Where are the Thracians?

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This is a Thracian “peltast,” a lightly armored warrior. Alexander the Great used peltasts to guard the flanks of his heavily armored phalanx. And Herodotus, writing a generation or two before Alexander, called the Thracians the second most populous nation in the world, outnumbered only by the Indians.

“Thrace” consisted of parts of northern Greece, most of modern Bulgaria, all of Turkey-in-Europe, and bits of Rumania. The Romans conquered it and made it a province: the most famous Thracian was Spartacus, the gladiator and revolutionary. Greeks, Macedonians, and Romans had Thracian warriors in their armies.

But for all their numbers, their wealth in natural resources, their craftsmanship (Thracian art objects were always in demand), and their skill and bravery in war, there is no more Thrace today, and no more Thracians. Oh, their DNA is still around, mixed in with everybody else’s–Greeks, Slavs, Turks, Bulgars, et al–but there’s no more Thracian language, culture, or polity. The ancient Thracians never got serious about setting up a state, and made only half-hearted efforts to keep a kingdom going. Maybe if they had, for the sake of self-defense, set up a king, they might have lasted longer. Or maybe not.

The point is: here was a considerable people, a populous nation, well-known throughout the ancient world, a nation that persisted for some thousand years–and it’s gone. Historians aren’t even sure how it came to disappear. It seems to have been a gradual process. Eventually we look for Thracians in the historical record, and they aren’t there anymore.

Nations require preserving. They don’t live on inertia. Where are all the nations that used to interact with Israel? Israel is still here, and has been all along. Moab, Ammon, Edom, the Philistines, Elam, Babylon, the Assyrian Empire, and the Roman Empire–they were richer and stronger and greater than Israel, but they’re gone.

If there is to be a United States of America two hundred years from now–and not just a space on a map bearing the name but nothing of the character–it will only be by God’s providence and mercy: which we would be well-advised to seek at all times, to humble ourselves before Him and stop trying to provoke Him to anger.


14 comments on “Where are the Thracians?

  1. I’m not a flag waver, by any means, but I consider myself a true American. I love the culture I grew up in. I love that I could safely walk the block or two from my grandmother’s house to the hobby shop, alone, when I was 7 or 8 years old. I love that we had charcoal grills and made hamburgers. I love that we could go camping with nothing more than an inexpensive tent and a sleeping bag. I love that there was an old guy that would keep some bubble gum in his jacket pocket and give a piece of gum to every child he met, just because he loved kids and wanted to be nice. Even more, I love the fact that no one accused him of any bad motive for doing this. He was just a nice old man spreading kindness.

    I love that over 240 years ago, the people of this nation took a stand for freedom and created the most free nation in history. I love that this nation sacrificed dearly to end the practice of slavery and that this struggle started as a political battle, soon after independence was declared. I’m thankful that this nation stood up to tyranny and fought to liberate Europe. Mostly, I’m thankful that I grew up in a country where Godly values were common and appreciated.

    Much has changed in my roughly six decades, but there are still many wonderful people here, living quiet, Godly lives. I am thankful for the good that still exists and pray that this nation finds its soul once again.

    1. They’re insane only in the sense of “crazy like a fox.” Or in the sense of power-mad. That’s what it’s all about, of course — not concern for the environment or people’s well-being, but only a lust for power for themselves over others. So maybe, yes, insane.

    2. Even an issue that my soul cries out to support, like protecting the waters from plastic trash, turns into PC claptrap when Democrats mention it.
      See, I don’t believe them for a minute. If they had any sincerity at all, they wouldn’t prattle about “the environment” and try to pave it over and cover it with strip malls and high-rise apartments every time they saw a square foot of open space.
      You should see what they’re doing to my lovely old home town. It would be kinder to bomb it.

    3. I agree. Causes that could be good are not administrated in a good way. Instead of acting to improve matters the response is usually poorly thought out legislation which only serves to complicate matters. It would seem that they are quite two-faced about matters.

  2. I second that, Unknowable. I remember the same blessings from my childhood and teen years. A young girl could walk the mile from her home on the edge of town to the library or a friend’s home in town even after dark, or even the 1 1/2 miles to the skating rink and have no fear. The political discussions were limited to a few middle ago to older men sitting around a café table, or in one another’s homes, and nobody even raised their voices. All opinions were respected, and actual sensible, well-studied conclusions were considered all around. Women respected their husbands, and husbands their wives, and both loved and respected their children, taught them the value of work, true education and respect for God and for His church.
    What a long slide down hill it has been since that time. What a great loss we have suffered in these years.
    Those of us who look forward to the millennium reign of Jesus on the new earth can look forward to an even more peaceful world some day.

  3. They say the average lifespan of an empire is 250 years. We are nearing that number now, and while we are not an Empire in the traditional sense, there are definitely signs of decline. The life cycle of a nation is thus: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; and from dependence back into bondage”. I would say we are in the dependency phase now.

    1. Sounds like Polybius’ political cycle: from mob rule to a dictator, then a monarch; from a monarch to a tyrant; from a tyrant to a group who depose the tyrant; from them to an aristocracy; from an aristocracy to an oligarchy; and at last the oligarchy is overthrown by a mob, and the whole damned thing starts all over again.

    2. I agree completely, Watchman. what is amazing is how fast this has happened. Such a conclusion would have been hard to imagine 25 years ago, even ten years ago.

  4. Makes me think of the song “Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow.” In Christ all things consist. He knows the end from the beginning, and He surely knows where America will be 250 years from now. Our faith is in Christ alone. Our duty is to seek first His Kingdom, and may He forgive our daily shortcomings – have mercy Lord Jesus.

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