Thrace,219 and that certainly does not indicate a separate linguistic region. And Georgiev's conclusion that original deva changed between the fifth and first * Add n. 8 centuries B.C. to daba22fJ rests, it seems to me, on slender foundations. It is true that the earliest recorded instances of dava are from the second and first centuries
Argedava), and that Puipudeva may go back to the fourth century B.C. But all the afore-mentioned place-names in Procopius have the form -deva, and they, as we already said, probably arose at the time of the crossing of the Dacians into Mediterranean Dacia, i.e. in the third century A.D. If it had not been for Desudaba, there would have been a possibility of connecting Pulpudeva too with Dacian settlers (I do not know if there are any other indications suggesting the presence of Dacians in the Philippopolis district), for it is rather strange that this name is not recorded before J ordanes. tDesudaba,


Bldgarska etimoiogija,


219. Cf. V. Georgiev, "Thrace et illyrien", LB 6, 1963,72, and map "Distribution of Daco- Moesian and Thracian place-names" in the book Buigarska e timoiogija. 220. Bidgarska etimologiia, 92 and III f. Cf. also Studii clasice 3, 1961, 25.


There are also other things which shake my confidence in the theory of the Daco-Moesian origin of the Triballi and Dardanians. Thus, for instance, Georgiev holds that Av,),(,),)woc; 7rOTafJ.OC; is a translation of the Thracian Longinopara.Z21 However, if Longinopara occurred on Triballian territory, this Triballian place-name argues in favour of the Thracian, and not Dacian, origin of the Triballi, for the Dacians, according to G., pronounced IE.*bora, meaning "pool, stream", as bara and not para. Then the name of the town on the Danube in the Dobrudja, 'A~t07rOA(C; ~'""l 01.), 'A~io7ra (Proc.), today Cernavoda (Bulg. Cerna voda), is interpreted by Georgiev as a Dacian place-name derived from IE. +n-ksei-no, "dark, black", and*upa, "water". This etymology is quite convincing with regard to the present name, which. is a translation of the ancient one. Aelian mentions a tributary of the Danube in that area named "A~wc;. On the basis of that, Georgiev comes to the conclusion that IE.
n became Dacian a or atn}, However, there is also a river 'A~€wc;

in Macedonia and its tributary is today called the Crna Reka (Black River). Obviously the same word is in question. According to Georgiev, the name of the Macedonian Axios was "DacoMoesian (Dardanian)", while the appellation Bapliovapwc;, Ovapliapwc;, Bapliapwc; (which is first mentioned in the scholia on Ptolemy III, 13, 14 and also meant "black ~ter")-;i~t-~';~cian:-Macedoni~I11yrian".2Z2 It seems to me quite

incredible that a Dardanian name for the largest Macedonian river should have taken root among the Macedonians and Greeks (as far back as Homer's time), especially as it only touched Dardanian territory in its upper course. Round the mouth of the



Axios, and in its lower reaches, there lived in former times both Thracians and

(It (

t,/>./:7 Paeonians, and nothing is simpler, it seems to me, than to see in this name, and in the
name 'A~io7ra on the Danube, Thracian words. Finally, I must add that I am quite confused by a remark made by Georgiev in another article. Publishing a recently-discovered inscription from Kjolmen, he notes that in the sixth century B,C., Thracian and Dace-Moesian were very close to each other, not because they were cognate Indo-European languages, but because they mutually influenced each other, so that in the archaic inscription in question it is difficult to distinguish between them. Moreover, even of Thracian and Greek Georgiev says that they are "so close that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them".223 If it is impossible to distinguish between two languages of which one is so well-known as Greek, I wonder how we are to distinguish two unknown languages, of which we have only meagre remains, such as Thracian and DacoMoesian, especially if by the sixth century B.C. their mutual influences had brought them so close to each other.

) e'~-J
'If""" (;\-( ~




o IJ


221. See above, p. 35. 222. Bulgarska etimologija, 83 f., 92. 223. V. Georgiev, "Die Deutung der altertiimlichen Kjolmen", LB 11, 1966,23.





These are the reasons why I have considered that in discussing the ethnic relationships of the Central Balkan peoples it is better to continue using the traditional concepts "Thracian" and "Illyrian", although I am quite conscious of their vagueness, and although I very well know the reservations that have recen tJy been made in that respect, and the demands for the revision of all that has been done up to the present. I think Georgiev is quite right in insisting on the difference between Thracian and Illyrian, and protesting against the expression "ThracoIllyrian".224 This expression is in fact nothing but an acknowledgement of our inability to distinguish certain Indo-European elements in Balkan place-names and personal names as Thracian or Illyrian, In all cases where there is enough material, the linguistic differences appear much greater than is usually supposed. To count on widespread linguistic and ethnic communities in those early times is to conceal an insufficient knowledge of the real state of things. For before we can affirm the relatedness of two languages, we must to some extent know their characteristics.

In concluding this chapter, we may remark that it has been difficult to say anything very definite about the ethnic connections of the Triballi. The linguistic material has left us as much in uncertainty as the ancient writers do. It is only certain that in ancient times their territory was considered to be Thracian, that their connection with the Thracians was older and stronger than with the Illyrians, and that in historical times they were mixed with both Thracian and Illyrian elements. Only if we had at our disposal linguistic material which we were reasonably convinced came from the period before this mingling, might we hope one day to throw light on the ethnic situation. Such material, however, does not exist, and therefore it is best to retain the first impression gained on the basis of the narrative sources, that the Triballi represented a separate ethno-political group in the northern part of the Central Balkans.

IV. ON THE WORD TPIBAAAOL AMONG THE ATHENIANS The name Triballos underwent a very unusual semantic development among the Athenians. Already in the earliest times - at the time when Herodotus and Thucydides were writing the first news of the Triballian land - the word T ptj3a"A/v)c; got a pejorative sense in Attic speech. In a fragment of Cratinus, noted by Lucian's scholiast, two brothers Cercopes, dwarfs known as mischievous, lying good-for-nothings, have the names Li"AA.oC; and Tptj3aA.I\6c;.22S Although the name Tptj3aA.l\6c; is not used for
224. Cf. LB 6,1963,71. 225. Schol. Lucian. Alex. 4 = Cratini frg. 12 Kock (T 68).