Hall 2 The Bulgarian Lands from the End of the 6th Century BC to the 6th Century AD
The first strong Thracian Kingdom, of the Odrysai, was created by Teres in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. It was established on the lands of the modern Bulgaria. Ancient Greek historians provide information on the history of the Odrysian kingdom as well as on the Thracian Kingdom of Getai, Triballi, and others. The Getai recognized the supremacy of the Odrysai during the reign of the Odrysian kings as Sitalkas, Seuthes I, Amatokos I and Kotys I who ruled from the middle of the 5th century BC to the middle of the 4th century BC. These Odrysian kings inhabited fortified mountain residences with palaces made of enormous stone blocks and with architectural decoration. The so – called emporia, or trading centres, were established in the interior, on the basis of long – term contracts. They were inhabited by the Greeks and the Thracians. The Odrysian state became a first – rate political power on the Balkan Peninsula. According to Thucydidis, “From the states in Europe that are situated between the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea the Odrysian Kingdom is the biggest in its incomes and other riches”.
Kotys I (383 – 359) was killed as a result of an assassination plot of Athena against him. After his death, the Odrysian kingdom was divided into three parts. For several decades it was under the rule of Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great and Lysimachus. At the end of the 4th century BC the Odrysian king Seuthes I built a capital bearing his name – Seuthopolis. It was built in accordance with a preliminary lay – out with streets intersected under right angle that formed squares with sanctuaries and statues. The capital was surrounded with a stone fortress. It included a fortified palace with a stone colonnade and polychromic decoration of the halls as one of them was a sanctuary.
The inclusion of the Thracians in the Roman Empire and the disappearance of borders between the separate kingdoms contributed to the free movement of people and ideas. The urbanization process developing in the subsequent centuries divided the Thracian lands into two worlds – Greek – Roman – of the towns and rural – of the Thracians. The official Roman art was developed mainly in the towns and was expressed and shown as rendering homage to the official Gods and making a cult of Emperor. Sanctuaries were erected round the villages where preserved the old fate. The sanctuaries were most often dedicated to Heros, the supreme horse riding God of the Thracians. The functions of the Orphic deities were united in the image of Heros. During the Roman Period the Thracians continued to erect burial mounds and to put rare and expensive gifts in them including chariots richly decorated with bronze and silver appliqués, mainly with Dionysian scenes. The production of adornments, plastics, vessels and other household and cult objects continued to flourish as well. The local masters preserved their taste for works of the East and often reproduced them. Thus the Thracian lands became a bridge between the East and the West again.
Treasures from Zlatinitsa, Sinemorets, Kralevo and Yakimovo (from the 4th to the 1st century BC), from Kapitan Andreevo (the 3rd century BC), gold and silver finds from the archaeological excavations of the National Museum of History in the Value of the Kings as well as exquisite silver vessels from the fund of the National Museum of History (from the 4th to the 3rd century BC) and all kinds of Thracian protective and offensive armaments from the 4th to the 2nd century BC are on display in the Room No.2. The museum shows parts of the treasures and of the rich grave finds from Rogozen, Letnitsa, Duvanliy and the Mogilanska mound in Vratsa.
The expedition in the Room is often changed due to displaying of a large part of the exhibits at exhibitions abroad.